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April 27 is World Veterinary Day

Caring for all our furry friends is one of the great things veterinarians do for us!
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Caring for all our furry friends is one of the great things veterinarians do for us!

One important thing any pet owner should do is find a good veterinarian.  But how do you choose a veterinarian?  Often the first reason is location - you’d like a vet who’s close by, in case of an emergency.  Ask neighbors and friends who have pets which veterinarians they like and use.  Then make an appointment with one to take your pet in for a checkup.  Use this opportunity to evaluate the veterinarian for yourself.  Look for a clean office - not just the front office, but the examining rooms, the floors, the equipment, the entire clinic.

     To me, the most important quality in a veterinarian is the way the vet (and staff) handle my pet.  I want someone who seems comfortable with animals, and handles my pet well.  For that reason as well as for your pet’s own sense of security, stay with your pet during the examination, at least on the first visit.  I also like a vet who will talk to me, and explain technical terms I don’t understand.  Such terms may be more precise, but they can be confusing and even intimidating to a pet owner.

I don’t think a veterinarian’s age is a concern.  Someone who’s been in practice for a long time has a lot of experience to draw on, but someone who’s a more recent graduate may be more up-to-date on the latest techniques.  Don’t expect any veterinarian to know everything.  A good vet knows their limits, and may refer you to another vet or a veterinary specialist in certain cases.  To me that indicates the veterinarian has my pet’s health as a top priority.

     With good care and a little luck, your pet can live a long and healthy life.  The right veterinarian can be an important resource to help you accomplish that.  

     Today is World Veterinary Day, a time to celebrate the contributions veterinarians make to the health of animals, and people and the environment.  They are essential workers, especially when we’re speaking of pets.

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Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.