Chocolate Labrador Retrievers- Stargate Kennels
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Your New Puppy!

Choosing your Veterinarian
Choose your vet before you get your puppy!
Be ready in case of emergency!

Do you need veterinary insurance (medical insurance for your pet)?

Choosing veterinarian for your puppy may be the most important decision you have at this point. With all the advances in human medical care being applied to veterinary care, conditions, diseases, and injuries that would have meant euthanasia 20 years ago are now treatable, and if not curable, at least quality and length of life can be improved. But there is a huge flip side, and that is cost. All of these treatments, surgeries, diagnostics and medications can be very expensive.

The local family vet is now most likely a corporation, with large offices, many employees, and lots of equipment. And that applies even more to the large selection of veterinary specialists now available. Many veterinary clinics are staffed by new vet school graduates. The first thing they tend to do is order large numbers of tests, resulting in a large vet bill. If you can find an older experienced vet, you are more likely to get a fast accurate diagnosis without extensive testing, because of his or her years of experience. That can easily mean saving 50% or more compared to a large vet clinic.

I am fortunate enough to have found an excellent family vet in the old family tradition, but I travel 80 miles round trip to use his services, bypassing several veterinary clinics along the way located much closer. I think it is worth the effort. In fact, I'll give him a plug here :O). If you are in Northern California and in need of an excellent family vet, contact Dr. Burnham, of the Burnham Veterinary Hospital in Willows, CA. And if you can find as good a vet in your area, don't let him go!!

This book is HIGHLY recommended!

All that said, here are some issues in choosing a vet:

Is your vet clinic an owner/operated clinic (preferred) or a corporation (likely to be overpriced)?

Are you comfortable with him(her)?

Are your questions answered in a manner you can understand?

Does he/she rely more on examination (more likely to be experienced) or testing (more likely to be inexperienced) in diagnosis?

Is the first treatment the conservative treatment, or are you sent to a specialist or surgery right off?

What are the clinic hours?

Is there after hours emergency services, and how much extra is the after hours service?

Is afterhours service done by the same veterinarian(s) or by a stranger?

Is the vet willing to prescribe medication and allow you to fill the prescription elsewhere?

Are the costs reasonable for your area?

What are the costs for boarding/care if needed?

Does the clinic or hospital have a good local reputation. both as an animal care provider and as a local business?

Are there unresolved complaints at the BBB?

Your friends and neighbors can sometimes recommend a vet they like, but apply all of the previous questions, regardless.

Here are a few more resources that may be of help: The Humane Society of the United States The American Kennel Club (AKC) The AVMA

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