Taking your pet to the veterinarian for routine care such as checkups and for non-routine needs such as illnesses and injuries is essential. But just because you have a veterinarian doesn’t mean you are required to stay with them forever. In some situations, it can be time to start looking for a new veterinarian. How do you know when it’s time to move on? Certain top signs let you know that you should look elsewhere for veterinary care.
You might need to find a new veterinarian when you don’t think you’re getting adequate care from your current one. For example, maybe you weren’t pleased with how they handled your dog’s recent problem with a skin rash or digestive upset. Maybe you didn’t think they were responsive enough when your pet was experiencing an urgent and serious symptom. Maybe they don’t express much concern or compassion toward your pet or you. These are signs that you need to find a veterinarian who can provide your pet with the attention you expect and need.
Lack of Veterinary Expertise
You need a veterinarian who has the necessary expertise to handle all health issues that your pet might experience. This includes not just routine, simple issues but also more complex ones. Having a veterinarian who can’t handle the health issues for which you usually seek their care is a sign that you need a new veterinarian.
For example, if your cat has an ear issue and your veterinarian doesn’t seem to know what to do, or even misdiagnoses the problem and prescribes the wrong medication, that’s a sign it could be time to move on. Of course, your veterinarian should not be expected to handle every possible problem, because there are times when a veterinary specialist is needed, especially with serious and complex diseases.
There are many aspects of care that determine whether you’re pleased with your current veterinarian, in addition to issues pertaining to medical expertise and other such technicalities. Interactions among humans and between humans and pets also come into play. When you’re experiencing poor communication with the vet’s office, it might be time to seek out a different office.
For example, maybe your dog was very ill this week and the veterinarian's office was supposed to call you back by a certain time of day but didn’t. Or maybe they did call or email you when they should, but they were rude and impatient. If your veterinarian and staff don’t communicate well with your pet, that’s another concern. These communication problems could really get in the way of your pet receiving the best care possible and could be enough reason to find a new veterinarian.
Different people’s personalities need to mesh well in order for your pet to receive the best possible care. But you might have some personality conflicts with the veterinarian or other staff members. These personality conflicts may not be only your own. That is, your pet might have some conflicts with the staff. He might be afraid of the veterinarian, might act anxious around the receptionists, or might act uncharacteristically aggressive at the veterinarian’s office. You might think your pet is afraid of going to the veterinarian, but maybe that’s not the issue at all. Maybe he’s just afraid of the one you go to but would love going to a different one where he senses he’s safer and more comfortable.
Even if you have a wonderful veterinarian that you and your pet love, and they provide excellent care at a reasonable price, you might still find yourself considering a different care provider. If they’re an hour away from your home or office, for example, or they’re in a congested downtown location that doesn’t have enough parking, or in a high-crime area, you may want to consider what other options you have.
It’s much more convenient to have a veterinarian that’s nearby so you don’t have to take too much time out of your busy schedule to get to and from the vet, and so you can quickly get to their office when your pet has an urgent medical issue. Many towns and cities also have traveling veterinarians that come to the pet’s home for appointments, so see whether there’s someone like this in your area.
You need a veterinarian whose office is open at times that are convenient for you. If you work all day during the hours that your vet’s office is open, and they’re not open for appointments during evenings and on weekends, you might need to get a new vet. Find one with office hours that work with your schedule. Also keep in mind that some vets can work with your schedule by being available for appointments even during times outside their usual office hours. Ask about these scheduling issues when you’re interviewing a new veterinarian.
Having a pet involves many expenses, including veterinary care. But not all veterinarians have the same pricing structure. You might be taking your pet to a vet who is too expensive for your budget, in which case you might want to look for a different veterinarian. Many times when you shop around, you find you can get a better cost structure at a different vet. Various offices may have significantly different pricing structures from one another for exactly the same services.
Next Steps: Moving On
Although medical expertise, experience, and knowledge are critical to your satisfaction with a veterinarian, there are many other essential issues that go into deciding where to go for veterinary care. Factor them all in when evaluating how pleased you and your pet are with your current veterinarian.
If you’ve concluded that you do need a new veterinarian, there are numerous ways to find one. First ask your local family and friends whether they have a veterinarian that they like and can recommend. Also look online for quality leads, sites like Vetary make it easy to find the right veterinarian based on location, reviews, experience, accreditations, and you can book online in a few clicks. It probably won’t be long before you’ve found just the perfect veterinarian’s office that suits both you and your beloved pet.
After you decide which new veterinarian to go to, ask your previous veterinarian to send your pet’s health records to you, or directly to the new veterinarian. Thank them for the care they’ve provided, and leave on a positive note. Then move on, confident that you’ve made a wise choice - and that a new start will help your pet receive better care than ever.