Choosing the right veterinarian for your guinea pig is a very important decision, one that should not be taken lightly in the least. You want to make sure that whomever you are entrusting your guinea pig’s health to is not only knowledgeable, but someone who truly cares about the animals that they care for. Unfortunately, I have run into very knowledgeable veterinarians that provided second-rate care.
So what should you look for in a vegetarian?
1. Do they actually specialize in exotic animals? A lot of veterinarians say they see “Pocket Pets” (why I hate that term will be a whole other story!) but they simply took a class or two in school and don’t have a daily working knowledge of guinea pigs. So, make sure that they see and care for guinea pigs regularly, maybe even reach out to other guinea pig owners who go there and ask them about their experiences! This is also a great way to form a community of guinea pig lovers who can gain support from one another.
2. Do they listen to you? I can not stress this enough! Aside from them asking you why you have brought your guinea pig in to see them, if you have questions or concerns they should not act as though it is a burden to answer your questions. You are there to not only get your piggy feeling better, but to learn as well.
3. How do they interact with your guinea pig? I have been to some veterinarians that will simply look over my piggy as quickly as possible and then I have seen some who love on and interact with my guinea pig as though they were their own. In my experience, if my they love on your piggy, they are more than likely going to be the vet for you! Granted they have the working knowledge that they need to properly care for your piggy.
4. If you have more than one guinea pig, do they ask you about the others? Some people may disagree with this last question, but I personally have found that veterinarians who truly put time into your guinea pig’s care will honestly want to know how the other piggies are doing. I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of vet that I would like to entrust with the care of my precious guinea pigs!
Now you may be asking “Ashlee, when exactly will I know if I have found the right veterinarian for my guinea pig?”
You’re not going to know on your first visit, maybe not even your second or your third. On average I have found that by the 4th visit to the vet, if I can still answer all four of the questions listed above positively, I have found a veterinarian for life! Keep yourself from getting all excited after meeting a veterinarian for the first time, thinking they are absolutely the right one for you and your piggies, you never know. Just like a date with a new guy or girl, you are not really going to know them right away, it takes time. When meeting someone for the first time don’t we all try to put our best foot forward and impress them? Veterinarians are no different, and some will treat you absolutely wonderful to get you hooked and then the level of care you and your piggies are receiving may start to decline.
Rule of thumb: Give a veterinarian 3-5 visits. If after these visits you are not completely satisfied, then it is time to find another one, unless of course the visit was absolutely horrendous, in which case another visit is definitely necessary. You must keep in mind though that we all have rough days, if a veterinarian is not super perky and happy to see you, as long as they are still providing you with high quality care, they may just be having a rough day and your next visit will be a lot better!
So, there you have it! The four questions I ask myself after every single vet visit!
It should be noted that I have two veterinarians for my guinea pigs. One that actually specializes in guinea pigs but is only in the office on Fridays, and another one who tends to see more cats and dogs but is near my home and has 24 hour emergency care for current patients should anything happy while my other vet is not in the office. This is completely fine! As long as you have at least one veterinarian that you trust, it is not a bad idea to get into another clinic that has a 24 hour emergency care service, as you never know what will happen once closing time hits!
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to comment down bellow or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me via Twitter at @LittleCavyLove or Instagram!
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Ashlee + Piggies