Tag: veterinarian (page 1 of 3)

A Promise to Patients

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

Why I Chose Veterinary Medicine Over Human Medicine

I’ve been out of veterinary school for almost 10 years now and just like back then, I occasionally get asked why I chose animal medicine over human medicine. Some of the reasons may have changed but the core remains the same.

veterinary medicine because humans are gross

from zazzle.ca

7. Veterinary Medicine…because humans are gross

You may have seen the internet memes, t-shirts, or coffee mugs that have this emblazoned across them. Well, to some extent personally this is true. I don’t handle human blood very well. That’s really the root of it…I admire the work done by MDs, nurses, and paramedics; I just couldn’t handle the “ick” factor.

6. We can be the ultimate teammate during a zombie apocalypse

In my personal experience, veterinarians are aware of zoonotic diseases (those transmissible from animals to people) much more so than human general practitioners. This is not a knock on the human medical community because certainly infectious disease specialists do amazing work and work very closely with veterinarians but whenever I’ve been faced with a patient that has something transmissible to people, the family has had difficulty getting info from their physician to take precautions at home. And if you ever need to stop a zombie, I’m sure we can take care of that too.

veterinary jobs

multiple Pinterest boards

5. Every day is different

On any given day, I (and our awesome veterinary technicians) take on the roles of general practitioner, x-ray technician, anesthesiologist, surgeon, parasitologist, food inspector, phlebotomist, dentist, dermatologist…the list goes on! We can specialize as a veterinarian but many of us choose to enjoy this variability for the fun and different challenges it brings. The same could be said for fields of work involving animal research. There are a lot of challenges involved. It could also be one of the reasons why more people are looking for animal research jobs in the UK and US. It’s almost like the Swiss army knife of jobs except don’t ask me to fix anything automotive.

4. Intense problem solving with a unique challenge

Very much like our pediatrician counterparts, our patients can’t tell us what the problem is. We must rely on the info we get from the family and then our physical exam. After that, we bring all the pieces together from any blood tests or radiographs to develop a plan. Sometimes it’s like a large logic puzzle and I enjoy the challenge of our non-verbal patients that some of my human counterparts miss out on.

3. We can humanely euthanize our patients

This is a gift that we are able to give to our patients, though sometimes it can also be a burden. How does one weigh such a decision? It’s not always easy but it is a blessing that we can relieve that suffering. In most of the world, this is not a benefit that human doctors have though that perception is changing in some places, including recently in Ontario. If I were a human physician, I would find immense difficulty in watching a patient with a debilitating terminal illness and not be able to end that suffering. It’s the hardest part of our job, but in some cases one of the most rewarding as we can help animals pass on with some dignity.

2. I can hug & kiss my patients

veterinary loving by Max

Grateful kisses from Max

Yes we can! And nobody will get upset for it! This really helps break the ice with clients if their pets wants to snuggle and give sloppy kisses but they are concerned their pet might be nervous of the veterinarian. Even though I know how dirty a pet’s mouth can be (we can fix that!), it pleases me when they seem so eager to make a new friend who happens to be wearing a white coat. The cuddles and hugs we get from our furry patients help brighten up any day!

1. I get to help take care of those who can’t care for themselves

This is truly the core difference (aside from #2) in what made me want to be a veterinarian. I believe in a world where we do our best to look out for each other and that includes our animal friends. I get the best of both medical worlds where I get to help animals but also their people as we strengthen the bond they share and keep it happy as long as possible. In this way, I’m helping people almost as much as animals – that’s a win-win. It’s hard to imagine doing anything else!

Disclaimer: Blog posts may contain opinions which may not necessarily reflect those of my current or former employers.

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Euthanasia – A Gift for Animals but Not People

I don’t always stick to strictly animal topics.  Today, we look at a recent topic in the news from the human side.  Don’t worry, next week we’ll get back to animals and something fun; I promise.

Euthanasia – A Gift for Animals but Not People

Recently, the Canadian Supreme Court reached a landmark decision to reverse a law allowing people to have access to physician assisted death in specific cases.  The current law will become invalid in 1 year.  A few places around the world such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the states of Oregon, Montana, & New Jersey (to name a few) already have laws in place to allow such end of life decisions for people. Belgium even allows for euthanasia of a person.

Coming to such a decision to humanely euthanize a pet has been a gift for people and the affected animal for many years.  I have unfortunately been witness to pets being carried along for too long with owners living in denial.  I remember one cat from 6-7 years ago (from my time in Florida) that I diagnosed with end stage liver failure.  This sweet cat would come in 1-2 times a week to have fluid removed from his belly just to help him feel comfortable and be able to breathe.  The owner was unwilling or unable to afford more intense or beneficial therapy but she refused to euthanize her sweet boy.  Some people might say I should have refused to do anything but that hardly seems humane.  Despite all my efforts to discuss the quality of life with this owner, they refused euthanasia and sadly this cat passed away one day on his way to the hospital from trouble breathing.


I’ve seen how perceptive animals are.  If the tables were turned, I think they would make the decisions to let us go if they felt our suffering was too great.  Personally, both of my grandfathers lay helplessly in their hospital beds in their final days.  Yes, surrounded by family who loved them but all of us being powerless to ease their pain.  Hopefully the recent decision by the courts here will allow people to decide the same for terminally ill human patients as we do for our pets.  I encourage everyone reading this to contact your member of Parliament (or your Representative/Senator if you’re in the USA) and ask them to support new laws showing this kindness towards people.  Some of you may not agree, but I see myself in the unique position as a veterinarian that I know what a blessing it can be to relieve suffering in my patients so I feel my position is warranted.  Whether you agree or not, I’m open to civil discussion in the comments below.

For more information, in Canada, you can visit the organization Dying With Dignity Canada on their webpage or Facebook.

Disclaimer: All blog posts are personally written and my opinion and do not reflect those of current or former employers.

Don’t forget to check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and now Pinterest! Also on the right side here you can subscribe to my blogs so you always get the latest post delivered to you!  And as I mentioned earlier, next week we’ll be back to animals and something more fun & light-hearted!

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