Choosing a veterinary practice
You’ve just picked up your new 4-legged addition to the family and you couldn’t be happier! Your fabulous furry baby is cuddly, loveable and totally dependent on you to nurture it and enable it to grow into a happy, healthy, well-balanced adult.
You may, however, be feeling a little overwhelmed, especially if it is your first family pet. There are so many choices to make, ranging from which type of bed to buy, which food is best to feed and in the case of a puppy where and how to start training.
Sitting alongside these decisions is the equally important one of how to choose the best vet for you and your new pet but there are so many vet practices to choose it is difficult to know which one to pick.
Any vet who sets up practice in the UK must be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and should have either the initials MRCVS or FRCVS after their name. Once you have established that the vets you are looking at are registered then it is worth doing your homework to make sure that both you and your pet are happy with your choice.
Research is key
Personal recommendation should not be underestimated. It can be a useful way of finding out what other pet owners, who have the same type of animal as you, really think about their vet.
If you have an unusual or exotic pet, then it is worth looking for a vet who has experience with that species. If you are unsure, there is a search by practice option on the RCVS website.
It may be sensible to choose a practice near to home just in case there is an emergency and you need to get your pet to the vet as quickly as possible.
You should consider opening hours and parking or transport links. It might suit you better to choose a vet that opens weekday evenings or weekends. You should also ask about emergency treatment outside normal hours and if there would be a member of staff on duty continuously if your pet should need an overnight stay.
Clear information and bedside manner count too. Do all the staff seem genuinely interested in your pet? If your pet has to have treatment are you given clear instructions and information on why and what treatment is to be given and how you should be managing this at home?
Price is also a consideration as these can vary. You should be given typical costs for routine treatments and if you are given a quote for a procedure the practice staff should tell you exactly what is included.
And finally…the extras
Extra services such as puppy training and obedience classes are offered by some vets. These can be really helpful, especially for first timers.
Some practices will also offer advice and factsheets to help you care for your pet and even a practice pet plan which can help you pay for some of the routine inoculations and wormers that a young animal will need, especially in its first year.
Melina - Assistant Editor
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