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Choosing a vet practice

Choosing the right veterinary practice for you and your pets is a really important decision to make.  There are a lot of factors to think about to help make the best choice. 

Vets

Vets must be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to work and practice in the UK. Qualified vets should have the initials MRCVS or FRCVS after their names. You can check if your vet is registered on the RCVS website: www.findavet.rcvs.org.uk.   

You can also check if the practice is part of the practice standards scheme, which is a voluntary initiative to accredit veterinary practices. The aim is to maintain high levels of care using regular inspections and spot checks.

Recommendations

Personal recommendations and word of mouth can be useful ways to find out about other pet owner’s opinions and experiences of vets in your area.  Consider all your options and be open-minded, however, about whether their pet's needs are similar to what you are looking for in a vet. 

Location

Location is a really important factor to consider.  If your pet needs to see a vet quickly in an emergency, can you get to the vet in a quick and safe way?  If you don’t drive then, it is a good idea to know how you would get to the vets and if local taxi companies are happy to transport pets.  If you do drive, then it’s useful to find out if the practice has its own car park or nearby parking.

Opening times

Do the practice’s opening hours and appointment times suit your needs?  Some practices might open later in the evening or have weekend appointments available.  Some practices may have more than one branch that you may be required to travel to.  

It’s also advisable to find out the practice’s out-of-hours provision and whether it would suit your needs in an emergency.  Do they provide their own 24-hour cover in their building or do they have an external provider to facilitate this? 

Specialist care

Does your pet require specialist or unusual treatment?  Some vets may be more specialised or experienced in certain areas, species, or breeds. 

Price

Prices can vary from practice to practice depending on various factors including location and facilities offered.  

Some practices can offer health plans where you can pay a monthly direct debit which may include discounts and preventative health care treatments such as vaccinations and parasite control.

It can be useful to know if practices are able to provide estimates for treatment and procedures needed.  

Vet practices should be happy to deal with pet insurance companies and some may be able to claim directly depending on their individual policies.

Visit the practice.

It can be a good idea to visit the practice yourself to see what your first impression is.  You might be able to have a conversation with the reception staff and see if they are friendly and knowledgeable about the practice.

Some clinics may offer separate cat and dog waiting areas if you have a nervous cat. 

Author: Emma Webb / Posted: August 17th 2023
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