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Murphy's Human, Kam
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I could not find anything in searching the threads so I thought I'd throw this out there. What would you look for in a vet?

I'm debating looking for another vet but am curious as to what people here think is important and what one overlooks. For the record, it's a not a cost thing where I'm trying to find a lower cost vet. A couple of things that made me think I should consider other options and also second guessing myself and wondering whether it's worth the hassle to switch. Granted one is going to be 6mths soon so perhaps switching now is better than later when there is a bigger issue.

thoughts????
 

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Keisel & Miller's Mom
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957 Posts
I was just told recently that you can actually go and interview vets just you would do for a child's physician when looking for a doctor. That way you can get a feel of the vet yourself and see if you like his work ethics or not. I'm new to this as well because I'm still in the search for a good vet that fits my needs, so I'm sure others will chime in with other things to think of. You can always ask your breeder for input on vets in the area if they are nearby or know of anyone where you live.

A few things that I'm looking for in a vet (and it might not be the same for you) are:
- How well do they know the breed? Do they know what are the top health problems for goldens?
- How pushy are they when it comes to vaccines, are they open minded? Let's say you wanted to skip the Lepto vaccine - would they be okay with that?
- How do they feel about neutering males vs. keeping them intact (might not apply to you)
- Do they seem affectionate with your dog and take time to play and interact with them?
- How long have they been practicing? What made them become a vet?

I think you will get a good gut feeling on whether or not this is a vet you would like to try after meeting them. I'm sure other people will have good ideas/questions too. I'm still in the learning process
 

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Kate
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22,631 Posts
For me it comes down to -

Experience (ie how long have the vets been in practice?)
Location
Hours

And then the important one.... how comfortable I feel talking with this vet. Do they spend the time talking to me, or do they have an assembly line approach to patients?

My one vet has rocking chairs in her waiting room and has on occasion come out there to chat with me and calm me down. When Jacks had his thyroid not reacting to supplement, even after they raised the dosage - I was thinking cancer and really afraid. My vet came out there to talk with me and even show me hands on what she'd be looking for as far as thyroid cancer. <- That is what it's like having an experienced and dedicated people-person vet.

The other place I go to - the vets come in, check the dogs out, ask the same questions the vet tech asked, and are heading out the door moments later. Just basically gives the impression they have no interest in their patients or clients. <- I go to this location, because as much as I prefer the other vet for everything else, this vet is a 24 hour vet. If your dog has any emergencies or MUST NEED SEEN IMMEDIATELY - it will be in the evenings or weekends.
 

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Everyone's points so far are really good ones. I will add that also for me I want to know how long have the vets been at that practice (is there a high turnover of vets, here there's one practice who constantly has a turnover as they take on temp vets from abroad) so no one can get to know you or your pet enough. What are the arrangements for out of hours? At my vets they do not use anyone for out of hours but themselves so there's always continuity and consistency of care. Ask to see their kennelling area. It should be uncramped, very clean, with varying sizes of cages to accommodate all needs.
 

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I switched vets a year ago, after years with a well-established practice less than a mile from my home. It mostly had to do with the fact one of the vets we saw started her own practice and I was becoming unhappy with the smell and cleanliness of the old practice. That clinic began to work more with homeless animals and a lot of the local animal controls in Dallas and surrounding areas started bringing dogs rescued off the streets directly to the clinic for treatment and rehoming. That's all fine and well, but they weren't cleaning and sanitizing properly and the place started smelling and it looked filthy. Having a young puppy I was concerned and in fact we ended up doing his initial exam at our home because of a parvo infection in the clinic on the exam date. I still buy Toby's prescription food from the old clinic and it's only gotten worse. In addition, I got the feeling the clinic owner was not as interested in the bread and butter clients, but only making a name for herself by being so involved in rescue.

So, in addition to the other things mentioned above, look carefully at the premises. Does it smell? Is there visible dirt on the floors? I also check out the support staff too- if they don't enjoy their jobs it may affect the quality of your care because they may not go out of their way to help in an emergency. The staff at the old place that I liked the best and who were the most helpful- they followed our vet to her new practice! The dogs and I are very happy about that! :)
 

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For me, I switched and am pleased. Here are the important "features" of my new vet-

Staffing- plenty of techs and receptionists. Nothing worse than not having enough hands in an emergency.

Hours, weekends, TECH appointments for something minor, willingness to fit in an emergency (we had a bee sting, face swollen- we got right in!)

Knowledgeable staff, accepting of my point of view and receptive to my thoughts.

Location- has to be within a reasonable distance.
 

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Owned by Josie
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1,206 Posts
I switched vets after I lost my last golden, Emma. The reason for that was the type of equipment my last vet didn't have. When Emma became seriously ill, the vet did not have an ultrasound machine to do a more thorough exam. They only had an x-ray and wanted to do exploratory surgery to see what was happening with her. I quickly got a second opinion from a vet with an ultrasound and got the exact diagnosis I needed. In the end, I lost Emma, but if I had proceeded with the surgery the first vet wanted to do, I would have put Emma through a painful and unnecessary surgery and probably would have lost her during the surgery. I did let them know that the reason I was leaving was because they didn't have the equipment that I had assumed would be standard in a vet's office. Hopefully they have added it by now.

All that being said, ask for a list of equipment that they use for diagnosing illness. :) It was the first thing I did when I went to a new vet.
 
