Choosing a vet for our Pup. What do you look for?(9 Posts)
Just that really. We are looking at which vet in the area is the best one to go to with our CKC. There are five closest to us that I have looked at so far.
Two are run by MediVet which have mixed reviews as a company, but the benefit of a company is you can use any of their surgeries in the area.
The other two are local. One is a family run business and the other is a large facility covering equine, farm and small animals. Both have a good reputation.
I am unsure what else I should be looking for. They all offer health plans and one has low accidental damage cover with theirs, but we are getting insurance anyway as it is a must. Is it work having a health plan on top of your insurance?
What else should I ask/look for
When we chose we looked for -
1. Distance from us
2. Emergency services like 24/7, holidays and whether the emergency services are provided on site or you need to go somewhere else
3. Number of vets and nurses and their backgrounds
4. Any schemes for vaccines etc and health checks at key points in life
5. Whether they accept insurance payments directly or require us to pay upfront and us to reclaim
6. Behaviour and willingness to chat while we decided.
Numbers 2-6 swung it for us in favour of the vets 1.5 miles away versus the
rubbish one in our armpit.
Never regretted. Have had to use emergency care and out of hour vet at 2 am with a 9 week old pup and had to make an insurance claim that went through more seamlessly than flowing water.
I'd look into what they do for out of hours care.
The vet I use won't do appointments or admissions out of hours but if an animal has already been admitted they stay at their hospital all the time with nurses there 24/7 and vets on call. Some vets offer their own 24 hour cover and some require animals that have been admitted to be moved by the owner to an out of hours hospital at closing time then brought back when they open in the morning, which is absolutely bonkers.
I would prefer it if my vet did their own 24 hour care (especially as the VetsNow practice which is open all night is nearly 45 minutes away) but they're a few minutes down the road, have much longer opening hours than anyone else, have a a large number of excellent vets and will happily pre-emptively admit an animal if there's concern they could go downhill after hours.
If insured I wouldn't be put off if they use 'VetsNow' out of hours. Bear in mind the vets will be fresh, trained in emergency care and have support staff at the practice 24hours.
To me 24 hour care is important. And I like my vet to have instant access to the most up to date equipment, rather than having to send me to a better equipped vets - had that in the past - for anything a bit complex.
I left a vet once because it became clear he didn't like small dogs and was very sniffy about the fact that my dog was a small breed - she is small but is very far from being a handbag dog - which I could understand him objecting to, but his attitude made me lose faith in him.
I used to use a Medivet practice with my cats. The one I went to was very good but wasn't open 24 hours a day so for emergencies I had to go to one further away, which was fine, but I found some of the vets there were a bit off putting, can't really put my finger on why, but they made me feel it was a case of come in, go as quickly as possible and pay as much as possible. I think like other vets it all depends on the staff of any particular practice rather than all of their practices being good or bad.
I had to leave my absolutely best vet a year ago when I moved 20 miles away. They saw me through having both my cats pts and were wonderful. I did think about staying with them but it just wasn't practical having to drive all that way with a sick dog so reluctantly I found a vet closer to home.
Although the one I'm with now is a smallish practice they have emergency cover and are very well equipped. I've been pleased with the treatment I've received for my dog so far and that's all I can judge them on really.
One thing that I find really off putting about this vet though is the receptionists. The whole thing is really shambolic and it annoys me every time I have to ring them or visit the vet. It almost made me change my mind about joining the practice at the beginning but the reviews otherwise were good - there was a very bad, but truthful review about the receptionists - so perhaps it doesn't do to judge a practice from the first person you speak to.
I would look for someone who is progressive and also puts the animal first. So someone who is up to date on things like vaccination boosters (i.e. the latest guidelines) and a vet who doesn't try things out just to get the experience or the fee. You can usually tell the ones who are thinking about what is best for the pet. To see if they are up to date with protocols, ask them how often they recommend giving boosters and if they say yearly (for non-core vaccinations) then don't go back.
You need to check that what they offer on the health plan is what you want to use - my vets do a health plan but its monthly advocate with a 6 monthly wormer , I was on the plan but have now cancelled as I've swapped to Bravecto and Milbemax . Do you have neighbours / friends with dogs that could recommend their vet .
We've used the same surgery for 40+ years.
One thing that I do like is that we are not charged for standard appointments - only treatment.
Additionally on one occasion I had my girl at the vet for torn pads. She was also limping on the back leg, which the vet put down to a pulled muscle (she actually had the dogs pad in her hand while checking. When we realised later that evening that she actually a flap of skin hanging off, they allowed me to bring her into the out of hours but waived the £90 fee because it should have been picked up earlier in the day.
That kind of service is part of the reason we keep with them.
The other is that they are really good at not pushing unnessecary treatments, expensive (but crap) foods and at giving balanced, rational advice (vaccines v titre testing for example) - the animals seem to be the priority (which is nice)
A vet that actually examined my dog. I moved vets recently when my previous vet prescribed antibiotics and eye drops whilst looking at the dog from across the room. He is a large dog - but was still a puppy (8 months then) and very, very friendly - so no excuse!
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