Choosing A Veterinarian

Selecting a veterinarian for your pet is a personal choice, like selecting your family physician or dentist. The criteria you use is similar: What is important to you? Location? Convenient hours of service?   Friendliness and service commitment of doctors and staff? Fees?

In selecting a veterinarian, your goals should be to find the doctor that best meets your needs and to establish a long-term relationship. The veterinarian will maintain a history of your pet, including health records that detail immunizations, reactions to medications, behavior traits, etc. So it’s important to see your veterinarian for all your pet’s health care needs. Many signs of illness are subtle. Your veterinarian will rely on your awareness of small changes in your pet’s behavior or habits to assist him in diagnosing the problem and prescribing the best preventive and critical care.

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

If you’ve just moved, you will want to locate a veterinarian as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your pet becomes ill. Your veterinarian can give you 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.

Use the enclosed referrals to help you begin your search for a veterinarian. Also ask your animal-owning friends what they like about their veterinarian. If you have a specific breed of dog, cat, bird, breed clubs can be a good source of information.               

Begin your search by scheduling a visit to meet the veterinarians your considering to discuss your pet and your expectations. You may wish to visit several practices before you make a decision.

Here are few tips to keep in mind when visiting a veterinary hospital:

Office Hours     

What are regular office hour?

Are they compatible with your schedule?

Who covers the practice when the doctor is unavailable?

Professional Staff

How are routine telephone calls handled?

Can you request an appointment with a specific doctor?



Fees and Payments              

What methods of payments are accepted?

Is immediate payment excepted on the day of visit or are credit cards excepted.


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?


 Is the practice clean and orderly?

Are there any unpleasant odors?

Professional Affiliations

Are the doctors members of any professional veterinary associations?


Understand the hospital’s policies and procedures

All veterinarians are special. All pets are special.

Take time to choose the right veterinarian for your special pet.


SOURCE: American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
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