View Full Version : What do you look for in a vet?

01-24-2006, 11:11 PM
I feel like I should know the answer to this after working at a vet for 1 1/2 years, but I don't. I got fired from work today, so I'm having a rollercoaster of emotions. I had a thread about it, but it was too personal so I deleted it before anyone replied :p

Anyway, I can't take my dogs there anymore. There doctors are great, and I love Dr.D dearly and wish my dogs could continue seeing her, but in all honesty, I do not want to see Dr.S again. I will, at dog clubs, but I hope I can avoid her there. In a place as small as the clinic where I worked, avoiding her would be hard.

What should I look for in a new vet? This place is flooded with clinics, on a busy street I will find 8 or 9 usually. I'd say we have dozens here, but I would like to stick to a place close to home in case of an emergency. There are a few up the street, but I do not know what to look for. Cleanliness in the back? I guess so, but, that can be decieving. We kept our place clean, but everything was outdated and old so it did not look clean at all. I guess nice white walls and a few pretty pictures would be ideal, but how can I really tell if it's clean if it's a place like where I worked? Also, what type of questions should I ask? Should I take Mandy to see what she thinks (the Labs like anyone lol, Mandy is more critical)?

01-24-2006, 11:17 PM
What I look for is friendliness and experience.. also someone who listens to what their clients have to say such as any concerns they have, any questions, etc.. :)

We actually asked for a tour of our vet clinic and they allowed that to see what the place in a whole was like.

01-24-2006, 11:35 PM
We don't have much choice around here--two clinics and that's it! When we first moved, I took Muskwa to both clinics. The first one the woman acted like she didn't even like animals. There was nothing wrong with Muskwa, I was just checking. The second clinic, the vet got down on the floor and introduced himself to Muskwa and then stood up and told me his name. We still see him, Dr. Rick!

The things I like about him are he likes my animals, he remembers their history--at least the significant things, he never acts like he knows my animals better than I do. I once took Pingo in cause she just seemed off. When he asked what the problem was I told him she had a neurotic owner. His response was "better neurotic than sorry." Turned out Pingo was in pain--quicky and easily fixed. He listens when I talk, he can deal with me when I'm hysterical--not an easy thing! He always has time to squeeze in an emergency. When I call at 3am, he never sounds ticked. Now that he knows me, he trusts me to take care of some things on my own and keeps me well stocked with pain killers and antibiotics. He's open to debate on things such as vaccinations and respects my decisions on those things. When he can't fix something, he's not afraid to admit it and seek help from an expert. When there is no hope, he's very gentle and compassionate. I am forever grateful that he was on call the day Hoodoo died. He never tries to get me to do unneccessary testing or make my bill any bigger than it has to be. His clinic is spotless and has up to date equipement. His staff are all personable and knowledgeable. They also remember little touches like sending christmas and sympathy cards, even when the critter didn't have to be euthanized. He also calls to follow up after appointments.

He told my hubby once that we were his ideal client--Lots of animals, we always pay on time and we never call at midnight on Sunday with something that's been wrong since Wednesday afternoon! We got truly lucky with our vet--I'd trust him with my own healthcare!

01-24-2006, 11:37 PM
I always look for cleanliness #1, walking into a dirty place will not put your mind at ease, even if being spotlessly clean and new is not the biggest factor. I also switched vets a couple years ago, because our vet for 7 years had become extremely absorbed in fads, betrayed his older customers, and jacked up prices to unbelievable heights (thanks to 847,627,292 $1 million homes and a massive golf course turning the entire city into *mostly* dumb rich people.)... he charged $50 just for the visit, not including check-ups, tests, anything like that, and the last 5 times we went to him he was atleast 1 hour late and unapologetic. He also turned completely away from any holistic methods and went straight to what he could charge more for... I'll stop rambling about that now, but I know how you feel about being uncomfortable with a certain Vet. You really do deserve to be comfortable!!

1) Genuine friendliness and eagerness to listen to you - also, how your dog feels about them is important! Often dogs are better judges of character than we are ;)

2) Legitimacy, good testimonials from friends/family/trainers, credentials, etc.

3) Practices I'm comfortable with, an open mind to holistic medicines, a really solid knowledge of everything out there and a love for animals. I'm also sickened by any Vets office with Eukanuba/Science Diet posters all over the place and shelves full of sponsored foods by these companies. MUST know a repetoire of quality dog foods, what to look for in dog foods, all about RAW and BARF, etc.

4) A fairly nice office is important. Clean supplies/rooms, ample waiting space, and up-to-date facilities.

