Choosing A Veterinarian

What do you want for your pet?

This information was prepared because Animal Wellness Center of Bonita is dedicated to improving the care given to pets. We prefer to believe that many of the hospitals and veterinarians in the local area adhere to high standards. It is possible that some hospitals make practice decisions that may compromise medical care. Animal Wellness Center of Bonita practices to the highest standards of care.

Questions you may want to ask when searching for a new veterinary hospital

What is the typical wait time for your appointment?

The more time you need to wait, the more nervous and stressed your pet (and yourself) may become.

What do you know about the veterinarian(s)?

  • Are you able to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian of your choice?
  • Do you see the same veterinarian at each appointment.?
  • Can you find out about the background of the veterinarian with whom you are scheduled?
  • Is the veterinarian a new graduate, experienced or even board-certified?
  • Does you veterinarian value continuing education and complete more than the minimum required by state law?

How much time is allotted for your pet’s appointment?

You have a right to know how much time to reserve for your next appointment.

Is the experience for your pet important?

Animal Wellness Center of Bonita thinks it is. Animals have instincts about people and places and they may be stimulated into a fight or flight mode if a new person invades their territory, handles them quickly and starts poking and prodding them as is needed for hurried examinations. On the other hand, pets may relax and be happy to meet someone that is conscious of their behavior needs and gives them a few minutes to relax and accept the person. What do you think? Don’t most of us want our pets to be wary of strangers and friendly to those we want them to be? Doesn’t it make sense that a pet will be more cooperative and relaxed if there is some time for them to extrapolate the clues of the situation rather than just being rushed through an appointment? Did you know the more relaxed your pet the easier it is to handle them? If each visit they have a hurried appointment, maybe some injections, blood draws and strangers holding them, don’t you think they will become more frightened each subsequent visit? The more tense the pets are, the more they will feel upset and feel increased pain from simple procedures like injections. Longer appointment times, allow a few minutes to greet you and your pet, which lowers your pets stress levels and increases the likelihood you will both have a pleasant pain free visit.

Will you have time to cover just the basics, or can you ask about behavior issues and training?

It is imperative to take sufficient time to gather background and historical information, bond, examine and discuss those results during the appointment without feeling rushed.

How are medical records kept?

Medical records need to be legible, complete, accurate and up to date in order to avoid errors.

What do you know about the facility?

  • Ask for a tour. A tour would not be complete unless the treatment areas, the surgical areas and the kennel areas are allowed to be viewed or visited. It is reasonable for a tour to be scheduled during a time convenient for the hospital. It is reasonable to ask for a tour before you become a client of the hospital.
  • When on your tour check to see if the various areas are clean and relatively free of odors.
    Check to see, or ask about if the hospital reuses needles or syringes. New needles and syringes are packaged in either a plastic casing or paper/plastic type package. Hospitals that do not reuse these will have new ones, and all others will be disposed of in the trash or into ‘sharps’ containers or ‘biomedical waste’ containers. Some brands of needles cause less pain and trauma to your pet.
  • Check to see how staff dries their hands. Reusing paper or cloth more than once before it is tossed or laundered is a source of spreading infection.
  • What sort of flooring is being used in areas where animal are cares for and housed? Flooring should be of an easy to clean material. Obviously, carpeting cannot be cleaned thoroughly, ever.

What is the protocol for vaccinations?

  • Vaccinations are incredibly important for your pet’s wellness.
  • At Animal Wellness Center of Bonita, your pet will be examined prior to adminstration of any vaccination. It is not a good idea to vaccinate pets without considering their age, prior vaccines, current housing/care and exposure to disease, preexisting illnesses, and current physical findings.
  • Should your pet be administered certain vaccines? Not all vaccines are created equal. Some vaccines are known to have higher adverse reactions.

What do price quotes over the phone tell you?

You have the right to be informed about treatment cost and what is included in the treatment plan prior to undertaking treatment. It is unlikely that prices quoted over the phone will tell you the whole story. The price quoted may not include the ‘full package’ such as pre-anesthesia testing, pain medication, intravenous catheter and fluid administration during general anesthetic procedures. These things are important to your pet’s health. Why would they even be optional?

(adopted with permission from Lisa Bennett, DVM)