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Interviewing A Vet


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I really need a new vet-- preferably one that is close enough to drive to after work on weekdays. While I would like one with good prices, that's only part of the equation. I really am looking for one that is open-minded and willing to work with you. Grey-savvy would be great, but I know that is unlikely here.

 

I feel really strange just calling up a practice and asking questions, but how else can I find a vet? I don't want to keep taking my pups to different vets each time-- I'd like a continuum of care, to stick with a vet so that they get to know my dogs and me.

 

What questions should I ask? I'm at a total loss. :( I've had the same vet almost all my life until he retired the other year. :(

In vino veritas
Rachael with Rook, missing Sully, Sebau, and Diesel

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Guest lizmego

I've always got a vet from a recommendation, so I've never just contacted one "cold turkey". I wonder if the vet would recommend a current client that you could speak with? Maybe he has a list of them that are willing to speak with potential clients?

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It might be just a little too far for you, but I take Zuni up 95 to Dr. Rodney in Fallston (about 20 minutes north for me from the city). I've only seen her, so I don't know about prices, but she is definitely grey-savy. She adopts greys out of her office--the last time we walked in and there was a grey meeting a potential family. I went to see her from the list of vets here on GT.

Edited by Pepperjack
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I got my vet right out of college...he was actually working with a vet that my sister had recommended...and the recommended vet skipped town. I've been with Dr. Blackburn for 28 years and I was lucky enough...he worked the dogtracks in Birmingham during vet school. I was actually his 2nd greyhound patient...his secretary had 2.

If I had a question, Can I call you at home during an emergency?

My vet has "ordered" me to call him before I ever go to the Evet.

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It might be just a little too far for you, but I take Zuni up 95 to Dr. Rodney in Fallston (about 20 minutes north for me from the city). I've only seen her, so I don't know about prices, but she is definitely grey-savy. She adopts greys out of her office--the last time we walked in and there was a grey meeting a potential family. I went to see her from the list of vets here on GT.

 

Fallston isn't too far away from where I work, so it's about 75-90 minutes, depending on traffic (it's not so far mileage wise, but factor in traffic, stoplights, bridge construction, and it adds a ton of time). The big issue is being able to get home from work, pick up the pups, and then go to the vet. In that case, Fallston would be a 3 hour round trip, and I probably wouldn't be able to make it to the vet before they closed. :( If we were still at the old house, it would've been very convenient, only about 30 minutes.

 

I'm looking for something close to home, and I know there are a few practices around here, but I don't know much about them. Most of my neighbors don't think of pets the same way we do (i.e. many can't comprehend why on earth we keep 3 big dogs IN the house, not in the yard on a chain or roaming free. I've been told I'm cruel for having all of my pets spayed/neutered :blink: ) so I don't know who to ask for a reference locally.

In vino veritas
Rachael with Rook, missing Sully, Sebau, and Diesel

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So you want to call and talk to the vet before taking your hounds in right? I'd flat out ask if they have ever treated a greyhound before. Then ask if they are aware of the blood values and thyroid levels in greyhounds. I bet you get a sense from those two answers whether they are "know it alls" who won't try to be good grey vets or whether they are willing to work with you.

 

I'm so sorry finding a good vet near you is so hard. Frustrating.

Colleen with Covey (Admirals Cove) and Rally (greyhound puppy)
Missing my beloved boy INU (CJ Whistlindixie) my sweetest princess SALEM (CJ Little Dixie) and my baby girl ZOE (LR's Tara)

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Call and ask:

 

*If they have a website. (You can get some sense of their philosophy/values from a website - if they have one.)

*Where they went to school, what additional training they've had, and how long they've been in practice.

*Under what circumstances do they refer to specialists. (A vet who never refers is concerning to me.)

*What differentiates them from other vets in the area? This is really the key question, along with experience or willingness to continue learning.

* If not familiar with greyhounds, you do need to poke to see if they're open, or if they brush you off.

 

You can always schedule a consult with just one of your dogs and see what you think about the vet, the practice, and whether you want to bring all of your dogs there. No harm in trying out a vet one time and then moving on, if it isn't a comfortable fit.

 

When I was looking for a neurologist for Katie I called and interviewed the person who answered the phone in each office. If they didn't have the answers I asked to speak with a vet tech. Still, I ended up taking Katie to a neuro that had a very competent and knowledgeable receptionist :) Staff is a key and it's important to have a vet who has experienced competent people. There was a neuro 5 minutes from me, and one an hour away. I went to the one an hour away, and think I made a good choice.

 

Dr Benson (my generalist vet) is about an hour from you I think. He has a fairly new vet there, Dr. Hawkins, and though she's young and initally not grey savvy, my dogs have been giving her lots of opportunity to learn :) I recommend her highly. She's really analytical, and that's pretty important with these guys. Plus she can always consult with Benson who has lots of grey experience. My dogs started out with him, but when Monty had his emergency last spring we had Dr. Hawkins, and she was so darn good I've stuck with her.

