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Veterinary Care

France - Veterinary Care

The standard of veterinary care in France is very good. Several of the universities have dedicated departments for those who want to train to be a vet and the training they undergo is very similar to that provided in the US or the UK. France was home to the very first veterinary school in the world. There are vets in all the major towns and cities although not all of the smaller towns will have a vet.

Finding an English speaking vet is much harder. As they are able to train within France there is little need for them to spend time in an English speaking country. Many will have basic English conversational skills but fluency is not as common. However, some will have had to study textbooks in other languages as they are not yet translated into English, but this is not something you can rely on.

There are a number of animal diseases which are not common in the UK or other countries but your pets will be at risk in France. Rabies has long been considered to have been eradicated in the country but one of the main concerns for pet owners is leishmaniose. This is common in the south of France and is passed on by sand flies. Other diseases prevalent in France include babesiosis and ehrlichiosis. It is a good idea to get a vet’s advice before embarking on preventative treatments for any of these diseases as the risks will vary depending upon the area you are in.

When you have your pet treated at a vet’s in France you will be given the ‘carnet de santé et de vaccination’ which details all treatments and vaccinations given to the pet. This will form part of the pet passport if you want to take your pets in and out of the country and you should ensure that it is up to date at all times.

Vets surgeries are marked in France by a sign with a blue cross on it. They will also be listed in the local yellow pages directories under ‘vétérinaires practiciens’, but you need to be aware that the listings are done first by town in the directories, then by profession.

It is possible to get pet insurance in France, but the number of owners who do this is a much lower percentage than in the UK. Vet’s bills in France are comparable with those in the UK. The cost of vet insurance is not excessive and as in the UK, there are discounts if you have more than one pet. As with policies in the UK there are limits on how much money can be claimed for veterinary treatment and there are many policies which will not reimburse you the full cost of treatment, regardless of the amount. It is difficult to get a policy renewed if a pet needs regular treatment.

Vets in France do more than simply treat animals for illness. Many of them act as a point of contact for rehoming and if you are looking for a new pet you are just as likely to find one through your local vet as you are through an animal shelter.

There are several different organisations in France which can point you in the direction of a vet in your area. These include the Ordre des Vétérinaires Conseil Supérieur and the Fédération des Syndicats Vétérinaires de France. The websites are in French but have a search facility so that you can find a vet close to your home. The sites are also filled with other useful information such as recommended pet insurers.

These sites will not be able to give you listings of vets that speak English but there are many different ways to find this information. Listings may be available from your embassy or from the local Mairie, although this will depend a great deal on the size of the town and the need for this information. If there are not many English-speaking expats in your area they may not feel the need to collate this information. If you are in an area with other English speaking expats then asking for recommendations from friends and colleagues is the best way to go.

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