Updated: Jan 7, 2022
How to choose an excellent veterinarian for your dog
Picking a veterinarian for your beloved pet can be daunting.
How to pick a veterinarian for you and your pet can be a daunting task at times or it can be as simple as looking up a location nearest you. The crappy news with selecting a veterinary nearest you is that many people weigh convenience as a priority instead of care for your pet as the number one priority. Not all veterinarians are the same whatsoever.
My experience of 29 years, in the business of training dogs, has given me a unique opportunity to meet many different veterinarians. Some great, some average and some down-right terrible, in my opinion. I will share a few thoughts and stories about past experiences and I will include a top four list of veterinarians I trust.
THE FAB 4
The list below is not in any particular order nor have I been paid or endorsed by any of the staff at these veterinarian hospitals or clinics.
Willowbrook Animal Hospital, located at Unit 111-6375 202 St, Langley.
Amherst Veterinary Hospital, located at #260 -2083 Alma Street, Vancouver.
Little Mountain Veterinary Clinic, located at 46793 Yale Rd, Chilliwack.
Healing Paws Veterinary Care, located at 102-101 Klahanie Drive, Port Moody.
Willowbrook Animal Hospital reminds me of the old school veterinarians who seem to be a dying breed. They are not caught up by the hype of dog food companies pushing an agenda. You receive honest, caring, straight up compassionate service with a lot of years of experience. You get veterinarians, Dr. Bath and Dr. Passi, who know what they are talking about and the accuracy in diagnosing Wolfe was 100%. Wolfe had spear grass embedded in her near her urinary tract with an abscess that needed immediate attention. When an injury needs immediate medical attention, it is important to act accordingly. What I do not appreciate about the majority of veterinarians I have met or sat in with when I am accompanying a client is the drama and pressure to get the pet parent to say yes about moving forward with many tests and blood work and more. As an example, I have been with clients whose dog has needed to have spear grass removed which was not as severe as the issue Wolfe was experiencing and I have listened to a veterinarian say the dog needs IV, overnight care at the hospital with fluids, blood work and medication to keep the dog calm. The cost of this was in around $1200. Wolfe had a bill for under $400 and her spear grass situation was much more serious and complex.
Willowbrook Animal Hospital I like a lot, I have been to the hospital a few times and they are on time, direct, caring, accurate and priced well. The takeaway is the level of knowledge you are paying for which brings peace of mind. And they don’t charge a pandemic fee like the 24-hour veterinary hospital does down the road. Willowbrook Animal Hospital is a 10 out of 10 if I was to score them. If you are looking for a fantastic team to look after your pet in need, take time to book an appointment.
Amherst Veterinary Hospital. The love affair with this clinic began back in 1993. Here you have a team of very experienced vets. The thing I do like about Amherst Veterinary Hospital is the ability to reach out to a colleague within the hospital if need be to assist in an enquiry or issue, they may have with a pet. They have a very strong team with an enormous amount of talent and Dr. Cumberbirch is incredible and humble. I have had the pleasure of him taking care of my dog, Dezdamona, who lived to 21.5 years of age and Max, my second Border Collie. Rocket, my Australian Shepherd, who is 5 years of age has had the pleasure of meeting some of the Amherst team who then referred Rocket to a specialist. Don’t worry, I will tell you who that is shortly.
Amherst Veterinary Hospital is a bit pricier and that’s okay, you do get a lot from this hospital. You are getting many different minds who can assist in problem-solving an issue. The one thing to note is they don’t know everything and are willing to direct you to a specialist who can help with a problem outside of their expertise. I trust the team at Amherst. I have been advising my clients to reach out to them for 28 years and for very good reason. I have attached a link for you here.
Little Mountain Veterinary Clinic. The veterinary dental specialist in a fairytale setting! I’m not quite sure what to say about this unique dynamic little gem. Located in Chilliwack, B.C., away from the hustle and bustle of big city life is a secret little gem. Dr. Josephine Banyard is something out of a Disney movie. I took Rocket to see her because of the referral from Amherst Veterinary Hospital for dental surgery. I made numerous calls to other veterinarians regarding Rocket’s canine tooth which was broken. I did my due diligence researching and learning about my dog’s immediate needs for what inevitably was going to require a specialist. An appointment was booked and Dr. Banyard spent well over 30 minutes discussing and reviewing Rocket’s tooth issue. At no time did I feel rushed or felt that Rocket was going to receive sub-par medical attention. How she handled Rocket and spoke to her was magical, even the front-end staff had a quirky kind way of interacting with my dog. After the consultation she was booked to come back on a rainy day to have her canine procedure. The surgery was a success, thankfully. The thing I want to hit home about Dr. Banyard is her knowledge and experience. Humble and kind, her love for our pets when doing veterinary dental surgery is undeniably pure. The cherry on top is her team. They are the cherry on top. I waited and listened to how they spoke to Rocket when she was waking up from surgery. My heart exploded. The sweet concern they all shared and gave Rocket was epic. This is what meant the world to me. Knowing that this small specialized dental team go over and above. My dog is not a number, she is a patient, she does matter.
Healing Paws Veterinary Care. Let’s give a shout out to holistic veterinary care for our pets. One of my favourites is located in Port Moody. For those of you who remember my television shows, At The End Of My Leash and Puppy SOS, you may remember my co-host Rudy the Schnoodle. Rudy was a client of Healing Paws, during Rudy’s last couple of years they took care of him. He enjoyed going to see the people and getting checked over. His heart palpitations were of some concern especially if he become too excited when seeing his favorite dog friends. You have options for veterinary care which are different if you are looking to expand your options when it comes to care for our pets.
Holistic care is quite interesting, amazing and brilliant. A different approach to health care that certainly will resonate with some pet owners. For me and the purpose of this blog is would it be in your pet’s best interest to contact any of these clinics. I would say yes. Options and different ways of thinking and caring for our pets is essential. Not all veterinarians are equal. These that I speak about are in my opinion in the top 1%. I have not met all of the vets in the lower mainland but I have met many and these are my favourite.
Holistic care for our pets offers something a little bit different and can bring a type of peace of mind to the pet owner which is difficult to describe. What I can share with you is this. The holistic vets in Kelowna and Healing Paws are very good. If you are the type owner who needs to be heard and understood, if you have questions, if you feel vulnerable. You can be rest assured you will be taken care of and you will understand the steps to bring your pet to a healthy state again. When I was in the consultation room waiting to meet the vet, I didn’t wait long. The discussion about the dog was very thorough, concise and surprisingly refreshing. For fun I challenged the veterinarian as I have many times because it is my responsibility to select the best for my pet. I need to know if my vet is better than average, my pet deserves the best. I will question and challenge any vet and you should too. Be polite and DO NOT bring DR. GOOGLE to the consultation. I strongly suggest you do not insult a veterinarian with your readings and or your education from Dr. Google. For some of you that’s funny and some a hard pill to swallow. Dr. Google is not real lol.
The final conclusion on whether to choose a holistic vet is an absolute yes. Expand your horizons in pet health. It’s well worth it.
My dogs matter. These veterinarians and the teams who support them makes it an easy decision on why I will always give rave reviews for these four. I assess for knowledge, experience, honesty, upselling, precise answers and attitude of the staff. I always suggest that you have two to three veterinarians in your emergency contact list for your pet. Make sure one is open 7 days a week. Location is not the most important factor when it comes to selecting a veterinarian.
I hope this helps you to find the best care for your dog or cat or any other pet you may have.
Written by Brad Pattison, Dog Behaviourist & Professional Dog Trainer Vancouver
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