How to Choose the Right Veterinarian for Your Animal
1. Check If They Are Certified
To practice, all veterinaries need a license in their state (you can see it here). If you are looking for accreditation out there, you can start with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). They require veterinarians to meet certain standards in their practice. They also inspect medical offices and equipment every few years to ensure they meet these standards.
Nurses are not required to hold this accreditation and many of them do not. If the veterinarian is not confirmed by AAHA, it does not necessarily mean anything, but when a veterinarian is confirmed, you at least know they have a certain standard. You can find AAHA-accredited veterinarian here.
Several veterinarians are also members of the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA). It is basically like the membership of the American Medical Association for vets. Again, AVMA membership does not necessarily mean better, but it shows that your veterinarian is dedicated to this practice. However, AAHA accreditation may be a better indicator, as they have a set of specific guidelines that must be approved by the office for accreditation.
2. Find an Expert
In some cases, you may need a veterinary expert. If your pet has certain health problems, such as neurological illness, you may want to take it to someone who has additional training in the area. Veterinarian should be accredited by The American Veterinary Specialists (ABVS). ABVS ensures your veterinarian meets specific needs for their expertise and learns longer to become experts in certain areas. ABVS also works for specialized species vets. If you need a veterinarian who specializes in birds, reptiles, pigs, or “exotic pets” (turtles, parrots and snakes for example), you want to make sure they are certified to handle the animal, and you can see them in ABVS website. You can search specifically and species here.
Take a look at veterinary networks like VCA and Banfield. This is like a chain office that usually offers lower prices and has its own guidelines for veterinarians to follow. They do not always have the best reputation. Here’s what a writer and pet owners say about them at Petcha:
“These chain hospitals can often offer lower prices by spreading overhead and leveraging their purchasing power to deal with drug manufacturer offerings. But trade, at least in my experience, is that you may not be able to see the same veterinarians and staff during each visit I prefer to have a vet who really knows me and my pet.”
This does not always apply, of course. My cat went to the VCA hospital and we met the same doctor all the time. In fact, it feels like a free vet office, unless they try to make me sign up for their CareClub once. For their credit, they just mentioned because my bill was very high and they thought it could save me money.
When you go through the network, the same rules apply, though. Your doctor can still be AAHA and AVMA recognized. But beyond the letters behind their names, you want to make sure their veterinarians and offices are right for you.
3. Meeting Table and Office Visits
You do not want to wait until your pet is really sick to visit the vet’s office for the first time. You need time to make sure you really like and trust a veterinarian before you come to them with life or death. AAHA suggests asking a veterinarian to hold a “meeting” meeting to meet them and see if the office is appropriate. You can also schedule checks, which in fact can let you see veterinarians in action, observe how they interact with your pets, hear how they communicate with you, and so on.
Here are some specific considerations to think when you visit:
- How clean and comfortable the facility is.
- How veterinarian, veterinarian, and front desk communicate.
- Either dog cats and cats are in separate areas.
- What emergency services are offered by this practice.
- What services they outsource (X-rays, blood work, etc.)
Ask questions while you are in. Here are some specific things that AAHA says that you should throw away:
- Can you request an appointment with a particular veterinarian? The answer is yes.
- What is your response to emergencies? If your pet has a serious accident (car accident), the hospital should be able to see you immediately or manage your pet to go to another hospital as you can.
- How long do I have to wait to schedule a routine appointment? Most practices should be able to schedule appointments within days to weeks, depending on how busy they are, and how important your pet needs are.
You can and should ask about money as well. Ask the type of payment method they receive and what kind of payment plan they have, if any. Check to see what they are wearing for routine procedures such as screening and vaccination.
Also, when you actually meet a veterinarian, you want to make sure you’re on the same page. A veterinarian might be technically incredible, but if he or she does not communicate in the way you want to communicate, they may not be appropriate.
For example, I used to take my cat to a very sweet and gentle vet with him, but when it comes time to discuss difficult things, he hesitates instead of giving me straight. Another veterinarian has explained so many things until it disappointed and disturbed my husband, but I actually prefer the level of information. That is, there are certain personal preference factors to consider when you are dealing with your veterinarian, so do not be afraid to ask, talk to them about your concerns, and check how they interact with your pet.
Everyone like The Amazing Veterinar: An Animal Doctor Colouring Pages
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1. Right click on the images above.
2. Choose “saved image”.
3. Or, you can click the image url HERE to get the fullsize image.
4. After that, download as steps 1 and 2.
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