Thoughts on Picking a Vet

  1. Being a good vet involves a balance between the following skills:
    • People skills
    • Caring/compassion for animals – animal skills
    • Medical skills
    • Philosophy of practice.

    It’s difficult to find someone with all the necessary talents.

  2. At any given time the same vet may fail in one of these skill areas. Is the owner willing to stay with the same vet for the long haul or bail out based on one mistake or bad encounter? I continue to be amazed at how many people jump from vet to vet or see multiple vets. It’s very hard to get to know an owner or their animals or become familiar with the pet’s history when they see other vets. This often compromises the medical care of the pet and may waste valuable resources. It also results in bringing one vet’s philosophy/approach and trying to impose it on another vet. Each vet has a different philosophy of practice and that difference must be respected.
  3. There must be give and take between the owner and the veterinarian. The vet must be willing to learn from the owner and pet. Likewise the owner must be willing to let the vet be the ultimate authority. Neither must demand their position.
  4. Shar-Pei owners must realize that not all vets want to be or find it reasonable to become a Shar-Pei authority. In most vet practices the Shar-Pei is a very small percentage of the clientele. Many vets do not have the time or the inclination to keep abreast of the literature on Shar-Pei and their unique qualities and medical problems. And that’s OK as long as the owner knows that. And the vet should not be held in contempt for that either. As of this time the amount of information on the medical problems of Shar-Pei found in the veterinary literature is pretty scarce so it is hard to feel comfortable with Shar-Pei when you don’t see many.
  5. Honesty and forthrightness are critical in the veterinarian/client relationship. This doesn’t have to be adversarial or confrontational. It’s very helpful to know what owner expectations are, financial concerns are, etc.
  6. Attributes of a good client:
    • respect for vet’s position and time
    • good people skills
    • medical/animal knowledge
    • realistic financial ability
    • animal skills – compassion, caring, etc.
    • loyalty
  7. Goal is to blend the attributes of the vet and the client — in some cases this can’t done.
  8. Vet philosophy — primary business vs. primary medicine and all variations in-between.
  9. Physical factors such as office hours, location, staff, emergency service, equipment, etc.

Hope this helps. I know it is a mish-mash of stuff, but I think it may help a little bit.

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