Whether it’s been a while since you owned a pet, you are new to town, or have reasons for leaving your current veterinarian, picking a new one can be difficult.
Who do you trust? What do you look for?
For recommendations, ask people who have the same views on pet care as you do. This can be friends, neighbor, shelter worker, or pet sitter.
Do you remember when your pet is due for check-ups and important vaccines? Some local vets send multiple reminders and have online portals where you can check these dates and make appointments. I have found that these offices are usually the more organized and have more client support. Some are standoffish, but if you find the right vet (sometimes one veterinarian in a practice of pushovers makes all the difference), you’ll be able to swear by them until the day they retire.
There are also the vets that are just there when you need them. They’re quiet places and often have small office spaces. Very small-town. I’ve found a couple veterinary practices in the area that are small, professional, and very kind. They give you exactly what your pet needs and no more. On the other hand, you need to speak up and ask what they recommend for your pet. It’s too easy to fall into the routine of only bringing a pet in when they are ill. Prevention is golden!
I’ve found that these smaller clinics are usually the less expensive vet clinics, as they have fewer frills to fund, but BEWARE. SOMETIMES these places are small and unaccomplished-looking for a reason. I had used the same veterinarian for years for check-ups, but the one time one of my cats had to undergo surgery (a simple spay), she had near-fatal complications. I do not blame the vet for the complications, per-say, but they were unapologetic for the situation and seemed to blame me (although the problem was internal and I followed her pill schedule to a T). The post-op fees nearly tripled my bill, as well.
Which is why, sometimes, you need to break it off with a veterinarian. Before you do, consider why you need to. Is it over unresolved fee or treatment; try and talk it over. If you can’t get over it and it is a matter of unprofessional action by the veterinarian, there are people you can contact. Try the local or state veterinarian association, for one.
Is medical competency in question? Carefully consider the Veterinary Licensing Board.
I suppose you could also lawyer up, but… why not avoid these situations? Weigh closely in choosing your pet’s veterinarian. Your fellow pet lovers can often have very strong opinions about their veterinarians, so ask about which ones they like and why. Which ones do they dislike? Why? Have they had any problems in particular with their current vet?
These are the things I thought about when I decided to change from my old vet (the one whose staff I no longer felt comfortable with). I asked around to get opinions from friends and family before meeting my new vet and making our first appointment. It’s been blue skies every since.