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What is a veterinarian?
More about veterinarians
Doctors of Veterinary Medicine are medical professionals
whose primary responsibility is protecting the health and
welfare of animals and people.
Veterinarians diagnose and control animal diseases, treat
sick and injured animals, prevent the transmission of
animal diseases (“zoonoses”) to people, and advise owners
on proper care of pets and livestock. They ensure a safe
food supply by maintaining the health of food animals.
Veterinarians are also involved in wildlife preservation
and conservation and public health of the human population.
Today’s veterinarians are members of an important health
profession. In taking the veterinarian’s oath, a doctor
solemnly swears to use his or her scientific knowledge and
skills “for the benefit of society, through the protection
of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the
conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public
health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.”
Today more than 67,000 veterinarians are professionally
active in the United States. They provide a wide variety of
services in private clinical practice, teaching, research,
government service, public health, military service,
private industry, and other areas.
animals practitioner or large animals
look for a veterinarian
Selecting a veterinarian for your pet is a personal choice,
as is selecting your family physician or dentist. And, the
criteria you use in choosing a physician or dentist is
similar. What is important to you? Location? Convenient
hours of service? Friendliness and service commitment of
doctors and staff? Fees?
In selecting a veterinarian, your goals should be to find
the doctor that best meets your needs and to establish a
long-term relationship. The veterinarian will maintain a
history of your pet, including health records that detail
immunizations, reactions to medications, behavior traits,
etc. So, it’s important to see your veterinarian for all
your pet’s health care needs. Your veterinarian will know
the best preventive and critical care to provide with your
pet’s individual health care needs in mind.
Friend Animal-owning friends are a good source of
information. Ask them what they like about their
veterinarian. But remember, their ideal choice may not be
Breed Clubs If you have
a specific breed of dog, cat or bird, breed clubs can be a
good source of information.
Local Directories The
business pages of a phone book or yellow pages normally
provide information on local veterinarians.
look for a veterinarian
It is a good idea to start thinking about selecting a
veterinarian before a new pet becomes a member of your
family. In fact, a veterinarian can assist you in selecting
a pet that complements your personality, work schedule and
If you’ve just moved, you will want to locate a
veterinarian soon. Don’t wait until your pet becomes ill;
you want to establish a relationship right away. Your
veterinarian can give you with information on special
climate concerns for your pet. In addition, since traveling
can be a stressful experience for a pet, an early check-up
may be in order.
Pay a visit
Schedule a visit to meet the veterinarians who have been
recommended and to discuss your pet and your expectations.
You may wish to visit several practices before you make a
visiting a veterinarian
are a few tips to keep in mind when visiting a veterinary
• What are regular office hours?
• Are they compatible with your schedule?
• Who covers the practice when the doctor is unavailable?
• How are routine telephone calls handled?
• Can you request an appointment with a specific
• Do you feel comfortable talking with the doctor?
FEES AND PAYMENT
• What methods of payment are accepted?
• Is immediate payment expected on the day of visit or are
credit cards accepted?
• What is the range of services that the veterinary
• How are emergency calls handled during regular office
hours and after regular office hours?
• Is the practice clean and orderly?
• Are there any unpleasant odors?
• Are the doctors members of any professional veterinary
• Understand the hospital’s policies and procedures.
As the pet owner…
…you must communicate your pet’s health care needs to the
veterinarian. Many signs of illness are subtle. Your
veterinarian will rely on your awareness of small changes
in your pet’s behavior or habits.
All veterinarians are special. All pets are special. Take
the time to choose the right veterinarian for your special