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How to Choose the Right Veterinarian

 by jaime on 09 May 2014 |
7 Comment(s)

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One of the biggest and most important decisions any pet owner needs to make is which veterinarian to choose. Medical care for your pet is an essential part of keeping it happy and healthy, and getting the right veterinary care can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.


So how do you choose the right veterinarian for the four-legged friend in your life? There are a number of criteria you can use, depending on the type of animal you have, where you live and where your priorities lie.

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Breed-Specific Experience

If you have or are adopting a specific breed of cat or dog, it is important to seek out a veterinarian who has practical experience with that particular breed. There is an enormous amount of specialization in cats and dogs these days and every breed has its own specific health issues.


If your veterinarian is unfamiliar with a breed-specific health condition, your pet could be misdiagnosed or important signals could be missed. This could lead to serious health consequences down the line, but someone with the right experience could help you avoid that. Unless you have a more common breed like a Labrador, Golden Retriever or German Shepherd, it is important to ask the potential vet about his or her experience with your chosen cat or dog.

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Available Technology

Veterinary technology is nearly as impressive as medical technology these days. It is not unusual for today's veterinarians to work with MRI machines, CAT scans and similar technology. Choosing a vet who is familiar with the latest medical technology and keeps up with current trends can help ensure your pet will get the best care possible if something serious arises.


Your veterinary office does not necessarily need to have an MRI and CAT scanner on site, but they should know how to use one and where to find it. In many parts of the country, there are clinics that house this high-end equipment, and area vets refer their patients to those locations when they need specialized care.

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Location and Emergency Hours

The location of the veterinary office can be a major factor, especially if your pet already has a complicated medical history. The ability to get your cat or dog to the clinic in a matter of minutes can be very important, especially in an emergency. Location should not be the deciding factor, of course, but it can be an important consideration.


The emergency policy of the veterinary clinic is even more important than its location. You want to know that your vet will be available to treat your pet even after the clinic closes its doors for the night, so be sure to ask about emergency procedures up front. Some vets will happily go to the office to see a sick pet in the middle of the night, while others will refer clients to an emergency clinic or alternate veterinarian. It is important to know the philosophy of your vet before your pet becomes a patient.

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A quality veterinary clinic will develop a stellar reputation in the community over time, and you can learn a lot by asking others about local clinics. If you adopt your pet from a local rescue, you can ask the group for recommendations and advice. If your friends and work colleagues have pets, you should ask them which vets they use.


Word-of-mouth advertising is very important for service-oriented businesses like veterinary offices, so you should take their reputation very seriously. People who have had bad experiences with vets are often willing to share their thoughts, so do not be afraid to ask for the good and the bad. Choosing the right veterinarian is important, and you do not want to leave this important decision to chance.

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Marilyn  Gaudet - Comment
Marilyn Gaudet16 May 2014Reply
Really enjoy the helpful articles for pet care. Thanks Pet Bucket
Petbucket Admin - Comment
Petbucket Admin16 May 2014Reply
Hi Marilyn, thanks for the lovely feedback - it's much appreciated :)
Cheryl Sperring - Comment
Cheryl Sperring19 May 2014Reply
Hi. I think this is a really useful and informative section of your newsletter and I enjoy reading it.
Petbucket - Comment
Petbucket23 May 2014Reply
Thank you for your lovely comments :)
Kyle Winters - Comment
Kyle Winters11 Jul 2017Reply
I love the advice you give about finding a vet that has had experience with your cat or dog's breed before. After all, if you're going to go through the effort of finding a vet then you want to make sure that that vet can actually take care of your animal. Of course, just because they don't have experience with your specific breed that doesn't mean you should turn them down outright. If they are an exceptional vet with very good skill and communication, then you should feel safe with them anyways.
Duncan Lance - Comment
Duncan Lance03 Jul 2018Reply
Location really is a big thing that you want to look into when choosing a vet for your pet. After all, you don't want the vet to be too far away from home, especially if you have an emergency. Instead, you'll want to be able to get to the vet quickly if your pet is having some trouble.
Diana Terry - Comment
Diana Terry15 Nov 2018Reply
Thank you for sharing these tips with us! It's very true that because there is so much specialization to different breeds these days, it's only a good idea to take advantage of that knowledge. For instance, dog breeds can differ so much that it might be important to have a pet service which is specified to your pet's breed.

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