Your family's health is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a good quality of life and choosing your veterinarian is as important as choosing a physician for you. As a pet owner, you should give careful consideration to finding a vet who best meets you and your pet's needs, while complying with your veterinary health budget. You are beginning a longterm relationship that will provide your pet with quality health care and you with peace of mind.

Basic Vet Services

All veterinarians take an oath to maintain the health of animals, relieve suffering and provide preventative health care. You'll want the veterinarian you select to maintain an accurate, easy to read medical history of your pet. You should have access to concise health records, immunization records, medication history, behavioral trait communications and preventative health considerations for your pet. When choosing a vet be sure you also meet the support staff.

Economic Considerations

While no one wants to think that money would ever play a role in considering the proper level of pet health care, it is still a primary factor why people end their relationship with vets. It is critical that you define the type of pet owner you are. The hard truth is that there are three basic levels of pet ownership. The first level considers pet(s) as members of the family. These "family members" should be afforded the same level of medical care as any other human family member. The second level considers pet(s) as important to the family's quality of life, but with limitations on the amount of disposable income to be expended for medical care. The third level considers pet(s) as property with very limited allowance for health care expenses.

When choosing your vet be very clear where you stand in the desire for extensive medical care and the commitment to being financially responsible for costs of pet health care. By having a clear nderstanding with your new veterinarian up front you can avoid the financial stress and personal heartache associated with decisions about how much is too much for the family pet.

Ten Point Checklist

The following are recommendations to consider when seeking 
your new vet.

  • Attitude: Friendly, professional and committed.
  • Facility: Clean front office and waiting rooms. Staff should offer you a tour of the whole facility.
  • Level of Care: Choose what you want: state of the art diagnostic, therapeutic, monitoring and surgical equipment, such as ultrasound and surgical laser, or older technologies.
  • Education Level: Licensed to practice veterinary medicine in your state and committed to maintaining continuing education.
  • Location: Convenient, easy to locate especially at night.
  • Fees: In balance with how you perceive your pet's value to the family and your budget.
  • Convenience: Allows you to fit visits for your pet into your family schedule.
  • On-site Care: Able to provide house call services.
  • Extended Stay: Ability to provide continuing medical attention for 24 hours or longer, if necessary.
  • Referrals: What do your friends, co-workers, and neighbors 

Remember that the only silly question is the one that you do not 
ask. Your veterinarian and his staff is there to provide you and your pet with a lifetime of quality, compassionate, qualified health care.

You can find hundreds of qualified veterinarians in your community via the onlineVet Locator service.

Source:  Peter H. Eeg, DVM - National Veterinary Consultant for Invisible Fence®Brand

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