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Advice on how to find a vet I trust.

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by slw, Jun 29, 2020.


  1. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    Hello.
    I’ve had a couple of experiences over the years where I’ve felt we’ve not had the best care and advice from vets (I guess we are all human and everyone makes mistakes) and I really am at the point where I dread going to vets again, if and when the occasion should arise.
    I’ve looked through the thread on here of how to find a good vet, but wondered if anyone could share any advice please.
    It sounds like some of you have amazing, caring vets. We had a brilliant vet years ago, but she, unfortunately, moved back to France. She was so dedicated and explained everything so well. I felt complete trust in her. She even used to call to check how my cat was if we had been in, or spoken with them about an issue. Sadly, I’ve never felt this since.
    24 hour emergency service provided by the vets would be important, I think.
    - We have a local vets that provides this service within 10-15 mins car drive.
    - there’s a vets within 10 mins car drive that is also an animal hospital.
    - there’s a large vet/animal hospital within 30mins.
    I don’t know if I can name the vets/animal hospitals on here to see if anyone has used them and can recommend or not?
    Its obviously not possible to go and have a look round these practises at the moment, unfortunately.
    Thank you in advance.
     
    #1 slw, Jun 29, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  2. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

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    We picked our vet based upon the services they have - they have in-patient facilities (used this weekend) as well as scanning/operations/specialist in oncology/in house lab testing, which where we are they don't all have. I'm not sure you can find a good vet just from looking around a practice, though you can of course check out the facilities available. The vet that does most of Oscar's appointments is a specialist sonographer who we met last year when he was very poorly - and she now does almost all of his appointments, even though I'm sure she's not really supposed to! The only thing she hasn't done is his routine vaccination appointment. I think to find a vet you work well with is more luck than judgement, to be honest. If our current vet left the practice we are at - and she moved to one that was a feasible distance away - we would move with her.

    Good luck, I hope you can find someone you trust.
     
  3. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    Thank you for your reply.

    It is so very important to have a vet you have confidence in, especially if your pet has a condition that needs monitoring.

    Just reading some threads on here has made me realise (unfortunately too late for my dear girl) how we were badly advised and not given information we should’ve been. It makes me very sad.

    I will check out what facilities each vet practise has and look on their websites to see what the individual vets specialise in.

    I wonder if older experienced vets would be an advantage?

    I am a worrier and very nervous about vets now! Silly as it sounds!
     
  4. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

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    Oh @slw I am a terrible worrier. I think experience does go a long way, yes, however as long as a more junior vet has experienced vets to talk to, that’s also good. In the case of our boy, we found that two senior vets and one more junior vet were initially involved with him - they had many discussions about him. Eventually after many investigations and my not giving up (I work in the medical field myself), the problems were discovered. I don’t blame any of the vets for doing what they did. It took a long time to get to the bottom of what was going on - and they work through systematically, starting with the most obvious cause. As I say, we came to be under the care of another senior vet at the practice - and she likes working with us (despite the fact I’m a pain in the bum) as she knows we know what is going on with him. She trusts us, we trust her. Oscar did see the director of the vet group on Friday (he’s seen him before) but I do prefer it to be our usual vet. He was eventually diagnosed with lymphocytic cholangitis (liver issue), with a secondary diagnosis of focal HCM (heart) and raised BP. He was the subject of much teaching and learning and meetings, as his bloods originally looked like CKD (kidneys) so that’s what they were almost pushing for but our vet thought they were a red herring and did extra tests, then scans and a liver biopsy. I’m happy that the junior vet involved in his care has had the opportunity to learn a lot from him, as it may shorten the diagnosis time for another cat in the future, as it was a random combo of really non specific symptoms. Just because you’re senior doesn’t man you’ll always make the right decision either, it’s not always perfect with humans and they can talk to us. It must be so hard with animals.

    I’m sorry about your poor girl. If you are still in the area, might it be good to raise the issues with the vets that looked after her, so they can at least learn from what happened? It doesn’t help you or her but it might help a cat in the future.
     
  5. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    Thank you for your reply and advice.
    Your experience sounds like how it should be at all vets, but sadly I haven’t found such dedication in recent years. It must also help that you at in the medical field yourself. I must admit I ask a lot of questions and google ( always getting told off for googling!!).
    I did email the vets we were using and we did get apologies from some of the staff. They have changed how they are operating during the current restrictions, due to my complaint and concerns. So, I can only hope they learn from their mistakes, as we unfortunately have.
    I’m just so nervous thinking about where to choose now. I may look to see if they all have Facebook pages for feedback and reviews from clients.
    It sounds like your boy has taught his vets a thing or two as well! Glad you got to the bottom of it - like you say, it can sometimes be difficult with humans to diagnose, so even more so for animals. It sounds like you’ve been very lucky to have caring vets that are dedicated to working with you.
     
  6. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    Finding a vet you feel relaxed with can be a difficult thing to achieve .
    Often it is the case that even a good vet can be difficult to talk to which then leads to problems in communication.
    Often asking friends / neighbours who have pets can be a good starting place. , reading reviews on their websites (most have a website /FB page ) and then once things settle back to what ever the new normal might be , ask to visit the surgery as a potential new client.
    If it is against forum rules to post the surgeries you are considering ( I don't know if it is ) you could maybe give an idea of the area you are in as there may be forum members who live close to you .
    I have been very fortunate and have been a client at the surgery we use for more years than I care to remember , seeing it blossom from a one man practice right through to the animal hospital it now is.
    I have used the same vet at the practice for my previous cat and now with Meeko .
    He discusses every thing with me and is very honest in what he would do if it were his pet that was being treated .
    Meeko likes him , well as much as any cat can like a vet and that says a lot .
     
