View Full Version : How to choose a vet???

6th August 2006, 03:19 AM
Cavalier's are not very popular in this area at all, the closest reputable breeder is about 4-5 hours so I understand the lack of knowledge but on the other hand I've been getting very frustrated. The first vet I took Caden to for his initial puppy checkup must have spent less than 60 seconds in the room looking at him after I spent an hour waiting (I had an appointment, walk ins had a two hour wait), the next vet was much more attentive but misdiagnosed him twice before a 3rd vet diagnosed and finally treated him for what was, by that time, pneomonia.

A few weeks ago Jace started scratching and biting himself fairly often, I checked him thoroughly for flees (he is on Frontline) but he had none. I thought maybe an allergy so I set an appointment to have him checked out. This vet has a "drop off" thing where you can take your puppy on the way to work and pick them up on the way home. When I got there to pick him up the vet had already left and the receptionist/helper told me she had simply given him a shot of cortozone "which should last about a month and relieve some of the itching." Here it is about a month later and the biting/scratching is flairing back up and the more I think about it I'm bothered by his treatment.

Is it normal for a vet to do a "quick fix" in this situation as opposed to investigating and finding the possible source of the problem? Whether it is an allergy or something else? Am I wrong to be irritated? They charge a $35 per visit fee, so I paid $70 because I brought both Caden and Jace in case it was flees so they could both be treated plus paying for the shot. Now I don't have a problem spending what's neccesary to keep my little ones healthy, but I'm about to have to take him again and pay another $35 for the same problem.

Should I try another vet, even after all the history and knowledge she has with Caden? How do you find a vet you're satisfied with???

6th August 2006, 03:37 AM
That is horrible...I'm lucky I found a vet who would never do anything without tlkin to me first...My vet is really down to earth...He usually will prescibe a medication that will help and or treat the problem...If by some chance the medication doesn't work he will take a different approach...But for me that has never happened...Any and all meds that King was given worked and cured King of his loose stool (first time) ear infection (second time) that was it...but from what I've heard bout my vet is he's great that's kinda why I chose to use him... I guess you should try a couple vets until you find 1 both you and your dogs like...

6th August 2006, 04:42 AM
well, i'm the kind of person who will try an unlimited number of vets if what Zack has is undiagnosed and not getting better, or, if i have remaining unanswered questions. Or, if i can't get in touch with a vet, i'll probably go see another one, if whatever i'm needing to ask about seems urgent to me.

I think of seeing different vets as a team approach, just because i go to a new one doesn't mean i can't go back to a previous one if i think they can help.

Medicine is not an exact science, there are a lot of limits on knowledge, there's a lot of trial and error, there are natural human biases that different individual vets have, that's just the human condition, each have their strengths and weaknesses. I think of vets in part as consultants, i seek out their knowledge and expertise and their perspective, their opinion. I am not necessarily going to be satisfied with their opinion but i want to hear it because i have a lot to learn and i have to start somewhere.

I would not be able to tolerate the kind of experience you had, i don't blame you from feeling frustrated and dissatisfied. I've been a number of times to three different local vet offices and have never had to wait an unreasonable amount of time for any visit, whether it was an appointment or a short notice thing. All of the practices were busy with a steady stream of patients, although the most expensive one was less busy, now that i think about it. All of the vets i've seen with Zack, a total of 7, and including the emergency room vet, and including the emergency room radiologist who i never saw, all spent unhurried time with me, patiently listening to my concerns and answering my questions, in person and on the phone. They all seemed caring.

I hope you can find a vet where you are treated that way. What you mentioned about the value of staying with a vet who knows your dog, that's important to me too, so you're weighing pros and cons. But if it was me, i would not be able to tolerate the kind of experience you had. I hope your city has more different kinds of choices which include vets that are more communicative with you.

Personally, again, i don't think if you go to a new vet it should necessariy mean you couldn't still go back to the old vet, if you had a reason to. It's not like monogamy to me, it's more like forming a consulting team. I know most people don't see it this way and vets do seem to expect to have an exclusive relationship with their patients, but i gotta do what i gotta do. I always request copies of Zack's medical records and when i go to a different vet, i provide the medical records from other vets, or lab tests.

good luck, chronic itchiness is no fun for you or doggie, and cortisone injection just treats the symptoms, with a medication that isn't exactly heath-friendly. Sorry to hear it came back.

Itchiness is very frustrating for a lot of owners and vets and sometimes steroids are needed. Like you, i just think of it more as a last resort, or something you use in addition to trying to find out what the cause is. Could Jace have dry skin that might respond to adding some fatty acids or oils to his diet? Could it be related to the heat? Rarely, animals can have allergic reactions to topical flea treatments. There can be an allergic reaction to a food. Was there anything new he's been eating or exposed to in the environment?

Cathy Moon
6th August 2006, 06:55 AM
I would look for a new vet if I were in your shoes!

I would start by asking other people (who are good pet owners) which vet they go to. You could also ask nearby dog trainers, boarding kennels, and maybe even groomers for the name of a good vet.

