Choosing a Veterinarian - Page 5 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #41 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-12-2013, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by seahorsee View Post
Hi! I've recently got a puppy, and now I'm looking for a good vet. I've looked through many reviews (Animal Services Reviews @ Pissed Consumer), but still can't make a right choice. What does a good vet mean? What qualities should this specialist have? Please help!
"The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones" William Shakespeare

I must ask, what the heck did you think you were going to read on a sight that is labeled such???

Since my momma taught me not to use that word, peed-on consumers are unlikely to tell you how their vet had respect for them and their pet, and discussed everything knowledgeably. But whatever.

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post #42 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 08:45 AM
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I had been using this one vet for a few years. I had a cat and house rabbits at the time and it is hard to find a vet who knows rabbits. I got my first German Shepherd and it had endless stomach issues from the beginning. After numerous trips to the vet with no results, the vet informed me that the only problem with the dog was me. So I buy another bag of Low Residue kibble and go to leave. The receptionist insists on helping me carry the food to the car (it was only a five pound bag). In the parking lot she tells me to take the dog to another vet and gives me his name. They get me in the next day. The dog had twisted its intestine at the mesentaric root. New vet did surgery and the dog lived to be 11.
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post #43 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 10:35 PM
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When in a new area, I ask area people for vet recommendations. I go where the folks say is the best for an 'easy' appointment and make my own evaluation. It's worked for me and mine
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post #44 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 11:05 PM
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When I was looking for a vet in my area, I asked around. Most recommended one particular clinic which was only about 15 minutes from me. There were several practicing there. The first one seemed a little rushed and I was sort of turned off by it. But when Sweet Pea's hip dislocated and we took her in, the man that saw us that time was WONDERFUL. So sweet with animals and very thorough. At her second hip reduction follow-up, he was all, "Oh here's my beautiful Sweet Pea. You look so good. Let's see you walk sweetheart!" Then he has me walk her up and down the hallway... all the while shouting, "Look at you go Sweet Pea! Work it girl!"

In other words, huge difference between vets under one roof. Needless to say, we requested him from that point forward. Proof is in the pudding because he's always booked up compared to the others.

Unfortunately we've moved an extra 10 miles away. I still want to use him but we're now looking for one that's closer just in case. I don't wanna have an emergency and take her into the first one up the street without knowing what I'm getting into. You know?

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Sweet Pea ~ 11 yr old female Cocker Spaniel 1.7.03
Stella ~ 5 mth old bicolor female GSD (?) c. 11.1.13
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post #45 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-22-2013, 08:39 AM
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I first chose my vet practice because they were really close to my house. Then my cat had urinary tract issues and I picked a random doctor there and she turned out to be one fantastic lady! She treated my Nightshade so thoroughly and effectively and even didn't charge me once because I had to wait 45 minutes for my appointment (due to another pet having an emergency)! The rescue group I got Ralphie from used a different place that wasn't too far from my house either and I got a free coupon for an initial check-up (plus I had to take Ralphie back there after the first week to get his neuter stitches out). I went there once and only once. The doctor I got was very impersonal and even though Ralphie was emaciated, he told me that he was at a perfect weight (ummm, pretty sure you're not supposed to be able to SEE ribs and hips/pelvic bones sticking out) so I seriously doubted his professional opinion and took Ralphie to my cat vet who again, has done a wonderful job with Ralphie, too. My advice would be to go to someone you're comfortable with. If you go to one place and they just don't do it for you, go somewhere else.

Ralphie - GSD, rescue, Gotcha Day 2/10/13
Nightshade - born 6/3/2003 - Domestic medium hair/Maine Coon mix (feline)
James - Domestic short hair (feline), rescue, Gotcha Day 6/23/11
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post #46 of 52 (permalink) Old 06-06-2013, 07:16 PM
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Chose the Vet I have now because they use Alternative therapies in addition to all the regular ones. They are a 2 vet practice so I get to know them and they get to know my dog first hand. Close so I can walk the dog there. They are both University of Penn Vet School grads....

Kaos 8/6/2003-5/18/2013 Things not what they used to be. Missing one inside of me. Deathly lost this Cant be real. Cannot stand this H*ll I feel. Emptiness is filling me. To the point of agony...
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post #47 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 07:40 AM
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I generally start with word of mouth, and then judge based on my own experience. I can deal with a vet being slightly not *perfect* (in the people handling department) if the vet techs are decent, good vet techs do a LOT of the day to day stuff anyway.

I want my vets to be open to ME making the choices on what I'm doing with my animals. In other words, if a vet isn't going to let me be with my animal for the entire visit, there'd better be an excellent reason. Or if a vet is going to push me really hard toward a certain treatment (must speuter RIGHTNOW), a certain food (Science Diet is the BESTEVER), a certain method of training (better ALPHAROLL that dog), etc, I'm probably not going to like them.

I like a vet that is willing to listen and respect my learnings about my dogs, and who pays attention to things I notice about them, like my gut instinct. I especially love it when a vet treats my animals with respect.

It's fairly important to me that their office be clean and neat. It doesn't have to be all shiny and new, but if they aren't willing to keep the place clean, then I'm not likely to go back. Along those lines, I prefer it if the place is organized. If they keep losing records and such, and can't keep track of when appointments are etc, that's gonna bother me.

