Choosing a veterinarian

So you’ve moved to a new area or you have a furry family member addition and you need a Veterinarian. You want to choose your Veterinarian like you would a family physician. Call and/or visit a few clinics, ask a lot of questions, get a feel for the place and then make a decision. A great Veterinarian is an exceptional animal doctor and has terrific people skills. You want a Vet who listens to you, is caring, understands your dog’s needs and has extensive animal medical training and knowledge.

To help find a great veterinarian here’s a few tips:

When you see a well cared for dog on a walk, at the beach or at a dog park, ask their human who is the family Vet. Ask friends, neighbors & coworkers. Call your local animal shelter, Humane Society, or PAWS and get the who’s who in your town. These dedicated people see it all.

When you think you’ve found your Vet, visit the facility and ask yourself the following questions:

Is it clean, comfortable and well organized? Are appointments required? How many veterinarians are on staff? Are there veterinary technicians? Are dog and cat kennels in separate areas? Is the staff caring, calm, competent, & courteous? Do the Veterinarians have special interests like geriatrics, nutrition, or behavior? Do the charges for services fit your budget? Are discounts for seniors, military or multi-pet households available? Are X-rays, ultrasound, blood work, EKG, and other diagnostics in-house or sent out? What emergency services are available? Do I like the location?

The answers to these questions will determine if this is the Veterinarian for you and your K9 family member. If you’re still not satisfied, visit another clinic and another until you find the place that suits you and your dog’s needs.

Once you’ve chosen your Veterinarian, take your dog in at least once a year for an annual examination. Some dogs really dislike this part of their life, but who enjoys getting poked and prodded? This minimum annual exam is to keep your dog updated on all their vaccines, check their heart, teeth, lungs, and test for worms. Make the appointment and spend the money. Your dog’s worth it.

The typical minimum annual vaccines are the DHLPP and Rabies (some areas allow 2-3 years between Rabies vaccines). This combo annual vaccine includes:

Distemper-This disease affects a wide range of organs. Hepatitis-This targets the liver. Leptosporosis-This bad boy causes kidney failure. Parvovirus-This one goes for the intestines. Para influenza-This affects the nasal passages, trachea & bronchi.

There are also additional vaccines available for such nasty things as Giardia, Canine cough and Rattlesnake bites. Consult with your Veterinarian to be certain your dog is properly vaccinated based on your dog’s age, health and your geographical area. An annual fecal exam is recommended even if your dog is treated monthly with “Heartgard” and “Advantix” as they can still get other types of parasites.

Dogs rely on their human to care for them in the best possible way by keeping them happy and healthy. Do a good job. The rewards are priceless.