Categories | Vet
No matter what type of pet you own, they will need to go to the vet at some stage in their life for vaccinating, checkups, or treatment. There are many vets available out there and choosing the right one can mean the difference between a stressful visit and a calm one.
What is a Vet and What do they do?
Simply put, a vet (veterinarian) is a professional that specialises in the care and treatment of animals. There are many different types of vets so the tasks that they perform will often depend on the type of vet that they are and what they specialise in. Some of the most common tasks that you will find a vet performing however include:
- Educating pet owners on how to correctly care for their pet. This involves things such as suggesting the appropriate diet, the amount of exercise that they require, any special grooming requirements that they have, how often they need vaccinating, and so forth.
- Evaluating and treating animals. A large pet of a vet’s job is to evaluate and treat the pets or animals that they see throughout the day. This includes performing examinations, carrying out diagnostic tests, giving medication or vaccinations as needed, and doing follow up care.
- Operating on animals. When operations are required to bring an animal back to health, the vet will carry out the procedure and also do all necessary follow up and post operative care to ensure that the animal heals correctly.
- Responding to emergency situations. This can include things such as animals that have gotten injured in fights, car accidents, and sudden illnesses and they will treat the animal as humanely as possible (including euthanasia if it is so required).
- Communicating with owners. The vet should be able to clearly explain what is happening to their pet, give all the treatment options clearly, outline the potential costs involved, and also give their opinion as to the pet’s prognosis (if they are likely to recover or not).
Types of Vets
There are many different types of vets that are capable of treating your beloved pets. These include:
- General Vets -- these are the vets that most people are familiar with and they are capable of treating most household pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, rats, mice, ferrets, and so on.
- Exotic Vets -- these vets have specialised training in how to diagnose and treat exotic animals such as lizards, monkeys, exotic birds and so on. They may have a private practice or they can be found working for zoos, animal refuges, or customs offices.
- Equine Vets -- these vets specialise in treating horses of all types – racing horses, work horses, pets and so forth.
- Farm Vets -- these vets specialise in treating farm animals such as cows, sheep, and chickens and so on. They also help to maintain the quality of feedstock.
- Avian Vets -- these vets specialise in the care and treatments of birds. They have specialised training in this area and can work with smaller pet birds or with more exotic species such as large parrots, eagles, owls, and so on.
- Marine Vets -- these vets are trained in treating non-domestic marine life such as dolphins, whales, and sea lions. This is an extremely specialised area.
- Research Vets -- these are the vets that are involved in developing vaccines and studying the diseases that present in animals. They also study animal behaviour in relation to people.
- Holistic Vets -- these are vets that are willing to use alternative treatments where necessary in order to treat the whole animal and not just its systems in order to bring it back to a state of wellbeing.
As well as the other types of vets that you will find, you can find specialist vets. These are vets that specialise in one particular area of animal health. Types of specialist vets include:
- Anaesthesiologist - these vets are specially trained to use anaesthetics when animals require surgery or need to be asleep in order to have certain procedures or tests performed.
- Dental vets - these are vets that have done additional training in order to be able to correctly diagnose and treat problems that occur with an animal's teeth or mouth. They are also trained in how to handle the animal's mouth, which can sometimes be difficult.
- Emergency vets - these vets specialise in the emergency treatment of your animal when you bring it into the surgery. They are trained in the quick diagnosis and treatment of your pet in order to save its life. They are used in emergency situations such as heart attack, stroke, injury, poisoning, and so on.
- Nutritionists - vet nutritionists are trained in providing the best diet for your pet or animal's needs. They have a detailed understanding of animal's nutritional requirements and they are particularly helpful if your pet requires a certain diet due to obesity or a medical condition.
- Surgical vets - surgical vets are those that are highly trained and primarily perform surgery on animals. They are able to perform a wide range of surgical procedures on your pet.
- Dermatologists - these vets specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions.
- Cardiologists - these vets specialise in diagnosing and treating heart and heart related conditions. Treatment can be in the form of medication, exercise, diet changes, or surgery, depending on what is needed in a particular situation.
- Opthalmologists - this is a vet that has done additional training relating to eye related conditions in animals.
- Oncologists - these specialist vets manage the treatment and care of animals that have been diagnosed with cancer.
Tips for Choosing a Vet
It can be a daunting process to choose a vet – after all you want the best for your beloved animals! That’s why we’ve pulled together some tips to help you make your choice easier. Firstly, ask someone else you know that has animals if they have a recommendation. Nothing is better than word of mouth! Before taking your pet to the vet, call the clinic and ask if you can come in and have a look and meet the vets and staff. While you’re there, take a look at how clean the clinic is, and note how the atmosphere feels. A calmer atmosphere is better as it suggests that the animals are relaxed and happy and that the staff and vets are in control. Don’t forget to look at the animal boarding areas – these should be spotless, warm and comfortable.
It is also a good idea to find out if your vet or the practice in general is a member of any professional organisation. Also find out if they work with local animal shelters or rescue organisations. Also have a look at the manner of the vet. By this we mean that they should be easy to talk to, and ready and willing to answer any questions that you may have. They should also be willing to meet your pet before any care is actually required. Also see what services they provide. General vets should be able to provide a good range of services to treat most conditions but you may need to go to a specialist vet if your pet has a more advanced or complicated problem.
Don’t forget to check out the more mundane things such as opening hours. Look for a vet that is open for good hours and that provides an emergency service (as pets don’t always need a vet during business hours!). Find out what their general costs are and how they require payment – do they accept pet insurance, what payment methods are accepted, and will they do payment plans if necessary?
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