Finding the right veterinary clinic for your pet is often a difficult task, as medical practices of any kind are very specialized and require a great deal of knowledge to understand them. Because the information regarding pet medicine can often be difficult to grasp, it is important to know what to look for when choosing your veterinary clinic. Someone may tell you, “Oh, Dr. So-and-so’s clinic is just down the road from you,” regardless of whether they know anything about the quality of care at that clinic. People who do not own pets might look at a dog or a cat and merely think: animal.
Pet owners, however, realize that their animals are not just arbitrary creatures, but lovable, living beings with personalities of their own. Pets are like family to their owners, and most pet owners agree that caring for the health of their special critters is just as important and responsible as caring for themselves. When searching for the vet who will best serve your pets’ medical needs, there are a few easy to spot characteristics of a clinic that will let you know if a certain clinic is the right one for you. Most importantly, consider the services offered by the clinic, the apparent quality of the clinic facilities, and all of the staff members at the clinic, not just the veterinarians.
When you visit a new clinic it is important to inquire about the services offered and also the costs of those services, as some clinics can be more expensive than others. While most veterinary clinics offer the breadth of basic medical services, some may not be equipped to best help your pet in times of medical emergency. A good veterinarian will be forthcoming about the capabilities of his staff and facilities and should be able to refer you to specialized experts in various fields of animal medicine if your pet has certain needs that the clinic cannot accommodate. The health of your pet must always come before gaining more business, and any good and honest veterinarian will do the best to ensure your pet receives the care it needs, even if it means referring you elsewhere.
Be sure to examine the facilities of a new clinic; you should be able to tell at a glance if something seems inappropriate. Look for cleanliness in the reception area and examination rooms. If possible, ask for a brief tour of the clinic-a good vet will have nothing to hide. Even if the quality of various sorts of medical equipment and supplies one might encounter is difficult to determine without a background in animal medicine, one can generally tell how well a clinic operates based on whether everything seems well organized and clean or scattered and messy. Quality facilities are an absolute necessity in allowing for great medical care for your pet.
A veterinary clinic’s staff consists of many more members than just the doctors. There are receptionists, veterinary assistants, veterinary technicians, and sometimes kennel staff members, as well. Since the vets are not the only people who you and your pets will be in contact with, it’s important to also observe the other staff members’ associations with you and your pets. Does the staff seem happy and friendly? Do they communicate well with you and do their best to give 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 taken good care of, but just because vets are great with animals does not mean they are great with other people. Does the vet seem to be in a hurry when dealing with you? Is enough time taken to make sure the vet understands what your concerns are about your pet and that you completely understand any diagnosis or treatment that may be given to your pet? Is the vet personable and friendly with you and do you feel comfortable entrusting this person with your pet’s care? 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 pets, is no small matter. You must ensure that the needs of your pets and your needs as the owner will be met with quality and consistency. Hopefully, your veterinary experiences will be routine, but you never know when you will be faced with a pet emergency, and good pet owners must be aware of whose hands they’re placing the lives of their pets into and know that they can trust them each and every time.