    Mrs Funkin likes this.
  7. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    When it comes to choosing a veterinarian the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the saying goes.

    You may go to the vet your best friend thinks is absolutely wonderful and just not click with them at all. Or you might get an instant rapport with the vet your friend cannot stand. The only way you'll really know is when you take your pet there for treatment, be that just a yearly checkup and booster or something more complex.

    All you can really do in the meantime is check which had the best facilities and a good number of staff who have a range of interests so that hopefully come what may, someone will have the experience/expertise within that practice to sort the pet out. 24hr care is important but few vets do this themselves these days and it is passed to another practice to do. If that happens at the vet you choose, check how far away the covering practice is from your home.
     
    OrientalSlave and Mrs Funkin like this.
  8. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    Thank you for your replies and advice. Really helpful points.

    Most of my friends use different vets to each other, they have dogs and most of them probably don’t worry over their pets as much as I do - they are more pets than members of the family, as mine are.

    I’ve had a look at online reviews and through their Facebook pages - all seem equally as liked as each other. I just need to look at their facilities now. Presumably the animal hospitals will be well equipped. The other vet practise has recently moved to a bigger premises and claims it has state of the art equipment now. I did have a quick look at their staff though, and they all appeared quite young. This is the one that I have heard a lot of local people use. It does have 24hr emergency services on site, but I’m not sure if it is manned at night. This is quite important to me as this has been something at 2 separate practises ( many years apart) that caused a problem for very poorly pets - one was as emergency that was rushed in in the early hours, then left alone at the surgery and died!

    We are quite isolated where we live, but our nearest towns are Castle Donington, Ashby de la Zouch. We are on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire boarder. Derby is a 25 minutes car journey away.

    Thank you for your help. Hopefully there may be someone in my area that can recommend somewhere.
     
  9. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

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    I'm in my 40's so all vets look young to me now ;) Young isn't necessarily a bad thing, my favourite vet I met when she first stepped out of vet school and I just took an instant liking to her. Within a very short time she became my vet of choice at the practice, and she does specialize in cats. Look to see how long they have been qualified, if they've done 5 years or more they'll have seen an awful lot in that time.

    Don't be afraid to ask questions, the nighttime manning one is an important one as quite a lot are not manned constantly but just have specific check times. Also ask if their own vets cover OOH or if its another practice or company such as Vets Now. Some practices offer cat only wards and waiting rooms which might sway you one way or the other if two are close in all other respects. Personally I'd want the OOH practice to be within 30 minutes of my home but obviously it's not always possible and thinking about it our local A&E is further away than that!
     
  10. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    Thank you, Tigermoon.
    An overnight manned Practise would be a must with me - though as things are at the moment, they may be running slightly differently. I’ve just emailed the animal hospital, that is 10 mins drive from us, to ask this question, and if their own vets run the out of hours emergency service, as I can see it’s based at their surgery but under a different name. Will see what the say.
    I’m going on past experiences, but no longer have the cats involved with what I considered not very good service, but would rather go to a practise that has the services, just in case. I want to feel we are in the best possible place to make up for past experiences.
    I’m, unfortunately, a worrier and really dread going to a vets now. My other half isn’t a pet person at all, so feel the pressure is on me to choose correctly - and I clearly haven’t in the past. Saying that, I was happy with one vet, though communication was terrible and she would never return my calls.
    Will have a look at how long the young looking vets have been qualified at the other practise ( also 10 mins away) - thank you for that suggestion. This particular practise is also open every day whereas the local animal hospital is closed on Sundays and only open for a couple of hours on a Saturday. The animal hospital that’s 30 mins away is open 24 hours, I believe.
    I’m not needing to go to a vets at the moment, but just wanted to have somewhere in place should we need a visit with our 9 year old cat. ( hopefully no time soon!)
     
    #10 slw, Jun 30, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  11. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    Very few do their own out of hours these days. My current vet doesn't, their OOH uses the well-equipped premises of another vet. I did use one that does, I switched from them to another vet who would neuter my kittens at 13 - 14 weeks, she didn't do her own OOH but was such a good and charming vet it wasn't a problem. When she retired I could have stayed with the vet who took over, but I changed to a vet with a cat specialist and a gold iCatcare award. They are delightful, and to be honest since you are going (I hope) to see much, much more of your vet than their OOH service I'd go with a specialist cat-friendly clinic. Somewhere are the details of the different awards, but the gold includes a consultation room & waiting area only used for cats, and a range of equipment.

    https://catfriendlyclinic.org/
     
  12. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    Thank you OrientalSlave for your advice, I do appreciate it.

    The animal hospital that’s 10 mins away does it’s own out of hours service, so that’s good. I couldn’t see on their website if they have the cat friendly clinic award, so have emailed them to ask. The other two practises do have it.

    I will probably narrow it down to the two practises that are 10 minutes away rather than the 30 min journey one, as my cat isn’t the most relaxed traveller!

    Going to have a good look at all their Websites and Facebook pages later.
    I’m not sure how the practise with the animal hospital works - would there be separate vets for the referral service and the first opinion side of things I wonder...?
     
  13. Kidlington

    Kidlington PetForums Junior

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    I think you just have to go and see the vet practice n person and you'll know that way. Just go and sit in the waiting room and chat to other people while you talk about making appointments with the receptionist. You can get a lot of information that way.
     
  14. slw

    slw PetForums Member

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    Thank you, Kidlington.

    I think that’s what I will do - though goodness knows when we will be allowed inside the surgeries.
     
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