How to switch veterinarians

veterinarian_3_microsoftIf you lose faith in your veterinarian or get a bad vibe, the good news it that it is easier to switch your vet than it is to switch your human doctor. Try not to feel guilty if this happens to you, there is no one-veterinarian-fits-all mandate.

While deciding to leave may be a challenge, there are only two steps to switching vets!

  • Find a new veterinarian.¬†
  • Get a copy of your pet’s health records to take to your new vet. This can be the hard part – especially if you have a long-standing relationship with your old vet – because it involves openly admitting your defection. The good news is that the new vet’s office will often take care of this bit for you if you just ask. They want your business!

Since moving to the Austin area over ten years ago, my pets and I “went through” four vets before settling on our current doctor. Here’s why we changed:

Vet #1: I saw their office near my home and made an appointment. At the time, I had two dogs. We sat in the waiting room – which was a zoo – for about 30 minutes. We entered the exam room and waited some more. Once the vet arrived, the annual checkups for two dogs new to their practice took 15 minutes total. Little discussion or desire to understand me or my pets. (We only went once!)

Vet #2: Again, I went with geographical proximity. This vet’s office was saner and much more organized. There were two vets – husband and wife. The wife was nice and engaging; the husband a complete curmudgeon (and cold to both humans and dogs). It just never felt right.

Vet #3: Recommended by my very particular neighbor. The vet was pretty kooky but clearly loved dogs and her job. The office was pleasant and organized. They knew me and my dogs. Nice. Then, I had two dogs in a row go through wacky illnesses. For me, this vet did not do a good job of supporting me or treating my pets while they were in crisis. My problems may have been completely circumstantial, and admittedly my dogs had uncommon health issues.

Vet #4: ¬†Long story short, my first random-illness dog ended up having a series of seizures early in the morning, and I needed a vet that opened early. I was sent to the new vet. Showed up at 7:30 with a very, very sick dog. This vet and her office took us in immediately and helped quickly. The vet read through all of Daisy’s health records and went to work. Ultimately, there was nothing she could do, but the office was very supportive. I went back to vet #3 until the next dog health crisis hit. Unhappy with how things were going at vet #3, I remembered how knowledgeable and progressive vet #4 was and switched immediately. The office knows me and my dogs; the vet remembers me and my pet’s history ( and my family’s pet’s history); and the office is busy but well-organized. I don’t spend a lot of time waiting around, and they can always fit me in in a pinch. This is the best vet I’ve ever had, and I recommend them often.

Remember that you have options if you lose faith in your veterinarian. When you take your pets to the doctor, you should feel confident and comfortable. Your vet should be engaged and informed.