Friday, May 26, 2017

Do Your Vet A Favor...

There are a couple of issues that have come up recently that I would like to share to help others not make the same mistakes...

1)  Keep your pet up to date on Rabies vaccine.  This may seem like a simple request, but you'd be amazed how many people don't do this.  Either because of money, or concerns about vaccine reactions (cats and dogs don't get autism and there's no evidence to say humans get it from vaccines, but this train of thought is definitely out there).  Whether your pet goes outside and you have a neighborhood raccoon or not- you should vaccinate your pet.  It's a human health issue.  Indoor-only cats can catch bats inside the house or your nice sweet dog can get in altercation with a raccoon or fox.  When an animal bites a veterinarian or technician that is trying to help them, not only do we have to worry about the pain and discomfort of the bite, but we are legally required to report the bite and may potentially have to get painful and expensive and time-consuming rabies vaccines.  (Did you know that we have to go the human emergency room in order to get rabies vaccines in response to bites?  I have spent over 12 hours of my life waiting in an emergency room just to get a vaccine that makes me feel like I have the flu).  Please, for your sake, your pet's sake and our sake; vaccinate your pet unless it is medically contra-indicated.

2) Realize we don't have a crystal ball...  I actually had a client want me to give a guarantee that treatment would work on her cat when she didn't even allow me to do diagnostic tests to try to find an answer for what was wrong with her pet.  I stood there, trying to understand what she was asking me- "Um, Ma'am- you're telling me your cat is "off".  You aren't giving me specific symptoms and your cat looks ok- I don't know what your cat has- I don't know what treatment to give your cat because I don't know exactly what's wrong."  If I had a crystal ball that told me what a pet has, and how it was going to respond to treatment, I'd have a lot more success than I currently do (and I could have saved a lot of money on veterinary school).  Any medical professional who is going to give you a guarantee of anything should be greeted skeptically.  One of my favorite lines is, "I know enough about medicine to know I don't know anything."  We can give statistics, probabilities, and impressions, this I feel comfortable with- "No, your dog shouldn't die from this", or "most cases I see like this don't go well, but I've seen a couple recover ok."  Guarantees?  No- there are no guarantees in life and there won't be a guarantee in the vet's office except for the one I had to explain to a little old lady one day, "Yes, yes, at some point your dog will die- but it is unlikely it is today."  She asked, "You mean some day she's going to die sometime?"  I looked at the little old lady and didn't really want to get into the fact that some day we all die and just excused myself.

3) If your dog gets into something, see that it doesn't get into it again...  It amazes me that dogs that get into things often get into them again and again.  I knew one labrador who had 7 surgeries to remove socks from his stomach.  7 surgeries!  His owners spent a lot of money and he lost a lot of his intestines in order to remove the socks.  Somehow even with padlocked drawers a determined pet can find what they crave.  Recently, I had a patient that went into the ER to get 5 items removed.  Within hours of it returning home, it got into that same item again!  Please, if your dog likes socks, underwear, or some other object, please once you find out that they will eat it, double lock those doors or get rid of those objects!

4) I had a nice client recently, who first asked if I had time for a story and then went on to tell me a story of a veterinarian's diagnostics skills saving a human life- he used this story to say how much our skills are appreciated and how hard our job must be when our patients don't talk and their owners are sometimes clueless.  His small act of appreciation helped make the day better.  As with any person you work with- you never know how much a small act of appreciation can make up for a hard day.

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