Veterinarians Near Me
“How do I find the best veterinarian near me?” This is perhaps the most commonly asked question pet owners have when looking for a good vet.
Pet parents today show a lot more concern for their pet’s health and well-being than they would have over 50 years ago. Today—thanks to the continuing evolution of modern medicine—our dogs and cats continue to live longer and healthier lives.
In this article, we’ll thoroughly cover everything you need to know about finding the best veterinarian near you.
How To Find the Best Veterinarian For Your Pet
A veterinarian is a doctor who specializes in providing healthcare services to animals of various types. A veterinarian can specialize in companion animals such as dogs and cats, or they may specialize in larger animals such as horses, or in other species such as retiles and birds.
When running a search for best “veterinarian near me”, consider exactly what you’re looking for.
- Ask yourself if a veterinarian you’re considering provides the services you need. For example, if you own a cockatoo, then you’ll probably need to seek a veterinarian who specializes in avian medicine.
- Take into account the clinic’s distance from your home. If your pet suddenly has an emergency or has a condition that will require regular vet visits, a nearby location will make repeated trips more convenient and can also lessen the amount of time your pet spends in the car, which can be a source of anxiety for some animals and which can also cause motion sickness.
- Consider a veterinarian’s relational style. Many pet owners prefer to go with a veterinarian who has excellent communication skills and is a people person.
You can begin the process of searching for a veterinarian by visiting your local dog parks, pet shelters, and even pet supply stores. These types of locations and establishments will often have fliers or business cards available to connect you with animal clinics in the area. You can also speak with other pet owners who have taken their pets to local veterinary clinics to get an idea of who they recommend. Additionally, you can run a quick Google search for “best veterinarians near me” and then read reviews for the clinics that pop up.
Once you narrow down a list of what you believe could be your next veterinary animal hospital, then your next step should be to visit the practice. Below are some factors to consider when you make your visit.
Clinic qualifications—Is it AAHA accredited?
The American Animal Hospital Associate (AAHA) is an associate that evaluates and creates the standard of veterinary excellence for a veterinary hospital to follow. It is not mandatory for all veterinary clinics to become AHAA credited, but it is a great aspect to look for when searching for the “best veterinarian near me”. So, what can an AAHA accredited vet offer you? AAHA evaluates veterinary hospitals based on over 900 standards. And so, when a veterinarian hospital meets AHAA standards, this means that the hospital has met- or exceeded areas in either:
- Pain management
- Emergency services
- Pathology services
- Contagious diseases
- Surgery and anesthesia
- Diagnostic and Pharmacy care
When asking, “What’s the best veterinarian near me”, another aspect to consider is the hospital’s overall atmosphere. This can include the cleanliness of the hospital, the housekeeping facilities, and the general appeal of the hospital. For example, you can ask your veterinarian to take you around the hospital. You can ask about how the equipment is handled/cleaned and how often the examination rooms are cleaned and disinfected. Ideally, you’ll want to look for a hospital that’s welcoming, spotless, and has state of the art equipment.
Staff: Veterinarian technicians and nurses
Another major aspect to consider when looking for a good veterinary clinic is the evaluating the staff and vets itself! You’ll want a veterinarian who has excellent communication skills. You’ll want a vet who has not only excellent animal handling skills but also great people skills. Secondly, you’ll want to look for staff who are qualified to handle animals. For example, both veterinarian technicians and vet nurses require a college degree to acquire certification in their field.
Payment Plans and Options
Lastly, if veterinary bills are a bit too much for you, then you should ask an see what are the payment plans offered. Some veterinarians may require you to pay the entire amount of a surgical procedure while others will allow you to make partial payments. If you have pet insurance, you will also need to ask the veterinary clinic if they accept pet insurance plans
Cheap/Low-Cost Vets Near Me: What Can Be Sacrificed When Searching
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns pet owners have when seeking healthcare for their pets are the costs. For that reason, pet owners may seek out low-cost vets that are affordable. However, it’s important to keep in mind what can and cannot be sacrificed when it comes to
What Cannot Be Sacrificed
- Does the veterinary practice have licensed medical staff?
- Does the veterinarian communicate well with clients?
- Is the veterinarian able to handle animals appropriately and kindly?
- Is the veterinarian thorough with their physical examination? When you take your pet for their routine physical exam, your veterinarian should start by examining your pets head (mucous membranes, eyes, mouth, gums, teeth). Your veterinarian should then work downwards throughout the entire body, examining joint movements, palpating the abdomen, and checking for any abnormalities. It is at this time when your veterinarian should also assess your pet’s body condition score, temperature, respiration rate, and heart rate.
