How to Choose a Veterinary Hospital
As the average number of pets per household grows on an annual basis, new veterinary clinics spring up in masses around the country. Some of the most pertinent life decisions relate to health care — and this absolutely applies to the pets we own. There is no substitute for good health and whether you’re searching for preventative care or specialty treatment there are a lot of options to choose from. It can be hard to determine which facility is better than another and the decision involves a multitude of factors including location, services provided, cost, and standards of care. Choosing the best veterinary hospital for both you and your pet can take time and patience but will definitely be time well spent. Here are a few tips and factors to consider:
The easiest way to begin your vet-finding journey is to implement a certain standard of care and there is no substitute for AAHA accreditation. This means that the American Animal Hospital Association has awarded recognition to a location after a thorough third-party analysis of care ranging from emergency services, examination protocols, pharmaceutical provisions, and even quality of record keeping. Once a location is granted AAHA accreditation, routine evaluations are required in order to maintain its status. Only 12-15 % of all veterinary practices in the United States and Canada are AAHA Accredited. When choosing a veterinary hospital, one of the easiest places to start is by crossing off veterinary hospitals that are not AAHA accredited — because there is no substitute for quality of care.
Mesa Northeast Animal Hospital is proud to be an AAHA Accredited Hospital!
Community Connections and Online Reviews
Although it is a great first step in the process of elimination, after weeding through the non-AAHA accredited veterinary hospitals you might still be left with a list of locations to choose from. So what now? Listening to the opinions of peers, neighbors, and the community around you is often the next best step. If you’re a new pet owner or new to a certain area, seeking out the advice of local, long-term pet owners might reveal valuable insight. They may be able to give you an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of each facility or recommend certain doctors for different specialty needs. While their opinions matter, it is important to remember they are still just opinions. Use them as tools in this process, but don’t overlook a possibly perfect location due to one poor reference.
In addition to individuals within your community, the internet is another great place to find feedback regarding nearby veterinary hospitals. Yelp, Google, and Facebook are ideal places to search for reviews from clients’ relating to their personal experiences.
Use Your Own Judgement
Narrow down a list of possible veterinarians based on accreditation, recommendations, and personal convenience and then start scheduling individual visits. This can be done very formally or informally — or both. Taking a short tour of the practice alone will give you a feel for their organization, cleanliness, and the satisfaction of their current clients and pets. Have you selected a practice, but are now trying to decide between specific veterinarians? Schedule a short meet-and-greet with each practitioner and evaluate with which you and your pet build the best rapport. Also, it’s ok to get acquainted with multiple locations or veterinarians — your chosen practice might not provide 24-hour emergency services and you will want to have another location in mind in case of an accident after-hours. In other instances, the consultation of a board-certified specialist might be required to assist with certain needs. Bottom line: utilize the resources you have and use your best judgement.