Angie's List: Finding specialty veterinary care

By: Elizabeth Owens, Angie's List Email
By: Elizabeth Owens, Angie's List Email

Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- They're the furry members of our families, and most pet owners are willing to do just about anything to save their four-legged friends' lives.

Americans will spend over $13 billion on general and specialty care for their pets this year.

Finding a good vet specialist is just as important as your pet ages. A general veterinarian covers yearly check-ups and shots, but specialists concentrate in areas like cardiology, neurology and internal medicine. Just like real doctors, right?

Of course, specialty care is very expensive, so make sure you take your time finding the right vet before handing your pet -- and your credit card -- over.

"When hiring a specialty veterinarian, you are going to do the same research you would for a regular veterinarian. You want to check their board credentials, their experience ... how long they have been practicing. The same types of steps you would use in hiring a specialist for yourself," said Angie Hicks of Angie's List.

Becoming a board-certified specialist means they must complete an internship and residency in their specialized field, which typically means an additional three to five years of training.

Finally, keep in mind that some pet health conditions cannot be resolved, no matter how much money you spend. Seek a second opinion if you're not satisfied but be prepared if nothing can be done.

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