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C2005-27

Dear Christopher Cat

I am moving in a few weeks, and I will need a new veterinarian. My current vet doesn’t know of anyone in my new town. How do I find a veterinarian who will be good to my cat and me?

Christopher Responds

Everyone deserves a veterinarian with both medical expertise and communication skill.

Ask new friends for recommendations, and schedule your cat for a get-acquainted wellness exam with each of the veterinarians they recommend.

The veterinarian you are looking for will take a thorough history, asking about your cat’s diet and whether your cat lives indoors exclusively or spends some time outside.

After the physical exam, the veterinarian should describe the findings and make suggestions for preventing future problems.

For example, if your cat has significant gum disease, the veterinarian should explain how professional dental cleaning can help prevent life-threatening kidney disease.

To help you determine how committed the veterinarian is to diagnosing and effectively treating disease, ask these questions:

How often do you consult with colleagues about challenging cases?

Are you a member of an online community of veterinarians, such as the Veterinary Information Network?
How frequently do you refer patients to specialists?

What percentage of your clients manage their cats’ chronic diseases, such as diabetes, rather than euthanize their pets if such a diagnosis is made?

How many hours of continuing education credit, above the state minimum, do you earn every year?

To complete your evaluation, pay attention to how well the receptionists and technicians treat you and your cat.

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