How to Choose a Veterinarian

There are different types of veterinary practices including small animal, feline only, alternative and specialty practices such as dentistry, radiology, cardiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, and behavior modification. What you want to find is someone who offers the type of medical care for your pet that you are looking for and a practice that offers good services and hours to fit your schedule.

Veterinarian examining a feline patient in a vet clinic

Your veterinarian will probably be a general practitioner who works with small animals or just cats. If your pet needs any kind of specialty treatment your general practitioner will refer you to a specialist who may be local or in another region of the country.

There are many single practice veterinarians and some that have partnerships. The growing trend now is large veterinary hospitals with many veterinarians including specialists that offer 24 hour emergency services. Some veterinarians will make house calls or their entire practice may be house calls only and some will work from a mobile unit who also may have a practice elsewhere.

You want to choose a veterinarian that offers the services you want. In a single practice you may not have to wait as long for appointments and you can develop a personal relationship with the veterinarian. In a larger practice there may be specialists, 24 hour emergency services but you may never see the same veterinarian twice.

A veterinarian’s hours may be important to you. Do they offer evening and weekend hours and who are they affiliated with if there is an emergency after hours?

The best place to start searching for a veterinarian is to ask for referrals from friends and co-workers. Their veterinarian may not suit your needs but it is a place to start. Next, you want to check the yellow pages. When you have your list compiled cross off any veterinarians that already don’t appeal to you for whatever reason. Then you’ll want to contact the veterinarians on your list. You may speak to a receptionist or a veterinary technician and ask some basic questions but ultimately you’ll want to schedule an appointment to meet the veterinarian and to tour their facility.

Ask questions such as hours of operation, emergency care, boarding facilities, and availability of specialized treatment or equipment. Gauge the attitude and personality of the technicians (nurses) and the veterinarian when speaking to them.

If price is a concern for you ask prices for standard procedures such as examinations, spaying, neutering, and vaccinations but remember that the prices for these services will be comparable within your area. Differences in prices may reflect the overhead of maintaining specialty equipment or the fact that a higher price quoted may include a follow-up examination or treatments.

The thing to always remember when choosing a veterinarian is that if at any time you are not completely comfortable with their services, personality or procedures, find another veterinarian immediately. Having a good working relationship with your cat’s veterinarian will benefit both you and your cat.

Find a veterinarian in your area. Also, you can look for a cat friendly practice.

Information on this site is for general information purposes only and is provided without warranty or guarantee of any kind. This site is not intended to replace professional advice from your own veterinarian and nothing on this site is intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Any questions about your animal’s health or diet should be directed to your veterinarian.

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