As a clinic that offers veterinarian services to the Las Vegas general public, one of the questions that is continually asked of the staff and doctors of Pet Health Hospital is “how do I choose the best veterinarian in Las Vegas?” While this question may seem easier for us to answer than you would expect (that answer being “we are the best veterinarian in Las Vegas,”) of course we want to consider all of the aspects that are going to be working together over the course of your pet’s life, all of which will play a role in answering the question for you. Of course, the very first element to consider is Las Vegas itself, and the layout of the city with regards to your proximity to your veterinarian. Las Vegas is a city that grew in different areas which were linked together by highways after they had already grown, and this can create issues with regards to traffic. Unlike other cities, a veterinarian office that is physically within only a few miles of your home might take a significantly long period of time to travel to, due to the nature of the traffic on the roads and highways themselves. The best way to decide if a veterinarian office is convenient for you is to actually make the drive to the office you have chosen, in order to see if there are traffic issues that might make you hesitant to take your pet to the veterinarian for routine exams and treatments. Make the drive during high traffic times like rush hour, and see how long it takes to get there. If you feel that the driving time is going to create inconvenience on your part, and you may be hesitant to take your pet in to see the veterinarian on a regular basis because of this inconvenience, then it may be better to choose a veterinarian office closer to your Las Vegas home, or one that is a faster drive on the highway. This should not be the ultimate deciding factor in your decision, of course, but it will probably begin to play a role in the amount of times you are willing to take your pet to see the doctor. You would be surprised at how many times people will wait to take their pets in for an exam until too much time has passed and an illness has taken hold, simply because they couldn’t make the time to get the pet into the car and drive to the vet. Another factor in this decision is going to be the operating hours of the veterinarian office themselves. Are they open at times that are going to provide you with an ability to take your pet to see them outside of your work hours. Most people will hesitate to take time off work in order to take their pet to the veterinarian, because of fear of being scrutinized of for loss of vacation time. It is therefore very important to find a veterinarian in Las Vegas that is open at times when you are not at work. Another consideration is the amount of time they are able to accept emergency cases, if at all. Many veterinarians are not equipped to take an emergency case at all, and the ones that are equipped will not usually be open 24 hours. With that said, you will also need to find an emergency veterinarian within a few minutes of your home in order to take your pet there in the case of an emergency. You would be amazed at how few emergencies involving pets happen during regular business hours, and in emergency times every moment counts. This is why the emergency veterinarian that you choose should be the most convenient in proximity to your home, but the regular veterinarian you choose does not necessarily have to be so close, as long as you are willing to take the extra time.
Another important aspect of deciding on the right Las Vegas veterinarian for you is the clinic itself. Is the staff friendly and helpful? Is the location clean and bright? Does it feel like a doctor’s office or does it feel like a kennel? Your veterinarian is a doctor for your pet, and as a doctor they should present themselves and their location as a medical facility. When you call does the phone ring without being answered? Does the staff seem accommodating to your issues, and are they able to offer immediate help if necessary? All of these questions should be considered when choosing the best veterinarian, as they are going to be part of your ongoing interaction with the facility. When you call or bring your pet into the facility in order to be examined, do you feel as though this is something that you would rather not be doing? If the answer is yes and there is something about the facility or the staff that has made you feel that way, then there is a very good chance that you will begin putting off visits in the future, which is disadvantageous to your pet’s care. Anything that makes you feel that you would rather not be doing this is going to potentially make you hesitate to bring your pet into the office in the future. Since regular checkups and care are the best methods for keeping your pet healthy, it is crucial that you not feel uncomfortable coming to the office.
Does the veterinarian or head technician give you the impression that your pet’s health is their main concern? Keep in mind that a veterinarian is a business, just like a doctor is a business. Although making money is the goal of any business, a doctor or medical professional should not be making decisions about care based upon creating more profits for the business. Unfortunately the regulations that govern the actions of human doctors are rarely applied to veterinarians and therefore there are many more that are “profit driven” than there should be. If you get the impression that your veterinarian is trying to “upsell” you constantly on items that you and your pet do not need, then you may be realizing that the veterinarian is not putting the health and well being of your pet first. At Pet Health Hospital, we have gone as far as to create our “wellness programs” which specifically concentrate on the regular and routine maintenance that will potentially assist in the avoidance of more costly surgeries and treatments. This is good for the pet owner as it reduces costs associated with care as well as the potential heartache of having to make decisions on expensive treatments based on the ability to afford them, when they could have been avoided with some routine and inexpensive ongoing vaccinations and checkups. Although we want to make money just like other veterinarians do, we would rather make less and have your pet lead a longer and happier life than to make more by not providing the education to our patients on how to avoid the expensive treatments. We have seen too many people make the decision to put a pet down rather than pay for treatments that are hard to bear, and we do everything in our power to never have that choice need to be made by our patients. The way to do that is by keeping them healthy.
Another consideration as far as choosing the best veterinarian in Las Vegas is the prices that it costs to use them. The cheapest option is not always the best, as the ability to offer “bargain basement” prices usually comes with lesser care, of less experience. Although lower prices are always a good thing on the surface, the experience level of the lead veterinarian and the staff, as well as the costs of the facility itself, are going to play into the decision due to the fact that lesser care is not the goal. A concerned pet parent wants the best care that they can afford for their animals, and if paying a little extra so that the doctor can spend more time concentrating on their case instead of rushing off to another patient is going to keep your pet healthier. One of the traits of a good doctor is attention to detail, and being rushed from patient to patient reduces the ability of the doctor to concentrate on those minute details that might catch illnesses earlier, crete better health plans or make your pet’s life better.
Does the veterinarian follow up? Many veterinarians in Las Vegas simply treat their patients then have the staff follow up to make sure that everything is going according to plan, if they follow up at all. Pet Health Hospital provides a personal follow up from the doctor or involved staff member who was treating the animal when they came into the office. This involvement in the process even past the point of prescribing medicine or treatment is one of the characteristics of any good doctor or veterinarian, as it allows the doctor themselves to discuss the follow up with the patients and get a sense as far as if it is going according to plan or not. This personal interaction is what you would want for your family members that are humans, and you should expect no less from your veterinarian with regards to our pets.
Does the veterinarian office have access to the latest equipment and advances in veterinary medicine? Just like human medicine, veterinarians need to keep up with the latest advancements in the treatments of the illnesses of their patients, as well as the knowledge on how to keep them healthy. This will extend to the equipment of the facility itself being new and well maintained, as well as the staff being knowledgeable on how to use it. Does the veterinarian need to send you elsewhere to get procedures and exams that are beyond their capacities? While this is naturally going to be the case when treating something very specific that can be better handled in a facility that is dedicated to that single thing, the more routine aspects of pet medicine should be able to be handled in house. This will extend to minor or routine surgeries, dentals, vaccinations and potentially some therapies. You are going to be more comfortable if the veterinarian that you have grown to trust is the one also performing the surgery, so it is important to inquire if this is something that the veterinarian handles in house or refers to others.
With all of the discussion as far as choosing the “best” veterinarian in Las Vegas, it is a personal choice of who you are most comfortable with. If that particular veterinarian is not available, are you comfortable with the next person in line who can treat your pet? These choices generally will come from referrals or convenience and then be solidified by “the way you feel about them,” and most time this gut instinct is going to make a good choice for you. We consider ourselves to be the best veterinarian and animal hospital in Las Vegas, and we welcome you to visit us to allow us to prove it to you.