Choosing a veterinarian that treats guinea pigs is not as easy as one might think. While vets that take care of cats and dogs are everywhere, finding one that understands the unique needs of piggies can be quite a challenge.
It’s important to choose a veterinarian before an emergency occurs because finding the right one can take time. Interviewing a vet, even on the phone, can be a good way to see if he or she is knowledgeable about piggies. Ask how many guinea pig patients they treat a month or year. Another good question to ask is about the type of training they received in guinea pig care. What is the vet’s procedure and availability for emergencies? Guinea Lynx, an excellent source of information on all things guinea pig, has a virtual quiz to evaluate a veterinarian’s qualifications. Some of the questions include specifics about antibiotic types and dosages, and types of food. The answer to each question is provided on the website. If the vet being quizzed gets any of the answers wrong, then it’s time to move down the list to the next one. If local vets are not sufficiently qualified, consider driving further away. While it may be less convenient, improper care can have fatal consequences to the piggy.
Another strategy is to ask local veterinarians who they would refer exotic pet owners to for care. Not only does this give one ideas, but if the same name is mentioned several times it’s a good indication that he or she may be qualified.
Finding these special doctors can be difficult. Dog and cat owners can ask their neighbors, but pig lovers are fewer and further apart. Fortunately there are websites available to assist in the quest. One such site is the Guinea Pig Compendium which has a tab labeled “Vet Finder”. Some of the vets listed for Connecticut are in Bethel, Danbury, East Haven, Madison, Mystic, New Haven, Westport, and Wilton. There are many other websites which have virtually created an online community of pig lovers where they trade information on all manner of piggy topics. Members of these online forums may also have information on vets. A list of a few vets from one such survey can be found in the article The best veterinarians in Connecticut to treat your guinea pig.
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