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Tips for Choosing a Veterinarian

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

Read By: Pet Lovers
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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 on choosing a veterinarian, please read Getting the Most Out of Your Vet Visit.

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