Cat owners have to choose vets before they really get a chance to know them. Cats are different than other companion animals because of who they are. Good vets know how to minimize stress for cats, as well as meeting their medical needs.
Here are some tips to help you know if your vet is a good choice for your cat:
1.Guidelines– If you read the news, you know that vaccines have gotten some attention lately. The veterinary industry has made great efforts to be sure that we are doing our best to care for cats and not inadvertently causing harm. The American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners have all issued statements regarding vaccines, so vets are not left to their own devices to decide what is best for your cat. Good vets make an effort to stay abreast of the latest recommendations. He or she should follow published vaccine guidelines and make sure they are tailored to the individual needs of your specific cat. This means questions are asked about the lifestyle of your cat and your participation is appreciated in the decisions.
2. Examination-The best vets do a physical exam on a cat with an emphasis on the reason for your visit that day. Veterinary medicine is not a one size fits all program. Your cat should be examined before any prescriptions are given. This means that a good vet is going to want to see your cat and not just fill prescriptions by phone. Sometimes it is annoying to call and be told that your cat must be examined because you are busy, but be aware that just filling prescriptions without an exam is not “best medicine”. Even though you think that you know what is wrong with your cat, without a veterinary exam, things could be missed or inaccurately treated.
3.Medical Care Plans-An able vet wants to have a partnership with you to care for your cat. That means that he/she wants you both to have your needs met. If you are unable to pay your bill after the treatment, it is a stress for all involved. You should get a medical treatment plan with a cost estimate before anything is done. Because pet insurance is not like human insurance, you may be responsible for the cost of the treatment and proficient veterinarians want to be sure that you know what you are getting for your money.
4.Pain Control– If your cat is undergoing any procedure that is painful, pain control medications are given. Just because an animal will not complain about pain doesn’t mean that she doesn’t feel it and cats are especially secretive about pain. Empathetic and competent veterinarians are sure to consider this component of treatment. If your vet is willingly to perform surgery without offering (or even requiring) pain coverage, find a new vet. May vets include the pain control in the cost estimate, but make sure you ask if pain is being addressed.
The best vets are empathetic to your pet and sympathetic to you. There will always be personality differences that might mean even a great vet is not a good choice for you personally. The important thing is that you find one that you trust that is able to be your partner in making sure that your cat gets the best care you can afford.