My Dog: Krissie ~ Beagle Mix Extraordinaire 09/09
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post #48 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 08:39 AM
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Vets Afraid of Big Dogs

I've bounced around among vets recently and had a bad experience.

We stupidly left our regular vet behind when my Zeus had an ear infection because they've gotten so picky about when they'll see a dog and what they're willing to do when they see him. This started happening when they changed their name from Veterinary Office to Animal Hospital. It's as hard to get an appointment with them now as it sometimes is to get an appointment with my primary care physician.

Anyway, my GSD is not fond of vets. And, the new vet AND HIS AGING STAFF, recommended by a friend, took one look at Zeus' size and his nervousness at the vet's office and looked like frightened deer. I actually saw the vet himself cringe.

Regrettably, so too did Zeus notice. That reinforced his own fear-base aggression and it was a rodeo after that.

I read a quote on this board recently that said something like vets are medically trained and not necessarily trained as dog-handlers. I'm sure that goes particularly for large breed dogs.

The new vet said at the end of the visit that he had never successfully treated a large breed dog that had had protection training. I guess his record in that regard remains unblemished.

I've returned to my old vet now and they did some nice work on Zeus at his one year physical and for his ear infection. They had to sedate him. And, I hated that. But everything was done properly and without injury (mental of physical) to the dog or the staff.

So, here's my recommendation. Use the vet that can has no fear of big and potentially aggressive dogs and has an attitude that they'll find a way to treat the animal no matter what, rather than a vet that establishes an unadvertised red line against some dogs or the training that some dogs receive.

That one bad vet visit can have lasting negative effects.

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post #49 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 12:27 PM
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I have moved around quite a bit.
In one case: liked the vet well enough but his staff acted like producing a receipt for insurance was a lot of bother. Then I had a dog about to go into shock appear in my back yard. I went to the vet that could see him right then. That relationship lasted until she retired and moved. Her staff was terrific. I stayed with the vet that bought her practice and liked her a lot.
Next stop: Found vet that was OK with titers but my dog came out of one appointment needing an adjustment. Had in the meantime pulled a dog from the pound - they had a list of vets that would perform their exam and neuter surgery. Ran that list through people at the office and went with the one they recommended. Nice guy but not the best vet. Left after they had scheduled an xray (which was unnecessary and not a good xray) on a Saturday, they were off schedule and got her in late & acted like it was my fault she was still groggy when they wanted to close. As I sat in the room with her as she was coming out of anesthesia, I said to myself over and over "I need a new vet." Until, that is, I remembered - I HAD another vet - the one that was doing adjustments & accupuncture. So FINALLY I got the RIGHT vet! Then Karen (best vet I have ever seen) moved. I stayed with the clinic and was pretty happy with the first runner up for best vet I have ever seen. Went there until I moved across the country this summer.
Here - I went with the vet that had a mobile accupuncture/chiro/holeistic vet that worked out of the clinic. She's good. I did have to urge her not to coo at my dogs. I like the clinic "owner" too but I'm not sure this is our ultimate clinic. They're expensive but they've been good with my dogs - still on the fence about a horse vet.

Horse vet in Arkansas was wonderful. I chose him by talking to people at the barn that had a lot of experience with horses. When it was time for vaccines, he was coming to the barn so I just put my horse on his schedule. Too bad he doesn't want to move! Gotta get on that because the horse will need his teeth floated soon. If I need to, I can give shots myself.

This is what I hate about moving as much as the physical packing it up and getting out of Dodge -- finding new vets, finding new drs., finding new dentists. A ten mile drive would be nothing gas hog or not. (It's a little over 5 to get to town here). The old ones are 2000 miles away...
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post #50 of 52 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 12:59 PM
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I have learned over the years in my moves that the problem with asking other regular dog owners for recommendations is that they don't always have a good sense of how good their vet really is, unless they've been with that vet many years, through end-of-life issues in multiple dogs. I really believe that unless they've been through major health problems with a vet, you don't really know how good your vet is. Being nice and friendly during wellness exams isn't the same thing as being able to pull a dog in critical condition back from death's door when minutes count.

IMHO, you need to think carefully about what the person giving the rec really knows, and how experienced he or she is as a judge of professional excellence beyond just annual wellness visits-- good handling of big dogs, good outcomes, fair pricing relative to the community, open dialogue about supplements and nutrition, diligent investigation of uncommon/rare problems, willingness to reach out to specialists/universities for advice, etc....

I think one of the best sources of recommendations is a reputable rescue in your community: they tend to be "repeat customers" with difficult medical issues, and they know which vets they can trust. They know the vets that stay past closing to help patients instead of transferring them to expensive e-vets, the ones who think outside the box when conditions are unusual or hard to treat, the ones who don't recommend unnecessary procedures to pad the bill and cheerfully call in the RX to a local pharmacy to save clients money, the ones who are smart and compassionate and highly skilled.

Even if you didn't adopt from a local rescue, you can always send them a friendly email and ask them if they would help you with a recommendation of their favorite vet to treat GSDs. You'll likely get the name of a super-star vet who loves working with GSDs.
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