Finding a new veterinarian can be difficult and sometimes an overwhelming experience especially when your kitty is not feeling well. A few members have put together some tips and topics to help make this process easier when looking for a new vet. Vet Interview Topics - compiled by BJM from suggestions made by FDMB members Vet Screening / Check List - compiled by LizzieInTexas & Sienne and Gabby (GA) from suggestions made by FDMB members Whether choosing a new vet or using your existing vet, it is important to have a good relationship built on mutual respect and communication. A vet should be a partner in the care and treatment of your furbaby and be open to questions and concerns with time to listen and explain the reasoning for any and all tests and procedures. You are the one that deals with you cat on a day-to-day basis and knows them best. If you are looking for a vet, there are cat friendly vet practices (American Association of Feline Practitioners). They have to meet criteria established by the American Assn of Feline Practitioners. The link has information along with a link to finding a practice in your area. If you or your vet is moving, consider speaking with your current vet and ask if there's someone s/he trusts and would recommend. When looking for a new vet, there are likely a few strategies to consider: Ask if you may interview the new vet prior to bringing your cat for an initial visit. This may involve an office visit fee. Talk to people in the waiting room. What do they have to say about the practice? Read reviews on Yelp. Go to the state licensing board and see if there have been complaints. If it's hard to access information, call the board and ask to find out how you can get information about complaints. The Better Business Bureau may be another resource but it's likely to be related to the practice vs a particular vet (unless it's a solo practice). If it's important to you, find out where the vet trained. Trust your gut. Are you walking away feeling unsettled or do you feel like this is a person that is knowledgeable, will communicate with you and will be your partner in caring for your furbaby, and, is it someone you like and feel like you can trust? The following are some suggested questions that can help you, the caregiver, open a dialog with the vet and the on-going care of your kitty. Some may apply, some may not. 1) Is the vet willing to work with the caregiver to ensure the best possible care and comfort of the pet? It is important that the care-giver have a partner in the well-being of the pet to and to give the pet the best quality of life possible. - this includes: insulin dosing, prescription medications, supplements, holistic alternatives 2) Will the vet’s office give a tour of their facilities? (You want to see how the cats are treated. You also want to make sure it's clean -- especially the area where they do surgery -- and doesn't smell like a litter box that's never been changed) 3)Does the vet have specialist training in feline medicine? If not, what percentage of the practice is cats? 4) Is there a quiet waiting room/separate area for cats? - if Vet offices board, do they have separate boarding area for cats only? And if they board, is someone there 24/7? 5) Will the vet or a technician take the time to teach the caregiver techniques necessary to provide at home care if necessary (sub-q fluids, injections, pilling)? 6) How will the vet communicate with the care-giver and how can the care-giver communicate with the vet? Text, phone calls, emails? 7) Is the vet willing to communicate with you outside of office visits if necessary (fee may apply)? - includes reviewing and explaining labs, x-rays, ultrasounds and any other tests or procedures. - clarification on instructions (follow up on office visit). (There are almost always questions that were left unasked or needs clarification after an office visit or tests) 8) Will the vet email labs reports and test results to you? 9) Does the vet do ultrasounds and/or x-rays in house? Does the vet office have a doppler blood pressure machine? -- If not, where are these tests done? Is there a mobile service they use? - Can you (care-giver) be present for tests (ultrasounds, blood pressure checks, blood draws, etc.)? 10) What outside lab do you use? (IDEXX does have several tests that are proprietary like fPLI, SDMA, etc. There are some tests that are only run at TAMU (Texas A &M), Michigan State and some vets use Antech) 11) Do you have an in-house lab? 12) How does the vet approach managing feline diabetes? (Try to find out if the vet going to insist on doing curves in the office, wanting fructosamine levels, and how the vet will respond to your changing the dose on your own.) - Is the vet familiar with the insulin protocols used on the FDMB? - Are human blood glucose meters ok? Protocols used on the FDMB were developed for use with human meters. - If not, how well stocked is the vet for the testing supplies you will need? 13) Does the vet encourage testing for high-dose conditions (Acromegaly / IAA / Cushings)? 14) What does the vet prescribe for pain if needed (Arthritis, Pancreatitis, etc.)? 15) Will the vet respect your wishes about not prescribing certain medications (e.g., Metacam, Convenia)? Do you get push back about not wanting to use these medicines? 16) Will the vet write prescriptions so medications can be obtained from other (vet) pharmacies? 17) Is the vet open to medications being compounded for ease of administration? 18) Does the vet (office) do dental procedures in house? - Do they do x-rays prior and after dental procedures? 19) How does the practice deal with emergencies? Do they have a relationship with an emergency facility for all emergencies or are they equipped to handle an emergency in the office (providing it occurs during office hours)?