Finding a veterinarian to provide good health care for our RVing cats, dogs, and other animals is important. We crosscheck, rather than relying on one method to find a good vet on the road.
We've found competent and caring veterinarians in many places across the USA. Over our many years as RVers, we have almost always had a pet -- or two or three -- with us on our travels. Among them was a diabetic cat that required twice daily insulin shots. Another cat was prone to urinary crystals, so needed special, prescription cat chow. Having them with us meant getting them proper health care, wherever our RV travels took us. Finding a vet, one that we liked, felt comfortable with, and one who shared our philosophy of life, wasn’t always easy, but it has always been possible.
We've visited several veterinarian offices over the past few months. As
many of you know, we recently lost our beloved dog, NeeMo. He had
traveled with us from Alaska to the Mexican border. He was a very old
dog, with many age related problems. He had arthritis, which affected
his ability to run, jump, and move in general. He needed help getting
into the motor home, but was always ready to go. His teeth were not so
good and he had cataracts on his eyes. His hearing wasn’t very acute
anymore. Although he was still always sniffing around, I don’t think he
smelled as well as he once did. We did our best to take care of him and
give him a good life, which meant taking him to the doctor when needed.
When we are driving into a community, along with the grocery store, restaurants, the post office, and the gas stations, we watch for the location of the vet's office. Early on, before cell phones, we would search the yellow pages to find a vet when we needed one.
When we find a veterinarian we like, we try to get all the pets in at
one time. We like to get all the routine shots, checks, and vaccines
taken care of together. We get plenty of flea control and heartworm
medication. We also made sure we have any other pet prescriptions filled
well before we ran out of them, so we aren't looking for them at the
Cell phones, the internet, and online reviews make finding animal clinics much easier. With a few clicks, we can bring up info on all the veterinarians and animal hospitals in an area. There are often reviews, but I've learned not to put a lot of value on them. However, pictures of the vet, his staff, and building can be helpful. We can find the hours of operation, emergency phone numbers, and driving instructions right up to the front door. We still need to sift through all this information, to see if the vet will be a good match for us and our four-legged family members.
Finding a doctor for our traveling pets is much like finding a doctor for myself or any other family member. They do not all have the same philosophy. Some believe in extending life as long as possible. Others put more emphasis on quality of life. Costs vary greatly, also.
Some people prefer a very modern animal hospital, with a beautiful building, numerous staff in sharp matching uniforms, a spacious waiting room, and a shopping area with designer pet products and specialty foods. This style vet is more likely to be located in town, or in a newer commercial development area. These pet care facilities often have more than one veterinarian on staff.
We prefer what we consider a country vet. We look for a veterinarian who is well versed in basic animal health and who has a caring attitude. We want one who is just as concerned about our pet’s health as we are. We aren't too worried about outward appearances. What we consider country vets aren't necessarily located out of town, though they are often located near a livestock auction barn or near the rodeo grounds. We do find that they tend to have less elaborate offices and are often less formal.
When looking for a veterinarian while on the road RVing, we ask around for recommendations. We might check at the campground office and with other pet owners we see in the campground. We also sometimes ask for recommendations at a feed store or a farm store.
Wherever we’ve been, with a little effort, we’ve been able to find good pet health care. There are dedicated veterinary professionals in every state we've needed one.
Coleen's comments: My husband, Bob Nilles, wrote this article about finding a veterinarian while RVing. Our pets are part of our family -- what some refer to as "fur babies." Whether it has been for wellness check prior to crossing into Canada, getting surgery for a dog's knee, having a spay or neuter done, or something as basic as rabies shots, finding a knowledgeable and caring vet has always been a priority for us.
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