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5 Questions You Must Ask Your Veterinarian

shutterstock_71731054With a new dog comes new responsibilities, including finding the right veterinarian. When starting out on this quest, there are many things an owner can do before scheduling an informational appointment. Check out the practice’s website, facebook page, twitter page (if one is available.), look at the online yellow pages, read the reviews by current and former clients. Jot down questions as they arise during research; if the practice looks promising schedule an introductory appointment and if possible, a tour. Look for possible red flags within the investigation.

How many vets are in the practice?

The answer will reveal how many people the owner will actually dealing with. How important is it to see the same veterinarian every single visit? Or does a rotating staff sound more appealing. Occasionally personalities click and an owner may decide they like one vet over another. In a rotating office, is it possible to request the same vet every visit?

What are the qualifications of the staff?

Some vets employ only veterinary technicians; people who are trained and certified to perform minor medical procedures like drawing blood and expressing anal glands. Other practices have veterinary aides, people who are trained on site to give shots and vaccines but only assist while the vet does the minor things. This is a good time to question the vet on their education and experience. Ask them about how they treat certain ailments the dog has already encountered.

Does the practice offer emergency or after-hours care?

A dog collapses on a Sunday afternoon during a walk, will the vet be available? If there is no after hours care within in the practice where do they refer their clients? Now there is a new facility to investigate, the afterhours practice.

Do they require prescriptions to be filled in house?

With 24 hour availability and inexpensive offerings, sites like 1-800-petmeds and Pet Care Rx have grown in popularity among more frugal owners. Will the potential vet let the prescriptions go to another vendor or will they insist of filling the medications (including flea, tick and heartworm prevention) in house.

How much is basic health exam and what does it include?

This varies from practice to practice. Some vets only do basic routine exams and charge extra for services such as anal expression and nail trimming. Other veterinary practices are all inclusive. Decide whether the price is worth the service.

Final thoughts

Take a look at how the staff interacts with the clients. Are they friendly, engaging, informative? Does it seem as if they genuinely want to be at work? When talking to the veterinarian, make sure they are actually listening and answering the questions being asked. Sometimes, rushed vets give hurried answers. In a stressful situation, when there is an urgent question about a dogs care how would the owner want a trusted veterinarian respond?

Each owner is as unique as the dog they care for. Veterinary requirements differ from person to person. Through research and questioning the right practice is out there, waiting for the right owner to find it.

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Written by Renee Moen
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