Choosing a Vet for your cat is pretty much like choosing a doctor for yourself. Need to be someone with a good bedside manner, someone you like and trust.
Whether you are moving into a new area, or you are dissatisfied with your current/former Vet, it is important that you find a good veterinarian before your cat become ill or involved in an accident.
Family members, friends and neighbors can always refer you their Vet of choice. Although, if you are new to the area you can find referrals by calling shelters and rescue organizations, or searching online. You can also contact professional organizations, such as:
- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
- American Association of Feline Practitioners
In addition to refer you to an affiliated veterinarian in your area, and direct you to animal clinics, these associations can also help you to find specialists, behavior experts, veterinary eye doctors, and other specialized care professionals.
Once you get the referral, there are a few steps you should take prior to choosing a Vet.
(1) Call his/her office, and find out if you can stop by to see the facility and meet the doctors - before making the appointment for your cat.
(2) Before you meet with the Vet, make a list of what you are looking for – e.g., special care, latest medical techniques and equipment, reasonably priced, etc. By determining your priorities ahead of time can help to build a good client-veterinarian relationship.
Here are some of the questions you should ask:
(3) Ask about the practice’s hours, the availability of after-hour services, and whether 24 hour/emergency care is provided. It is also important to know about the clinic's emergency policy and how they handle referrals to specialists and second opinions.
(4) Ask about the type of services offered – from routine physical exams to surgeries to boarding capabilities, and check the hospital’s fees for each service.
(5) Also, prior to choosing a Vet, if you have cat health insurance, make sure the Vet/clinic accepts it. You should also contact your pet insurance provider and ask about their restrictions concerning the new Vet/clinic and treatments covered by your plan.
(6) Make your visit brief but thorough. The Vet’s office should appear clean and well organized. Make sure you feel comfortable with the support staff as well.
(7) Finally, you should locate a capable Vet within ten or fifteen minutes of your home.
Choose a Vet that is easy to talk to and is willing to listen. Remember, he/she needs to be as good with people as he/she is with animals. Your new Vet should be someone who seems knowledgeable, kind, and genuinely interested in the health of your cat. It is also important that the Vet allows you to be present during your cat’s examination.
Please note, if you cannot afford a Vet, your local humane society may be able assist you to locate a low-cost clinic and/or a Vet services.
Remember, your Vet will possibly be the most important person in your cat’s life, next to you. Most of all, you should be comfortable with the Vet and the practice.
By choosing a Vet that you can trust will give you a piece of mind, and will ensure that your cat is in good hands.
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