TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Qualities to look for in a veterinarian
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Qualities to look for in a veterinarian

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
When choosing a veterinarian, what qualities do you look for? Is there anything that is really imortant to you?

For example, is a knowledgeable veterinarian more important then one who is honest and trustworthy? Or would you prefer someone who you know you can trust, even if they don't know a lot?
post #2 of 19
I want the whole package - knowledgeable, trustworthy and honest. And my cats have to like them.
post #3 of 19
I don't think it is either one or the other - I want both, and would expect no less than that...
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, if you had to choose one or the other, which would you pick? Trustworthiness or knowledgeable?


I certainly agree about the cats liking the vet. I think that's important for calming the cat's nerves. I would imagine it would make future visits less traumatic. And I have to wonder about a vet who doesn't talk to a cat at all vs. one who talks to the cat, gushes over it, and tells it how gorgeous it is. I wish someone would do that to me.
post #5 of 19
Well, I would expect the vet to be both, really. Now, if it were a straight surgical or other sort of consult case, maybe I'd be willing to trade a little bedside manner for brilliant technique and expertise (you know, getting the Greg House of vets) , but so far I've been fortunate in having vets who seem to combine all the qualities. Maybe because mine are on the younger side, and it's so darn hard to get into vet school these days that they're only taking the best and brightest, but honestly, mine seem up to date on current protocols and very kind and patient with my kitties, and me!

Hypothetically speaking, I guess I'd rather have someone who really knew what they were doing, even if they didn't have a great bedside manner, than someone kindly and clueless and out of touch with current procedures.

I'm not sure what you mean by trustworthy, in a vet? Do you mean you're worried about someone with great skills but a lack of integrity?
post #6 of 19
Here is a TCS article about choosing a vet :

http://www.thecatsite.com/Health/209...or-My-Cat.html
post #7 of 19
I want a vet who is knowledgable and trustworthy. If you mean by trustworthy they always tell me the truth about a health problem and are honest in their billing practices. If you're talking about a vet that I personally like and find easy to talk to that would be last on the list. I would like to have that too but if it were a choice I would sacrifice personal likeability.
post #8 of 19
- One that understands the needs of my cat, not the desires of his/her bank account. Too many vets where I live try to give any little test, pill, or shot - even if it's totally unecessary, simply to get more money out of you. I think it's a real scam. Vet bills are high enough just for the visit -- I prefer to only get what is necessary. No hidden fees, or being told "it will cost this much" and seeing the bill and having it be totally different.

- One that doesn't treat me like an idiot. I am not an idiot. I'm college-educated and in fact quite knowledgable. I don't like to be talked down to. If I have questions, I'll ask (believe me, I'll ask!) - but go ahead and tell me just what the problem is the way you understand it. It's likely I'll know something about it.

- One that doesn't beat-around-the-bush or give too many "I don't know" answers. If my pet is sick, I need to know WHAT is wrong with my pet, and I trust YOU to be able to tell me that. I prefer someone who is direct and honest, not someone who is concerned with being 'the bringer of bad news'. If I'm not doing my job right, I need to know so I can fix it.

- I stay away from vet offices who are in cahoots with some (often low-quality) food company or pet product, so that they are obligated to recommend & even sell certain brand pet products, even if they would not normally recommend these things or know very well the concerns associated with them.

- I am comfortable with vets who are knowledgable and open-minded about raw feeding and recommending of alternative treatments. I think I would prefer a holistic vet, but they do not exist in my area.

- One who let's me make decisions for myself and doesn't get huffy if I decide to do something different than what she recommends. Ultimately, I'm the one who gives the OK - not the vet. I want the vet to advise me (and I would put a lot of weight into a vet I thought was knowledgable and trustworthy), but I don't want to feel afraid to say 'no', ask questions, or give my opinion for discussion.
post #9 of 19
I like a vet to be honest and trustworthy. The most important thing that I look for in a vet is their ability to admit their faults and let me know when they are unsure of something, then go look it up, get a 2nd opinion from another vet in the practice, or refer me to a different vet. I think it would be impossible to find a vet that knew EVERYTHING- so I just want a vet that is not afraid to admit that they don't know something. Another thing I really adore with my vets (I've got a team of 3 vets ) is that they understand that I don't have an "unlimited" bank account when it comes to my cats. I would do anything I could possibly for them, but there is a limit and they know it and take that into consideration.

