It can be difficult finding the right veterinarian for your beloved pet. Today, our Gardena vets share a few things to consider to make sure you find the right vet for you and your pet.
Choosing the Right Vet for You & Your Pet
There are several things to consider when choosing the right vet for your pet. Do they have the right certifications? Do they offer emergency care? Is the staff friendly and helpful?
Be sure to take your time, do your research, and ask around! A good vet will develop a lifelong relationship with you and your pet, so this isn't a decision you want to rush. Here are a few things to consider:
U.S. Veterinary Qualifications
When you are looking for a vet, check to make sure that the veterinarian you are considering is licensed in the U.S. and your state. You may also what to take the time to find out if other people working in the hospital are licensed, such as registered veterinary technicians. Pop into the vet's office and take a look around, if you don't see the certifications hanging in the reception area, simply ask to see their licenses or contact your state board of veterinary medicine for more information.
DVM (VMD) - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - The first thing that you need to check is that your vet is qualified to practice in the U.S. When a person graduates from an American veterinary school they receive a DVM—Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (sometimes called a VMD degree). All vets practicing in the U.S. must have a DVM degree. A DVM degree means that the person you are considering is, in fact, a qualified veterinarian and is fully qualified to perform the duties of the profession.
State Veterinary Licensing - In order to practice veterinary medicine, some states also require a veterinarian to pass a state-specific examination. These exams typically test the vet's knowledge of the state's laws and regulations governing veterinary medicine. To maintain a state veterinary license, vets must obtain continuing education and may need to renew their license on a regular basis (often every 3 years).
American Animal Hospital Association Accreditation (AAHA) - This is not a mandatory certification but is something you potentially want to consider when selecting a vet. The AAHA is the only organization that accredits veterinary practices in the United States and Canada. Practices that choose to pursue accreditation are evaluated on stringent quality standards that encompass all aspects of veterinary medicine—from pain management and patient care to team training and medical recordkeeping—and are continuously updated to keep accredited practice teams at the forefront of the profession.
Besides checking for the very important licenses mentioned above here are a few other questions you want to ask when selecting a vet:
- Do their opening hours suit your schedule?
- Do they offer in-house X-rays and bloodwork? While not necessary, having these services offered in-house can potentially save you money and vital time when you need a fast diagnosis for your pet.
- Do they offer dental care? Pet dental care is essential for their overall well-being. Find a veterinarian who offers comprehensive dental services to help keep your pet's mouth healthy and clean.
- Do they accept pet insurance? Do their payment policies and prices suit your budget?
- Do they handle emergencies?
- Is the practice well-kept? It is a good idea to visit a practice without your pet for an initial visit and tour. This gives you time to ensure the practice looks clean. It also gives you a chance to interact with the staff, you want to make sure you pick a practice with staff that is friendly and helpful!
Vets That May Require A Referral
Veterinary Specialists - A board-certified veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has completed additional training in a specific area of veterinary medicine and has passed an examination that evaluates their knowledge and skills in that specialty area. If your pet is unwell or has a specific condition, you may require a referral to a veterinary specialist. Veterinary specialists take pride in working with your primary care veterinarian to provide your pet with the best care possible.