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Choosing a Vet

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I recently relocated to Pasadena, CA and had to take my cat, Freda, into the vet for a sudden sickness. I chose a vet that only sees cats but found the office to reek of cat urine.

Business in the office was steady but I thought the smell was unusually strong. Freda changed into a caged beast and became enraged at any movement outside of her carrier. She even hissed and batted at me! The vet had to sedate her to even examine her. After five years of visiting the Vet in Washington, DC, I never witnessed such a violent reaction from Freda. Also, until this recent visit, I always took Freda to a vet that saw both cats and dogs. The odor had never been so strong at my DC vet.

I was very traumatized by Freda's reaction at the vet, her sudden sedation, and the fact that they kept her for 48 hours for observation. In the end, they diagnosed her with a tapeworm from swallowing a flea. As near as I could tell, the vets were competent, caring people but I couldn't get past the strong odor of the office.

I feel such guilt for taking Freda into that situation and although she is fine now, I can't see sedating her everytime I take her to the vet. I'm worried that she'll never get near her carrier again after this experience. And if I have my way, she'll never stay over night at the vet's again.

Clearly, I need to shop around for a vet and would have done so earlier had she not been so sick unexpectedly. I'm wondering what criteria others have used to make their vet choice when moving to a new area. Unfortunatley, I don't have any friends in this area who are cat owners to give me a recommendation. Do all cat only vets smell so strong? Any advice would be welcome. Thanks, Jeff
post #2 of 3
Yikes, It sounds as if you just got a bad vet. It's not cat clinics that smell like that, it's unsanitary vets. I can't beleive they kept her that long. All it would have taken was a stool sample. I am curious as to what her symptoms were and what you told the vet.
As for the helping her get over the experience. I would leave the cat carrier in a room with the door open and a soft towel or something for her to sleep in. Maybe you can put some treats in there for her. She will probably go in and sleep at some point once she realizes the door wont close and she won't be whisked away. This way it becomes part of a normal routine. I would bet that once you find a vet that you like, it won't be so bad. I am sure the smell of the other cats is what got her upset in the first place. When she does have to go back, she wont smell anything and won't relate it to the bad visit.
Trying to find a good vet is hard if you don't know anyone. A few suggestions would be to look through the phone book and take a day to visit each of them. Get some pricing info along with some general info such as if they handle middle of the night emergencies. Look around for any clues as to how they do buisness and how they interact with the clients in the office. You can also find out which associations they belong to.
You can also contact any of the local no kill rescues if you have any. They will tell you who they use and if they feel that the vet is a good one or not.
post #3 of 3
I found my vet by asking around at work. If you're not too shy, you could also try asking people you see buying cat stuff at the pet supply store, too. (Like you, I couldn't ask friends--they all have dogs.)
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