New puppy? 10 Questions to ask your vet
Maybe it’s just the weather, but I’m seeing lots of new puppies around. Who doesn’t love puppies?!!
When we first got our sweet Hermann, we were overwhelmed with choices on possible vet clinics. Narrowing down the selection came after asking lots of questions and finding a vet who just seemed to click with us, and our boy!
When we moved to the country we had to find yet another vet, so I know from experience it can be a daunting challenge.
So with that in mind, I thought I would ask my little sister (aka Dr. Jenn) from Minden Animal Hospital to provide her list of top ten questions to ask your new vet.
- What type of medicine does your clinic practice?
- It is important to get an understanding of whether your vet practice is a client-centered or a low cost clinic. Client-centered practices tend to be focused on prevention, and often you’ll have more time with the veterinarian and staff. This means they will be able to spend more time with you to explain what treatment options available and go into more details about potential procedures. At lower cost clinics you will often have shorter appointments, possibly longer wait times, and the focus is one what is going on today versus preventative care for the future. There is no right or wrong, but it’s helpful to know in advance what type of clinic is best for you and your pet.
- Do you perform surgeries on site?
- Some clinics are “satellite” clinics, where surgeries are not performed on-site. This means your pet will have to go to a new location for their spay or neuter, and for other surgeries if they are needed. Unless you are certified breeder, we always recommend you spay or neuter your pet, which means at least once you’ll have to travel somewhere new if your clinic doesn’t offer this service. Knowing this information and the location in advance is always helpful.
- Who performs surgeries?
- Often times the vet you and your pet have developed a relationship with will be the one performing your pet’s surgery. In advance of any surgery though, be sure to ask your vet if they will be performing the surgery or if another vet will be. If it is not your regular vet be sure to ask who it will be, know their qualifications, their experience, and how well they know your pet’s personal history.
- Who does after-hours care?
- It is very common for veterinary clinics to refer you to an after-hours clinic. This allows for better care overnight for your pet and a more rested, energetic primary veterinarian in the morning. However, the time of an emergency is not the time to find out where you need to go. Research this beforehand and have the information easily accessible for those times. It is also important to have a sense of how far you will have to travel to get to that clinic and whether that will work for you.
- Do you offer wellness plans?
- These are not payment plans. However, they allow you to have the best care for your new puppy or kitten and helps spread out some of the costs. The first year of owning a pet is usually the most expensive!
- How many veterinarians are in the practice?
- Larger practices generally have more flexibility with hours and a wider range of services available. One potential down side is you may be seeing a new face every visit. This can be advantageous as you get a variety of opinions, however if you prefer one dedicated vet or if you “click” with one person, you may be able to request your appointments be booked with them.
- Do you have registered technicians on staff?
- Registered veterinary technicians have gone to school and passed exams in order to qualify to be technicians. They also have their own regulatory body and require yearly continuing education to maintain their status. These are usually the people who monitor your pet in surgery, do blood collections and minor procedures.
- Does your clinic offer any alternative medicine or services?
- Depending on your own personal views and experiences, you may want to seek out a clinic offering alternative medicines or services. Some services include therapeutic or surgical laser, acupuncture, herbal medicines, homeopathy, etc. Often these approaches are combined with what we consider “classical” medicine, although some may be exclusively alternative.
- What is the expected vaccination schedule for my pet?
- For something viewed simply, getting your pets’ “shots”, vaccine schedules can vary greatly. It is important to find out what routine and what “extra” vaccines your veterinarian recommends. Often the extras are based on your individual pets’ lifestyle risk. As well, some vaccines are now available for three years. You’ll want to ask whether your veterinarian use these ones or do use the yearly shots. (note: some vaccines are still yearly such as leptospirosis and kennel cough).
Do I always have to have an appointment or can I call to ask a question?
- If you ever have questions about your pet’s health, or you feel something is amiss all vet clinics will encourage you to pick up the phone and ask. The clinic will then be able to recommend how to proceed.
Enjoy your new puppy!