Online Reviewers Rate Local OB Veterinarians

by on April 12, 2010 · 8 comments

in Culture, Economy, Media, Ocean Beach, Reader Rant

vet inside clinicby Jen Wilbur

We OBceans sure do love our animals. Not only do we have Dog Beach and Dusty Rhodes Dog Park nearby, but also many restaurants, bars and coffee carts have a fresh bowl of water readily available.

There are also no less than 5 veterinary hospitals within a less-than-5-mile radius. So it’s no surprise that folks are vocal about which vets they love, as well as those that made them miserable from time to time.

A couple of weeks ago, Frank Gormlie reported on Chuck Schiele’s – and his cat’s – recent unhappy experience with the Point Loma Veterinary Clinic. There was an explosion of comments to the post. That got us thinking… “Which local vets are people using?” And how do they rate on public review sites?

sunset cliffs anim hospnew

Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital and staff.

According to our recent reader poll, none of you are patronizing Point Loma Veterinary Clinic, and an overwhelming majority visits Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital with their furry friends.

I compiled reviews and rating from three popular local review sites – Yelp, Insider Pages and Yahoo! Local – and Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital also garnered the most reviews (total of 14 across the three sites with a respectable 4-star (out of 5) rating.

The highest rated vet, VCA Peninsula Animal Hospital (5/5 stars) also has the fewest ratings (8). Keeping in line with Schiele’s account, Point Loma Veterinary Clinic is the lowest rated (2/5 stars, via 12 reviews) vet of the bunch. Both Cabrillo Pet Hospital and Shelter Island Veterinary Hospital earned an honorable 4/5 rating with healthy review numbers to support it.

Pen Animal Hosp

VCA Peninsula Animal Hospital

VCA Peninsula Animal Hospital’s high rating is from a small group of loyal long-time customers. Two have been bringing their pets there for more than 20 years, and one since the 1970s. All eight 5-star reviews are on Yelp, with not one negative comment.

Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital (disclosure: I’ve taking my cats and dogs to Drs. Berg & Acosta for 14 years) is seeing an average 4/5 rating across all three sites, with the majority at Yelp. The majority of reviews give the hospital a 5-star rating, but there are a few 1-star rants (mostly on Insider Pages) sharing bad experiences.

With 12 reviews, mostly on Yelp, the Point Loma Veterinary Clinic received mostly 1- and 2-star ratings, but Insider Pages reviewers give it 5 stars.

Cabrillo pet hosp

Cabrillo Pet Hospital

Unlike the other vets, Insider Pages and Yahoo! reviews outweighed Yelp rating for Cabrillo Pet Hospital and Shelter Island Veterinary Hospital. Both garner positive reviews across all sites with just a few 1-star ratings here and there.

Of course, taking into account overall scores on review sites is a good place to start, definitely make sure to check with trusted friends with pets and visit the vet yourself to get true sense of whether or not a vet is right for you.

And take each review you read online with a grain of salt. Raves and rants can be personal favors or attacks, and some reviews might just be an outlet for those with much creative and time – like this one..


vet DrGary Rose Cabrillo Pet HCabrillo Pet Hospital

Yelp: 4/5 – 2 reviews

Insider Pages: 5/5 – 4 reviews

Yahoo! Local: 4/5 – 4 reviews

Overall: 4/5 (10)

Pt loma vet clinic

Point Loma Veterinary Clinic,

Point Loma Veterinary Clinic

Yelp: 1/8 – 8 reviews

Insider Pages: 5/5 – 3 reviews

Yahoo! Local: 2/5 – 1 review

Overall: 2/5 (12)

Shelter Island Veterinary Hospital

vet drBarbara Darnell-schuber SIVHosp

Dr.Barbara Darnell-Schuber - Shelter Island Vet

Yelp: 5/5 – 2 reviews

Insider Pages: 4/5 – 25 reviews

Yahoo! Local: 1.5/5 – 3 reviews

Overall: 4/5 (30)

Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital

Yelp: 5/5 – 28 reviews

Insider Pages: 3/5 – 10 reviews

Yahoo! Local: 3.5/5 – 3 reviews

Overall: 4/5 (41)

VCA Peninsula Animal Hospital

Yelp: 5/5 – 8 reviews

Insider Pages: No rating

Yahoo! Local: No rating

Overall: 5/5 (8)

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah April 13, 2010 at 9:38 pm

What a great job you did on this article. I love that you took the time to explain the issues around online polls and warned folks to take them with a grain of salt. I like your style and will actually refer back to this when it’s time to take our kitty to the doc.

Thanks and keep up the good works.


Jennifer Wilbur April 14, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Thanks for the comment, Sarah! Glad it was helpful. I’ve had pets my whole life, love animals and have moved a few times in my life. I know how stressful it can be to find a good vet (and how horrible it can be when you experience a bad one).


Editordude April 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Here’s the final results of our poll on which vet readers used:

Which veterinarian in Ocean Beach / Point Loma do you use for your pets?

* Cabrillo Pet Hospital (Voltaire)
8—17% of all votes
* Point Loma Veterinary Clinic (Sunset Cliffs)
0—0% of all votes
* Shelter Island Veterinary Hospital (Scott)
0—0% of all votes
* Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital (Santa Monica)
30—65% of all votes
* VCA Peninsula Animal Hospital (Voltaire – formerly Peninsula Vet
5—11% of all votes
* Don’t have pets1
3—7% of all votes

Total Votes: 46 Started: April 6, 2010 1 = Added by a guest


Editordude April 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm

In the future, we may be using this post as a model with which to review other types of businesses and services in the Ocean Beach area. Are there any TYPES of businesses in particular that you’d like to see us rate and review?


anonymickeymouse April 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm

When I first looked at this headline. I thought it said ‘review of local vegetarians’ – now’s something I can get behind (no pets here). I got a big chuckle, just celebrated 4/20. Why don’t you publish something like that, you know, a review of local vegetarians.


Brian August 26, 2010 at 11:33 pm
john August 27, 2010 at 3:37 am

One of the reviews on insider for Sunset Cliffs was mine from 2+ years ago, when I had to put my old shepherd mix down.
I probably took bear to them about a half dozen times before that, the attending Veterinarians were competant though could have been a bit more thorough- but that last time they had a new resident Veterinarian, Annette Behrman, who seemed to give my dog quite a bit more thorough atttention than he had on previous visits. She is really good with dogs, if she still works there I would say I wouldn’t take my dog anywhere else.
I read a few of the really bad reviews on Sunset Cliffs and to be honest it sounded like the pet’s owners were looking to be cared for themselves, not their pets.
:-) Just Sayin’.
At no time did I feel their prices were unreasonable, in fact Dr Behrman handed me two estimates in writing, one with the minimal things we could do that fit my budget, the other a best scenario if I could afford it.
They sent me a nice condolence card about a week later, and another week after that I received a letter from some outfit that provides animals for special needs people that a donation had been made in my dog’s name to provide a lasting memorial for my dog’s passing.
That was a really cool touch. Five stars indeed.


jjones October 4, 2010 at 8:02 am

Thanks for the post! We love our furry friends, and it’s good to get some input about what places are good around here. I’m new to the area and have a few pets that will need vet visits soon. I moved from Florida, and like here, there were about a million different vets to choose from there. I’m glad I found this before I had to do the same trial (and error) routine again.


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