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Ten questions to ask when shopping for a new veterinarian

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  1. Peter

    I would even add: does your Veterinarian willingly provide copies of bloodwork and other tests? Mine has them waiting for me without asking… she knows I’m interested in digesting and analyzing them, having them for comparison on my own. You paid for them: they are your property.

    I think vets take the animal out of the room for procedures so that the pet parent/guardian does not see what they do: they may need to restrain him/her and it could be alarming. In that back room, animals are often more terrified/intimidated, and may “cooperate” better than in the exam room.

    1. Marcia Cummings

      Peter… I’ve got to disagree with you regarding taking the pet out of the room for procedures. Especially if you have a pet that is terrified of even going to the vets. Or if you have a dog that is very submissive. I let my vet do that once, caught me of guard. When I heard my Murphy cry out from the back room, it just broke my heart. All I could think was, he trusts me and I let this person take him away and scare the heck out of him :~(

      He was always very cooperative with any procedures that needed to be done, and this is how I reward him?? I did it once but never again. I’m sure Murphy has gotten over it but I don’t think I ever will. He’s my buddy and trusts me to keep him safe.

      1. Mr

        Same thing happened with my archie ..took him on other side of building and could hear him screaming from behind closed doors. That will never happen again, guaranteed. My vet comes to my house..for ancillary services I have trusted vets within her network..

    2. Jason T

      I do agree that a veterinarian should give you the result of your bloodworm and explain them, but the results actually aren’t your property. They actually even aren’t the property of your veterinarian. The results are the property of the diagnostic facility that performed the test.

      I agree with most of the things written here, but just because there is a negative fecal result, doesn’t mean that a puppy/dog is worm free. Some common parasites only shed about 2000 eggs a day and you wouldn’t necessarily pick up on that in a fecal exam. Also, tapeworm eggs are actually heavier then the solution that the test is run in, so tapeworm eggs won’t even be found even if you can see the larva crawling out of your animals hind end.

      Lastly, Heartworm medications do prevent a number of parasites but that’s not because they have tons of different chemicals in it, it’s because the same chemical kills several different types of parasites. Also, there are FDA approved topical heartworm medications that only put the heartworm medication into your dogs body while the flea preventative stays in the oil layer above your dog’s skin so it will reduce the number of chemicals your animal ingests.

  2. Marie

    What perfect timing! I just quit my veterinarian. I’m sick to death of their shelves of prescription diets made of crap, and most of all, their extremely negative attitude. I brought in a kitty with an abscess after a cat fight, and my former vet said it was too soon to lance (fair enough), but he indicated that there may very well be something more dire in the works. He wanted me to bring her back in a week. Ha! My holistic vet came that very night, lasered the abscess, and it broke open the next morning. Regular vet then said for me to keep it open. Like my cat won’t do that on her own? I think allopathic vets are all…let me try to be kinder than the word I was going to use… ignorant! My holistic vet is the only one I’ll be seeing from now on, unless I need a blood draw for some reason, and that vet will have no say in anything, including my refusal to vaccinate. My cats got their kitten shots, and I’m calling it good. I asked to have all my vet records faxed today! I feel liberated! 🙂

  3. Nina Wolf

    Terrific list, Dr. Alinovi. This will be very very useful to a lot of us. Thank you for explaining the criteria for each decision point.

    In certain parts of the country, finding a vet can be a real trial, especially if you are a believer in raw feeding and minimal vaccination. Is there an online resource to find integrative vets by geographic area?

    thanks for all you do!

  4. Marie

    And a PS: I never, never, never put my pets’ health in the hands of a vet unless I trust that vet beyond words; i.e., my holistic vet. I keep their health in my hands; they are my only “patients” so I’m not distracted by other animals. I agree with Peter too about the back room business. I know my presence causes my cats to get more upset because they want me to rescue them. 🙁 Bottom line is that with allopathic vets, I always have the feeling that I need to protect my pets from their vets. Now that’s a pathetic state of modern medicine, and what’s worse – most of them won’t learn. Ignorant to the end.

  5. Dianne

    Interesting comment about your pet being taken out of the room. If I am in the room with my dog, he grows and will try to bite the vet. In the back room he is fine. I don’t know if it is because he is scared, but to tell the truth,, I like my vet and I really don’t want to have my dog bite him, He really hates a muzzle.

