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Choosing The Right Veterinarian

(credit:  Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images)

(credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images)

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By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Choosing the right veterinarian is extremely important.

First, think about your pet’s needs. For example, if you only have cats, some veterinarians specialize in felines only, and limit their practice to one species to provide more thorough care. Although more difficult to find, but some veterinarians specialize in exotic pets, birds, reptiles, etc.

Ask friends and family for recommendations and referrals. But more importantly, check with the State Veterinary Board and the Better Business Bureau for peace of mind.

Make it a point to visit their office and facility to find out what services they provide. Look for cleanliness always, as well as a friendly, helpful staff that can provide plenty of patience and gentle compassion. Check their office hours and ask if 24 hour emergency care is always available. If not, do they work in connection with a local emergency clinic?

Look for convenience of location, especially in an emergency situation. Find out their basic fees and methods of payment ahead of time so that your not caught off guard. How easy is it to get an appointment right away? Do they specialize in various areas such as geriatric care and certain breeds that may require specialized care such as greyhounds, etc. Don’t hesitate to ask a lot of questions. There should be a good communication between you and your veterinarian.

But, most importantly, observe your pet’s interaction with the staff and the vet, and always trust your own instincts. If you’re not comfortable, it’s not the right situation for you and your pet.