Choosing a Vet

Choosing a vet is vital to ensure your pet's health. Besides an appreciation for animals, make sure your vet likes the veterinary practice itself.

| May/June 1988

Choosing a vet is an important part of your pet's health. Sure your vet likes animals, but does he or she actually like veterinary practice itself? 

Choosing A Vet

Sure your vet likes animals, but does he or she actually like veterinary practice itself? Most communities these days offer a number of veterinarians within easy hailing distance. Given this abundance, you can pretty much pick and choose the vet who'll best meet your pet care needs. Here are some tips to help.

Communication: Medicine has a highly specialized language all its own. Technical terminology has its place too, but there is absolutely no process in disease or health that cannot be described in everyday language that anyone can understand. Insist on this. If your veterinarian is unwilling to answer your questions so that you understand perfectly what he or she is saying, find a new vet.

Health vs. disease: Nearly all health care professionals today, including vets, are highly trained disease specialists; most of their efforts are directed toward recognizing and treating disease. For some this focus is all-consuming, but others have learned that health is also a part of life's continuum.

Health-oriented veterinarians will take the time to discuss the hows and whys of keeping your pet healthy. If your vet asks questions about your pet's nutrition, the amount of exercise it gets each day and the kind of home environment you provide, you can assume that person is health-oriented.

One of the best ways to tell if a doctor is health-oriented is to observe his or her personal lifestyle. An obese, pasty-faced veterinarian reeking of tobacco smoke, for example, probably isn't particularly concerned about health. (What's more, you can probably expect to lose this vet at an early age.)

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