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Points to Consider When Choosing a Veterinarian

May 10, 2017

Finding veterinary services that best suit the needs of a family’s pet may take time, but it will be worth the effort!

The following information provides steps to take when beginning the search for veterinary services.

#1. Talk to people you know who have pets.

An excellent way to begin looking for a veterinarian is to ask for recommendations. When you know or come across someone who has a pet, ask them for information! Talk to:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Co-workers
  • Animal shelter staff
  • Animal trainers
  • Groomers
  • Pet sitters
  • Dog walkers
  • Boarding kennel employees
  • Dog owners at the dog park.

#2. Find a vet to treat your pet with different needs.

Not all veterinarians treat all types of animals. For example, some veterinarians only work on dogs and cats, and some only on livestock. If your animal is a bearded dragon lizard, you will want a veterinarian who has been trained to handle and care for reptiles. Or, if your pet is older, you may need a veterinarian who is trained to work with geriatric animals.

Finding a veterinarian with specialty training may take a little more effort. Information pertaining to active veterinarians that treat different types of animals and/or who have specialty training can be found through a web search of your location’s veterinary medicine associations. Look for veterinarians who are board certified as trained in the specialty area required by your pet.

#3. Search online for additional information.

The online site for the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) provides information on accreditation. Receiving AAHA accreditation is a statement that:

  • The animal hospital has been determined to consistently provide safe, high-quality care
  • Veterinary hospitals have maintained AAHA standards in relation to their:
    • Facilities
    • Equipment
    • Quality of care
  • The services and equipment of these veterinary hospitals have been thoroughly evaluated as part of their responsibility to becoming accredited in areas involving:
    • Examination
    • Surgery
    • Emergency care
    • Radiology
    • Pathology
    • Pain management
    • Contagious diseases
    • Nursing care
    • Dentistry
    • Diagnostics
    • Pharmaceutical
    • Medical records
    • Housekeeping and maintenance.

Quick access to finding veterinary hospitals that are AAHA accredited can be found at the American Animal Hospital Association Hospital Locator.

#4. What Next?


Once a potential veterinarian or veterinary hospital has been identified, you can ask for a tour. However, keep in mind the type of business you are seeing, as you may have to remain patiently waiting if an emergency occurs.

As you tour, look for signs of, for example:

  • Cleanliness
  • Pens that provide patients with comfort and safety
  • Holding areas that decrease stress, such as separate areas for cat and dog patients
  • Equipment that is up-to-date and appears taken care of
  • Staff members that are happy and cordial.


    Schedule an appointment to meet with the veterinarian. This can be done with or without your pet. Some practices provide a get-acquainted meeting at no cost; some will charge a small fee. Meeting with the veterinarian affords you an opportunity to ask questions that will help to determine if this veterinarian-owner-pet relationship will be a good fit.

    Questions to ask may focus on areas such as:

  • What is your response to emergencies? Are they handled at the practice or will they be a referral?
  • How will laboratory needs be taken care? Within house or sent out?
  • Can a specific veterinarian be requested for appointments?
  • Does the practice network with other specialists?
  • What is your telephone policy in regard to answering questions of a health care concern?
  • What are the scheduling and appointment policies?
  • What can I expect for routine service charges?
  • Do you offer specific scheduling for well animal checks?
  • Do you offer a yearly vaccination clinic?
  • Does the practice offer an online service to schedule appointments and ask questions?

Establishing health care for a pet is important. Investing the time to ensure a good fit will help to forge a relationship that lasts. Contact your Covetrus representative for further details at: 855.724.3461.


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