Vet services in Korea

I really want to adopt a dog. The main reservation I have at the moment is that I'm nervous about the language barrier. I'm learning basic Korean, but nothing close to fluent, and I'm wondering what people's experience of Korean vets are. Did you find it easy or difficult to communicate with them, and also, what are the fees like relative to Western vets? Also, if anyone has any experience of travelling with pets in and out of UK, please let me know.

Tags: adoption, vet clinics


marlajoy's picture

I have lived MANY different places in Korea. In big cities, or medium sized cities (especially in areas not too far from Seoul) I would say there is very little problem finding a vet who can communicate in English (not super well but enough to be able to understand you if you speak clearly and explain things to you). If you choose to live in more rural areas it is going to be more difficult. I have always chosen to live in rural areas and I've always been able to find an English speaking vet within an hour bus ride. That's not ideal but not too bad either. If you click on the "resources" link on this website and then click on "vet clinics" you will find a decent sized list of some English speaking vets in Korea. Keep in mind that there are others around that are not on the list. If you let your future employer know it is important to you, they will help you find someone. Also, even if you can't find an English speaking vet, you can always call your Korean employer/coworker once you get to the vet clinic and have them act as a translator for you. I've had to do that in a pinch. Hope that helps! :)

marlajoy's picture

Oh, and compared to vets in Canada and the US, vets in Korea are significantly more expensive. I can't say about the UK though.

ktkt2289's picture

Thanks that's really helpful. I looked at the resources - I didn't realise there were so many in Changwon! I want to adopt, but I think I'd better wait until my contract is renewed, as I want to be settled.

Karen's picture

I just wanted to pipe in and say that I agree with pretty much everything marlajoy posted :)

I only ever lived in Daejeon while I was in Korea, but went to at least 3 or 4 different vet clinics. The vets all seemed to like helping me in English and were patient with my broken Korean. And just like marlajoy said, if there was something critical I couldn't understand, I would call my Korean friend to act as "intermediary".

My last vet also had a wonderful service which I think is standard across Korea, but still non-existent in Canada: they send you automated text message reminders like "your heartworm preventative is due tomorrow". Also, I could drop in without an appointment which was super.

Since leaving Korea, I've found that vet services are more expensive here in Canada than in Daejeon, but it's been a few years since I left so maybe Korean prices have just gone up over there!

Anyway, I think it is great idea to wait until you're feeling really settled and maybe scope out your area for parks and vet clinics, etc. etc. Good luck!