It should come as no surprise that Americans love their pets. According to the he American Pet Product Association (APPA), there are between 70 and 90 million pet dogs and between 74 and 96 million pet cats in the United States. Pets are a part of at least 47% of American households, according to reports from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Americans spend millions of dollars every year on food, toys and medical expenses for their pets. Many are new to pet companionship and are not sure how to find a veterinarian or what questions to ask. Should the animal clinic have a clinical diagnostics laboratory? Are there other things people should look for? Here are some ways to find the fight veterinarian for your furry or feathered friends.
- Talk to the people you know. It has been estimated that most people who get a pet, get that pet from a friend or family member. If someone gives you a puppy or a kitten, ask them if they know of a good veterinarian in your area. Pets need to get various shots and vaccinations and it is important to get them started on a healthy level. Given the number of pets that people have, the chances are good that you have friends or family members who have cats or dogs (or both). Ask who they use for their veterinary clinical diagnostics. Talk to your neighbors and coworkers, too. In a perfect world, you will get the same recommendation from more than one person. You may also get bad reviews about an animal clinic in your area, these can also be helpful.
- Look online. Many cities and towns have special Facebook groups that are set up to promote and support local businesses. If no one has posted about local veterinarians that have a clinical diagnostics laboratory ask the question. If you have a dog and are looking to have a canine heartworm antigen test kit used on them, ask the question on the Facebook group or page. You can also check Yelp and Angie’s List for reviews and suggestions. Be careful when you see bad reviews that are posted anonymously. People are much more likely to complain than compliment so there may be something going on there.
- Call the different veterinarian’s offices. Get a sense for how they treat the animals. There are some great people out there who offer wonderful health care to the animals that they see but, as with anything, not everyone is great. Ask them about their policies and facilities. Ask if they have a clinical diagnostics laboratory on site. Ask if they can take care of x-rays or other general tests. It is possible to get just about any medical procedure that is available for humans done on your pet.
- When you take your pet in, make sure the staff and the veterinarian answer all of your questions. You want to get your pet the best health care you can. If they have any chronic conditions or genetic issues, as many purebreds do, you will want to get all the information you need to keep Fluffy or Fido healthy. If they balk at answering your questions or you feel at all rushed, you should seek out the services of a different animal clinic. There are a lot of options out there. You do not need to go to an animal clinic that does not meet your needs or the needs of your pet.
- Ask the staff where they take their pets. They may not want to tell you if they take their animals to another clinic. Ask about their clinical diagnostics laboratory. The staff know the veterinarians and how they operate and can be valuable sources of information. How the people there treat their animal patients can make a big difference. This can be scary or stressful for your pet. You cannot explain what is going on so going to compassionate people who understand this will make a big difference in how your pet responds to the experience.
If you have a pet, you know they are family and finding the right veterinarian will help you keep them healthy and happy.