What Can Be Sacrificed
- If money is an issue, you’ll need to look for a veterinary practice that has payment plan options. You may also find budget-friendly veterinary services through your local humane society or through a mobile vet service. In some cases, there may be a wait list for providers like this, meaning your pet’s appointment may be scheduled for weeks or months into the future. However, if your pet’s needs aren’t urgent, then you can sacrifice the convenience of a same-day or same-week appointment.
- It isn’t mandatory for veterinary hospitals to be AAHA accredited. While it’s recommended that you seek a vet who is AAHA accredited, if it’s something that’s not available in your area, that’s okay. What’s most important is seeking out a veterinarian who is licensed and who has completed the education and training needed for their position.
When Should I Head to the Vet?
A pet will require veterinary services in the following situations:
- Behavioral Change. The pet in question has suddenly become lethargic, has lost their appetite, and appears depressed.
- Dehydration. If an animal has had diarrhea or has been vomiting for over 24 hours, then they are losing water, which puts them at risk for hypovolemic shock.
- Poisoning. If you believe your pet has consumed a toxic substance, then this is a medical emergency.
- Preventative Care. All dogs and cats need to go to a veterinarian for their routine physical exam and vaccinations.
These are just some of the reasons why a vet visit may be needed, but if you’re ever concerned about your pet’s health for any reason, it’s always best to consult a veterinarian to rule out any major issues.
Will I Need Insurance for Pets?
Pet insurance offers owners security, should their companion animal require urgent care. The major benefits are that you won’t have to pay significant fees for any emergency procedures.
Pet insurance is always recommended for animals who are at risk of developing inherited medical conditions. For example, brachycephalic dog breeds, or even purebred dogs, are always at a higher risk of developing medical ailments common to their breed.
Does A Vet’s Specialty Matter?
The American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes 46 specialties. Veterinarians can receive Diplomate status in one or more specialties after they’ve completed their postgraduate training, education, and examination requirements. Some examples of specialties include cardiology, neurology, oncology, nutrition, large animal surgery, and more. A specialty can also represent the type of animals a veterinarian works with, such as equine for horses, avian for birds, or canine and feline for dogs and cats.
Here are just some examples of veterinary specialists and what they practice:
A veterinary nutritionist is a doctor who specializes in animal nutrition, which falls under the umbrella of internal medicine. Veterinary nutritionists help to support an animal’s optimal health through nutrition management. They’re certified to formulate foods, supplements, and home-prepared diets that are healthful and that may also manage the symptoms or progression of a disease. For example, if you have a dog with kidney disease, a medical condition that can benefit from a change in diet, a veterinary nutritionist can help you develop the right diet for your pet.
A veterinary oncologist focuses on cancer, including treating cancer in animals. In cases where your general practice veterinarian is not equipped to treat your pet’s cancer, they may refer you to a veterinary oncologist, who has had more advanced training in oncology and who will typically also have access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment that can provide the highest caliber of care.
A veterinary surgeon can work with either small animals or large animals, though they may also specialize in both. While general practice veterinarians perform routine surgeries like spaying and neutering pets, a veterinary surgery specialist performs advanced surgical procedures such as hip replacements, bone fracture repairs, wound repairs, and oncology-related proceeds such as the removal of cancerous tumors.
5 Vet Tips: What They Say About Basic Care
- Nutrition and exercise are perhaps the most important factors that affect your pet’s health. Make sure you feed your dog or cat a high-quality, balanced meal, and that they receive adequate exercise every day.
- Do you have a senior pet? It’s highly recommended that you get your dog’s yearly blood tests done. This can provide a snapshot on your pet’s health and help you get ahead of any underlying issues.
- Keep your pets up-to-date with their vaccinations. This will protect them from dangerous illnesses and diseases.
- Always brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day. This is especially important for senior pets, whose teeth will require extra care to stay in the best shape.
- Are you worried your pet is in pain? Never administer any human medication (e.g. Aspirin) without consulting a veterinarian first. Certain human medications can be toxic to dogs. For medication that’s safe for pets, it’s important to administer the correct dosage, which a vet can help you determine.
Resources to Find Vets Near Me
Not sure how to find the best “veterinarian near me”? Check out these resources to help you find a good vet.