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Logan & Lacey in R hearts
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I have only left one Vet in 24 years of having pets. He was wonderful, until I wanted to start going to a doggie chiropractor. Since the vet did not believe in human chiropractors, he refused to sign the waiver (needed here in California) for animal chiropractors. No matter what I said, he still refused. He totally underestimated me. Once I called up and told the office to have all 4 of my pet records copied and ready for me to pick up in the morning, then he was calling and saying "we can work this out". Sorry, too little, too late. I want a Vet that will listen to me, be open to new ideas, etc. The vet we went to, and have been with for the last 15 years is like that. I even followed all of them when they left a practice that had gone the "big corporate" route to start a new one. If you are having 2nd thoughts with your current vet, I think you are already heading in the direction of change. Good luck.
 

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Kate
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Since the vet did not believe in human chiropractors, he refused to sign the waiver (needed here in California) for animal chiropractors.
Dumb question, but why would you need a signed waiver from a vet? What are the reasons?

@Dallas Gold - can you report that veterinary clinic somewhere? Aren't there laws about sanitation if you are running a business where... it could basically be a health hazard?

Seriously bless your old vet for what they are doing - it sounds maybe like she's had a calling and is getting more and more involved with basically the good work. And I really hope she keeps doing it and more and more vets get involved with doing this on the side....

That said - I'm wondering if there are laws she is breaking if she's not keeping the clinic very clean? Aside from all else, isn't she risking lawsuits if somebody brings a young or old dog into the clinic and they are exposed to mange, parvo, etc?
 

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Ironically this old vet hospital is AAHA accredited. According to scuttlebutt, they hire professional cleaners before each scheduled inspection so the hospital is pristine for those inspections. They rely on staff to clean up other times, and the staff is overworked, underpaid and unhappy with working conditions. It makes me think AAHA accreditation is a big fat joke. If the AAHA does spot inspections I'm pretty sure they will flunk. Dallas Animal Services and Code Enforcement are in the same department and Animal Services is there daily with fresh intakes so I'm pretty sure they are aware of any code violations and are overlooking it given the clinic is taking in animals DAS would otherwise euthanize after the mandatory hold. Both are mutually benefitting from each other so nothing will happen.

Life is good now at our new veterinary hospital so I am am very pleased with the decision to relocate with this vet. She is now certified in rehabilitation and therapy, in addition to her acupuncture and general practice as well.
 

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Premium Member
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My vet is a golden owner/breeder. I found her by accident. We are both members of our local GR club and sometimes we get to train together. So I get to know her on a new level. I hope to keep her as a vet a long time.

Check with your GR club and see who members are using. The more familiar your vet is with golden issues the better off you will be.
 

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I recently switched Vets and I looked for the following:

Integrative Medical Practice
Acupuncture (for more than just pain and arthritis)
Yelp reviews
AAHA affiliation
Personal recommendations
Years of operation
Hours of operation
Perform titers vs. automatic annual vaccinations

Once I narrowed down the field based on all the criteria above, I then made an appointment with each of the vets that qualified. During the appointment they needed to:

Interact well with Remy - not ignore him
The office staff/vet techs had to interact well with Remy
Be open to alternative treatments
Be willing to discuss findings and options with me
Be on time, assuming no emergency is going on
Prioritize an emergency over my scheduled appt.
Be available through email within reason

Believe it or not I met with 4 vets (and paid the office visit fee) - and only one met all my criteria - thankfully he still does!
 

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Like someone else said, you basically should treat it like finding a doctor for your child or yourself. You want to have a place where you go and feel good about it. You like the people who are there, that they listen to you and let you be a part of the decisions made for your pet. That will be fine with you having more questions or perhaps needing a little more help. That are willing to be patient with your pets and truly care about it.

I personally only will work for veterinarians who I like and would trust with my own pets. Not every vet at the two facilities I work at I fully trust, however both owners I do and the vast majority of the vets and interns at the main hospital that I work at I fully trust. But I have been there over six years now, and the people who I have worked with that are truly top notch are the ones who are longer lived there than me lol.

Emergency medicine and emergencies are something that you have to almost count in a bit of a different light. When it is slow, it is much easier to give you and your pet a good deal more attention, but when it is really busy or a truly deadly emergency comes in, you may end up seeing less of the vet and have to wait. Not unlike the human ER. Just a little something to consider there. I know where I work we try our hardest to make everything as pleasant and easy for everyone who comes into our doors. Customer service is a huge thing and the comfort and cleanliness of the patients is the top priority of the vet who owns the place. He gets VERY upset if he sees patients in soiled beds or hears them getting very upset.

Everyone is going to have different opinions, and what is good for you may not be good for someone else. :) Definitely never wrong to change vets if something bothers you. It is just like having your personal doctor. Would you go to someone who you didn't trust or believe truly had your best interests in mind?
 

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Murphy's Human, Kam
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1,116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for great advice

Wow. Thanks so much for all the insight and quite honestly things I never had thought of. I guess I bought into the 'white coat' syndrome because I know so little about animal care that you want to believe they would not steer you wrong. I have some homework to do in terms of finding out about what various vets offer and will treat it like looking for a doctor for myself. Since mine are golden 'crosses' I didn't reach out to the golden clubs as I didn't think I would be welcomed. Am I incorrect in that thinking also?
 

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Pearl, Lila, Betty's mom
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I think that just depends on the specific people in the club. I'd say give it a try. You might get snubbed, but you also may make some great new friends. It ain't worth doing if it ain't worth taking a risk for.....

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