Edited by Cynthia
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Can you call Pepperjack's vet telling them your problem and asking if they might have an idea who they might recommend closer to you?

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Guest neworleansmama

In my area all the vets insist on annual vaccinations. I'd see if the vet will go with the 3 year recommendation as a minimum--shows you whether they care about money or the dog's health.

 

Every vet I've talked to here knows greyhounds have different needs--LSU has greyhounds at the school. I wonder if that's true in your area?

 

But I'm really interested since I need a new vet soon--mine is 80.

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I know things work very differently over there, to here in the UK but one major consideration for me when choosing a vet is to know what sort of 'out of hours' service they operate. It's no good to me if I need to treck off to some strange place to see some strange vet who doesn't have my dogs history on his computer/notes. Also, regarding overnight stays - I want to know who is there overnight with the animals. (No idea what happens where you are but over here, you'd be shocked to know how many vet surgeries have animals in overnight and no vet or nurse there on the premises overnight).

Deerhounds Darcy, Duffy, Grace & Wellington, Mutts Sprout & Buddy, Lurchers Ned & Jake plus Ella the Westie + cats. Remembering Del, Jessie, Maddison, Flo, Sally, Stanley, Wallace, Radar, Mokka, Oki cat, Tetley, Poppy & Striker.

 

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I'd call around & ask how many greyhounds they see. It's quick, easy, & inoffensive.

 

I did that years ago and got this response when I called a large, 6-vet clinic in my area: "not many, only about 4 or 5 greyhounds, but most of those see Dr. _____, because she has greyhounds herself." We've been together ever since.

 

I think location is very important. I'm more inclined to run in for little things if it is convenient.

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Guest HeatherDemps

I think you've gotten some good suggestions here already. What about the adoption group you used- can they give you some recommendations? I knew a couple other people who had greyhounds when I first adopted mine, so that helped me narrow down my options.... hope you can find someone close and that you like!

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Guest KennelMom

I started with recommendations and then started taking the pups for wellness visits. It's a good chance to meet the vet and see their bedside manner for both humans and dogs. I don't mind paying for their time since, ultimately, we end up spending LOTS of money with our vet and it has to be someone I trust and like. I think we went through 4-5 or so vets here before we found the perfect one.

 

The practice we chose had two vets - one that owned a grey, one didn't. We actually see the vet that doesn't have one b/c we both really liked him. He's awesome and always done right by our hounds...I found out later that one of his profs in vet school is Dr. Blythe that helped write Care of the Racing Greyhound :D

 

eta: I asked questions like how many greyhounds and/or sighthounds did they have in their practice or had they treated in the past. Were they familiar with the differences greyhounds have compared to other breeds (not expecting them to recite stats off the top of their head...just want to know they are aware that greys can be quirky). Mostly I'm just feeling them out and seeing how willing they are to talk to me or are they just trying to push me out the door...and watching them with my dogs and how interact with them. I usually manage to bring up TBDs and mention that it's something we've dealt with in our pups..discuss some other issues we've had with them...that sort of thing.

Edited by KennelMom
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My adoption group is a couple hours away, so while they know some great vets, it doesn't help me much, since I couldn't get there at any other time than on the weekends, if they have weekend hours. Calling and needing to see a vet and getting "we can see you on Saturday three weeks from now" doesn't work. :(

 

Most vets around here do not have around the clock care-- usually no one is around if an animal has to stay overnight. That's something we ran into this summer when Sebau was sick, and last summer too. :( I'm not sure about how many have sighthound experience. While greys were common closer to the city, I've answered so many questions about them it's unbelievable. Most people have never seen one, and know nothing about them. The average dog here is a beagle or hunting mix/lab. There's a kennel of fox hounds down the road from us. (No way you can't hear those guys baying!! :lol:P ) Most also advertise large animal practice as well, and it's still a mainstay for many vets. I really don't know if I'll find any that have any real experience with greys. We have nixed a couple vets by doing wellness visits, but it just seems like such a long process.

 

And I'm afraid frankly of running out of vets-- there aren't that many nearby!

 

I think grey experience is something I'm not likely to find, but a vet that is open and flexible (and doesn't insist on yearly rabies vaccinations, which seems to be the norm here) and will listen and is willing if necessary to consult w/ another vet is what I'm hoping for.

 

 

In vino veritas
Rachael with Rook, missing Sully, Sebau, and Diesel

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Guest greyhound_mommy

I don't know if it's been stated above, but I always found out that it's important to know what happens after hours if there is an emergency. We have an after hours vet and if that's too far away I know in the past our vet has on severe emergency taken the time to make a trip to the office to help out. My main thing is after hours emergency. What happens if they are out of town, who treats the animals.

