What do you look for in a vet/vet clinic?

Food, Fitness and how to keep them healthy.

Postby TheRedQueen » June 27th, 2011, 8:51 am

I was reading one of my favorite blogs last night, "Epbot", and I was horrified to read that she had taken her sick cat to this new vet...where the clinic smelled so bad that they had to breathe through their mouth and the vet had blood on his shirt and scratches all over. He also had a raccoon in there that he let them hold. But he was great with the cat...so they want to go back to him.

http://www.epbot.com/2011/06/saturday-a ... ngdom.html

She asked for opinions on going back to this vet, and the majority of the commenters were all "Oh...stay with the great vet, ignore his messy place". I was amazed...and wrote a comment that said basically "hells no, there's no way I'd go to a dirty vet clinic."

So do you all agree that you should find a clean clinic, or would you go to a dirty clinic with a great vet? Opinions? What do you look for in a vet...what do you avoid?
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 27th, 2011, 9:24 am

Oh HELL no. That's foul. I don't care how nice the vet and staff are, if the office is that disgusting would you really feel comfortable having your animal touch anything there? What if it required surgery? Is the operating room as disgusting as the rest of the office?

My vet's office is immaculate and smells like antiseptic. The staff are awesome and adore Inara. The vet is very open to me coming in armed with knowledge and doesn't argue with me when I say silly things like, "I feed raw meat to my dog." :wink: Her office is absolutely no frills and very tiny. I'm sure I'd have to go elsewhere if Inara needed something major done. But she is very inexpensive, has great hours (open till 8 all week, and until 2 on Saturday I think) and takes her time with me. She also always has on a pristine white lab coat, which I love. :)
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Postby Tubular Toby » June 27th, 2011, 10:18 am

I would never go back. The author makes it sound like the *ONLY* choices they have are this vet or a cold, callous chain vet. There aren't any other vet offices besides these two? I highly doubt that. You can find staff that are great and the place is clean.

Reading this reminded me of that story about the doctor doing illegal abortions in an absolutely disgusting office.

Cleanliness is right up there with knowledgeable and friendly staff. Mostly because any knowledgeable staff will also realize the importance of cleanliness (and not keeping the hallway FILLED with wire cages for "rescues"). Now, not every clean vet office has smart vets, just like not all rectangles are squares. ;)
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Postby plebayo » June 27th, 2011, 10:23 am

Do they never plan on having their pet potentially hospitalized or have surgery done on it? Because I certainly wouldn't do it there! Honestly, regardless of the vet's bedside manner how they take care of their office animals IMO would be a reflection of how they would treat your pet. Keeping a pet raccoon, in a cage, with a rabbit is absurd. Not to mention - blood on your shirt, really? That is what scrub tops are for, you should change before you go in.

The vet clinic I work at is small, and an older building. We're actually moving in a few weeks to a facility that is being built. In the mean time, we try to keep our old clinic looking as clean as possible.

Cleanliness would be a factor for me especially if my pet were to undergo surgery. Another key thing for me is whether or not the vet is hands on. At places like Banfield they make you do x, y, and z to try to get a diagnoses. At our clinic if z will get the diagnoses we will go with that option. We aren't interested in taking all of your money, we want to help your pet.

So I agree with you, I would have been out of there once I saw the raccoon.
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Postby SLS61185 » June 27th, 2011, 3:19 pm

I have to like the people and they have to like Patch. They need to be 'cheap' too.

plebayo wrote:At places like Banfield they make you do x, y, and z to try to get a diagnoses.


Bandfield is who we use and we don't pay a lot of money at all. We have a monthly plan with them and have used them for three years now. So far the only thing they 'overcharge' for is RX's... but I just have them write them out for me and take it somewhere else.
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Postby BigDogBuford » June 27th, 2011, 3:46 pm

It needs to be clean and smell good and the staff needs to be friendly and be reasonably flexible about working me in. I have a lot of animals and a lots of knowledge so if I call and say my cat is acting neurologic and needs to be seen then I appreciate if they take me seriously. I don't mind paying a work in fee and I also don't mind a rather long wait. My pets have been the emergency making the vet run behind for other clients so I try to be as flexible as possible.

