Selecting a Veterinarian

 
Thinkstock

Selecting a veterinarian is a personal choice, much like selecting your family physician or dentist. In choosing a veterinarian, your goals should be to find the doctor that best meets your needs and to establish a long-term relationship. A veterinarian will maintain a history of your pet, equine or other animal, including health records that detail immunizations, reactions to medications, behavior traits, etc.

If you've just moved, you will want to locate a veterinarian soon. Don't wait until your pet becomes ill; you want to establish a relationship right away. Your veterinarian can give you with information on special climate concerns for your pet. In addition, since traveling can be a stressful experience for a pet, an early check-up may be in order.

A Veterinarian Can Help You Select a Pet

It is a good idea to start thinking about selecting a veterinarian before a new pet or animal joins your family. In fact, a veterinarian can assist you in selecting a pet or animal that complements your personality, work schedule and home life.

Considerations in Selecting a Veterinarian

Office Hours

  • What are the doctor's regular office hours?
  • Are they compatible with your schedule?
  • Who covers the practice when the doctor is unavailable?

Professional Staff

  • How are routine telephone calls handled?
  • If there is more than one veterinarian in the practice, can you request an appointment with a specific veterinarian?
  • Do you feel comfortable talking with the doctor?

Fees and Payment

  • What methods of payment are accepted?
  • Is immediate payment expected on the day of visit? Are credit cards accepted?
  • Is pet insurance accepted?

Services

  • What is the range of services that the veterinary hospital provides?

Emergency Care

  • How are emergency calls handled during regular office hours and after regular office hours?

Facility

  • Is the practice clean and orderly?
  • Are there any unpleasant odors?

Professional Affiliations

  • Is the veterinarian a member of a professional veterinary association?

Policies

  • Do you understand the hospital's policies and procedures?

Published: March 6, 2009;    Updated:

Filed Under: Animal Care Health Basics

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association

)