A good veterinarian is worth her weight in gold, and I’m glad to say that for the most part my vet experiences have been excellent. Part of the reason for this is that I know what I’m looking for in a veterinarian and I know how to be a good veterinary client. The other part of that is that I just seem to have good "vet karma," and even when I’ve been a stranger in a strange town, I’ve been fortunate to luck into a good clinic.
That said, I have to say that my cats’ current vet is the best I’ve had. She is the singular exemplar of everything I ever wanted in a veterinarian, and here’s why. Use these as tips for what makes a vet good, and what to look for when you need a new one.
Before I met Dr. Brandon, I’d never gone to a vet who had made cat medicine her passion and life study. She can make even the biggest scaredy cats comfortable: she sure did for my cat, Thomas.
Being able to bring my cats to a clinic where they don’t have to deal with the noise and scent of dogs has made the vet visit much more relaxing for the cats and for me.
From the moment we first met, Dr. Brandon understood that I’m passionately dedicated to my cats’ well-being and that I’ve done my best to be a well-informed cat caretaker. She listens to my questions and helps me to get a deeper understanding of feline medicine.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten emails from her, following up on my cats’ blood test results or asking me how a particular treatment is working out for one of my cats. Judging from the time stamps, at least half of these emails were written long after her work day at the clinic was over or on her days off. (Of course, I don’t take advantage of knowing her email address by bugging her every day!)
I’ve been feeding my cats a raw diet for many years now, and my previous vets’ responses to that have varied from, "Well, as long as you’re not just throwing chicken necks at ’em, I guess it’s okay" to "I don’t know much about raw food, but I can’t argue with good health." Dr. Brandon, on the other hand, was delighted to hear that I feed my cats a raw diet. The clinic even sells raw food in its retail shop.
Some vets freak out if you start talking about adding herbal remedies, homeopathy or even acupuncture to your cat’s health care routine. Not Dr. Brandon. In fact, she and her husband, who is also a veterinarian, even researched and developed a pet-safe medical cannabis formula that has made a world of difference in the lives of many cats and dogs, including my sweet Siouxsie.
Never underestimate the value of a vet who allows herself to show that she’s a human being. Veterinary medicine is serious business, and Dr. Brandon is serious when she needs to be, but it’s great to be able to chat with her like a regular person. I laughed out loud when she told me that my cat Thomas is "the only man my husband needs to be jealous of."
What about you? Do you have the most awesome vet ever? Why do you love him or her so much? Sing your vet’s praises in the comments.
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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.