I’ve moved from one city to another this past month and as I’ve been settling in my cats have been on the forefront of my mind. The veterinarian they had was great, compassionate, and thoroughly examined them. Both of my cats are nearing 16 yrs old and are on special diets and medication. They still romp, play fight, and chase each other but they also sleep more and meow more than they used to. I wanted to find a good vet who would continue the level of care that they had.
A search on Yelp brought up many animal hospitals in my area with website information, reviews, and other information. However, when it comes to selecting a veterinarian there are other things to consider aside from customer service and driving distance from my new place. I’ve moved several times with my cats and with each move I’ve become a little smarter when choosing a vet.
Tips for Finding a New Vet
- Look for the AHHA logo on the veterinarian’s website. This means they are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association and have good practices in place regarding animal care.
- Arrange for an appoitment without your pet to get a feel for the place or walk in and talk to them. I’ve called and then walked in and asked a few questions about practices and what is available in their facility.
- Look around and see how clean the place is, get a feel for it, and see how modern their systems are.
- Inquire about the number of veterinarians on staff, specialities that each vet may have, and who is one staff when pets stay overnight and need to be monitored.
- If you have older pets, like me, ask about what special loving care the staff gives older pets who may be there for a surgery or procedure. My cats needed dentistry done last year and due to their age there were some extra special things the staff did in terms of monitoring, the level of medications used, and aftercare.
- Ask if they refer to specialists when needed and who that is, then go home and review that place as well.
- If you buy prescription food, ask if they carry it and how often they keep it in stock. You don’t want to be high and dry.
- If you have an emergency, find out if they are available for last minute appointments and if not, do they offer phone consultations and referrals to the local 24-hour emergency clinic.
Lastly, when switching vets, it’s good to have the medical histories emailed or faxed over to the new place so they can learn about your pet and see what pre-existing conditions are present. Also, if you have friends who use a vet in the new place you moved, ask them why they use who they use. Word of mouth is a powerful tool but the final decision is up to you!
Image from Beaver Brook Animal Hospital