Tips on Choosing a Veterinarian


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How do you choose a veterinarian? What do you look for in a veterinarian or what questions do you ask? There are several factors to consider when choosing a veterinarian.

You can find a veterinarian by looking in the yellow pages, searching the internet (go to the Vet Locator) or by word-of mouth. An effective method is by asking your friends or neighbors which veterinarian they go to and for their recommendations.

Other factors to consider:

  • Is the practice convenient – is it close to your home? Find out which practices are close to your home.

  • How does the practice handle emergencies? Do they have someone on call or do they refer to a local emergency practice? If so, where is the emergency practice? Note: In many case, veterinarians that refer to local emergency practices may be better for your pet unless their practices staffs technicians and doctors around the clock. Make sure the veterinarian doesn't just see and hospitalize emergencies and leave them in the hospital where no one will be watching them all night.

  • How do they handle hospitalizations? Are they staffed at night or do they refer to a 24-hour emergency clinic?

  • How many veterinarians are in the practice? One-person practices are nice but multi-doctor practices may have extended hours and generally someone is always available if you have a pet problem.

    Regardless of how you choose a veterinarian, developing a relationship takes work. Make sure you understand everything your veterinarian says. Don't be afraid to question anything and keep questioning until you fully understand the answer. If you do not feel comfortable with your veterinarian, try to resolve the issues. If you do not see any way to resolve your problems, consider seeking a different veterinarian.

    For more information please read Getting the Most Out of Your Vet Visit.

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    About The Author

    debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

    Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.