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Choosing the Right Veterinarian for Your Cat

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Your cat is a valued member of your family, so choosing a veterinary office for your pet is just as important as picking a health care provider for you and your spouse or children. There are several qualities common to both good physicians and good veterinarians, including education, specialties, experience, environment and bedside manner, among others, and considering some of these characteristics will make your decision much easier.

In addition, finding a veterinarian is not just a decision to be made for the pets that are already part of your family. If you have no pets and are considering getting a cat or are already on a waiting list, or you are moving to another city and need to change clinics, you’ll want to have a veterinarian lined up in advance.

The first decision you’ll need to make is what type of veterinary office to take your pet to. Opening your phone book to the business directory, you’ll probably find several veterinary practices in your town specializing in a variety of different animals, such as those listed below:

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  • Small Animal: These types of veterinary offices deal mainly with cats, dogs and other small animals, such as ferrets, rabbits and birds.

  • Mixed Animal: These vet clinics sometimes handle larger animals as well as smaller ones, like those typically found on farms.

  • Specialty Clinics: Veterinary offices in this category usually cater to one breed, whether exotic animals, birds, or cats only.

Along with these three main types of vet offices, emergency clinics can be researched as an additional resource if the vet you choose doesn’t offer after-hours services. These clinics often offer 24-hour care as well as specialized operating equipment and are good sources to have on file in case your cat is involved in a life-threatening accident that doesn’t occur during regular business hours.

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  • Does your clinic offer emergency services?

  • What kind of credentials do the veterinarians at your clinic have?

  • What kind of wait time is normally involved when scheduling an appointment?

  • What kind of payment do you accept (billing, credit card, immediate pay)?

  • Do you offer any additional services aside from exams, such as dental care, surgeries, lab testing, or nutrition and behavior counseling?

  • Can your facility provide specialists or refer clients to them?

  • Is your office affiliated with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)?

  • What kind of equipment does your facility have on-site (x-ray machines, surgical facilities, etc.)?

  • Do you offer free tours or consultations?

  • Are there any types of conditions that your office is not comfortable in treating?

  • How many years of experience do your doctors have?

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These questions should help you to choose your cat’s new clinic. The evaluation, however, isn’t over! After you’ve chosen a veterinary office, schedule an appointment so that you and your cat can get a feel for the place. You’ll want to consider several factors during your first visit to make sure that the facility is indeed right for you and your cat. Below is a sample checklist of features to evaluate:

  • Was the staff friendly and knowledgeable?

  • Was the location clean and well-kept?

  • Did you notice an odor of eau de cat urine, or one of disinfectant?

  • Did the vet explain procedures and diagnosis clearly, allowing you to ask questions and get clarification if you needed it?

  • Was the doctor careful and gentle in handling your cat?

This may seem like a lot to go through just to find a vet for your cat, but a good vet’s office is worth it! You’ve done exhaustive research, but you can feel secure in the knowledge that the clinic you chose will do their best to care for your pet for many years to come.

For those in the Denver area,
we highly recommend the veterinary care at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital.


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