Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dealing with Booker's "hairy eyeball"

This morning we're on tenterhooks. Booker, Fran's five-month-old Boston Terrier puppy is having surgery today to remove a growth (dermoid cyst) from his right eye.
Aside from being good fodder for jokes (Booker's quite literal "hairy eyeball"), there's nothing good or fun about it. From the stress of diagnosis, to finding a good specialty vet, to figuring out how to pay, to worrying about the procedure, the follow-up, and the long-term ramifications - it's all a source of stress. And it's one that every pet owner faces at some point.
So how do you find a good veterinarian? It takes some research, which is easier now than ever before. The internet makes it both simpler and more perplexing - after you've read umpteen dozen reviews of a particular veterinary hospital, what impression are you left with? Good, bad, more confused than when you started?
We've been going to the same veterinarian since before there was an internet. But I still remember how we found her - a friend whose opinion we trusted referred us - with glowing accolades. So we tried her and we liked her. And she listens to us. Which is increasingly rare and much appreciated. When we take one of our dogs in because "he's just not right" - she takes us seriously and works to find the source of the issue.
So the first resource for finding a good vet is to ask people you trust - people who take care of their pets the way you want to. People whose pets are healthy and happy.
If you have several to choose among, secondary considerations may be costs, hours, and distance. When you've made your decision, it may be a good idea to make an appointment and take your pet for a "wellness check." It's an opportunity to assess the facility, personnel, and the vet - before you and your pet are in urgent need.

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