Finding the right veterinary clinic for your pet is often a difficult task, as medical practices of any kind are highly specialized and require a great deal of knowledge to understand them. Because information about pet medications can often be difficult to enter, it is important to know what to look for when choosing your veterinary clinic. Someone can tell you, “Oh, Dr. So-and-so’s clinic is just down the road from you,” no matter if they know anything about the quality of care at this clinic. People who don’t have pets can watch a dog or cat and just think: animal.
Pet owners, however, realize that their animals are not just arbitrary creatures, but adorable living things with their own personalities. Pets are like family to their owners, and most pet owners agree that taking care of the health of their special creatures is just as important and responsible as taking care of themselves. When looking for the veterinarian who will best meet the medical needs of your pets, there are a few easy-to-spot features of a clinic that will let you know if a certain clinic is right for you. Most importantly, consider the services offered by the clinic, the apparent quality of the clinic facilities and all of the clinic staff, not just veterinarians.
When you visit a new clinic, it is important to find out about the services offered and the costs of these services, as some clinics may be more expensive than others. Although most veterinary clinics offer the range of basic medical services, some may not be equipped to best assist your pet in a medical emergency. A good veterinarian will be aware of the capabilities of his staff and facilities and should be able to refer you to experts in various areas of animal medicine if your animal has certain needs that the clinic cannot meet. Your pet’s health should always come before earning more business, and any good and honest veterinarian will do their best to make sure your pet gets the care they need, even if it means referring you elsewhere.
Don’t forget to examine the facilities of a new clinic; you should be able to see at a glance if something seems inappropriate to you. Look for cleanliness at reception and in the examination rooms. If possible, request a brief visit to the clinic – a good veterinarian will have nothing to hide. Although the quality of various types of medical equipment and pet supplies that can be encountered is difficult to determine without training in animal medicine, it can generally be said how well a clinic operates depending on whether everything seems well organized and clean or dispersed and disorderly. Quality facilities are an absolute necessity to allow quality medical care for your pet.
The staff of a veterinary clinic is made up of many more members than just doctors. There are also receptionists, veterinary assistants, veterinary technicians and sometimes kennel workers. Since veterinarians are not the only people you and your pets will be in contact with, it is important to also respect the associations of other staff members with you and your pets. Does the staff seem happy and friendly? Do they communicate well with you and do their best for you and your pet the best service?
Ultimately, however, it is your interaction with the veterinarian that is most important. It’s safe to say that most vets love animals and want nothing more than to do their best to make sure your pets are healthy and well taken care of, but it’s not because veterinarians are excellent with animals they are excellent with others. Does the veterinarian seem in a rush to deal with you? Is there sufficient time to ensure that the veterinarian understands your concerns about your pet and that you fully understand any diagnosis or treatment that may be given to your pet? Is the veterinarian kind and friendly to you and do you feel comfortable entrusting this person with the care of your pet? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, you may want to look elsewhere.
Caring for your dogs and cats, or more exotic animals, is no small task. You need to make sure that the needs of your pets and your needs as an owner are met with quality and consistency. I hope your veterinary experiences will be routine, but you never know when you will be faced with a pet emergency, and good pet owners need to know which hands they are putting the lives of their animals in and know that they can trust them every time.