In Search of a New Vet, Part One

Before I say anything else, I just want to set the record straight. It is not my sweet, clean, angelic puppy that has fleas. Perish the thought! It is that evil, stinky creature-that-doesn’t-even-like-me, otherwise known as The Cat. He is the one who has brought all that itchiness to our home. He is the one who forced us outside all afternoon on Sunday lest we poison ourselves. Not my good and pure little dog.

This thing

NOT this thing

It’s kind of a long story, but unfortunately we have been dealing with this problem for an embarrassingly long time. Not because we don’t treat our animals every month because we do. They both get that goopy stuff to the back of their necks every four weeks. A month does not go by where we don’t have to deal with the resulting wackiness in our dog. (For some reason flea prevention ooze makes her insane. Well, more insane than normal.) Yet, while Shiva has remained flea-free, the poor kitty can’t seem to shake them. It’s been very frustrating. Despite what I said above, I do really feel bad for him.

I mean, it can’t be easy going around without any butt fur.

On Twitter last week, I mentioned we were test-driving a new vet. You may remember a few weeks ago, after Shiva’s broken nail, how I came to the realization that our current vet may not be cutting it. Some smart commenter recommended I check out Vet Ratingz, a great user-generated review website for veterinarians across North America. There weren’t too many listings for my area on the site, but enough to give me an idea of clinics to check out. So I made an appointment at the one that sounded the best to me and crossed my fingers.

What. A. Difference.

First of all, the clinic is located in an old house. As soon as I saw the little sign with the cartoon puppy and kitten, I had more hope. Our old vet is located in behind a car wash. The new place felt cozy. I know, it is weird to describe a medical office in such a way but it’s true. The colours inside were soft and the chairs were actually comfortable. The waiting space was small but very comfortable. As I say, much different from our last clinic which was wide and open and very clinical. Already they had one me over.

The veterinarian herself was even better than I could have asked for. She was kind. She treated us like old friends. There was no judgment in her expression and she seemed to actually care about our cat’s comfort and well-being. There was no rushing to get us out of there. I felt I knew more about the health of our cat in those twenty minutes than I have ever learned from any of our previous vets. And she did something the other vet never did, gave us practical advice to deal with the flea issue. Advice that I actually think may work. I didn’t realize this was a difficult thing to expect.

Do you want to know the kicker?

The veterinarian called us the next day to make sure the cat didn’t have a bad reaction to the vaccinations. The veterinarian herself called us. Is this normal? I am pretty sure our former vet forgot we even existed before we left the clinic.

It’s too soon to say anything yet. I don’t want to decide on a new place in a hurry. The point of all this is to find the best person for us and our animals. Besides, she has yet to pass the Shiva test. Any doctor can handle our fairly docile cat. But it takes a pro to handle the Shivster.

26 thoughts on “In Search of a New Vet, Part One

  1. Unfortunately, this is NOT the norm, especially in cities. You were just lucky to find a vet who value their profession and are dedicated to doing it properly. Our vet practice are not too bad, but it depends on who you get on the day.
    I hope your poor kitty will be flea-free in no time 🙂


  2. I was very nervous when we took Our Best Friend to the vet the first time, because he still growled menacingly at anyone he felt was threatenting him. To my relief he was a wussypants, fawning on everyone, gobbling a biscuit as the shots went in. The vet knows his history with us, helped us find a trainer (though that was not a huge success, a post I haven’t written yet :)), and has encouraged us with him throughout.

    I still think they charge too much, though. But unless I see glaring incompetence, I can’t waste energy shopping around. I’m glad you found “the right one” right off the bat!


  3. Yep, you’ll see big differences between one vet office and another. I hope Shiva’s care goes as well for you.

    And good luck with the fleas. They are insidious. I don’t know if this is still true but when I had this battle years ago, none of the toxic chemicals could kill flea eggs. That’s why you have to wait for them to hatch and do all your treatments and laundry all over again. You have to be so persistent. I hope it’s over for you soon.

    Any chemists out there should be researching flea egg compounds to see if they could be used in bullet proof vests. They’re apparently indestructible.


  4. I’ve been out here in dirtville for going on 4 years and still haven’t found a vt I am happy with. One clinic is like an automated factory assembly line. another patronizes me and pushes vaccines, another wouldn’t prescribe antibiotics after Alf’s nuetering. We’re 50 miles from the closest vet. Fortunately Stumpy is VERY healthy. I’d sure like to form a relationship with my vet BEFORE she actually needs serious help.

    Consumer driven websites are great. But you do have to be careful of emotional reviews where someone wants to blame anyone but themselves for a bad situation. I’m going to follow the link to see if there’s a vet on there I haven’t been to. Thanks for the heads up!