 

I'm lucky my vet's son is in the area and they fill in for each other. :)

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Just a PS,

 

I know I won't find an exact copy of my old vet-- that's impossible. I grew up with him being our vet, and as a kid used to give him drawings. They used to decorate his office. :blush He wasn't the kind of vet you'd go to for a specialized surgery or delicate procedure. However, for basic care, he was great. One thing that amazed me was how knowledgeable he was, some of which he had learned by experience. (interesting some of the on the spot splints and e-collars he could come up with) Many many years of being a vet, but he was always up to date on things like vaccine protocols, Lyme disease, and would be there at a moment's notice if necessary. There were times I ran to his house on a Sunday or at night (he had a small secondary office in back of his house. He also had a large animal practice, though the last few years he retired from that part of practice-- he said he was too old for stomping through the fields in the snow or getting kicked by a peeved horse :lol ). He'd also work out a payment plan and was willing to work with you.

 

So far he's the only vet I've ever been to that has given my greys a full physical-- just like out of Care of the Racing Greyhound. (He had treated some greys, but had treated quite a few hunter/jumpers and racers (horses) and was familiar with the types of injuries )

 

I can't blame him for retiring-- I'm pretty sure he was in his mid-late seventies. :blush But I sure do miss him. Since he's retired his practice has been bought out several times, and it seems like the vets I like never stay, and it now takes a minimum of 2 weeks to even get an appointment. Hence, I'm looking for a new vet.

 

We ended up at one this summer that we didn't like at all (with Sebau), and another that was ok, but was too far to drive/too short hours. :( Argh!!!

 

Sometimes I miss the convenience of where we lived before. You could open the phone book and w/in an hours drive find lots of vets, including specialists. (We also are lacking the restaurants, stores, etc. that we were so used to before. I can't tell you how much I crave Panera, but the closest one is an hour away! :blush )

 

I know we'll eventually find a vet, I think it's just going to be a matter of trying out local ones to see who I like. It was just pure luck that we'd found our old vet when I was a kid, and he turned out to be great. Actually interviewing and searching for a vet is a new experience for me.

In vino veritas
Rachael with Rook, missing Sully, Sebau, and Diesel

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Guest budsmom

Could you ask your old vet who he would recommend? He knows you and your babies and probably most of the vets in your area, too, and might be able to at least help you narrow the search down.

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Guest nerak254

How about calling the University and asking then about newer grads who may be in the area? If it is like here, the U of MN has hounds at the school.

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Rachael, if we weren't so far away, I'd tell you to go see Dr. Kellogg. She's actually so good that when we (eventually!!!) buy a house farther out, I'll keep her as my vet. I'll drop her an email and see if she knows anyone in your area she could recommend. You're in sort of a weird place though...Would someone closer to Philly be better?


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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Thanks Mere!

 

Philly is closer (and to pick up the dogs I wouldn't be back-tracking 90 minutes), but traffic is a huge issue there, just like it would be for the Baltimore area. Usually it bogs down by Newark, and it's stop and go through Newark, Wilmington and Philly. (Can't you just tell I love I95? :rolleyes::lol ) However, a vet in the Glasgow/Newark area in DE would also be an option. That's only about 20 minutes or so away, even with traffic issues. I didn't even think about looking in DE!! That might open up some more options, that area isn't far away and is much more populated, I'd probably have a better chance of finding a vet.

 

Also, if it's crossing state lines, Nottingham and Oxford PA are also only about 20 minutes away, just straight up 272, so they are a consideration too. (I'm 30 minutes away from Longwood Gardens-- essentially, I'm kind of in the limbo area between everything. :P )

In vino veritas
Rachael with Rook, missing Sully, Sebau, and Diesel

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Guest Forgreys

Get Cynthia Brannigan's book Adopting The Retired Racing Greyhound. She has the necessary questions to ask you vet about the aspects of the Greyhound breed body chemistry verses medicine.

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I heard back from Christine - she doesn't know anyone off-hand, but is asking her colleagues. Hopefully, they'll come up with some recommendations for you.


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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Guest IGmom4now

I was going to take my grey to a different vet, one farther away, on a recommendation and because he has a grey. Come to find out, my close by vet who has been treating my IGs for 9 years and who I like as a person and have a relationship with, has several greys for patients, including an osteo amp. I asked her about anesthesia procedures, was she familiar with occurrences of malignant hyperthermia, and blood values, and had she heard about Dr. Couto and OSU. I got a good feeling from my conversation. She is open and willing to try new things (like home cooked diets), and we've already been through some things together. I'd rather take everybody to the same vet, if it's close-by and I'm not endangering Presto's health...

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