5) Enough vets to serve the clients!! It really irks me to have to sit in a waiting are for 1+ hour after scheduling an appointment, I'd much rather wait a few days for a non-emergency check-up than sit around for hours making my pup more anxious about the experience.

I'm probably forgetting something. Oh well >:[. So sorry about the job, it sounds like a mess... you can definitely find a better employer/job out there!

01-25-2006, 12:04 AM
First off I am so sorry you lost your Job!
It sounds as tho there are a lot of job options for you tho.

What I look for?
I started going to my vet back when I had my greyhound Shaianne, b/c I had to be careful and make sure they knew how to work with greyhounds and surgery etc. When she passed to the Bridge, I called them and tearfully told them what happened and the vet tech on the phone kept expressing her sympathy almost in tears herself. The vet that I dealt with a lot at the time called me herself and I could hear the tears in her voice also. They sent me a sympathy card for her. A lot of people in my area don't care for my vet and their relation (it was a father who started the practice yeeaarrss ago and now the sons are in practice but they had a huge blow up fight a couple years ago and now have clinics right across the road from each other) but they have never treated me with anything but respect, know MY name when I go in along with my pets. The head vet asked about Keegan when I took Kloe in. I decided that when they treat me badly or I feel that my animals aren't getting good care is when I will find another vet.
I had contemplated on changing vets about 3 years ago then I took Keegan to the vet and that was after the practice had split before the one I stayed with hired any new vets, Keegan was having skin and weight issues. He stood and watched her for a bit and then ended up doing a thyroid on her and had me wait on the results and found her to be hypothyroid. We were in there for about an hour. Never once did he act like he was in a hurry- try to rush me out- or anything. And they were busy that day and he was the only vet. I ended up sending them a thank you card with a pic of Keegan and Kylie in it. :)

Good luck in your job and vet search.....

01-25-2006, 01:55 AM
Sorry you lost your job :(

I'm really picky about who I take my dogs to..

-I look for someone who doesn't just provide medication when a dog has a problem.. but someone who will look for the source of the problem. For instance, Kai had a skin problem that wouldn't go away. Instead of just giving medications to hopefully make it go away, he asked us to eliminate certain things from his diet to see if it was food allergies. And sure enough, everything cleared up after we stopped feeding certain foods.

-If they try to sell me Hills (or whatever he sells at the clinic), I'm outta there!

-If they know about raw or homecooked diets then AWESOME!! Apparently vets don't learn very much about dog nutrition during their schooling.. and whatever they do learn, most of it is presented by people from Hills (well.. according to various people I've talked to).

-Cleanliness.. obviously :p

-The attitude of the staff. If they're not happy, then something's wrong..

-And of course, the attitude of the vet. Our vet always baby talks to Kai. Kai's normally terrified of men but he doesn't mind our vet. He even wags his tail when he walks in sometimes. :p

01-25-2006, 02:02 AM
I'm sorry you lost your job. (Hugs)

As to your question about vets...I look for one that's open, honest and willing to listen to you. They don't just go by the book but treat each dog individually, and don't assume all owners have absolutely no idea what their talking about. Mine treated my RB terrier Sandy for years for asthma. She even contacted a friend of hers in Davis to get suggestions based on new research papers she'd found when the conventional methods didn't work. When Bear had cancer she had absolutely no problem sending and discussing the path report with us. When we questioned the margins she even double checked what the standards were. She was in a extremely busy practice but you never felt rushed and always felt that you could discuss anything with her. I'm trying to find a new one now as well, my old one left the practice and moved back to Colorado when she got married. So far I've seen ok ones, but not one I'd 100% recommend to friends or family.

Dixie Belle
01-25-2006, 08:44 AM
Sorry you lost your job. Happened to my husband the day we brought our new baby home from the hospital.

My vet. Lets see. To me the most important thing is how he interacts with the dog. We only had one vet in my town for years, but I never really cared for him. We finally got a new one bout 10 yrs ago. I switched to him because my dogs liked him, and he liked my dogs. He has horriable allergies, but that doesn't stop him. He is also very good at explaining what is going on when our dogs are sick. And they work well with you if you don't have the money right then.