  6. Batzion

    My dog’s vet let me stay with her through annual routine dental cleanings, two tooth extractions and two surgeries in her 15 years of life. He also let me remain with her during all recoveries. No testing procedures were ever done out of my sight. In fact, I helped to position her when necessary. It was less stressful for her and me, and he thoroughly understood, even welcomed, it. To me, this was huge.

  7. Jill R

    You should see the vets’ faces when I tell them I don’t vaccinate at all and haven’t for over 15 years. The only pup I did vaccinate was in a supposed Parvo hotspot and the peer pressure got to me. Well, my pup reacted to the vaccine and died. Yep!!! Lost my darling Jack doing something totally against my best judgement. Vets are a bit more accepting of raw diet’s, raw bones, etc. so that’s not such a big deal anymore (at least vets I’ve visited). I ALWAYS go in the back with my dog. Even if I’m just standing there. Once a vet gets comfortable with me I’m usually right in the middle of the procedure just helping with whatever. Not squeamish so no problem. I’ve had friends who when the vets saw their dogs vaccines were due just did them a favor and vaccinated them without asking… the back room. Personally I don’t trust the vets once a dog is out of my sight.

  8. guest

    Ask the vet if they are a REAL holistic vet?
    Do they know and understand how to use NOSODES instead of vaccines?
    There is a rabies nosode, parvo nosode, distemper nosode, E Canis nosode, etc….
    Is the vet willing to work as a team member and make a decision with the pet owner? And not tell the pet owner what to do. The vet does NOT own the pet and will NOT make the decisions. I have the right to have a healthy pet and I willl NOT allow a vet to hurt my pet because they want to prescribe anything for high profits for themselves. My pet comes FIRST.
    Do they know the alternatives to treat cancer? Chemo pesticide is dangerous and shortens pets and humans lives. If any vet prescribes chemo, run, just like any human doctor that prescribes chemo, run out that door as they only want to make a lot of money and do not care about health. Chemo is a cheap pesticide sold at super high prices to enrich the vet, the doctor and big pharma. Nothing is healthy about chemo except it will speed one to their death.
    These sites are helpful if you or your pet has cancer. Its a start and they will also tell you about other sites to help heal from cancer.
    Hope this is helpful

  9. Shirley

    I USED to have a vet that had no business being a vet!
    He pushed prescription diets for everything better than a drug dealer!
    They offered boarding for dogs…however, no personnell were present after hours.
    If surgery was involved and the pet had to stay overnight how can this be if no one
    is in the building overnight???
    And..yes…shots..shots….shots..they went through your paperwork just to make sure
    you had to have some kind of medicine or vaccine!

  10. Teresa Johnson

    I am in a group just outside the norm here as I don’t have dogs or cats. I have hedgehogs. And veterinarian care is still “iffy” when it comes to some of the more exotic or different pets. I’ve been doing hedgehog rescue for close to 20 years now and have had a variety of veterinarians, knowledgable and not so, good and bad. But for the most part I’ve been blessed with more kind, compassionate AND knowledgable veterinarians than not.
    I will emphasize the need to see how the entire staff interacts, not just the veterinarian, with your pets. I once visited a very qualified veterinarian office just to have “first hand” experience as to refer other hedgehog caregivers. First thing, the veterinarian hands me a “fact sheet” about hedgehogs. When I made up-dated and corrective notes in the margins and offered it back she huffed. Another visit (with a friends hedgehog being seen there) I was told by a vet tech that “we always loose money when we see these”. I asked how so, as most exotic animals come with more expensive care. I was told they, the hedgehogs, always take more time than the appointment allowed for and thus they lost money. I suggested to this tech that the scheduling should be handled more efficiently, not blame the animal species. It was my last visit there. I also never referred folks to that clinic regardless of animal species they had as a pet companion.
    I love that my current vet, his entire staff, will interact, play, observe with any of my hedgies – calm or huffy upon arrival. They all have a genuine fondness of ALL animals, including we humans caring for the others.

  11. Katie

    I am still in search of a good veterinarian that believes in what I do or at least respects my opinion and works with me. Does such a person exist in the area I live?

  12. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

    Excellent comments from all. Always trust your gut, it will never lie to you…if you listen to what your body is telling you, your intuition is telling you.

    I highly agree with what many people are saying about, will your vet work with you, respecting your choices & what you want to do & not force things on you.

