CHOOSING A VETERINARIAN

 

Choosing a veterinarian for your epileptic dog is as important as choosing a physician for your own health care.  Your veterinarian should be someone who makes you feel comfortable and someone you can develop a personal client/veterinarian relationship with.  Your veterinarian should take time to answer your questions about your dog's health.

The best way to find a veterinarian would be a referral from someone in your area who also has an epileptic dog, however, that is not always easy to find.  You might try asking neighbors, local dog clubs or breeders who they would recommend.  Also veterinarians are usually listed in the "Yellow Pages" of a phone book.

Once you have a list of potential clinics, it's time to call them and ask about their staff, services, fees and hours.  After you have gotten some basic information from the receptionist you may want to request to speak to the veterinarian.  If he/she is not too busy they will probably accept this call which will give you the opportunity to ask a couple of questions about his/her experience with epilepsy.  However, their time is valuable, so please respect this and keep you questions brief.

After you have narrowed down your choices, it's time to visit the clinics that interest you.  Please call ahead and ask for a tour of the facilities.  If they are not too busy, most clinics will give you a tour and introduce you to the veterinarians on staff.  Look for a clean well-organized facility.  A hospital should not only be clean to the eye, but to the nose as well.  The veterinary technicians, the receptionist and other staff members should be friendly and professional.

The following are a list of questions you may want to ask a new veterinarian.  Some of these can be asked of the receptionist and other staff, some you may ask the veterinarian over the phone and others can be asked during your first appointment.

1.    I know many veterinarians don't see a lot of epilepsy in their practices.  Do you have many epileptic dogs that you are currently treating?

2.  Can you tell me about your typical approach to treating epilepsy?

3.  I belong to a group of owners of Epileptic dogs.  Dr. Dodds is an advisor to a group to this group.  In order to support her non-profit research and take advantage of the discounted prices she gives us, I would like to have blood tests run through her.  You do not have to set up a separate account with her because she will accept checks directly from us.  Would it cause you any inconvenience to work with Dr. Dodds?

4.  Many of the members of the group I belong to, use Rectal Valium to stop cluster seizures.  Would you look at an article written by W. B Thomas, DVM, MS and give me your thoughts on it?

5.  I'm concerned about getting treatment for my dog at night.  How do you handle emergencies after hours?

6.  Does someone stay on-site with the animals that need to be kept overnight?

7.  What are your charges for (whatever procedures you are interested in)?

8.  Do you dispense most medications here?

9.  Do you have a laboratory on-site?  How long does it typically take to get the results of blood tests?

10.  Do you have a neurologist that you consult with for hard to control cases of epilepsy?