URBAN PETS Living with Pets in Vietnam Finding the right veterinarian for your pet When looking for a veterinarian for your pet, it is important to find one that is not only well-trained and capable as a medical professional, but also one who will handle your animal with care and treat you appropriately as a client. By Catherine ‘Cat’ Besch One of the first experiences your pet will have with its vet is its first set of vaccines. This is a great time to really test the quality of the clinic without being under the stress of an emergency. Upon arriving at the clinic, take notice of the way that the clinic is organized. A clinic doesn’t have to be large to be tidy. A well-organized clinic is easy to clean, and this is the next thing you should look for. Look around the floors and counters for any signs of blood, urine, or hair. Infectious diseases are spread easily in clinic settings with so many sick animals coming and going, so it is vital that the staff thoroughly clean after each client. The clinic should not have any pungent odor either. This is a sign that staff are not working hard to prevent disease transmission. Also check to ensure that staff are washing their hands between clients and sterilizing all surfaces that patients touch after they leave. When you are in the consultation area, notice if the animals around the clinic are properly caged and bedded, not tied down or on a chain. The inpatients need to be put in an area where they are not contacting new clients and are able to recover in stress-free conditions without the constant movement of staff and animals who are also under stress. All cages should be clean, and the animals should have a bowl of water, cats should have a litter box. It is common in Vietnam to use wire-bottom cages, but this is very uncomfortable and stressful for animals if there is no bedding on top of the wire. Bedding can be a towel or old blanket that covers the wire bottom. If your vet is not aware of the role of stress and pain on recovery, then you should look elsewhere for a vet that understands these principles. When the vet approaches your animal, look for a sense of calm and careful handling in which animals are not being unnecessarily restrained or hurt in the process of an exam. Also, for any treatment or evaluation of your pet, the vet needs to perform a basic exam including looking at the eyes, ears, and mouth, plus feeling the abdomen for any irregularities. Temperature should be taken and the vet should listen to your pet’s heart and breathing. During the exam, the vet needs to also interact 74 Mê Thú Cưng | Tập 01 2017 | methucung.vn with you and treat you, as the owner, with respect. If the vet then diagnoses the problem and begins treatment, he needs to explain what he is doing and why to the client. This is a basic tenant of client service and will keep you in the loop about what your beloved pet is going through. A vet who talks down to his clients and refuses to share information about treatment is not worth working with. Another important aspect of a vet clinic’s level of expertise is the equipment that they use. Keep in mind, though, that it is not always a measure of medical competence. It does not matter if you have blood machines, ultrasounds, and digital x-rays if you lack the ability to read the results of the diagnostic machines and treat a patient accordingly. Having a piece of equipment and knowing what to do with the results are very different things. It is better to have an experienced and knowledgeable vet than one who only has equipment and no clinical expertise to rely on when the results come in. If your vet is truly committed to animal welfare, they will do more than provide a clean and stress- free environment with high welfare standards for their patients. They will also be involved in the community’s animal welfare issues by promoting sterilization for all animals to reduce the population of unwanted pets who often end up in horrible situation on the streets or stolen and sold for dog and cat meat. A vet who cares for animals cares for all animals, not just the ones who can pay his bills.