Vets and veterinary practices differ in size, facilities, range of services, staff size, and obviously, in prices. It’s important to remember that while veterinary practices do need to generate revenue to sustain themselves, they also have a genuine passion for helping animals and their owners. By choosing the right practice, you can develop a strong relationship with your veterinarian that goes beyond business.
While breeding dogs professionally, your vet must become your best friend as you get to know him for years and he literally looks after your pets on a weekly basis. A good vet clears the breeder’s worries and gives valuable tips. Choosing the perfect match for your dog breeding business is primordial as you want to feel comfortable bothering them out of hours sometimes. They need to be able to visit your farm and know your dogs and their history. But most importantly, there should be a strong bond between the dogs, the dog breeder, and the vet.
Choosing Your Vet Depends On Key Factors
Because finding your perfect vet is not easy, this guide will guide you through the points to absolutely consider when choosing your vet. Bear in mind that there is nothing wrong at changing vet if you find better or yours got worse.
Check online if there is any accreditation or label, within your area or country, that would vouch veterinary practices as quality-orientated business (ie. RCVS-accredited practices in the United Kingdom.)
Speak to other breeders and pet owners in the region and ask them who is their vet and why are they staying with him. Ponder their answers with your very own requirements as your situations will most likely differ.
You then need to understand that you will need a practice near your location as in case of emergency, you do not want to travel for hours even if it is to arrive at the best practice in the country.
Services & Facilities
Visit the practice and ask for a show around; it may sound a bit odd at first but you do want to see what is going on behind their doors. While visiting, ask for the services and facilities the practice offer (and take notes or you will forget.)
What are the equipments directly available on site? Surgical, ultrasound and x-ray equipment on–site will make you save a lot of time and effort by immediately doing all required tests in order to get a diagnosis.
A laboratory very close or on the practice’s premises will also speed up the process as results of several tests will be available quasi-immediately.
Do they have overnight nurses and staff to look after the pets who are spending days and nights in the veterinary practice? If not, what happens if the pets require urgent care or someone’s attention? Will I be updated regularly or do I need to call myself every time I need to be updated on my pet’s situation?
How much notice do they usually need for an appointment? What are their opening times and how do they handle the communication with their clients (phone, email, texts?)
Maybe the most important point is everything that revolves around emergencies and out-of-hours services as it is when things to not go as planned (e.g. cesarean) that you will need the best service, responsiveness, and flexibility from your vet.
Find out whether they handle emergencies themselves or they direct you to another practice, if the latter, how far is it? What services are offered in this other practice?
When calling the 24/7 number, are you connected to the vet directly or do you need to leave a message and wait long minutes to receive a call back?
Some practices have a vet who can come himself to your place to handle emergencies, it is an important service for non-life-threatening conditions as otherwise, it is better to directly bring your animal to the practice to save valuable time.
Another important point is how visits are handled. Indeed, you will require the vet to visit your farm regularly to either have a review of your installations or to examine one of your dogs.
Get your head around the hours they can come for visits and ask if they are flexible with those visits.
The price comes last and it really should in your mind, too. By getting into breeding, you are getting into a business where you are looking after living creatures, often considered as humans. This means you have to get the best service and only then, see how much it costs and do whatever it takes to pay that price (usually, by selling your pups at a price that reflecting the quality of your breeding.)
A lot of countries require the veterinary practices to have an updated price list for the common treatments. Go further and ask them for even more typical prices or fees such as:
- Fees for out-of-hours and emergencies
- Prices of most prescribed medications
- Breed-specific interventions or tests (ex. hip scoring)
- Prices for common DNA tests and blood tests
You can find a great whelping kit that will help you cope with little emergencies occurring at birth and if they are serious, they will let you keep the puppies safe until you reach the vet practice. To avoid accidents on your dogs and your own person, you should quickly review your kennel to perform a fire and accident risk assessment and take the necessary actions.