I also like the staff to realize that I drop a *lot* of money at the vet and never bicker over charges so I appreciate a little extra service when I can get it. The vet needs to smart and forward thinking and needs to genuinely like animals. I've met some vets that don't seem to like animals at all and that always makes me scratch my head. They also need to not be afraid of my dogs.

I loathe Banfield. Absolutely loathe them. When I worked at Roscoe's I had to call for vaccination info all the time and their receptionists were the absolute worst I've ever dealt with. I can't tell you the number of times I was put on perma-hold. One receptionist I talked to didn't know that "2" written in a chart meant February. Seriously?!? Whoa.
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Postby iluvk9 » June 27th, 2011, 5:10 pm

My Vet choice, in no particular order:

1) Clean

2) Attentive staff when I call with *my* emergency, which may be silly to others.

3) Understands my unique relationship with my dogs.

4) Knowledgeable on the latest medical information.

5) Gives me all the options for my dog's situation then helps ME make the best choice for my dog.
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Postby TinaMartin » June 27th, 2011, 6:14 pm

Things I want in a vet
1. CLEAN! If something happens to my pet they better be treated in a clean facility.
2. They better know what they are talking about.
3. They can't have a problem with raw feeding.
4. They better like and be able to handle my big, smelly, slobbery & tempermental jerk of a dog.
5. They better treat me like I have a brain and more than a third grade edumacatshon.
My vet has always covered all those bases. As a bonus my vet is also cheap!
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Postby hugapitbull » June 27th, 2011, 7:47 pm

1.) Likes animals - particularly MY animals
2.) Confident enough to step outside their comfort zone in the interest of progressive treatment
3.) Willing to share ALL the info you need to make a critical decision
4.) Leads me to a good decision, but doesn't try to decide for me
5.) Clean - is a given
6.) Reasonably responsible, attentive, & helpful office staff
8.) Somewhat flexible hours
7.) My dogs LOVE them
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Postby plebayo » June 28th, 2011, 12:42 am

SLS61185 wrote:
plebayo wrote:At places like Banfield they make you do x, y, and z to try to get a diagnoses.


Bandfield is who we use and we don't pay a lot of money at all. We have a monthly plan with them and have used them for three years now. So far the only thing they 'overcharge' for is RX's... but I just have them write them out for me and take it somewhere else.


I guess to better explain what I am saying is that clinics like Banfield do not allow their veterinarians to think for themselves. One of our veterinarians interviewed there and they explained that they have certain protocols. The veterinarian asked if she could do something different if she didn't agree with said protocol and she was told no. I want to go to a veterinarian that can do whatever they can to help my pet, if it means doing something out of order, so be it. Certain things do require protocol, but when it comes to finding a diagnoses, there's no set way of doing things IMO. The treatment plan should be based on what the veterinarian knows works, not from the book that some big CEO of Banfield has written because he thinks he knows how it is.

I also have to agree with a having a veterinarian that doesn't push certain foods. I think it's so annoying when you go to the vet and they're like "You MUST feed this corn filled awesomeness! It is waaaay better than Atta Boy!"

I also think it's important to steer clear of veterinarian that tells you your pet is the worst animal ever. Like Erin's post in rant and rave about the vet saying the cat was awful. I would be pretty offended, I know my cat is bad, but if a veterinarian basically said this was the worst they have ever seen I would think they haven't seen much in their lifetime.
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Postby SLS61185 » June 28th, 2011, 2:22 am

plebayo wrote:I guess to better explain what I am saying is that clinics like Banfield do not allow their veterinarians to think for themselves. One of our veterinarians interviewed there and they explained that they have certain protocols. The veterinarian asked if she could do something different if she didn't agree with said protocol and she was told no. I want to go to a veterinarian that can do whatever they can to help my pet, if it means doing something out of order, so be it. Certain things do require protocol, but when it comes to finding a diagnoses, there's no set way of doing things IMO. The treatment plan should be based on what the veterinarian knows works, not from the book that some big CEO of Banfield has written because he thinks he knows how it is.


