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               In life there are true professionals who are absolutely obsessed with excellence and mastering their craft. Endlessly honing and fine tuning their skill sets. Whether it is a life-long practitioner of martial arts, a master carpenter or a doctor, there are those who live, breath and sleep their passion. These people are rare and are often referred to as the top 5%. Then there is the rest of the population, who are motivated not so much by excellence but rather money and/or prestige. We’ve all heard the saying about how difficult it is to find a good lawyer or doctor. That’s because the vast majority of the world is OK with mediocrity in their chosen fields. They take the money and run! Many times this is because rather than choosing to pursue a career in something they are passionate about they choose a career that will earn them a nice pay check. I’m guilty of that myself to a certain extent. I graduated college with a Bachelor’s in Accounting. I knew coming out of college I would be able to find a good paying job as an Accountant. I won’t say it was a bad choice, but I will say Accounting is not my passion and I will never be known as one of the best Accountants that has ever lived. That’s because I couldn't care less about debits and credits. Because of this, I changed careers after only 1 ½ years working as an Accountant. The point I am trying to get across here is that when you are looking to hire the services of a professional in any field, it is in your best interest to find a true professional who is a cut above the rest.

               Finding a veterinarian that is a true professional is one of the most important jobs you have as a dog owner. The veterinary hospitals are full of average veterinarians who regurgitate the same nonsense to every non-suspecting pet owner who comes through their doors. It’s my guess that most veterinarians do mean well. The main problem is that mediocre vets just do not know what they do not know. They immediately look to surgery or drugs as the answer because that’s all they have in their repertoire. After a long day in the hospital, few are going home to research, study and improve their skill sets. Putting in time beyond the standard is what separates the cream from the crop. I might sound anti-veterinarian but that is really not the case. I am anti-bull-shit. I don’t have time for people who are in the business of wasting my time, money or jeopardizing my dog’s health. Over the years I’ve come across many veterinarians who were just like the ones I’ve described. As such, I’ve become very suspicious of them and I advise you to be as well. If I walk through their doors and I am more educated on how to resolve my dogs problems than they are, then we have a problem. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve diagnosed my dogs symptoms accurately while listening to the veterinarians tell me why I was wrong. The reason I was able to diagnose my dogs are because I took it upon myself to research my dogs symptoms. I’ve invested in many of the same veterinary books that the veterinarians themselves reference in their hospitals. This helps me add more tools to my tool-box. It’s my responsibility to look out for my dogs best interest.

               Our goal as dog owners should be to instill health into our dogs by feeding high quality nutrition, providing adequate mental and physical stimulation and being pro-active when problems arise. As dog owners we typically try to do too much too late, when in reality we should be doing less; but sooner. We are all guilty of it; myself included. Nonetheless, it’s something we should strive to always be cognizant of.

        Here are four main things I look for when evaluating a veterinarian.

  1. Communication- The vet should be able to clearly and concisely explain to you their diagnosis and their plan of attack. Some veterinarians like to use big words in order to make themselves sound smart and confuse their clients. A good vet uses layman’s terms and will adjust their terminology based on their clients level of understanding.
  2. Equipment- Do they have an X-Ray Machine, Ultra-Sound Machine and the ability to run In-House Lab Tests? If not, find another hospital because you are just wasting your time. This is basic equipment that is needed to accurately diagnose basic, everyday issues.
  3. Understanding- Some vets will try to shame you into costly treatments. A good vet understands that not everyone can afford these and will work with you to find the best possible solution within your budget. They also realize that not every dog is a house pet. Meaning, they understand that some dogs are more or less valuable to you based on their competitive, working or breeding worth.
  4. Emergency Situations- If your veterinary hospital tells you they are too busy to see you without an appointment, find a new vet. Every vet hospital schedules emergency appointments into their calendars. Do not expect them to bring you in for a broken toe nail, but if you have a dog that is vomiting non-stop and you suspect a blockage they should always make time for you.

    Here are some things to do as a client to get the most out of your relationship.

  5. Morning Appointments- Try to get morning appointments if your schedule allows it. The logic here is the earlier you see the vet, the fresher he/she will be.
  6. Be Prepared- Be ready to explain your dog’s symptoms accurately and concisely. Don’t leave anything out. Do your research prior to arriving and be ready to politely challenge your vet if needed. Remember to do this politely. No one likes a Dr. Google so be sure your delivery comes across the right way.
  7. Ask Questions- If you do not fully understand what your vet is telling you, ask questions until you do. Remember you are not only there to remedy your current dog. This is also valuable learning experience that will likely come in handy again.
  8. Second Opinion- A second opinion is always an option. I’ve sought out second opinions countless times. If you do not like your vet’s diagnoses and/or their plan of attack, seek a second opinion. Again, be polite but a good vet will understand your point of view and respect your decision. It’s not personal. Your dog’s best interest is what matters and getting a second opinion is part of being a responsible owner.
               There will be times when a regular general practitioner is just not equipped to handle your needs. Inevitably you will need the services of specialists. Whether it is for reproductive, internal medicine or cardiology these same general concepts apply. Remember, you are the customer and you are paying them to provide you with a service. If they are not servicing you to your satisfaction, it is your right as a customer to seek services elsewhere. Many people, veterinarians included tend to forget that.

Good luck!

Andrew Seguss
Andrew Seguss

1 Response

Noah Johnson
Noah Johnson

April 24, 2017

Spot on.

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