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How To Choose A Vet: Part 2

Guest post by Steven May

On Friday, October, 18 Steven May began his guest post on How to Choose A Veterinarian and gave us the 5 Do's for choosing a
Picture1 veterinarian. Today he offers his advice on the Don'ts. Because we love our pets like family it only makes sense that we would expend time and effort to make certain the care they receive is of the highest quality. 

Here are five Don’ts:

  1. A Veterinarian Is Not A Dry Cleaner: So you move to a new town and need to find a new veterinarian. You go
    online, find the one nearest to you and that’s it. Now it’s time to move on to
    finding the closest dry cleaner. The difference is that if a shirt is damaged
    you can replace the shirt. If your pet is harmed it’s not so easy to replace.
    While all accredited Doctors of Veterinary Medicine go through a rigorous
    education process not all are created equal. Just like you wouldn’t choose
    “Quick & Easy Surgery” out of the phonebook because it’s located around the
    corner you also shouldn’t base your decision solely on proximity to your

  • Don’t Ignore Your Instincts: Let’s say you’ve done your research, read some positive reviews or
    received recommendations and have set up a visit to meet a prospective
    veterinarian. When you arrive you’re met with a cluttered, unprofessional
    waiting room and a staff member on the phone arguing with what appears to be a
    client. When you’re told that your 3:00 appointment has to be pushed back to
    3:45 because “Something more important came up,” you might want to think twice.
    Veterinary offices and hospitals are professional environments and if you don’t
    get that sense immediately there is a good chance the attention towards your
    pet's case might be lacking as well.
  • Don’t Underestimate Your Role: There’s a reason stylists ask you how you’d like your hair cut. And the
    more specifics you give the easier it makes their job and the better chance
    you’ll have of getting the style you want. If you’re visiting a veterinarian
    because you notice something abnormal in your pet’s behavior or spot something
    on their body that doesn’t seem quite right it is your responsibility to convey
    the problem to the best of your ability. Let them know when you noticed a
    change, any of the symptoms that are surrounding it and if there have been any
    dietary or exercise routine changes.
  • “I’m Not A Doctor But I Play One On TV”: While the internet can be our best friend when it comes to learning about
    a potential health issue with our pets it doesn’t make us experts. Arguing with
    an educated, experienced doctor over a diagnosis or treatment undermines the
    bigger goal which is to get our pets healthy. It’s important to trust our veterinarian
    and remember that they’re highly educated and experienced professionals. That
    said, having a basic understanding of certain conditions will also show them we
    are concerned about our pets' health and they will appreciate that you’ve taken
    the time to educate yourself.
  • Don’t Forget Your Surroundings: When there is something wrong with our pets it’s easy to become
    emotional. For some this leads to impatience with staff members or being overly
    demanding or verbally aggressive with a doctor. So before you lose your cool
    for having to wait five minutes remember that your veterinarian might have just
    come from performing a euthanasia or telling another pet owner that recovery
    doesn’t look good. Be sensitive to your surroundings and remember that everyone
    is doing their best to serve you and their animal patients. 
  • Summary: The great Will Rogers once said, “The best doctor in the world is a
    veterinarian. They can't ask patients what is the matter – they’ve got to just
    know.” And good veterinarians learn to “know” following many years of rigorous
    education, internships and, again, more learning. Committed, skilled DVM’s
    never stop learning and with the incredible technologies that are now available
    to the animal care industry they are constantly on the cutting edge of
    sophisticated testing and treatment options.

    But veterinarians aren’t cut out of a cookie sheet
    and each will bring their own specific personalities, experiences and skills to
    their work. As responsible pet owners we take care to make sure our pets are
    receiving the right kind of nutritious diet, exercise and attention they need
    to stay healthy and happy. And it should be no different when we are choosing a
    Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

    By taking such things in to consideration as
    proximity, professionalism, office organization and cleanliness, staff
    helpfulness, personal recommendations and our own judgment in to someone’s
    character, we will be better prepared to make the right decision in choosing a
    veterinarian and giving our pets the best chance for a long, happy and healthy

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    1. You write: “Arguing with an educated, experienced doctor over a diagnosis or treatment undermines the bigger goal which is to get our pets healthy. It’s important to trust our veterinarian and remember that they’re highly educated and experienced professionals.” — What about arguing with the uneducated or inexperienced vet? I’ve found many vets totally ignorant about cavalier King Charles spaniel disorders, such as idiopathic asymptomatic thrombocytopenia, and Chiari-like malformation/syringomyelia, and proper treatment for mitral valve disease. Should we argue with them — i.e., try to educate them? Or get another vet? Or just allow them to mis-treat our cavaliers?

    2. Excellent article as was the first part. Sometimes it’s more important to know what not to do as it is knowing what you should do.
      And to Rod Russell(above)I’m going to guess that the writer was working under the assumption that owners did their research, as suggested, and made the right choice of a vet.
      If someone chooses a vet who is ignorant to the potential disorders of a breed they own I’d say that’s the owner’s mistake, wouldn’t you? I mean, wouldn’t that be one of the first things you discuss with a potential vet? What they know about the breed?
      And if you chose a vet that doesn’t know the specifics of a breed you own then yeah, just go ahead and let the vet mistreat the dog. You deserve it. Unfortunately, the dog doesn’t.
      So maybe ‘get another vet’ would be your best option, don’t you think?

    3. There is a difference between being disrespectful and having an educational conversation with a veterinarian. We cannot remember every single disorder that goes with every single breed. We’re human, for God’s sake. I’m more than willing to listen to educated ownes who have more information on obscure breed syndromes, but if you’re combative because I’ve never heard of it, then no, that’s not appropriate.

    4. Rod….I have to agree with Dr. Bowling. It’s all in HOW you communicate with your veterinarian. If you can provide insightful documentation that comes from valid sources, then…yes, enter a civil discussion. Most veterinarians would be thrilled to sit down and have a honest conversation based in science.
      If your sources are simply anecdotal with no scientific basis, then you will continue to run into issues…

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