Thanks for explaining. While I agree and disagree at the same time. I understand the wanting to get the diagnoses as quick as possible... I also understand the protocol thing. Where I work (not a vet, so a lil' different) we tend to do thing MUCH different than most other restaraunts - to the point if you knew them, you'd think it was crazy. Call me crazy, but I'd prefer both, though. Difference in opionions I guess.

SLS61185 wrote:I have to like the people and they have to like Patch. They need to be 'cheap' too.
And also there's a lot more to this, like other people said...
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Postby pitsnok » June 28th, 2011, 3:07 am

I can't really say what I look for in a vet necessarily... I was relatively clueless when we were first searching after getting Degan. I just looked at lots and lots of reviews online about probably every single clinic in Edmond and the OKC area. I had always heard of the one we use, they had great customer reviews online, and they had an up-to-date, easily to navigate website with pictures, staff bios, and pretty much any piece of information you could think find on a website... and the info was very thorough, not just a tidbit here and there to leave you guessing.
So that is what sold me initially, but after our first visit there I was sold for good.
First of all, they LOVE our dogs. The front desk staff is always really excited to see us, they know my name, the dogs' names (even if they just read it from the computer, they at least have the courtesy to USE the names!) The place is always so clean, (and they have doorknobs mounted to their counters which are chest-high to hold leashes while signing paperwork... maybe this is common, but I thought it was pretty innovative). They also coordinate animals so that we almost NEVER encounter another dog when leaving the exam room to pay...I hear them the whole time we're in the room, but never see them once we come out. Maybe that's just coincidence, but it's comforting.

Our vet always kneels down to the dogs, rubs their ears and head like he's used to big dogs, lets them give him kisses, goes through their tricks, pats them with the hard pat they love so much, etc. That's one thing I really appreciate because when we have had to see another vet with Ollie on a short notice appointment, he didn't really interact with him outside of checking the Ollie over... and that was a big turnoff for me.

The two things I rave about when it comes to our vet though, are:
1. He tells me how much he loves my dogs. Once he even said, "Anytime I am in a conversation with someone about pit bulls, your dogs are always what comes to mind when I am explaining how great they can be. Your dogs are excellent ambassadors for the breed."
and
2. He ALWAYS asks how the other dogs are doing, by name. For example when we took Degan in last fall for his shots, the vet stayed back for an extra five minutes or so after finishing up with Degan to ask about Harlow, her thyroid, and everything else she has always had. To me, that shows that he truly does care... and to see as many animals as I'm sure he does, it means a lot to me that he even remembers which dogs go with which human, let alone their names and ailments!

Honestly I think one of the things I value most is that our vet is a dog person, and a people person! Sometimes I just want to take a dog in to say hi! :dance:
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Postby Malli » June 28th, 2011, 3:46 am

I didn't have time to read the whole thread, sooo tired.

I have a unique perspective on this, having worked with many veterinarians.

firstly let me say, that there are exceptions; such as a particular patient's kennel, where the animal (usually cat) is particularly aggressive and it is stressful for both the staff and the patient to go in to the kennel to clean it as frequently as would be ideal, or say, if the patient is having very very frequent diarrhea(and it can be hard to keep up with the frequency), so that particular kennel may be messy or there may be a bit of a temporary smell.
Honestly, I would have never considered overall cleanliness as an option; this is a medical establishment, lack of cleanliness can exacerbate infection, and place stress on the patient's immune system that can slow the healing process.

In my opinion, a good veterinarian should be :
-compassionate and kind with you, and your pet equally, be an advocate for the best medicine and for the patient, within reason.
-have a good bedside manner (in my mind, this is equivilent to being easy to talk to)
-have a "knack" for their field; this is combination of good old fashioned dilligence as well as a natural "talent" that just is or isn't : I have seen veterinarians that care and try and just don't have that talent

In my opinion all of those should be present, they are all equally important.

As I mentioned, I do not see overall cleanliness as a factor in choosing a good veterinarian; if the office or exam room is not clean, then the Veterinarian should not be considered as a candidate.

hopefully in my overtiredness I have explained myself clearly.
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