For your reading pleasure, here are a few of the sentences we heard in the clinic lately from our clients. After each are my replies, but whether or not I actually said them at the moment is another story. Also, if you don’t follow me on Instagram, here are some photos of me with cute animals for your viewing pleasure. If you do follow me on Instagram, then you get to see them again.
“Oh, go ahead and put a muzzle on him, honey, he doesn’t discriminate who he bites.”
“All the yes.” If your dog is afraid of people or being at the vet and may bite, he needs a muzzle. If your dog is protective of you and may bite, he needs a muzzle. If your dog is working through some issues and a little aggressive, he needs a muzzle. Muzzles are not bad in and of themselves. They are soft and still allow the dog to breathe through the nose. But, they keep the pointy bits concealed and in the safety position so the vet and the vet staff can perform the examination and diagnostic testing needed. Sometimes, they even surprise a dog so much that they sort of “freeze up”, and make everything able to happen much more quickly and orderly. If we ask to muzzle your pet, that is NOT a reflection of your or your training or even your pet. It DOES reflect that the situation is not safe for everyone involved and taking teeth out of the equation helps improve safety. We usually ask clients before muzzling their pets, but a client who volunteers their pet for a muzzle ahead of time makes us very grateful that the client knows how to maximize the efficiency and welfare of the vet visit for his or her pet.
“Yeah, let me get a year’s worth of prevention today.”
“Bless you, oh client of mine. Favored are you among many.” I feel like this pet now has a higher chance of receiving heartworm prevention every month for the year, and won’t worry next month or in 6 months if this pet is going to be protected. Parasite prevention- heartworm, intestinal parasites, flea, and tick prevention, that is- is a sure-fire way to keep your pets healthy and safeguarded from many diseases. Heartworm infections are deadly. GI parasites can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even fatal dehydration. Fleas can cause bad allergies or even carry rickettsial diseases and BUBONIC PLAGUE. Ticks carry things like Lyme’s disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichia, Babesia, Anaplasma, and more. Lots of bad things, all from bugs. All completely preventable with monthly medication. Yes, it costs money. But treating any one of these costs more. And, at our clinic and many others, you get discounts on product when you buy 6 or 12 months of prevention, in order to encourage compliance. With the mild winter we had this year, the parasites are already CUSSING AWFUL and they will only get more prolific. If you don’t already have your pets on prevention, do so, please. And, hey, while you’re at it, make my day by buying a year’s worth so that I don’t worry about whether or not Fido will get his medicine in 6 months. You don’t have to buy it all at once, but really, are you going to remember to come back when you run out? If not, let’s go ahead and stock you up!
“My wife looked it up online and she said if you go to a vet school they treat [parvo virus] for free if you don’t have any money.”
“Best of luck to you, sir, in that endeavor. I wish you all the success in your pursuit of free goods and services for your pet and yourself.” <— OK, so I didn’t say that, but I thought it… along with: “So, does the grocery store give you free groceries if you ask? Does your mechanic fix your car for you gratis if you are having a rough month? Does your doctor accept handshakes and weather prattling if you don’t have insurance or two pennies to rub together?” I’m not callous- I absolutely do care about your pet. But implying that myself or anyone else should treat your pet for free is not only insulting to my career but also bordering on taking advantage of my goodwill. None of my knowledge or the supplies in my clinic or the testing equipment at a vet school or the wages of our phenomenal support staff comes for free. We don’t mark up our products exorbitantly or even to the same level as vets in bigger cities or vet schools- we are on par with the clinics around us, and that is true of every clinic I have ever encountered. That being said, I can say without any doubt that that online information was false.
“Let me just drop her off and pick her up later.”
“What a relief! Now we can work her in between appointments since you were a walk-in and we are super busy right this moment!” Now, this doesn’t work for every situation, but when we are booked with appointments or in surgery 2 of 5 for the morning, sometimes having the ability to work in your dog’s annual and nail trim between other pets is a huge help. It clears up the lobby, reduces our stress of trying to treat 5 animals at the same time, and helps the day flow smoother because we’ll have something to do when there’s some down time. Your pooch or kitter-catter will be cozy up in a kennel with lots of soft bedding, water and snacks if appropriate, and constant reminders from us of how cute she is or what a good boy he is. Again, this isn’t always the right option, but some flexibility on your part may be the best way to get your pet seen in the same day, and give you some pet-free time to run some errands while you are out and about.
“Well the internet told me it’s just ring worm so I need a cream, and no exam or other tests.”
“Oh, and what else did the almighty internet tell you, and where did he get his veterinary degree?” Dr. Google, my constant rival. Please, don’t let Web MD or Google tell you what is wrong with yourself, your pet, or your human family members. They don’t get the benefit of doing a complete physical exam along with gathering a complete medical history, which is necessary for all disease diagnoses. I feel like they should all just say “hmmm, that rash/cough/ache/discharge/symptom sounds fishy- go see a medical professional”. It is a little tiny bit* frustrating when a patient comes in and I’m being told that I can’t perform an examination because the owner already knows what is going on. Then I have to be the heavy and explain that the FDA won’t let me prescribe medications unless I do an exam first, and that to prescribe that particular medication or cream, it’s probably best that I do this test first to make sure that’s what we’re dealing with, because it could also be this thing or that disease instead, and if it’s one of those other ailments then that prescription you wanted in the first place would make everything worse, and then you would be back for worsening disease, side effects from the wrong medication, and to do everything I suggested in the first place to fix the initial complaint and also get more treatments for all the new problems, and yet, somehow, I’m the bad guy for wanting to do this all the right way instead of just giving you what Dr. Google told you to get. Please, for the love, believe me when I say Dr. Google does not have a DVM, MD, PHD, or other doctorate.
*–ok, a lot frustrating
“My dog can’t get fleas, he stay inside with me all the time and when we go outside he’s on a leash.”
“”Oh good, so your yard only has the fleas that look for stray, unleashed dogs to jump on and suck their blood. Gotcha.” <— sarcasm font. Who says this? Lots more people than you would think… In all seriousness, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and GI parasites do not pay attention to gates in gated communities, leashes or no leashes on pets, or the thresholds of your front door. They do not discriminate who would make a good host, and any furry, warm-bodied mammal will do. You and me included, but preferably your pet.
“I think my dog has worms, but since he’s been vomiting and not really acting like himself, could you do some bloodwork and maybe take some x-rays to make sure nothing serious is going on?”
“Yes, yes, yes, yes, all the yeses that ever yesed. You get a gold star for pet ownership. If this were the Girl Scouts, you would have just earned your animal caretaker badge.” Clients who want to make their pets’ lives richer, healthier, and fuller make my day, because they want to get the most out of the human-animal bond. I’m not saying you need to request an MRI for every torn toenail, but trusting me to only offer what’s necessary and accepting my offer will result in the best and most expedient diagnosis.
Well, I’m sure I’ll be back in a few more months to share some more “overheard at my clinic” anecdotes. In the mean time, what kind of pet advice or lessons would you like to see me post about? Burning questions about behavior or dog food or anxiety or DIY grooming? Let me know and I’ll get some more vet-related posts in the works!
Who says you can’t be the best?/Who said, who said?/Would you tell me who said that?/ Yeah, who said? – Selena Gomez and The Scene
Grace and Peace,