Choosing a Veterinarian

With luck you may never need a vet, but chances are, if you have more than one animal you will eventually need to consult your local veterinarian. As with your own personal doctor, it is wise to have chosen a vet before you need one.

When choosing a vet, you can go into a vet hospital and interview your choice. Ask your co-workers for references. First of all, choose a vet who is experienced in exotic animals, preferably one who knows chinchillas. If there is no vet who meets this criteria, then choose one experienced in guinea pigs or rabbits.

Call some vet hospitals and ask questions like: 

• What kinds of animals do they treat?
• How many have they treated?
• Do they do surgery on site?
• What anesthesia do they use? [We have found that isofluothane anesthesia works better with chins than ketamine.]
• Do they have x-ray capabilities, lab facilities and other equipment such as echo cardiograms?
• How is emergency care provided? Do they have emergency hours or do they refer out?

Then narrow down your choices and make an interview appointment. 

When visiting,

• Check the cleanliness and the smell [or lack of - you don't want a smell].
• Do they have free informational handouts available?
• Check out the exam areas and watch how the vet handles your animal [are they gentle, confident and able to control a frightened animal?].
• Watch the veterinary assistants and find out if they are knowledgeable enough to understand your questions [and do the receptionists know what a chinchilla is? ]
• Ask the vet if they have seen a chinchilla. If they have not, do they have good references [one of which is our book]. Are their references newer than 1964? 

Do not be afraid to go to another vet if this one does not satisfy you. It is important to establish a relationship with your veterinarian, and therefore it is important to choose the right one for you.