Take care of sick pets by first selecting the right vet
Choosing the right vet for your pet is a must. Similar to selecting a doctor for your kids that puts their mind at ease, is easily accessible in parental emergencies and who you trust implicitly! We all know that most animals don’t take too kindly to visits to a vets so making sure that you have one that your pet doesn’t hate straight off is a must.
So what exactly do you need to ask first and foremost in order to find a vet that will work for you and your wee one?
- When is the vet available?
Is the vet open 24 hours a day? Can I take my cat in over the weekend or in the evenings? Cats are curious creatures that – unfortunately – get into mischief on a 24/7 basis so if your vet is only open 9 am until 5 pm then you need to consider whether that is good enough or if it is worth finding an alternative vet that is open 24/7 – even if it means you’d pay more to have your cat seen in the wee small hours.
- Is there a cat equivalent of an A&E?
In an emergency during opening hours, can I bring my cat in to be seen immediately? Do you have an ambulance if it’s difficult for me to bring my cat in?
- What happens if my cat is sick or injured when the surgery is closed?
Here, you can ask about out of hours’ provision. If the vet isn’t open, are they linked to another practice for emergency care?
- What happens if my cat needs surgery?
Some practices have dedicated operating theatres there on the premises so your cat won’t have to be moved to another location for his or her operation – this is good as it minimises stress, since cats do not like to be moved around and some can even get severely car / travel sick.
- What happens if my cat needs to stay overnight?
If your cat needs to be admitted, are there facilities to keep them overnight for 24 hour care, and will you be able to visit and, if so, when?
- What equipment does your surgery have?
If my cat is in pain, does your surgery have x-ray and ultrasound facilities to help you to quickly diagnose and treat complicated problems. Do you have in-house labs, so that bloods can be examined quickly? This is especially important if your cat – heaven forbid – has swallowed the dreaded anti-freeze.
- How do I know if a vet is registered with the correct authorities?
All vets must be a listed as members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to be allowed to practice legally. They should have MRCVS after their name.
- Does the surgery help to educate pet owners on prevention?
You should be able to call and ask simple questions, and look out for low cost or free of charge clinics on things like dental care, weight management, parasite control, puppy socialisation and growth and development.
- Do you like the vet?
This is all about gut instinct. Is the vet someone that you could trust and who you feel your pet will like, or at least not try to claw/bite upon introduction? This is also a good question to ask as you will have an idea what type of person your cat prefers – calm and quiet individuals or entertaining and colourful characters with flair – so stick with what works when picking a vet.
- Does your vet have any practice partners?
If so, ask to meet them too as if your vet is on holiday it will be those people tending to and caring for your cat so you need to give them the once over too – just like new or replacement babysitters for kid.
- What payment options are available?
You may be surprised to learn that some vets practices do not take every type of cat insurance out there. So, before you assume that your vet can be paid off via the insurance company rather than out of your own pocket, it’s always best to confirm exactly what the process is and whether your cat’s illness or annual check-up payments are covered by the insurance policy you have and that your policy is accepted by the vet. You may also find that you will be liable for the entire cost of treatment and must reclaim that money yourself from your insurance company, rather than them paying the vet directly. Some vets will have a pay-it-up policy where you can pay a deposit towards treatment and then pay off the outstanding amount in weekly or monthly amounts, to make big costs easier to afford.
- Do your friends with pets have any recommended vets?
It’s always worth asking for recommendations as pet owners are a fussy bunch and are only too happy to share with friends which trusted vets they use.