  5. We went through similar problems with our previous dog and after finding the vet we have now, we would never leave him.
    He has always been spot on and always calls us himself to see how we are making out.

    Our previous vet took 5 mo trying to get rid of a stubborn ear infection and when I switched, our new vet cleared it up with one medication in a week.

    When you find one, keep em


  6. A good vet makes all the difference. We switched vets right before we adopted Nemo and I LOVE our new one. We used to love the office we went to before but over the years it just gradually went downhill. It took a little while for us to notice, but once we switched we realized how ambivalent our old office really was about our pets. Good luck with the switch, I hope the new office can handle the Shivster!


  7. I am so relieved to hear that the flea-bitten creature is the evil cat and not the sweet pure dog.

    Well done on the vet! Our vet calls to follow-up too. And he never rushes us, even when I dither and talk about inernet research :p PLUS, he’s cute as a button!


  8. My rescue dogs are now under our parent tax exempt sanctuary which means they are seen by a new vet :(. The vet is fine but I love my vet, whom my personal and foster dogs will still see. The whole office is personable, we share heartaches with each other as well as joys, they give me food, toys and medicines returned by families whose dogs have passed on, knowing my dogs will benefit. Yes, they cost a bit more but I love them, my dogs are happy to go there and we are all comfy. Your new vet sounds awesome – especially her care with the ambiance of her waiting room. She is somehow able to practice in the best of manners. Good for you all! BTW, try Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) – scatter it over your couches and rugs as well as the Kitty Meister and Shiva; when the fleas contact it, they die and it does not hurt the pets. I love it and use it all the time.


  9. It is so hard to find a good vet. We’re already on our 3rd. I feel like the other vets I had were just trying to get more money from us. A visit costs $60, not counting anything they do. Some guy even sold us an “anti-nausea” pill for $30 because Miss M threw up after vaccinations (not telling us we were being charged but acting like he was being nice). Of course I don’t like her to be sick, but that seemed a bit excessive. I don’t even take anti-nausea pills myself.


  10. If you are comfortable with the vet right off the hop, it’s probably a good choice. I’m just so impressed that she called you the next day to check up on the cat. That IS service!!


  11. I’m happy for you. I recently had a pretty good veterinary experience, but have yet to find “the One”, despite living here for nearly eight years now.


  12. hooray for good vets! we’ve been through our fair share, having moved 7 times in the past 7 years (what can i say — grad school is a strange bird), but i agree with others– a good vet makes all the difference. i especially love the extra few minutes that a good vet will linger after a checkup, letting you ask other strange questions that don’t have anything to do with the reason you came. we got a free consult on Chick’s luxating patella when we went in for our first annual with this clinic, and were immediately in love. many vets would have charged us $100 to look at his knee!



  13. So happy to hear that you are having a better experience. I know from my own trials that a vet makes or breaks you when your pet is sick. Good luck!


  14. Sounds like a wonderful place. I hope they pass the Shiva test! We had a pediatrician who actually called us after appointments to check on the kids and even offered to pick us up once when we had a transportation issue!
    If you find a vet this caring, you’re very lucky.


  15. Hi, hi! Did you miss me? I missed you all!

    Gosh, I’m sure glad you mighta found a good V.E.T. That’s Most Impawtant. We luvs our V.E.T. Well, MOM and DAD luvs him. Me and Sisfur Abby think he’s pretty nice and Brudder Ranger and Cap’n Ripley think he’s the devil. But they’d think that about ANY V.E.T. My paws are crossed for you that Shiva likes her.

    My mom says she suuuure understands the flea thing. With my Angel Sisfur Kitteh Annabelle, they had a big, HUGE flea problem. They thought they had it taken care of but they came back the next year. And when mom saw that first flea, she really and truly got tunnel vision and had to sit down cuz she thought she was gonna pass out. I don’t think I have ever had a flea but from what I hear, they’re just the awfulest! I hopes all your fleas go away soon.

    Wiggles & Wags,


  16. Well, I’m glad it’s not Shiva who is the flea problem causer but how awful that you can’t get rid of the little beasts:(

    Your possibly new vet sounds awesome … I didn’t know vets ever rang to check how your pet is, I’ve never even had a vet nurse ring up! Well done the possibly new vet! I hope she does as well with Shiva:)


  17. I’ve never heard of that site! I’ll definitely check it out.

    We’ve been lucky with our vet so far… followed him when he started his own practice, and have been pretty happy. However, with a carsick Bella on my hands it’s harder to make the longer drive. But a good vet is worth it!


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