Today’s pet owners consider their pet as part of the family, yet, veterinary visits are on the decline. The American Veterinary Medical Association reported that vet visits for cats have dropped thirty percent since 2001, and twenty-one percent for dogs. Even if nothing is visibly wrong with your pet, experts recommend a veterinary visit at least twice a year. Skipping a trip to the vet may save money, but regular check-ups for your pet can prevent serious health problems and extend your pet’s life. But how do you recognize a good veterinarian and veterinary clinic?
Training Background: Check if the veterinarian and the clinic are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA); accreditation ensures a higher level of medical care for your pet. You can also research your potential veterinarian’s educational background to learn more about their experience level, and whether the vet specializes in a particular area like geriatrics. Furthermore, consider the training background of the other veterinarians and staff members at the clinic since they will also interact with your pet. Are the vet techs licensed? What’s the training background of the other staff members?
Veterinary Facilities: Visit the clinic and speak with the vet and their staff before bringing your pet for a check-up. Ask for a tour and prepare questions for the veterinarian. What are the policies concerning appointments and emergency care? Who else is on staff? What medical equipment does the staff use, and are medical tests performed at the clinic or referred to an outside specialist? How are overnight patients cared for? You should check that the clinic is clean and well organized, and that their hours work well for your schedule.
Your Vet and Your Pet: After visiting the facility, bring your pet in to see how he interacts with the veterinarian. You should also feel comfortable with the veterinarian and the staff. Your pet’s veterinarian and the other clinic staff should be effective communicators, and be competent, compassionate, and willing to address your questions and concerns.
Find a good veterinarian before your pet needs one. Search Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses, to find essential services in your area. Go onto the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and search by choosing a term from the popular categories list, or by using the search box at the top of the main page. Each business listing includes an address and phone so that you can easily contact the business.