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What makes a vet a good vet?

(13 Posts)
dudsville Sun 10-Jan-16 22:04:19

I'm a new dog owner.I chose the vet nearest me but in the time that I've known them I've lost confidence in my choice. It's the result of a series of small things. They've forgotten to order meds three times, so I show up and they have no idea why I'm there and I have to replace the order and go again. They once charged me twice for one med. I got home and checked the receipt and rang them.they sincerely apologised and asked if I would like a refund to my card over the phone or have credit with them. I chose the refund then they said they couldn't do it and I'd have to have credit. They also charged that med at two different prices, only a matter of pence difference but when I was curious about it they didn't have an answer and expressed similar curiosity. Once in the beginning I bathed my dog and didn't know if i was supposed to readminister the advocat so i rang and asked my question and i got a hostile response "why do you want to over medicate your dog?". I explained myself again that I'm new and have had to bathe her and so do I or don't I readminister. Receptionist was a nightmare over that and I'd wished I'd just Googled instead! One of the vets in the practice gave me three different interventions to try, simultaneously, to alleviate my dog's arthritic pain. Being a novice I didn't think to question her so we spent loads and then had to work out ourselves afterward which intervention had most helped and we therefore would continue with. I'm not that keen on the staff. Of the 5 vets we've met I felt good about 2 of them, and of the 4 reception staff only one is friendly. I don't have any prior experience so don't know if i'm being overly critical. If you have a good vet can you tell me what makes them good?

Veterinari Sun 10-Jan-16 22:11:27

I an a vet. The practice sounds disorganised

You can be the best vet in the world but if there isn't effective practice management or investment in staff training the client experience will be poor

Wolfiefan Sun 10-Jan-16 22:14:50

That does sound very disorganised. I think I would lose confidence TBH.
A good vet is one who puts the animal first. (I once had a vet suggest a biopsy to determine the type of cancer our cat had. I asked if it would affect prognosis or treatment and was told no! confused )
A vet should have empathy.
They need to be able to explain the pros and cons of different treatments in order to help you make the best decision.

dudsville Sun 10-Jan-16 22:21:29

Thank you for your response veterinari, I appreciate hearing from a very about this as I've really been baffled by the whole thing. I think disorganised is a good summary. How can I identify a better run practice? And will my current practice send my notes to the new one if I move ?

dudsville Sun 10-Jan-16 22:23:12

Thanks wolfie. I'm feeling heartened that this isn't typical. I'll do since research tomorrow and see what my options are.

banff82 Sun 10-Jan-16 22:29:24

I am also a vet and agree that it sounds very disorganised. A good practice manager/reception team is a vital part of any surgery or hospital. I would say that word of mouth is probably the best way to find a good practice - ask other owners you meet on walks or pet owning friends and neighbours who they use and if they like them. The new practice will request the records from the old one after you register.

CraftyMissus Sun 10-Jan-16 22:34:03

My family have been using the same vets for our pets for so long now we must have put the owners grandkids through university... But here's why we stay with them.

*they're always really organised, they know who you are, your pet details and why you've arrived.
* if they don't have anyone in branch with experience for whichever animal oddity they have 4 other branches and will refer you to wherever the expert is.
*treatments are always clearly explained. From how to administer, to dangers of operations. Costs are outlined clearly with advice on where to get extra help if you need it.
*they bother to ask about specific likes/dislikes and quirks pets can have. My mums labrador gets a treat from the biccy tin for every appointment, and to stop a geriatric budgie deafening the rest of the patients after an op, one of the nurses shared a slice of buttered toast with him.
*they understand that my mums dog, my bird, our salamanders and our fish aren't just animals, they're like extra family members.
*when they've had to deliver bad news they've done it with a great deal of compassion and we've felt like they're genuinely sympathetic.

CaptainKit Sun 10-Jan-16 23:12:32

I initially picked my vet because, of the two local ones, they had their own labs and provided emergency care - albeit in one of their other branches (they have 3, but the biggest one isn't hideously far away)

I stayed with them because the staff seem nice, the vets all seem to know what they're doing, and in the one case so far where I've come to them with something vaguely exotic they've gone out for a referral and been very open with me about where they've been uncertain.

Scuttlebutter Mon 11-Jan-16 00:36:35

As you've correctly identified, there's several aspects to this - the vet but also the practice, the nurses and how it is run. A good practice will be well run and efficient, with welcoming reception staff. Good parking is helpful and a spacious waiting area, where ideally cats and dogs can be separated. Treatment rooms should be spotlessly clean, well lit, with accessible IT, and good temperature control (not sweltering in summer and warm in winter).

I'd say good vet nurses are as important as the vet - they carry out a great deal of the care, many procedures and have a lot of interactions with clients.

Admin/customer friendliness - accurate, clearly laid out bills. Giving you the right meds at the right price. Sensible opening hours that are clearly advertised. Available for contact via phone or email, answers phone promptly, emails also dealt with efficiently. Holiday opening times widely advertised. Appointments generally run to time (obviously subject to emergencies).

The vet - you should feel safe in their hands and be able to trust their professional judgement and practical skills. You should be comfortable in asking questions or asking for things to be explained. I can honestly say I trust my vet completely, and regard the relationship very much as a partnership with both of us having the goal of our animal's health and wellbeing. I want to know what I can do to support what the vet has done, in terms of home care and what symptoms/issues should be a concern, and what recovery should look like.

Our vet has seen us in the deepest emotional distress (having beloved animals PTS and dealing with serious emergency treatment) - both she and her team of nurses are empathetic, supportive and understanding. They helped us make choices about treatment options, and explained clearly about costs, benefits and risks.

As a client, I see my job as :- be on time, always pay promptly, be clear about what's wrong, when in doubt, ask. Finish the course of medication and obey instructions about aftercare. Treat vet staff with courtesy and respect. Give at Christmas and birthdays - it's not expected but it's the least we can do to say thank you to the people who care for very precious members of the family.

dudsville Mon 11-Jan-16 07:32:40

These are all helpful comments. I will look to move. I was concerned about moving if it was unnecessary because my girl arrived with lots of infections and I didn't want to lose her medical history, however brief, but after reading all these posts I definitely do not feel confident staying with this practice.

villainousbroodmare Mon 11-Jan-16 08:43:42

I'm a vet too. That practice sounds messy. Away with you to find something that feels right for you; word of mouth is probably the best as others have said, and I'd suggest asking the owners of dogs you see out and about, if you like the look of them. You shouldn't be put in any awkward position as the new practice will request notes on your dog's behalf.

dudsville Mon 11-Jan-16 16:59:23

Thank you villain, I'm so glad I checked. There's only one other vet near me, it certainly doesn't look fancy but I will pop in to see about them. It will be hard to judge them by an initial appt. Does anyone have any advice how I could get the measure of them?

EasyToEatTiger Mon 11-Jan-16 19:38:34

Our dogs have been to all sorts of vets over the years. We have stayed with the current vets for the past 8 or so years because we like them and they have treated our ducks and chickens and been there to help when there have been deaths, and they have been to the house to see the dogs out. I am told there are other closer vets who are marvellous, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Our vet is about 20 miles away. Smaller vet practices are very different from large group franchises. There is room for all sorts, but I know which I prefer!

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