Choosing a Veterinarian

How do you choose?

Firstly, a Vet working in the UK must be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Secondly, by recommendation. The first Vet I went to was recommended by a friend. I took Winston for his very first puppy check-up and we stayed for the whole of Winston’s life. I loved that the Vet talked to Winston directly, and that he was happy to answer my many questions. For me a Vet is someone to build trust with. With the vital clinical knowledge, but who is also able to relate to people. I’m sure we’ve all seen a human doctor who whilst being very intelligent, doesn’t quite get the importance of empathy! As with a human doctor, a Vet should also be willing to refer you for specialist advice when needed.

Geographic location

A consideration for a Vet is obviously geography, but I would also consider 24-hour accessibility. What happens in an emergency? Are Vets available at the end of the phone for advice? How easy is it to get an appointment? How friendly is the receptionist? Does your dog feel comfortable there? I’m sure you will also have your own criteria too. Veterinary care is an investment and your practice may be affiliated to a particular insurance company. I will talk about pet insurance on a future blog, lots of experiences to share on this topic.  

Selection criteria

After Winston’s Vet retired, we moved to another local Vet. Unfortunately, this practice was acquired by an investment company and the tone changed significantly. With Vets coming and going frequently it was hard to have continuity of care, and build trust. It also felt very commercially focused at each and every appointment. After losing Leo, I decided it was time to move practices.  

I chose our current Vet practice on recommendation, and because they offered Titre testing. I’d read about the dangers of ‘over vaccination’, and I wanted to be sure that Jake and Truly needed the annual cycle of vaccinations. As with all vaccination debates there are people who feel strongly, but for my dogs I choose that each year Jake and Truly have a Titre test to establish their immunity levels for the key canine diseases inoculated against. Each year I review their results with their Vet before deciding what’s best for Jake and Truly. We do still have the annual wellness check-up, and since losing Leo to an undiagnosed end stage liver condition, we have also added other checks when bloods are taken.

I try to see the same Vet for continuity, as this also helps when it’s time to make treatment decisions. I much prefer someone who is willing to listen and answer any questions I may have as I do take my responsibility for Jake and Truly very seriously!

Prescriptions

I expect most people are aware that you don’t need to buy items prescribed by your Vet from the practice. Jake takes daily medication for his arthritis, and so I pay £19 for a six-month repeat prescription and order his medication online. The difference in price can be significant, so it’s always worth checking. As an illustration, Jake’s medication would be approximately £77 for a 28 day supply from the Vet, but I pay £22.80 for the same brand and same quantity online. Likewise, their liver flavoured enzyme toothpaste (for dogs!) would be £22 in the practice, but I pay £8.27 online. There are several companies to choose from, but I use this one where you can also find a helpful explanation on how it works.

That said, I do buy some items from the practice where it makes no sense to pay for a prescription or to order online, such as one-off items or for treatments that need to start immediately.

I hope that is helpful, please use the contact us form with any experiences you’d like to share.

Until next time

Jen

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