Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to find a good vet.

Finding a good vet is one of the first things you should do when getting a new pet or moving to a new area.  I see a lot of posts on forum and social networks about how to find a good vet in Cairns or from people looking for a cheap Cairns vet.  What strikes me most about these comments is that people focus on price and personality and don't really pay much attention to medical or surgical expertise, facilities or services.  Now this is really human nature, I know: most pet owners have limited abilities to assess what makes a good vet: so they need to rely on things they can easily assess: namely do they like their vet (most pet owners like their vets) and price (most people can count). 

Now obviously price and personality are factors to be continued (though we should be assessing value rather than price: this is impossible unless you are also able to assess quality... this article should help with that)

Unfortunately, this won't do you much good if your pet needs emergency vet care and your friendly cheap vet doesn't have an after hours service.  It also won't be very helpful if your pet has a medical problem and your friendly cheap vet doesn't have the facilities to diagnose and treat it.  Likewise, it might not be such a bargain if your sick or aged pet needs an anaesthetic and those low vet fees didn't cover the purchase and maintainence of safety equipment or decent pain relief.
Its heartening to read industry surveys of pet owners about the most important factors which people choose a vet: this conveys a more balanced and enlightened range of considerations

The most important factors for choosing a good veterinarian (according to pet owners) 

Here are some survey results of pet owners reasons for choosing a vet (from Ralstone Purina/OVMA Study of Consumer Attitudes )

Interested in wellbeing of my pet - 54%

Has excellent medical knowledge - 35%

Is very comforting to my pet - 24%

Provides prompt service - 19%

Services are reasonably priced - 18%

Is conveniently located - 16%

Doesn't recommend unnecessary services - 14%

Provides explanations - 14%

Has clinical personnel that I trust - 14%

Provides through answers to my questions - 12%

Has a very professional staff - 12%

As you can see, there are a wide range of factors which people take into account when choosing a good vet.  Most clients don't know what these are or how to assess them.  These guidelines below can help you better assess if a vet is going to suit your needs.

What makes a good vet?

A good vet puts your pets needs first, and takes the time to educate you on how to meet their needs.

They are friendly and easy to talk to when needed, and employ staff that take care of you and your pet, and are able to solve a variety of pet related problems. 

A good vet is there when you need them: look for 24 hour emergency services, weekend clinics and good record systems so that the vet will know your pet's history and send you reminders for essential health care such as vaccination and parasite control.  They will also offer a comprehensive range of services such as house calls and pupply classes

A good vet has experience and an interest in your your type of pet and their common problems, and if they aren't sure what is going on, they will be quick to seek advice from a specialist or refer you when necessary.

Their office should be conveniently located with off street parking so you can safely and easily unload your pet from your car.  The clinic should be attractve, well lit and hygeinic: a good vet will be happy to give you a tour of their clinic

A good vet invests in modern diagnostic and safety equipment.  When your pet is sick or undergoing anaesthesia, its important to know your vet is has the right equipment to identify the problem and ensure your pet's health and safety throughout their treatment.

A good vet keeps up to date with recent developments in veterinary science through ongoing education including conferences and courses.  Experience is vital, but not at the expense of keeping up with modern medicine: vet science has come a long way in the last 20 years.

A good vet places great emphasis on your pet's health, comfort and safety.  They know how to assess pain and quality of life, and are happy to teach you and make sure you do all you can to keep your pet comfortable when sick, injured, or aged.  Good vets are proactive and well informed about pain relief after surgery.

A good vet keeps in touch with their community, talking to clients and other pet related professionals and hobbyists.  They aim to share their knowledge with their staff and clients for the welfare of animals.

Dallas McMillan

Read more on how to find a good vet and Pet news on the web.


  1. Great tips! I will share this to my brother because he will going to have a pet in his house and I think he will going to need a veterinarian. I will definitely share this to him now. Thank you for sharing!

    Vets North Somerset

  2. Great advice on choosing a vet that explains the procedures he is doing and why they are important. When you know the reasoning behind things, it makes you feel a lot more comfortable about it. I always appreciate it when someone takes the time to explain procedures because it shows that they truly care.