Choosing a Veterinarian
One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a pet parent is finding a quality health care provider for your furry friend. Selecting the right veterinarian is a personal decision, but you’ll want to choose a practice that offers the highest available standard of care.
The best way to find a good veterinarian is to ask people who have the same approach to pet care as you. Start with a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, dog trainer, groomer, boarding kennel employee or pet sitter.
Google "Veterinarians" and "Animal Hospitals," where you can likely find important information about hours, services and staff. Check for membership in the American Animal Hospital Association. AAHA membership means that a veterinary hospital has voluntarily pursued and met AAHA's standards in the areas of facility, equipment and quality care.
If you're looking for a specialist, ask about board certification. This means the vet has studied an additional two to four years in the specialty area and passed a rigorous exam.
Once you've narrowed your search, you will want to evaluate the facility and learn about the clinic's philosophy and policies.
What to look for
Is the facility clean, comfortable and well-organized? Are appointments required? How many veterinarians are in the practice? Are there technicians or other professional staff members? Are dog and cat cages in separate areas? Is the staff caring, calm, competent and courteous, and do they communicate effectively? Do the veterinarians have special interests such as geriatrics or behavior? Are X-rays, ultrasound, bloodwork, EKG, endoscopy and other diagnostics done in-house or referred to a specialist? Which emergency services are available? Is location and parking convenient?
Meeting the veterinarian
How about the doctor? Does he/she take time to listen to your concerns? Are you given enough time to explain and ask questions? How is his/her rapport with your pet? Does he/she talk to your animal and try to establish a relationship before starting the exam? Is your pet called by name? Does the doctor take time to do an exam and address your concerns? Do you feel comfortable asking questions? Are your questions answered? If your pet is ill or if some type of in-hospital procedure is required is everything well explained?
It is important that you advocate for yourself and your pet. If the vet is not respectful of your care philosophy, look for another vet! Be sure that your vet provides an estimate of anticipated charges before starting treatment and whenever possible makes you aware of alternatives that may be more economical. Liability concerns and the potential of lawsuits often cause vets to be overly cautious in the care options offered. If a vet recommends expensive testing, we ask them to offer a clinical diagnosis that we may act on first. This often leads to an inexpensive resolution to the problem. If you don't ask, they probably won't offer! Avoid vets who concoct issues. We have had buyers call us in a panic because the vet they chose got them all worked up over nothing. Our vet thoroughly checks out the puppies before we send them to their new homes. We would never send you a puppy with a known defect or health issue.
Things to beware of
We're not fans of large, corporate owned verterinary facilities. The doctors are often restricted by the policies set forth by the corporation. The video below is an example of that.
Many vets push foods that we consider to be quite inferior. You want to stay away from brands that include corn, wheat, soy, sorphum etc. These are fillers that are high in carbs and are usually GMO. Here's a segment of an article from Dr. Karen Becker, warning pet owners of the dangers of some of these ingredients.
Aflatoxin contamination has been the reason behind a number of regional pet food recalls and several major disease outbreaks over the past 20+ years. Aflatoxins are naturally occurring mycotoxins produced by the Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticusfungi and are the most extensively researched mycotoxins in the world.
Aflatoxins are known to cause acute toxic illness and cancer in animals and humans and are considered among the most carcinogenic substances on the planet. Cats and dogs are more sensitive to aflatoxins than many other animals.
Aflatoxins frequently contaminate agricultural crops before they are harvested. Conditions that promote pre-harvest contamination include high temperatures, prolonged periods of drought, and insect activity. Aflatoxins can also be a problem after harvesting if the crop stays wet for too long. And they can grow on stored crops if the moisture level is too high and mold develops.
The three plants with the highest rate of aflatoxin contamination are corn, peanuts and cottonseed. Aflatoxicosis is more common in dogs than cats because commercial dog food formulas more often contain corn products.
We also find that many vets over vaccinate. This can cause health risks and even early death for a dog. Please consider titer testing after puppy shots are complete. Ask for Rabies to be spaced at least a month apart from other vaccinations.
Consider carefully the treatments that your vet recommends before agreeing to it. We don't see the need for monthly heartworm pills a during months where there are no mosquitos, nor regular Bordatella vaccinations. Here is what Dr. Karen Becker says on the subject:
- Kennel cough (Bordetella) is a highly contagious upper respiratory condition in dogs; most Bordetella cases are acquired in facilities where lots of dogs are together in close quarters
- The most common cause of the infection is the simultaneous presence of the parainfluenza virus and the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria; the universal symptom of an infection is a dry hacking cough
- The best course of action is to let mild cases of kennel cough in otherwise healthy dogs run their course with the aid of natural, non-toxic remedies
- Since a serious episode of kennel cough can result in pneumonia, if the symptoms aren’t improved after a week or are worsening, your puppy or adult dog stops eating or develops a fever, make an urgent appointment with your veterinarian
- Because there are many viruses and bacteria that can contribute to a kennel cough infection, experts say bordetella is not a vaccinatable disease; instead, focus on supporting your dog’s immune system.
- The way we support our dogs' immune systems is through pawTree's food and their Wild Alaskan Salmon & Pollack Oil and NuVet Vitamins. We are looking for buyers for our Cotons that will advocate for the Coton rather than just accepting everything that the vet suggests.
- Check out the following articles:
We hope you find this information helpful. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to us.