If you can find a group practice, they may have more and better diagnostic equipment and specialists within the group, plus you can almost always get an appointment quickly if you're willing to see someone else in the group. The whole group would have access to your dogs medical records, which is helpful in an emergency situation.

I would rather take my dog to the vet and have a face to face conversation while the vet examines my dog. During the course of the examination, a conversation should be happening where we're both asking and answering each others questions. My vet gives me as much time as I need to ask questions and talk about symptoms, etc.

The drop off/ pick up arrangement is better for after the dog has already been diagnosed and is going to have surgery, a procedure, or something like that. I know it can be difficult to take off work to go to the vets, but maybe you could find a vet that has evening / week end hours. :flwr:

Bruce H
6th August 2006, 11:17 AM
My first thought is what "... history and knowledge she has with Caden"? Sounded like your vet spent almost no time with either of them, almost soulds like the MacDonalds of verterinary service. Yes, I think it's time to be looking for a different vet. Even if your vet was a good vet, if you have little or no confidence, then it's over because you will probably never completely trust her.

Do you have other vets in your area? I would suggest going in at your leisure and interviewing them, if only for a few minutes. And while it would be ideal if they saw other Cavaliers, you can always do a lot of research here on this board so you can "help" out the vet on some of the Cavalier-specific issues. There is an incredible wealth of information on this board.

6th August 2006, 11:24 AM
I would call the regional cavalier club(s) (ACKCSC and/or CKCSC) and ask if they can recommend vets in your area. :thmbsup:

6th August 2006, 12:58 PM
Find another vet, and I think you should really read up about SM as well, not trying to frighten you here but it is very widespread in Cavaliers and the biting and scratching are symptoms that showed with my girls.

Ask to see a neurologist and take all the information that you can find with you, or perhaps your new/old vet might be more helpful if you shared the information with them also.

So many times it can be over looked as an allergy etc.

Alison, Wilts, U.k.

6th August 2006, 01:49 PM
Have you tried looking up a holistic vet? The ones in my area are supposedly so much more personal with spending time with the people talking and the dogs listening. Also, my aunt's dog went a year or so before she figured out he was allergic to FRONTLINE! He had a lot of really bad scratchy skin problems. My sister's dog also has this problem along with a wheat allergy.

For holistic vets go to http://www.holisticvetlist.com/ and click on the big "Search Now" to find a vet near you. I would definitely call and talk to them to get a feel for the clinic before you decide to go. [/url]

8th August 2006, 01:01 AM
So much wonderful advice, thank you guys! I am definitely going to try another vet that is highly recommended by a colleague that is also associated with the doggie daycare that I take the boys to. We'll see how that goes but I'm also very interested in trying a holistic vet, thank you for the link Misha, I found one only half an hour away!

Bruce, the 3rd and current vet did spend a lot of time with Caden when he was sick. She took a personal interest in getting him well which was really touching.

The only other complaint I've had is how highly she recommended Science Diet. Jace's breeder asked what I fed Caden and frowned heavily on the Science diet because of the corn. I understand it is a matter of opinion to a certain extent but the breeder said she doesn't know a single breeder in the Atlanta area that approves of Science Diet and the vets get a kick back from it which is why they recommend it. I would rather they charge me more and tell me what is really the most healthy choice for my dogs, not what a big company pays them to.

It certainly could be a skin problem or a food allergy. I'm still new at this and unfortunately learning as we go, I just recently switched from the puppy to regular adult Chicken soup for the Dog Lover's soul food so perhaps Jace is not getting all that he should. I also give them fresh vegetables as treats -- usually green beans and blueberries are there favorites. What other supplements are recommended?

Bruce H
8th August 2006, 01:20 AM
I would second your breeders opinion of SD. And I also don't know of any breeder around here that would recommend it. We tell our puppy people that most any food recommended by the Whole Dog Journal is fine if they want to switch food.

Cathy Moon
8th August 2006, 02:09 AM
The only other complaint I've had is how highly she recommended Science Diet. Jace's breeder asked what I fed Caden and frowned heavily on the Science diet because of the corn. I understand it is a matter of opinion to a certain extent but the breeder said she doesn't know a single breeder in the Atlanta area that approves of Science Diet and the vets get a kick back from it which is why they recommend it. I would rather they charge me more and tell me what is really the most healthy choice for my dogs, not what a big company pays them to.

Hi Danielle, just wondering if the vet was recommending Hill's Science Diet, or was she recommending one of the Hill's prescription foods, like maybe one for dogs with severe allergies? Sometimes people think the vet is recommending a normal food and not a prescription food.

I would not want to feed my pups any Hill's, but if it was a prescription food your vet was recommending, you might want to look into the Royal Canin prescription diets, or something else.

My vet wanted to put India on Hill's prescription CD, and I didn't like the ingredients, so we both researched and compromised on feeding her Evo canned 95% beef, to help adjust India's acidity.

I'm just sharing this info in case another vet recommends Hill's food to you. :flwr: