How to Choose a New Vet (who's honest and doesn't cost the earth!)

If you have moved area, or are on the look out for a new vet for whatever reason, how do you know they are honest and not charging too much? These are common concerns but the answer is not as easy as it might first appear.


This question has been sent in by somebody who's moved houses, they need to get a new vet and they're wondering how they can decide on choosing a vet who is both honest and also charges a reasonable rate.

So I've got a couple of suggestions here, and the first one is just to ask your neighborhood pet owners. So that can be when you're out on a walk, it can be on local Facebook groups, that kind of thing. Work colleagues as well, talking to the people who live in the local area and finding out who they use, why they've made that decision and who they recommend.

Google and online reviews in general is obviously another source of information but just bear in mind that any bad reviews only ever tell one side of the story. As vets, we're not actually allowed to answer if there's a bad review to give an explanation, or maybe explain why things weren't quite as the reviewer is reporting. So take these things with a little pinch of salt. Equally if there's lots of good positive reviews and there’s a couple of bad ones, even if they really, really bad, then you know it’s likely that they're the exception and very often it's the case that you can tell when someone's got an axe to grind.

The next step would be to call into the clinic that you're thinking of using just to chat to the reception staff. See if they offer the environment that you're looking for. Some people would like more sterile, clean clinics while others will prefer a more homely atmosphere.

It can't be expected that every clinic will please every person, so you need to find what's right for you.

You can ask them the price of common procedures. If you're looking for somewhere that charges lower rates compared to a higher rates then that’s one way of determining that. There are a couple of things to think about here though. The first is that some clinics will, for our routine procedures, charge very low rates, but when it comes to a pet being sick or needing a bigger surgery, they charge an awful lot more than another clinic who maybe charges a little bit more for routine procedures. Now that's something that's quite difficult to gauge, but something to consider as well.

Also remember that you often get what you pay for and if there are significant differences in price then it might be because the equipment used isn’t up to date, it might be that certain steps that could be taken to improve safety are skipped and it might be that the support staff, they're not qualified technicians or veterinary nurses and so they can be paid less.

It can be quite difficult to think of price alone as a reflector of quality so just be careful there.

And then the next thing to think about would be to schedule an initial review consultation so you can meet the vets and the vet can meet you and your pets. They can review the history and they can talk about what you are looking for in a vet. This is very important.

It lets them know what kind of veterinary care you're wanting for your pet, and to see if that's something that they are able to provide.

With regard to honesty though, really rest assured that while in any profession there’s going to be a few bad apples, the vast majority of vets, they're completely honest and trustworthy and they really want nothing more than to help their patients remain healthy. It just comes down to really whether there is a good match of personality or whether there's a clash. So very often this actually has nothing to do with the standard of care given, but it's really important that you feel that you can trust your vet and also that your vet feels that they can trust you. So both parties being open, communicating well really is key for this.

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

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