IW Foundation Health Library:
Finding a Veterinarian
Finding a vet for your Irish Wolfhound is easy if you have an IW friend nearby who can recommend someone. But what if you don't? We have some tips for finding a vet.
Probably the most important criteria in finding a veterinarian is the willingness to listen and learn. There is a great deal of knowledge in the IW community, and especially in your breeder, and a vet who recognizes that is more likely to be a good partner for you and your dog.
The IWCA maintains a list of breed contacts across the US and these can be an excellent starting point when you are looking for recommendations. If there is no one nearby, ask your neighbors for recommendations, and check sites like Yelp for reviews, and the Better Business Bureau for complaints.
It is desirable to find a vet who has sighthound experience, preferably with Irish Wolfhounds. Sighthounds often react differently than other breeds to anesthesia and pain medication and require lower dosing than their size would indicate. Most vets these days use easily reversible drugs for anesthesia, which are better tolerated. A vet who is already familiar with problems common to the Wolfhound will be better able to implement treatment protocols which have been proven to work in our breed.
Once you locate a potential veterinarian, make an appointment to come in for an introductory visit without your dog. You will want to see how comfortable you are with the facility, the staff, the way animals are treated, and, of course, the vet. It should quickly become clear whether the vet is willing to listen to and respect your opinion. If there are multiple vets in a practice, it's a good idea to get acquainted with each of them and make sure you are comfortable with them so that you won't see an unfamiliar face when an urgent need arises.
You will also want to get an idea of what the fees are for routine treatment and whether that works with your budget, what sort of tests are done in-house vs. referral, and whether the vet offers emergency appointments or after-hours care. Make sure that you and the vet are on the same page when it comes to things like vaccination protocols and spay/neuter. The AVMA no longer recommends annual vaccinations in most situations, for instance, but some veterinary practices still cling to old protocols. And there are several studies linking early spay/neuter with an increased risk of cancer, so your vet should be able to discuss the pros and cons of if and when to spay/neuter your hound. Determining the answers to questions like this will not only give you an idea of the vet's treatment philosophy, but also how well your ideas align.
Once you have selected a vet, it's important to do your part in obtaining routine care like physicals as well as recognizing when your dog is unwell. You and your vet need to work together closely to keep your dog as healthy and happy as he can be.
Links provided here provide Irish Wolfhound-specific, sighthound, and/or general canine information relevant to Irish Wolfhounds.
Disclaimer: The Irish Wolfhound Foundation provides the information on this website for the education of its readers. No information on this website should be used for veterinary medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically, or otherwise. Consult a veterinarian before attempting to medically treat your dog or changing your dog's medical treatment.
Note: Links to content outside iwfoundation.org may become inactive over time.