Choosing a great veterinarian is one of the best decisions you can make for your pet. There are many factors to consider when choosing a vet, such as experience, credentials, and reputation in the industry. The following signs may indicate that a vet is likely to meet your pet’s needs.
Signs to Look for in a Great Veterinarian
1. Good Communication Skills
Good communication is an essential skill in the veterinary field. Your vet needs to be able to effectively explain the status of your pet’s health and how a certain diagnosis could affect the animal. Great vets will speak in terms that are easy for the average pet owner to understand, allowing you to easily digest information about your pet’s condition. These communication skills should extend to all aspects of veterinary care, such as providing appointment reminders, giving advice, and prescribing medications.
2. Extensive Veterinary Knowledge
Veterinarians must possess extensive veterinary knowledge to provide adequate care and treatment for your pet. A great vet will have knowledge in many areas of veterinary medicine, such as animal behavior, animal medicine, emergency services, and psychological services. The number of years practicing veterinary medicine can give you an indication of how knowledgeable the veterinarian is.
3. Authentic Credentials
Just like any other profession, there are people that claim to possess the proper veterinary credentials and licenses but are actually fraudsters. Allowing your pet to be cared for by someone without the right qualifications could essentially put your pet’s life at risk. Always check the veterinarian’s credentials and ensure that the vet went to an accredited veterinary college. The American Veterinary Medical Association provides a list of accredited veterinary colleges both in and outside the U.S.
4. Empathy and Compassion
While every veterinarian has their own unique personality, it’s important to find one that has empathy and compassion for animals. Your vet should be able to comfort and console your ill or injured pet, as well as being empathic to you as a struggling pet owner. A great vet will also use compassion even when your pet is healthy to make your cat or dog feel at ease in an unfamiliar place.
5. Strong Diagnostic Skills
Having strong diagnostic skills is essential for any veterinarian. The last thing you want to do is spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars at the vet’s office only to discover that your pet’s diagnosis was wrong. Although there is always a risk of a wrong diagnosis, great vets are accurate with their diagnoses the majority of the time, resulting in a quicker recovery and less discomfort for your pet.
6. Friendly and People-Oriented
Veterinarians work alongside pet owners every day to help them care for their ill, injured, and aging pets. It’s normal for pet owners to feel scared or stressed about their pet’s condition and may have difficulty making the right decisions for the health of their pet. A great vet is friendly and people-oriented. They know how to talk to pet owners in a way that keeps them calm and level-headed. Great vets are also understanding and possess the ability to speak with people with all types of personalities.
7. Pain-Free Philosophy
While vets shouldn’t be too quick to put animals on medications that they may not need, they should consider what is in the best interest of the animal. Avoid vets that are willing to send your pet home with a serious injury or post-surgery without the proper medications. A great vet will have a pain-free philosophy, meaning he or she will make decisions regarding medications and treatments with your pet’s discomfort in mind.
8. Time Management Skills
Veterinarians see many patients throughout the day, often resulting in long wait times and crowded waiting rooms. Great vets will know how to properly manage their time to ensure that all patients are seen in a timely manner and that the appropriate amount of time is dedicated to each patient. A good vet will not hurry you along or neglect your questions or concerns. They will also provide alternative forms of contact, such as email, cell phone, or text message.
9. Superior Listening Skills
Good communication is not just about being able to discuss certain topics clearly. It is also about having the ability to actively listen and understand what someone else is saying. It is imperative to choose a vet that is a good listener and considers all of your concerns and observations before making a diagnosis. A great vet will know what questions to ask and will allow you to provide a detailed answer to ensure that your pet receives the best care possible.
10. Commitment to Exceptional Care
One of the best qualities that a veterinarian can have is a commitment to exceptional care. Great vets will go above and beyond to help their patients, even if that means finding unorthodox solutions, considering a pet owner’s online research, customizing a treatment plan, or consulting with colleagues. Good vets are also willing to refer pet owners to specialists, encourage second opinions, and work with veterinarians from different fields.
Choosing a Great Veterinarian for Your Pet
It’s important to understand that even a great veterinarian can make mistakes. When choosing a vet, don’t go for perfection. Consider what qualities and characteristics are most important to you and choose a vet that possesses these standards.