It is estimated that there are about 32,000 veterinary practices in the United States. Assessing all these vets and getting the right one can be challenging, especially if you can't get referrals from friends and family. Like human beings, pets also get sick, and they deserve the best health care. However, with thousands of animal hospitals in operation, choosing the right one is usually a long, taxing task for most people.
Here are the four main factors to look for when choosing an animal hospital:
1. Vet's Training and Experience
When you make your first visit to an animal hospital, inquire about the vet's training and experience. Typically, a veterinary's training program includes a bachelor's degree and a four-year doctor of veterinary medicine program.
They must also pass the relevant licensing exams in their respective states. Besides academic qualifications, experience matters. Consider a vet who has more than two years of practicing experience, as they are better positioned to handle a wide variety of emergencies, even complex ones.
2. Personal Traits of the Vet and Their Staff
You should always choose an animal hospital whereby the vet and staff treat you and your pet with compassion. Other personality traits to check include dexterity, problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal communication.
Like human hospitals, a well-run vet hospital should offer compassionate care. When you make your first tour, check if the staff is loving and super attentive to your pet. If they are, you can trust them to handle your animal with dignity, make a proper diagnosis, and prescribe the right treatment.
3. The Hospital's Location
A good animal hospital should have a convenient location. If possible, choose a clinic that operates within or near your neighborhood. A hospital that is located near your house can be easily accessed for emergency cases, even during the night or on weekends. However, remember that some of the best vets may be located far from your residence.
4. The Pricing
Although pricing should not always be a factor, it's advisable to have a budget in mind. In the United States, a routine vet checkup will cost you between $45 and $55. For a dog or cat vaccination, you can part with up to $28.
Typically, most animal hospitals have almost similar charges for the basic treatment of pets. However, the cost may vary for advanced treatment. Find out the tentative treatment charges for various pet conditions in different vet facilities and choose one that is within your budget.
If you decide to own a pet or are already having one, be prepared to take them to a vet once in a while when they are sick or for a routine checkup. When you tour an animal hospital, make all relevant inquiries to ensure that your pet gets the best care.