Choosing a Veterinarian
Dr. Mike Paul offers advice on how to choose a veterinarian that suits your needs and the needs of your pet(s).
Pets are part of the family. Your veterinarian, like your doctor or your dentist, is a major part of the well-being of your family. Because you have entrusted this person to oversee the health of your pet, and by extension the health of your family, it is crucial that you have a relationship with your veterinarian based on trust, confidence and respect. You want to know that your physician, your dentist and your veterinarian are among the best at their profession and that he/she fulfills the needs of you and your pet.
Unfortunately, there are not many ways of critically evaluating a health care provider until you need them in a critical time. And you don’t want to be in a crisis when you have to reassess your decision. So how can you evaluate your veterinarian to make sure this is the relationship you want? Resources such as Consumer Reports and Zagat’s will help you decide on a restaurant, a camera, a computer, or a car. But guidance on choosing healthcare providers is a lot harder to come by. It’s not a black and white decision. It’s more like Match.com for a professional relationship. It’s all about finding the right fit.
Where to look? Who to ask?
As is always the case, sitting down at your computer and searching the internet can provide you with a flood of opinions. You can spend hours scrolling through popular sites like Angie's Llist and Yelp reading testimonial after testimonial after complaint about every veterinarian and clinic in your area. Clearly those postings are the unsolicited, heartfelt sentiments of people who were motivated (positively or negatively) to take the time to comment online. So, by all means read some of them. Just don’t rely exclusively on consumer or social web sites since they may not give you a truly balanced perspective. You might also want to seek the opinions of other pet parents you actually know and/or meet every day: neighbors, co-workers, other parents at your child’s school, people you see walking their dog or at a dog park. These other pet owners can be valuable sources of additional insight by nature of their own experiences.
It goes without saying that you want a veterinarian with a high level of medical competency, and