Originally Posted By: Luca_stlWe've been using the same Vet's office for 25 years. We stay with them because we know them, they know us. I can call and say, "Hi it's Tracy. Fanny's got a rash..." and they know exactly who I am and what dog I'm talking about.
I call up and say, "Hi Danielle. Zamboni would like to refill her prescription." And Danielle says "yes, her Tramadol is about due, isn't it? Will Zamboni be sending her driver over today or tomorrow?"
I don't even have to mention MY name!
My vet clinic has three vets. The owner is my main vet, and one of the other vets whom I have a great relationship. (The other is fine. I just don't' usually use her). I know a good deal about medicine and some stuff about veterinary medicine and I'm always questioning: is this safe? Is this the best way? How else can we do this? And my kids never have something that's easily diagnosed. If there's a mystery ailment, they have it. So my vet and I work together on things. I feel like we're in the trenches together. I can call and get my calls returned promptly. I can email anytime of the day or night, and usually get my emails returned extremely
promptly, even at night and on weekends. He knows that I like to go to specialists once we get to that point where things are starting to look especially unusual, and he doesn't get his ego all ruffled about it. He refers me to the best specialists in the state, the ones he would bring his dogs to.
Is he the cheapest? No. I could get cheaper shots elsewhere. But when I bring my dogs in for vaccines, they get a full physical -- top to bottom, including a prostate exam for my male, and a dental exam (he's a board-certified dentist) for all kids. He answers all my questions at that appointment, and he is always available by phone to answer other questions by phone, when other vets might require me to come in. So I don't scrimp on a few dollars for shots when I get incredible valuable service in the long run.
(I once called my vet for a friend's dog. The friend's vet wouldn't return her calls. And the situation seemed like it might be urgent to our layperson eyes. My vet took the time to run through the symptoms with me, and explain what to do. This wasn't even MY dog!)
I also am ALWAYS accommodated when I have a need to get into the vet the same day. Always. Usually, I don't need to. But like yesterday, I really felt that it was important enough that my GSD was seen asap. I called as soon as the office was opened, and of course, he was seen.
The other vet in his office is someone with whom I have a great relationship. She has a slightly different view on veterinary medicine than her boss. So sometimes, I'll make an appointment with her for complicated issues. And I can tell her that "Dr. X sees it this way. My internet GSD friends think that these are issues. I'm wondering about this. What do you think?" And she has a great down-to-earth let's-analyze-it-all approach, and we can really work through all of it together. She's an invaluable part of my "team."
As you can imagine, I refer a lot of people to their practice. When I speak to people who talk about how their vets speak down to them, rush them, or poo-poo their ideas, I always tell them the same thing -- find another vet. There are plenty of fine vets out there. I've lived lots of places and I've been able to find great professionals like this everywhere I've lived. But excellent vets are almost always not the cheapest vets in town.
Excellent vets know that they have to have sufficient staffing. That costs money. They have to have state-of-the-art equipment (or access to that equipment). That costs money. They can only see so many patients in a day and treat them each as individuals without rushing them. Overbooking is one way that you can keep costs down. Cheap xrays? That likely means that a board-certified radiologist is NOT reading those xrays. I respect my vets. But I want a radiologist to read every xray. Excellent vets have better access to better specialists for referrals too, whether the specialist comes to the regular vet's office or you go to their office.
So when people start posting price comparisons, that's good and fine. And some reasonably priced vets are good vets, there's no doubt about it. And there are some veterinary clinics that appear to be reasonably priced but they're owned by corporations that put quotas on their vet employees to order so many extra tests each month. Do you know if your vet actually works for one of these corporations? If so, your reasonably priced vet for most things may get very expensive when something goes wrong. And of course, there are perfectly awful vets that are incredibly overpriced as well.
So, when I find a vet that I like and trust, and they treat me and my animals with respect and caring, that's who I stick with. If I don't have a vet like that, I keep looking, while my dogs are healthy, until I find someone that is everything I want. Because when my dog is sick, I don't want to be second-guessing the necessity of the treatment, or the care my dog is receiving.