Finding a fill-in veterinarian


Dr. Jim Kramer offers suggestions for picking the right relief veterinarian.

Q: I'm trying to plan a vacation. Any suggestions on how to make sure I pick the right relief veterinarian?

When putting your practice in the hands of another veterinarian, good planning is the first step, says Dr. Jim Kramer, CVPM, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and a partner at Columbus Animal Hospital in Columbus, Neb.

"Find a stand-in who can deal with the kinds of animals, cases, and clients you typically see," Dr. Kramer says. "Someone who is comfortable with the diagnostic and treatment resources you offer and the capability of your staff. The relationships that your staff members have with your clients will be very important in guiding the substitute."

To start off your search, Dr. Kramer recommends asking your local or state association or the AVMA, checking around your own network of colleagues, contacting your alma mater or nearest college of veterinary medicine, or even simply searching online.

"After you find the right fit, make sure your relief vet is licensed and has his or her own professional liability insurance," Dr. Kramer says. "You should have a written contract to avoid misunderstandings and to deal with liability issues. A veterinarian who makes a living as a locum tenens may come with his or her own contract. If so, you'll need to make sure it works for you. If not, you'll need to adapt one or have one written."

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