My New Promise to Patients
I graduated from veterinary school in 2006. Wow – that wasn’t that long ago, or was it? It’s only been 12 years but since then veterinary medicine has changed. Medically, we have made more advances to provide better top-notch care. However, socially and perception-wise, veterinary medicine has been tarnished due to the evolution of the internet and social media. It has driven a number of my colleagues out of the profession, into a depressive state, or in the worst cases – suicide. I’m doing fine and am constantly evolving to provide the best care that I can. As a result, this is my promise to patients: Continue reading
The times they are a changing. Every now and then in the course of medicine, we get new research that guides us to change our ways of thinking and how we practice. And we live in exciting times because now is one of those moments. New research has been presented regarding potentially more appropriate age of spay or neuter surgery for your dog, most notably larger dogs. Don’t worry, I’ll also discuss cats.
No, I haven’t changed my stance that the procedure should still be done. But I agree and am glad to see some changes in the timing of when we as veterinarians recommend the surgery happen. Let’s explore this and try make sense of the differences.
The first thing you have to look at is what breed, or at least size, of dog you have. The next thing you have to consider is what are your goals you’re trying to achieve with your pet’s health – joint development & health, cancer risks, behavior, etc. Lastly, we need to consider their lifestyle. Much of the research focused on some common breeds (Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers , Rottweilers, Viszlas) but we can try to extrapolate from this data. So let’s discuss…. Continue reading
Being a veterinarian is a very fun and rewarding career, but it’s also immensely challenging. The only other job that might come close is being a pediatrician. Face it, our patients can’t talk…unless we’re watching the Eddie Murphy remake of “Dr. Doolittle” (which was quite enjoyable I might add). Being completely honest, your pet has secrets and you are the secret keeper. No, I don’t mean what Rover really thinks of your new party outfit; but rather the all important pet history taking that starts every vet visit.
“The best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter-he’s got to just know.” – Will Rogers
Okay, so there’s some truth to this quote. We can’t ask our patients what the problem is (and I know some pretty awesome veterinary doctors). The false part is that we’ve “got to just know.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. This is where you come in and why veterinary medicine is a team effort.
A Costly Secret
When we ask you questions at the beginning of the appointment, these details may be quite pertinent to figuring out what the problem is that is plaguing your pet. There was once a dog I saw that came in for being unable to walk and had some progressive weakness in it’s legs. It was a young Rottweiler that the owners had assured me had gotten into nothing and had not suffered any trauma. It was still quite a mystery even after a thorough physical exam. Her owners authorized some radiographs & blood tests and left her at the hospital for the tests and supportive care. A few hours later when I called for an update and to go over the results, the owners informed me they had used pure tea tree oil to address a flea problem. Diagnosis: tea tree oil toxicity which can cause a temporary paralysis type syndrome. Had this been known earlier, she could have been treated more promptly and for less cost. No worries though, she recovered and was back to normal within a few days.
Honesty Leads to Success
When you call the hospital before coming in, it allows us to get prepared for taking care of your pet. But we can only be as ready as the information given to us is complete. One of the craziest toxicity cases I’ve ever seen involved a dog who had gotten into his owner’s medications…all 9 of them! How would we know what to treat first without knowing everything involved? That little dog did fine too especially since his owner admitted to some narcotics in the house.
Be up front with us. Be honest. Veterinarians don’t make a habit or policy of calling the cops on you or telling everyone they know about your pet and their antics. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to tell us the truth about what might be going on with your pet. The more information you can give us, the better. We won’t judge. So don’t hold back; tell me your pet’s secrets.
Disclaimer: Blog posts may contain some opinions which are my own and may not reflect those of any current or former employers.
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