How Should I Choose a Vet?

vetMost people like to choose a vet or pet clinic close to their home. Not only is this more convenient, but it’s also important to have a vet or animal hospital nearby should your pet experience a medical emergency. Most cats don’t like to be confined for a car ride so a shorter trip to the vet is less stressful for your feline friends.

If you’re choosing a vet for the first time, a personal recommendation is probably the best way to get started. Ask your pet-owning friends, relatives, and neighbors if they can recommend a local vet that they’ve used or heard good things about. If you don’t know anyone in the area, a groomer, dog trainer, or animal shelter professional should be able to give you some tips. If you contact a veterinary school, they’ll also be able to provide you with a list of vets in your area.

Veterinary care should be a routine part of your dog or cat’s life. It’s always best to see a vet for a routine examination or vaccines first–if you have a future, serious pet illness or emergency, you’ll know that you have a medical professional with whom you feel comfortable. Finding a vet who relates well to the human owner is just as important as finding one who works well with your pet. During a medical event, the pet owner is often just as nervous and upset (if not more) than the dog or cat.

If you can’t afford a veterinary clinic, there are sometimes more economical options through a local pet shelter or animal rescue group. With costs for pet medical care increasing, there are many different types of pet insurance available now too.

Veterinary medicine is a highly-specialized field. Veterinarians have to complete the same number of years in medical school as human physicians and the competition to get into a top veterinary college is extremely intense in North America. Top vet schools in the U.S. include the University of California at Davis and Cornell. Some veterinarians are board certified in particular areas of medicine, such as cardiology or ophthalmology. They have studied an additional two to four years to get this specialized degree.

Veterinary offices may be small, single-doctor operations or very large animal clinics. Services will vary according to size. Many of the larger operations offer boarding facilities as well as pet grooming in addition to medical care.

What are some details I should look for when choosing a vet?

•Is the facility clean and comfortable?

•Are the technicians and front office and other clinic employees friendly and professional?

•How many veterinarians are available at the clinic?

•Are you able to choose one as your permanent vet so that you can see the same individual each time you come in?

•You should be able to see the degrees and credentials of your veterinarian posted on the walls of the clinic.

•Are tests such as blood work, X-Rays, and ultrasound done on the premises or sent out to other clinics?

•Are services such as grooming, nail clipping, and dental cleaning available?

•Ask to visit the kennel area. If your pet has to spend the night, you want to make sure the cages are clean and odor free. Cat cages are usually separated from dogs to minimize stress for the animals.

•Most veterinarians and animal clinics are open during regular office hours Monday through Saturday. Some

•larger clinics are open on Sundays too, but most are not available after hours. It is very important to ask your vet

•for the name, location, and telephone number of the nearest 24-hour animal emergency clinic. If a medical

•emergency occurs in the middle of the night, you will not want to waste valuable time hunting for an open clinic.

It’s also very important that you have your regular vet’s number as well as the emergency after-hours number listed in a prominent spot (such as the refrigerator door) for easy location–especially if someone other than the pet owner needs it quickly. It’s also a good idea to have your vet’s number programmed into your phone so one doesn’t have to first start looking for the number in case of an emergency.

If anyone is wondering which veterinary service the Pet Rescue Center would recommend, we recommend “Desert Dunes Animal Hospital” located on Washington and Ave. of the States in Palm Desert. Their phone number is 760-345-8227. All of our animals are taken care of there and a number of our volunteers’ animals are taken care of there too. We’ve been using Desert Dunes Animal Hospital for many years.

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