A very important part of having an assistance dog is making sure you have a veterinarian you can trust and rely on, just as you do your personal physician. If you don’t have an established relationship with a vet, here are a few steps to help you find one.
- Google “veterinarian in (your city)” and make a list.
- Ask friends and family who have a dog (or other pet) who they see and what their opinion is on the clinic and staff. If they sound good, add them to your list.
- Go to the clinics’ websites and note the location in relation to bus and light rail lines (if this is your primary mode of transportation), their hours of operation, do they offer grooming, and how many veterinarians are on staff.
- Think of things you want to know about the clinic and make a list of interview questions. Cover the topics that are important to you – vaccinations, holistic treatments such as acupuncture, massage and chiropractic, what tests do they do in-house vs. sent out, titer testing, etc. If you need to compare prices ask what the rate is for the following:
- Office visit
- 4Dx test (test for heartworm plus tick borne diseases)
- Fecal test
- Cost for 12 months of Heartgard and Nexgard
These things are the minimum costs you will incur on a yearly basis.
In addition, the dog will need a rabies and distemper/parvo vaccination every three (3) years.
Another possible cost could be nail trims if you are not able to do nail trims yourself. You will need to visit the vet once a month for nail trims. If the clinic offers grooming services, get a price for a bath and brush with ear cleaning and nail trim. Most Labradors only need a bath every 3-4 months. Poodles will need a bath and grooming every 6-8 weeks.
Ask what kind of discount they offer for a service dog. If you know you will need to go in monthly for nail trims, ask for a reduced price since you will be there on a regular basis. Most vet clinics want to help you take good care of your dog and will try to work with you so you are able to afford proper care.