How to SHOP for a good Vet.
Ask your friends or colleagues about their Vet. Not just which Vet they use but if they are happy with the Vet’s ability, knowledge, clinic and bedside manner. It’s amazing the people I run into that keep using a Vet that they are not really happy with but yet they have not bothered to look for another Vet.
Does your pet have a condition that needs special medication, testing, surgical intervention or pain management? If your pet has a medical condition, search for a Vet that has the knowledge and experience to provide the testing, X-rays and treatment to provide the best care for the pets needs.
Does the Vet provide vet care at the standard rate? Vet care is not the place I would want to cut corners on cost but the Kenya Vet Board sets the range of prices that may be charged for services, however some Vets here charge at the very top end of that range.
Is the Vet licensed? There are many so called “Vets” here that are actually chemists or may have studied medicine of some sort but not graduated. Many of these operate out of their car and use any medicine they can get their hands on to treat animals. There is a reason that humans see Doctors and pets are treated by Veterinarians….. I really don’t want my dog being spayed by a would-be dentist that did not finish school! If the “vet” does not have a clinic, ask to see their license and check with the East Africa Kennel Club (0734 650 213) if they have had any members that have used this Vet and were they happy with the quality of care and treatment received by their pets.
Where is the Vet’s office located? How accessible is it during busy times of day?
Ideally your Vet clinic should be close enough to your home that you can get there quickly by day and safely by night, in case of an emergency.
Do they have Emergency hours and on call staff?
Some Vets live on the same property at the clinic and therefore are easily available in emergencies. Some clinics have a rotation of on call Vets that stay at the clinic overnight for emergencies.
Are you comfortable with the other Vets in the practice? Vets go on vacation and have other commitments away from the clinic, so are you happy with the other Vets in case you don’t see your preferred Vet?
How is theVet’s clinic equipped and is it clean?
Ask to have a look at the surgery and exam rooms. Are they clean?
Do they have basic medicines and an X-ray machine? Some Vets still send pets in the back door of human hospitals late at night for X-rays if they don’t have their own machines.
How are the staff? Office staff should be pleasant, efficient and the Vet’s assistants in the exam rooms should be firm and comfortable handling pets, but not rough.
Does the Vet offer boarding, either for ill and recuperating pets or while you are away on travel? Ask to have a look at the boarding area. Is it clean? Keep in mind that quarantine and recovery kennels are meant to be barren and easily disinfected. It won’t look like a Dog Hotel or Doggie Daycare Boarding that you may have seen in other places. Ask if the dogs get walked daily and how many times per day?
Can you make arrangements for a pet to be seen in an emergency without payment up front? If you travel a lot or for long periods, your Vet should be willing to see your pet without full payment until you can return or sort out a way to get them paid. At the very minimum you should be able to make a deposit with the Vet for emergency use.
Ask where your pet would have surgical procedures performed? As much as this sounds like a no brainer, there are some Vets that send pets out to the University to have surgery performed by Vet students (very low cost as the students need practice) but the Vet charges you the full rate as if they were performing the surgery! I don’t want anyone “practising” on my pet, especially if I am paying for my chosen Vets experience and expertise.
Does the Vet make house calls? This is handy again if you travel or have a pet that does not travel well.