Before I start, I would like to say that some of my best friends are Vets...
Don't be embarrassed to shop around for reasonably priced Vets for your day to day requirements; vaccinations, wormers, general advice.
If you need state of the art you will always find it. You may be a Sloane Ranger for your best outfits but there is nothing wrong with the local Supermarket for general use garb.
You can keep going from Vet to Vet until you hear what you want to hear... or end up at the Specialists' door whilst the Insurers pay all the fees. Is the end result any different?
Locally, to me was Mr Cartmell in Wickham, now retired. Down to earth advice and sensible prices. He was also happy to dock but only working bred puppies. I now use Riverside Vets in Bishopstoke, near Eastleigh
My other preferred Vet in the area was Mr Maddoc at the Mildmay Practice, Winchester but he has relocated to the north of England. The Mildmay Practice was taken over in 2007 by a national company which has meant a loss of their personal touch. The other Vets I liked at Mildmay were Kate Hoy, Becky Pope and Rebecca Secluna. Out of hours they now have an out sourced service called Vets Now, that simply move their staff in to occupy the premises. I have had cause to use Vets Now in the middle of the night; the Vets were excellent BUT had absolutely NO access to Mildmay's computer records. Luckily I was able to give a comprehensive clinical history of my dog. I then moved most of my "tekky" business to Animed near Wickham. Other good Vets in the area are Cedars in Alresford and Shield in Bishops Waltham - but beware of Shield being VERY expensive.
I definitely would NOT use the Vet in Pets at Home in Winchester (Mr Finn Seydewitz). Absolutely nothing wrong with him as a Vet but he charged me 50% more than was originally quoted which I accepted at the time because the operation proved to be slightly more involved. But...what really infuriated me was his charge of nearly £30 to simply check and redress the site. What a cheek that this didn't come under the original £250 charged! Especially as his original dressing had come off within hours so I redressed it myself and I didn't charge him... Finn didn't seem to care as, in his experience, the fee would get paid by the Insurance companies so he didn't think it mattered...
Sadly this does seem to be the case with an awful lot of Vets these days. Sign of the times do I hear? I do not begrudge that the Vets' need to make a decent living, having done all those years in University and coming out these days with a massive debt... but then don't we customers need to feel valued too? We expect better than average treatment if we opt to pay for Private Healthcare ourselves do we not?? There is no NHS for animals so you pay your money and make your choice. Vote with your feet (and paws).
If you do find a brilliant Vet in your area - stick to him/her like glue and look after them.
My dogs are NOT insured. I put an amount of money away each month into a savings account so that, SHOULD something happen, I have the funds to pay. This is not a nice thing to say... but you really should make a decision in advance that IF something is seriously wrong, money should not be a consideration. Only consider the dog. How much trauma will you be subjecting him to if you have a broken pelvis pinned, or if you try to keep him alive when nature is trying to let him die in his sleep? Are you seeking the Vet's help for the dogs' benefit or your own?
Technical advances are mind boggling but occasionally I just wonder if some animals undergo the most complicated procedures just because they can...
For Hips Scores and all Radiology requirements I recommend
Southern Canine Imaging
in new premises, close to Southwick, Hampshire
In attendance is
Roger Meacock MRCVS
If your Vet is stumped over your dog's lameness or back pain - Roger has had brilliant results.