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Monday, April 8, 2013

Finding a vet

- Referrals – word of mouth, discussion lists, forums, etc..

- Check certification agencies to be sure the vet you choose is certified

- Read internet reviews – i.e. yelp, etc..

- If the vet has a website or facebook page, check it out.  You might see something you like or don't like there and it might save you some interview time.

- Read several books on diet, holistic care, etc.. Ask questions based on the books.  See if any responses align with how you feel you should be taking care of your pet. Speaking for Spot" by Nancy Kay is not a holistic book per say but might be a good read. I think it actually has questions you should ask your vet or potential vet.

- If you are considering holistic care, consider what type of holistic medicine you like and read more books in that area and start narrowing down your search for candidates
  i.e. Chinese medicine, homeopathy, etc... 
 "For Pet's Sake, Do Something" has a good overview of different types of  holistic medicine. Dr Pitcairn's book has some good info on vitamins, herbs and homeopathy and other stuff.

- Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, schedule interviews sans dog.

- I think my first concern would be how open the vet is to allowing you to share in decision making.  i recently consulted with a new vet about my Puddin's itchies.  He wanted to do several things that I wasn't opposed to - I just saw no need to do them all at once (antibiotic, steroids, revolution, skin scrape, etc..). I said let’s start with a skin scrape. He said, "if you don't trust me completely, I can't help you."  Needless to say, we walked out.

- Do some reading on vaccine protocols - Dr Shultz and Dr Dodds and the AVMS might be a good start. Decide how you'd like to vaccinate then ask the vet about it and see if his or her views somewhat align with yours.

- Ask the vet if he or she is willing to work with a lab of your choosing.  I've gotten some hostile attitudes from a couple of vets when I mention Dr Dodd's lab.

- Ask if the vet is willing to work with/consult with other vets.  Maybe you'd have a need for a vet behaviorist one day or a sports vet or something.

- Ask about their low stress handling procedures. For more info, See Dr Yin’s website and DVDs

- Ask about how they handle stressed dogs in general – i.e. can you go straight into a room instead of waiting in a crowded lobby. Can you wait outside and have them call you when it’s your turn? Etc..

- Take note of how you are treated buy the receptionist and techs

- Look at the layout of the lobby and exam rooms – see if they are conducive to bringing in a nervous dog

Here is something I wrote after consulting with 4 different vets about Puddin's allergy issues. It's based on mistakes that I've made

Consider what type of services you’d want.  Perhaps a clinic that also does boarding. If it’d needed one day, you have already “vetted” the place and it will be a place that is already familiar to your dog.

If your dog is nervous about or aggressive towards other dogs, cats, children etc.. Ask if staff pets roam freely at the clinic. Ask if staff children come to work often. 

In Dr Karen Overall's  Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats, 1e, read Part I: Understanding Behavior: Modern Paradigms to read about how pets and humans should be treated by staff and read about how vet offices should be laid out.

1 comment:

  1. On my part I found my vet through words of mouth and I actually conducted an interview to those of his clients and I found it very useful because I know that the Vet is good because of his clients good feedback for him.

    Vets Minster