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Choosing The Right Vet

15 years ago

2nd April, 2007 00h00

Vet practices come in all shapes and sizes. So how should you choose a vet? How can you be sure that everyone offering animal treatment knows what they are talking about? Vet at work Fortunately, in the UK, veterinary medicine and surgery can only be legally carried out by appropriately qualified people. The body responsible for ensuring that this law is followed is the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), and qualified vets are registered as MRCVS or FRCVS (Member or Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Did you know? It is illegal for anyone who is not registered to practise as a vet. Personal recommendation is often a useful way of choosing a vet. However, this may not always be ideal. A veterinary practice a long way from your home is not ideal because in an emergency, rapid treatment can be lifesaving. Indeed, vet practices may refuse to register clients who live far from their premises because of difficulties with providing emergency treatment. Other important factors you may want to consider are:Did you know? Qualified Veterinary Nurses can use the letters VN after their names, and have to take a college course for at least two years. Once they are listed with the RCVS, they can even undertake minor surgical procedures, just like many human nurses. Specialist vets for procedures Unlike the medical profession, most vet practices undertake a variety of medical and surgical procedures; common examples include gastrointestinal surgery, repairing simple bone fractures, and taking and interpreting radiographs. However, there are situations where it may be best for vets with further qualifications or more experience in a particular field to undertake the treatment. Examples include more complex fractures, long-standing skin cases or sophisticated imaging such as MRI. Most vets recognise when this is necessary, and will often suggest referral to an appropriate vet. The RCVS ensures that only vets who are appropriately qualified and experienced can call themselves specialists, and it publishes a list on its website. Did you know? All vets have to make arrangements for their clients' pets to receive emergency treatment outside normal hours. The prices that a veterinary practice charges are not a reliable indication of the quality of care. The cheapest may not be the worst, nor the most expensive the best. It's a good idea to find out what exactly is included when you are given a quote. Vaccinations may vary with what is included (for example, feline leukaemia vaccine isn't always included in cat vaccines). If your pet is having an operation, will there be a charge for post-surgery check-up, or for suture removal? Insurance is an excellent idea, but remember that some practices require payment of fees before your claim is settled. Exotic pets If you have an unusual or exotic pet, it is worth taking the trouble to find a vet who, if not a specialist, at least takes an interest in the species. Other practices in the area may be able to suggest an appropriate practice, or you may be able to locate one via the RCVS Find a Vet service. However, physiological differences between breeds of dog or cat are minimal, and where this is the case, there is lots of information available. So however rare or unusual your breed of dog or cat, you are unlikely to need to travel miles to find a vet with the requisite knowledge . Did you know? An amazing variety of different breeds including the Siberian husky, the Afghan hound, Africa's basenji, China's chow chow, Japan's akita, and Egypt's saluki have been demonstrated by DNA studies to be especially closely related to the wolf-like ancestors of the domestic dog. More information about veterinary practices can be found on the following site: RCVS information on veterinary practices

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