I also appreciate that they listen to EVERY concern/comment I have and they don't think they're stupid or anything (and believe me, I ask some pretty dumb questions ). I am really lucky to have a team of vets that I totally trust with my cats' lives.
post #10 of 19
CatAttack1985 - I loved your responses....exactly what I was thinking

I was going to the same vet for 11 1/2 years and this vet had the blinders over my eyes the entire time. It wasn't until I started to do research and educate my self on cat nutrition and health that I realized just how naive I was all these years. I pocketed this vet thousands of dollars with no results....he actually has made my cats situation worse. Thank god I switched vets b/c he was treating her for over 2 years for the wrong problem.

The vets that I take my cats to now never try to push any of the products at the front of the store on me. They even have told me where I can get medication for cheaper. They do not make sales pitches on me and I appreciate that.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by catattack1985 View Post
- One that understands the needs of my cat, not the desires of his/her bank account. Too many vets where I live try to give any little test, pill, or shot - even if it's totally unecessary, simply to get more money out of you. I think it's a real scam. Vet bills are high enough just for the visit -- I prefer to only get what is necessary. No hidden fees, or being told "it will cost this much" and seeing the bill and having it be totally different.

- One that doesn't treat me like an idiot. I am not an idiot. I'm college-educated and in fact quite knowledgable. I don't like to be talked down to. If I have questions, I'll ask (believe me, I'll ask!) - but go ahead and tell me just what the problem is the way you understand it. It's likely I'll know something about it.

- One that doesn't beat-around-the-bush or give too many "I don't know" answers. If my pet is sick, I need to know WHAT is wrong with my pet, and I trust YOU to be able to tell me that. I prefer someone who is direct and honest, not someone who is concerned with being 'the bringer of bad news'. If I'm not doing my job right, I need to know so I can fix it.

All that, and I have to be able to trust my vet.

For example: I had to have my iguana spayed as she was eggbound. My vet had never done it before, ever, and recommended I go elsewhere. (Elsewhere was not a great option as at the time I did not drive). I asked him if he thought he could do it, he said yes. I said go for it.

He charged me a very minor amount for letting him gain the experience. I trusted him, my iggy was fine, and very relieved to get all that stuff out, and my vet and the techs got to learn something new.

I don't mind if there's stuff they don't know, as long as they are honest enough to say I don't know and willing to call around to find the answers. (but not too many of the I don't knows tho)
post #12 of 19
I switched vets after 1 visit to the original one when I adopted Genever. She's my first cat in California so I don't know vets, and I had a coupon from the SPCA for a free initial exam at this vet. The office staff and the vet all seemed kind of uninterested in me and my kitty. Just like an assembly line kind of thing. No personal touch to anything. So I looked on catvets.org and found ONE feline specialist vet in Long Beach so I decided to give her a try. The office staff is excellent, super friendly and took the time to answer questions before i even made a first appointment with them. The vet was really nice too, she took her time with us, really seemed to do her job thoroughly and was very open with me. I didn't feel rushed at all, which is a big deal. I hate feeling rushed when I'm paying for a service, especially when it's for my or my cat's health and well-being! Also, they don't seem to push for unneeded tests or meds which is great. I asked if they thought i should get Advantage even if my cat's indoors only but there are dogs on our floor, and they said it's probably not necessary but it's up to me. Well I decided I want to use it to be on the safe side, and they're cool with my decision. Nice.

So yeah, I want them to take the time to do their job thoroughly and completely, and not be pill-pushers.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake_Lady View Post
I don't mind if there's stuff they don't know, as long as they are honest enough to say I don't know and willing to call around to find the answers. (but not too many of the I don't knows tho)
You bring up a good point. A looong time ago I cared for a family member's beloved cat. Said cat developed a recurrent, potentially life-threatening problem, and I spent quite a bit of money at my then-vet's office before I realized he was out of his element. He never admitted to me that he had run out of ideas; I just finally got wise and took him to someone else (who, by the way, was able to treat the problem successfully).

Anyway, being honest enough to say "I don't know anymore" or "At this point, maybe we should try a specialist" can be very important.
post #14 of 19
I always interview my vets before I start to see them regularly. I start with the receptionist - if they can't answer basic questions, I don't want to deal with them. Then I talk to a vet tech, then the vet. The types of questions that are important to me:

- How do they support emergency situations?
- How to they handle problem cats (such as overly shy, overly aggressive, feral)?
- What are their basic fees, and do they offer discounts for multi-pet families?
- Will they make house calls?
- How do they handle situations when a pet is terminally ill, or have a condition that requires invasive treatment?
- What is their experience with surgeries, dentals, etc?
- Do they offer any holistic approaches?
- How flexible are they with scheduling appointments? Will they allow me to come in at the last minute with the scared cat that took me 2 days to catch?

And once I'm there for a while, I learn which parts of their knowledge that I can trust, and use them for things where I can trust them.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by motoko9 View Post

Anyway, being honest enough to say "I don't know anymore" or "At this point, maybe we should try a specialist" can be very important.
Exactly. Vets don't know everything..... but IMO, if they are able to admit that they do not know, that is a good thing in my books. I'd much rather be told that they are unsure than "here try this, here try this, etc. etc. etc."

In the case of my iguana, he was upfront with me, recommended I go to a specialised place..... I choice him because he was honest, upfront, and I trusted him when he said he had the skill to do it, just not the hands on.
post #16 of 19
I've been lucky enough to find a vet that is perfect for me.

Honesty has been a huge plus from him, when Arthur and Chester came down with hepatic lipidosis (unknown why) he said that he would be happy to refer me to a vet who had more experience with it and the things that it required (feeding tubes etc.), I stayed with him and he was great throughout the entire process.
Another big plus for me is that he'll tell me what's going on in medical terms, but can explain any big words
Another thing is that I can bring one cat in and ask questions about all my other animals and I don't feel like I'm being a pain in the butt and that I need to hurry up so they can get on to the next person.
People skills is pretty great too, but I'd give that up if the vet was really excellent.
I think the biggest thing that I appreciate about my vet is that when I get home and think about everything he's told me I don't doubt what he's said. I've had vets before that (when they're not saying "I dont know") have told me things that I just don't believe.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
One of the reasons I started this topic was because of something someone in another group said to me. I was talking about my cat's health problem and one of the regular posters (who is somewhat of a jerk) basically told me that I trust my vet too much. They never said why they thought that.

I started thinking about it and I guess maybe they have a point. I know I can trust my vet to be honest about what's going on with my cats. I know he won't lie to me just to make me feel better or to somehow benefit himself. I know he would never intentionally hurt my cats. I believe he is a very honest, caring person.

However, when it comes to some medical problems, I'm not sure how much he really knows. The other day he told me something that contradicts everything I have ever read. What he says doesn't make sense to me and I don't know if he's right or wrong. Sometimes I think that my view of him as a person clouds my judgement of him as a veterinarian. I really like him and would hate to have to switch vets.

This vet seems to know all the basic stuff and even seems to keep up-to-date on new research and studies. I guess the problem is that he's not had a case quite like my cat's case. I think it has him baffled.

I've had two vets lie to me before. One was a dishonest, uncaring, a-hole who has no business practicing veterinary medicine. I think the other vet just didn't want to upset me. I asked if my cat's kidney stone could cause him pain and the vet looked at me for a second and then answered, "no". I knew he was lying though. There was another time when he wouldn't give me a direct answer about a very sick cat I had. I was trying to decide whether I should euthanize him or if there was any chance he would get better. The vet just gave me the runaround.

I don't think it's possible for me to find another vet that I trust as much as the one I have now. Heck, I trust him more than I trust some of my own family.
post #18 of 19
One caution I try to remember when talking about something contradicting everything I've ever read, is, where did I read it? Was it from a trust-worthy, well-known, medical site, or was it 'he said, she said' web information - which may be 100% accurate, or may be totally misinformational. This really came home to me when I needed a breast biopsy - of course I was reading things on the web, and of course I ended up scaring myself half to death - thankfully, for no reason whatsoever.

Having said that, I think most medical pro's will be more than happy to discuss research you've found on the web if you bring it in- but don't be surprised if some web sites aren't terrily well regarded. That is, something you find on the Mayo Clinic or Cornell Vet web site will probably seem useful to a pro - something on the better homes & garden's discussion forum on XYZ ailment, maybe not so much!
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilblu View Post
However, when it comes to some medical problems, I'm not sure how much he really knows. The other day he told me something that contradicts everything I have ever read. What he says doesn't make sense to me and I don't know if he's right or wrong. Sometimes I think that my view of him as a person clouds my judgement of him as a veterinarian. I really like him and would hate to have to switch vets.

This vet seems to know all the basic stuff and even seems to keep up-to-date on new research and studies. I guess the problem is that he's not had a case quite like my cat's case. I think it has him baffled.
I would hope that if he is indeed baffled, that he's not "afraid" to say so rather than "guessing" . That is what I like about my vet(s)..... None of them are afraid to say if they don't know, and either try to find out on their own or direct me to someone they think will know.

I wouldn't discount your vet, but I would question him especially if what he said does not make sense to you.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Health
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Qualities to look for in a veterinarian