Dr. Louise Murray, the director of medicine for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and author of Vet Confidential: An Insider's Guide to Protecting Your Pet
, says there are a few things you need to know before you chose a veterinarian to care for your animal.
Instead of just flipping through the Yellow Pages, turn to friends for veterinarian recommendations, Dr. Murray says. Then, visit the veterinarian's office and ask if he has these two important pieces of medical equipment:
- Blood pressure-measuring equipment: "Most pets in this country have never had their blood pressure measured, and it's just as important in pets as it is in people," she says.
- Pulse oximeter: This is a piece of equipment that measures the oxygen level in your pet's blood stream. Dr. Murray says it's important for a number of reasons. "If your pet is under anesthesia, one of the most dangerous things that can happen is that their oxygen level can drop," she says. "If you don't have a pulse oximeter on that pet ... there is no way for the veterinarian or pet to know the pet is getting into trouble until that pet stops breathing."
If you find a veterinarian you click with and he has the proper equipment on hand, Dr. Murray says you should talk with him about your pet's needs and lifestyle. Then, she says it's important to make sure your pet has these vaccinations:
- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia (FVRCP) is the main viral vaccination for cats, and Dr. Murray says it protects from widespread diseases.
- Rabies vaccine
- Canine Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza (DA2PP) vaccine is one Dr. Murray says every dog should have. It protects dogs from several common viruses.
- Rabies vaccine