Just as all parents need pediatricians for their babies, dog owners need a vet for their pets. A vet is a steady partner and your ally in raising healthy and happy fur balls. From the moment you welcome a dog into your life, you will need a vet to guide you and help you understand all aspects of your pet’s health.
There are many vets in the Philippines, but you have to identify a good one who can work well with you and your pet. Here are some points to consider when choosing one for your pet.
Competence and knowledge. This is basic. You want a vet who knows his stuff. You want the vet to approach your dog with confidence and ask the pertinent questions, which he should carefully weigh, before arriving at a diagnosis. To arrive at a diagnosis, your vet should be able to use appropriate tools and tests, and combine results of these with his observations. One cannot suffice without the other. Of course, after the treatments, you would like to see an improvement in your dog’s health. If your dog simply eyeballs your dog and comes to a conclusion on what ails him, be wary. Better yet, run in the opposite direction and find a better vet.
Accessibility. You want a vet who you can reach when you need him or her the most. Given today’s traffic situation in Metro Manila, you probably would want someone whose clinic is close enough to your home for emergency cases. (And yes, there’s nothing wrong with having two or more vets). You also want a vet with a working telephone line that you can contact anytime. Nothing can be more frustrating than to find out your vet’s number isn’t working when your pup isn’t feeling well.
Facilities. Veterinary clinics in Manila vary in the kind of facilities they offer — some have state-of-the-art equipment, while some have barebones facilities. As a dog owner, I find it very frustrating when I take a sick dog to the vet, only to be told to go to someone else’s clinic because they do not have the needed equipment. For instance, blood tests and x-rays are rather basic, yet so many vet clinics don’t have these. Others use the services of a third-party laboratory, which means you have to wait at least a day for the lab results. Imagine if your pet is battling a serious infection that you could treat much earlier if you had your lab results a day earlier. This is why I go for vets that have modern facilities, especially since I always want a thorough evaluation prior to a diagnosis.
Communication. You want a vet who takes the time and effort to communicate with you, explaining observations about your dog’s health, and not rushing off while checking your dog mechanically. The vet should give step-by-step instructions when needed, and should anticipate possible concerns. You would also want to find a vet who will give you tips on how to deal with your dog in general, not confining discussions to the issue raised during the visit.
Compassion. This is a non-negotiable. You want a vet who feels and understands your pet’s pains and feelings, and will deal with him with utmost care. Your vet should be patient and kind to animals. If you find your vet boorish and harsh in dealing with your pet (or someone else’s pet, for that matter), drop him like a hot potato. This goes as well for vet assistants. Remember that they directly handle your pet. Watch, watch, watch how they treat your animal every step of the away.
I’ve always believed that the ability to deal with animals is a gift. In fact, Dr. Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory identifies naturalist intelligence — or the ability to interact with nature — as the eighth intelligence. It’s both a skill and an art that can be honed with experience, dedication, and commitment.
The Philippines has lots of good vets, and I am happy to have had the privilege of being among their patients. Drop me a line if you want some names. Or maybe I can write about some of the them in the future.
If you find a good vet, then you’re definitely in luck — pet parenting will become much better and easier for you. Make sure to nurture your relationship with your vet and accord him or her the respect, honesty, care, and understanding that is always at the foundation of all good relationships.