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What do you look for in a veterinarian?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Please, I need to hear what you think is a good veterinarian.
Today, I got disappointed when I found out my vet gets rid of very old records. I took a look at my "folder" and found only current data. But I am happy with the services. Maybe it's s.o.p?
I left a previous vet because the clinic preferred the "exclusive" type of patients (you know, purebreeds or rich clients). They were good in treating pets' illnesses at the right price.
For a while I also tried the university veterinary college. The problem was that most of the vets were new graduates and it felt like my pets were used to gain experience in the field.
post #2 of 5
If you have cats only, I would look for a vet who is feline board certified. Some animal hospitals have both feline certified and general veterinary doctors. In rare cases, the feline vet will also see your dogs.

I would also look for a vet who does not "hedge" alot, i.e. "you could do this, you could do that". Personally, I look for someone who will give me a strait answer and is confident on his/her treatment plan for your animal. Fortuantey, I have such a vet here in my area, however, I am paying a little extra to see her.

Hope this helps.
post #3 of 5
Personaly, I trust a vet that my cats like. And vice versa. My vet spends extra time just cuddling and admiring my boys. Of course, that isn't my first consideration - my vet has a wonderful reputation, is certified by a couple of national boards, sits on the boards of local shelters, and I've never heard a bad thing about him from other pet owners (something I can't say about other vets in the area).

I also like vets who are willing to work with the owner. I wish I could say that I can walk into the vets office and tell them that I can afford anything that needs done, but I can't. If I walk in and tell them I'm on a budget, they explain what has to be done - and are willing to work out a payment plan with me. They also run tests one at a time, starting with what they think the problem is. (In other words, instead of running 250 dollars worth of tests at once, they'll run one, see if that shows a problem. If it doesn't, then they'll test something else, and if that shows what's wrong, then the bill only comes to 100 dollars.)

Also, and I think this is really important, if you have an emergency while the vet's office is open - are they willing to see your cat right then? Or will they try and push you off to an emergency clinic? Because that can cost a fortune. I veiw my vet like I do my doctor - if something is wrong, I want my cats to be seen the same day, usually within an hour or two. My vet has always let me come in when there's an emergency, and while they say I may have to wait, I never have.

The best advice is to talk to other pet owners and see what their impressions are. I can't tell you how many people I talk to (I work at a cat shelter) tell me that they aren't thrilled with their vet, but don't want to change because they've gone there for years.
post #4 of 5
wodesorel brought up all the excellent points. The only thing I would add is, the vet we have is from Nova Scotia and her training was excellent (Washington State University has one of the top 3 Veterinary Schools in the U.S.) . Dr. Boudreaux is very young, but she is also very bright. She likes, as she says, to "put on her thinking cap" when faced with serious choices or multiple issues. She looks at every possible angle and then gives us all the goop. We get to make the choice with her guidance, but it is always our choice. She also is a good advocate for payment plans and clear, direct communication. For example, she says " I have a very tight day today and a meeting at 4. But either me or my tech will call you by 7" - and then they DO. She is straight, full of medical and personal integrity and says what she means and means what she says. She is thorough, careful, and always starts with the simplest solution, first....then works out from there. She always tries to find the win-win. If a kitty is very nervous she tries different methods to calm the environment so she can do her best work for us. It is never rushed. We are blessed by her presence, as she has handled 3 generations of kitties for us, and she is only 29. She does indeed have her own kitties.
Yayi, you are such a great owner and so perceptive....just remember how you, yourself, would want to be treated at the doctor. Good rule of thumb.
post #5 of 5
As someone who works in an animal hospital, my thoughts on who I will choose to treat my babies would also reflect what kind of doctor I would work with. I worked with my current employer previously at a multi-vet clinic; when she told me she was leaving to start up her own practice, I asked her to take me with her because she was the best vet there.
1) confidence- knows her job inside out, is decisive when speaking to me- I can't stand vets that seem unsure all the time or won't give straight answers. I don't think a vet lacking self confidence is very comforting to the client.
2) willingness to research/seek 2nd opinions- good vets are willing to research new treatments/drugs/foods etc. for their clients rather than sticking with "what's comfortable" for them, and are also willing to consult with their collegues/specialists if they are stumped by something
3) bedside manor- I think a good vet must be comforting to both the client and the little patients
4) compassion- willingness to do charity work (ex. working with shelters, giving breaks/payments plans to low-income clients)
5) common sense-this goes a long way. Ex. if a client has an ill animal but limited funds (don't we all!) being sensible about prioritizing which treatments/tests will be most useful/stretch funds the best ex. using generic vs. brand name drugs, in-house lab work vs. sending out, etc. Also just thinking logically, ex. ruling out the most common causes for a problem before jumping the gun on unusual/exotic causes. It can be scary how some vets don't see the obvious that's right in front of them!

I could think of tonnes more, but I'm pretty picky about who treats my babies and signs my paycheque
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