01-25-2006, 09:06 AM
Good luck finding another job, you'll probably find something even better!
I switched vets last year. I would say, trust how you feel there and how your animals react. After moving here, I took our dogs to a vet that was highly recommended, close by, and state of the art. However, every time I went I got somebody different. The last girl seemed deathly afraid of animals - and Star actually snapped at her, which she has NEVER done to anyone! I requested someone else my next trip, but got that same girl. So I started looking around. I found a wonderful vets office a few miles further away, and it's an old fashioned place, a bit small & cramped, respectably clean but not "clinical" - the thing I like best is that the people are great! our new vet now gets on the floor with them, lets them sniff her face & give her kisses, she hugs them, they LOVE going to see her. You can tell she genuinely loves animals. She seems very down to earth in her approach. I think she's buying the business from the elderly vet that's retiring, and he seems like a sweetheart too. Plus, they're flexible about payments, know me by name, and were very compassionate when it was time to put my sick kitty down. They have four or five cats lounging around in there all the time.
I'm very happy I changed vets and found someone kind, competent, and caring. (BTW- the first "fancy" clinic I tried? They were sued last year because they performed a surgical procedure on a show dog, fudged and didn't use the correct size implant, and crippled the dog :eek: )

01-25-2006, 09:56 AM
Thanks everyone! After posting this last night my mom said she'd ask about vets at the next humane society board meeting (she's on the board :)). No one at the humane society has ever really liked where I worked - my bosses were very reluctant to ever donate anything. There the type of people who will love on your purebred, and look down on your mutt. Even purebreds in rescue they didn't want, they needed "papers". :rolleyes:

01-25-2006, 10:52 AM
I've found a clinic that looks really nice! It's on my list to visit it. What do y'all think? Los Robles Animal Hospital (http://www.lrah.com)

01-25-2006, 11:32 AM
Looks like a really nice group of vets, lots of good links (and somebody must be a sled dog fan!) good luck!

01-25-2006, 11:36 AM
I can't describe what I look for, I just have to feel good about them. There are two vets in the office where I take the dogs and I love them both, I truly believe they love animals and are not in it for the money.

01-25-2006, 12:09 PM
I know this may sound dumb, but I like a vet or vet tech that regularly works with or owns my breed of dog. That way they usually are more.. knowledgable about my dog's specific needs and all that jazz. haha

Anyway. A vet that is warm, welcoming, and answers EVERY QUESTION with patience and understanding! Not only that, but one that lets you know everything they're doing while examining your pet and doesn't spring surprises charges on you on your bill without asking if you want it done or that they were even doing it! :mad:

01-25-2006, 12:25 PM
I am very sorry you lost your job.
With the excuse of looking for another job I'd call all the facilities in your area.
Ask questions. If you feel confortable, go see them in person.
I would also ask pet owners in my area where they take thiers and if they are satisfied.
good luck

01-25-2006, 01:27 PM
I forgot to mention about the holistic vet I go to.
It is just her and her receptionist/vet tech. The office is attached to her house. She gets on the floor with Keegan. Keegan goes in and always tries to go into her house. They love her - Keegan isn't prejudice- she loves going to the vet period b/c people make over her and call her pretty. :)
Just watching the holistic vet at work is amazing to me. She is a very plain woman - rather blunt in appearence and mannerisms but she loves animals and does greyhound rescue. The outside of her building / farm is quite honestly a bit messy. She has about 15-17 horses. But the inside of the office is clean and neat.
I love it b/c she heals naturally rather then trying to put her on steroids or whatever.
That said like I said earlier I love my 'regular' vet too. Keegan loves Dr. Brad so much we were in the exam room one day waiting on him and he was standing at the window talking to another customer and Keegan saw him and got so excited she stood there looking thru our window whining - he looked in and saw her and said "HI Keegan" and she started doing the dance. You could tell she wanted to jump up on the window ledge but b/c of her dysplasia she couldn't. So she just stood there and whined. :)
One of the younger vets that was there I just LOVED LOVED LOVED her. We would walk in and she would see Keegan and she would squeal " KEEEEGGAAAN" and then the first 5 minutes of the exam was her talking to Keegan and making over her. She always said "I was so excited when I saw Keegan on the schedule she makes me smile and feel so good" :) Now I know she might have said that to everyone but it made me feel good. I miss her.

01-26-2006, 06:52 PM
Thanks everyone. Sounds like I have quite a bit of 'homework' to do!

01-26-2006, 06:58 PM
OMG! I'm so sorry about your job! :(
I think the most important thing is to see how good they are. I mean, who would want a vet who knows nothing. Also, gentleness with the animals. I wouldn't go to a vet who wasn't gentle with my dog. Cleanliness is also important. If your dog is staying overnight I would hate to think of a dirty area for the dog to have to sleep in! :eek:

01-26-2006, 08:46 PM
Sorry to hear about your job. Everyone gave you great suggestions, so I just thought I'd wish you good luck in finding a new vet!

01-26-2006, 10:31 PM
Thank you! I'm actually excited about it. It'll be refreshing finding a nicer vet. Well, the vets we had were wonderful at what they did, but our machines and tools and such were outdated. Our autoclave had to be at least 20 years old :rolleyes: