Among the most important and vital decisions you’ll ever make as a pet owner is finding a high quality and affordable health care provider for your cat, dog, or other lovable animal family member. Choosing the perfect veterinarian is a personal choice, but you’ll want to be sure to choose a vet that offers the highest possible standard of service and care.
When Should I Start The Search For A Veterinarian?
Pet owners look for new vets for a multitude of reasons, such as a recent adoption or a move to a new city or home. An example would be if you are moving from a practice in Atlanta to vets in Augusta GA. But also possible are concerns about how good the current veterinarian’s quality of treatment and care for the pet has been. This is especially true if the pet has specific health conditions.
How Can I Find A Vet Who Is A Good Fit?
Veterinary Practices are evaluated on a variety of factors: their facilities, equipment, staff, and care of patients. These factors are scored on quality by The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Search the AAHA website at www.healthypet.com for a roster of accredited veterinarians in your city.
You can also talk to your personal network of friends, family, and neighbors who have pets of their own—particularly the ones who place a high value on their pets’ health and welfare.
How Do I Decide Which Veterinarian is Right for My Pet?
When selecting a vet, take these things into consideration:
Make an appointment to visit the vet’s facilities and to speak with the doctor on your own so you can get a feel for the level and quality of care provided.
At your appointment, give an honest evaluation and consider whether the place is clean, modern and well-organized.
Ask about the number of veterinarians on the staff. For many practices, there may be a shared responsibility between vets for patients. An example of this may be that the staff cover for each other during vacations, sick leave, or other absences.
Is the vet a good communicator? Effective communication is very important to any pet care relationship.
Ask plenty of questions! Don’t be bashful; most vets appreciate an active interest in pet care from their pet owner clientele.
What Types of Questions Should I Ask A Potential New Vet?
This list is a good start. Feel free to add in more specific questions that relate to your situation and any medical conditions that your pet has to get an even better feel of the veterinarian’s ability to provide quality care:
Is this practice accredited by the AAHA?
How are overnight patients monitored?
What type of equipment and/or tools does the practice use?
Are specialist referrals given by this practice?
What evaluations are given to a pet before anesthesia and surgery?
Are there licensed veterinary technicians on staff at this practice?
What protocols are used for pain management for a pet here?
Can I Switch My Vet If I Am Unhappy Or Have A Problem?
Don’t sweat about leaving your current veterinarian if you have concerns about the quality of care being given to your furry friend. Most practices, as with any business, expect a certain amount of clients to come and go.
Before you change to a new vet, make sure to request a complete copy of your pet’s health records. These can sent by mail, email, or fax to your address or forwarded to your pet’s new veterinarian.