The same amount of consideration that goes into choosing a pediatrician for your child should go into finding the right veterinary clinic for your pet. Ask for recommendations from friends, neighbors, relatives or co-workers whose opinion you trust. It’s important not only to ask which vet clinic they recommend, but also why they recommend it. Online research can be helpful, but before making a decision, you should take a tour of the facility and meet the veterinarian.
If you aren’t sure what else to look for when searching, here are four tips for choosing an expert vet clinic:
1. Client-Centered Care
When it comes to pet care, an expert vet clinic will take a client-centered approach – taking into consideration your pet’s needs as well as your needs as an owner. This approach extends to the treatment of your pet through the use of stress-free handling techniques, like the use of Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs, that make a visit to the vet clinic a positive experience rather than one that causes fear or anxiety. When you tour the facility, pay attention to the body language and comfort level of the animals you see. This will tell you a lot about the practice’s approach to care.
Like any other medical professional, you don’t want a provider that only meets the bare minimum requirements for licensing and board certification. Instead, look for a vet clinic that is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) – the only organization to accredit companion animal veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. You might be surprised to learn that nearly 60 percent of pet owners believe their veterinary hospital is accredited when in reality it’s only 12-15 percent. AAHA accreditation is not required, however, it does mean your pet is receiving care at a hospital that has passed the highest standards of veterinary care. If you have adopted a cat, you should also search for a clinic that is a Gold-Certified Feline-Friendly Practice.
Part of taking a client-centered approach to care includes recommending optimized treatment plans rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. “Find a professional who has the discretion to recognize what needs to be done now versus what can wait,” says Dr. Pamela Austin, DVM and owner of Westbury Veterinary Clinic, Summerville, S.C. It’s not uncommon for an expert veterinarian to offer two or three treatment options based on different factors, such as what treatments the animal can tolerate at one time or the financial commitment an owner can make.
4. Quality of Staff
When it comes to choosing an expert vet clinic, you aren’t just choosing a veterinarian. Veterinary technicians, assistants and even the front office staff will impact the level of care you and your pet will receive. Ask if the clinic requires and encourages continuing education for its staff.
If you are looking for an expert vet clinic to partner in the care of your pet, consider Westbury Veterinary Clinic in Summerville, S.C. With 94 years of combined experience between five veterinarians, you and your pet will receive the quality of care you both deserve. To learn more or schedule an appointment, visit WestburyVC.com or call (843) 873-2761.