    Besides my own pets, I am a life long animals rescue person & I have pretty much experienced every type of vet, too many were horrible, especially for cats. I have seen improper handling, because too many vets clientele are 90% or more dogs…and their training & mindset is geared to dogs. If Dr.’s do not have financial incentive to continue advancements in their education of updated information, diagnoses & treatments of felines, than they simply won’t… (or most won’t) I don’t care how “nice” a vet is…”nice” doesn’t always mean a good or competent vet. I have first handed seen cats diagnosed & treated like dogs. The bottom line is, you must research & make an educated decision. Talk to other pet owners, check the background and specialties of the vets you are considering.

    I have to say that when I switched to a feline only vet, my cats were a lot less stressed out not having to hear crazy barking dogs. My vet also is a smaller practice, I never feel rushed, ever. There are times I have to wait longer than I’d like, because she is the only vet there…but I feel she is completely thorough, & I know she leaves no stone unturned. This is not to say that ALL feline only vets are good, or that vets that are feline/cannine all are bad…again, you must do your due diligence research wise. Also, don’t make decisions just based on price. If you do, your beloved pet could pay the price for your penny pinching.

    Lastly, never let ANY vet bully you into ANY medical procedure…. & yes, vaccinations ARE a medical procedure.

    FOR CAT PARENTS…GO TO to learn about the very real risks associated with over vaccinations. Also, to help educate & support pet parents who’s cats are going through cancer due to vaccinations:

    join the yahoo group–VAS ….Vaccine Associated
    It is a wealth of information & support.

    ***FYI*** You don’t need to have a cat afflicted with VAS to join. I joined, just to get educated on the issue. I am glad I did! Knowledge IS power!

  13. Cardiclan

    One other thing – I left a vet practice when they started referring to owners as guardians. I am my dogs’ owner. Period.

  14. Jen Pack

    My husband and I have noticed that our dog is acting a bit sluggish lately. We haven’t been sure what’s wrong with him, so we think it would be a good idea to get him in to a see a vet. I like the idea you give of looking for a vet who is willing to listen to our entire issue and answer all questions or concerns we may have. I imagine that it would also be a good idea to look for someone who is willing to have a consultation with us so that we understand one another. Thanks for sharing this information!

  15. Scott

    I like that you suggest to take notice of how the vet interacts with your pet. I can see why this would be a good way of knowing how your pet will be treated when you leave. My mom has been thinking about getting a puppy since all of her children have left the house. I’ll have to make sure she notices this when she takes it to the vet for vaccinations.

  16. Kourtney Jensen

    I’ve heard that there have been a lot of fleas around where I live and want to get my puppy on preventatives. I appreciate that this is something to take into consideration when choosing a vet, that they should tailor to your needs. I want the best product for my area and will be looking for a vet that will recommend prevention that will be best for my puppy.

  17. Alexandria Martinez

    I really liked that you mentioned how important it is for your veterinarian to listen and explain your pet’s condition. Since we moved, my fiance and I have been looking for a new vet for our dog Boomer. As we keep looking, we will look for this attribute.

  18. Finley Moreira

    I like how you pointed out how it’s important to determine how the office staff interacts with your pet. I have heard that most of your pet’s interaction at a vet’s clinic is with the staff. This would definitely be something I’d consider before choosing a veterinarian.

  19. Jack Duff

    I like what you said about finding a vet who includes you in the process and explains what he is doing. I love my dog a lot, and I want to be sure I understand everything a vet is doing to help him. I am trying to find the best vet possible, because we just moved to a new state. I will definitely pay attention to this as I look around, thanks for sharing.

  20. Ronnie Underhill

    I had a Vet that I trusted, he diagnosed my pekingese with Cushings. He kept her for 2 days on some form of medicine . She looked like she died and was brought back from hell. He couldn’t care less.
    I decided to put her down to avoid any more torture. He smirked when I decided to put her down. When the tech was getting ready to use the needle already stuck in her, she noticed that the needle wasn’t in a vein at all. So two days of IV and going no where. What a loser of a Vet.

    I witnessed a Vet ( Woman) throw a dog across a stainless table and onto the floor after it was euthanized while the old folks were still crying as they paid their bill. When she noticed I witnessed what she did her face turned bright red. A true misfit if there ever was one.

    Minneapolis, MN. is full of such losers unfortunately. After owning 12 dogs, I cannot bring myself to get any more because of such terribly incompetent people.

    I miss having dogs around, if any one knows of a great vet in Minneapolis area, please let me know their name and clinic.

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