Remember those books where you read a page and then you chose what happened next? I loved those. Let’s try it.
A lady takes her dog to the vet for an unusual swelling. In the course of the exam she mentioned that this happened last year too on another place. She took the dog to another vet, who she won’t name but who she will never go to again, and they recommended surgical repair. When she denied that option they agreed to just drain it but told her it wasn’t the best idea. They took the dog to the back of the hospital and he returned with a large bandage. Three days later when he shook off the bandage the swelling was still there.
Should the owner:
1. Realize that she chose a course of action that the veterinarian told her probably wouldn’t work so not be surprised when the swelling recurred, i.e. it didn’t work. Maybe she should call the veterinarian to discuss other treatment options.
2. Assume that the veterinarian took the dog to the back of the clinic and did absolutely nothing but wrap the dog like she thought the owner wouldn’t even notice that the swelling was still there when the bandage was removed. The veterinarian did this just to get her money obviously and therefore she will never go back there and she is still telling everyone about the scam a year later.
When the tech and I looked her oddly and told her about option 1, she was genuinely surprised. It had never occurred to her. Why do some people automatically assume that they are important enough that other people concoct elaborate schemes just to mess with them?
There are a few things that happen every day at work and they never cease to amaze me.
1.I am not afraid of your dog….
When I go in room with a dog I always offer my hand for the dog to sniff. It don’t think about it, it is instinct. If I’m going to be on the floor with a big dog I kneel with my body angled away from the dog and talk to him before trying to touch him. It is polite. Most dogs know that I am the big bad V-E-T. They don’t want anything to do with me. An attempt to make friends can help lower anxiety instead of just grabbing the dog and getting started on the exam.
At least once a day I have an owner get a bit worked up about this and start insisting in a slightly offended tone, “He won’t bite you. You don’t need to be afraid of him.” The dog and I particularly love it when this is accompanied by the owner shoving the dog at me.
2. … unless I have a reason to not trust your dog.
We see a lot of dogs in a day. I’ve seen a huge number of dogs in my career. I’m pretty good at assessing a dog’s body language at a glance. If we come into the room and don’t approach your dog, there is a reason.
Your dog doesn’t have to be snarling and snapping for us to be wary of him. It is usually the look in his eye. Trust us on this one. He may be the sweetest animal in the entire history of dogs at home but he isn’t at home right now. He feels threatened and may feel that his people are also being threatened.
If your dog has been aggressive at the vet before let us know before we try to handle him. Don’t wait until the first bite attempt and then laughingly say, “Yeah, he didn’t like his last vet either.” Also if your dog is snarling and snapping and straining at the leash when I walk in, please for the love of all that is holy don’t let go of the leash and yell, “Go say hi!!” I got a lot of extra gray hair from that one.
3. It isn’t a trick question.
When I ask you questions it is for a specific reason but I’m not trying to trip you up or make you out to be a horrible person. People get super defensive at times. No need. The biggest thing that freaks out dog owners is “What does he eat?” When I ask what he is eating, I’m usually wondering about coat quality or allergies and want to get him on a higher quality diet. I don’t have a problem with “people food” as long as it is healthy. I encourage feeding meat and vegetables as long as the meat isn’t adding too many calories every day. Now the lady that asked me why I thought her dog wasn’t losing weight when he only ate once a day got a bit of a talking to when she admitted that once a day he ate a bowlful of dog food topped with handfuls of cheese in addition to the steak later on. Too many calories for a little dog.
Cat owners freak out when I ask if the cat ever goes outside. I just want to know if we need to talk about leukemia vaccines and deworming for hunters. I’m not judging. I have a cat who I can’t keep in. Please don’t hyperventilate on me. By the way, cats hunt. You don’t need to apologize that you ‘let’ him eat a mouse. I congratulate the cat for making himself useful.
4. Animals get fleas
If I point out that your animal has fleas it is not a moral judgement about you. Don’t get offended. It happens to the best of us.
5. The person or place who provided your new pet may not know everything.
There are many fine breeders out there but there are also a lot who are not so good. Same goes for rescues or pet stores. I may be completely full of crap myself but I get suspicious when new owners come in with paperwork that says explicitly not to trust their veterinarian. Why would they come to us if they aren’t going to at least give our opinions a listen?
There is one puppy mill that sends puppies home with chicken dewormer. The paperwork says to give it to them for 5 days NO MATTER WHAT YOUR VETERINARIAN SAYS. They use that bold print and everything.
Another pet store says what food the puppies have been eating (good) and then says that if they change the brand that the puppy will die. Not kidding. It turns out that store sells that brand of obscure food. Coincidence?
I saw a kitten once that a pet store (with a history of super sick kittens) gave to a person because it was dying on the condition that she never take it to a vet. Ever? Even if it survived the illness?
We did go to school for a long time. Just humor us and pretend that we might know something that your cousin’s sister’s aunt Sally who has had dogs for years might not be fully aware of. You are free to ignore our advice when you leave but it is what you came in for.
After considerable thought I have come to the conclusion that many of my clients must be exceedingly poor, bless their hearts.
They do not appear to be able to afford to buy clothing that contains enough fabric to adequately cover everything on them that ought to be covered, the poor dears.
You may say that it is not my place to judge but as a veterinarian, unfortunately, I am often put in close contact with my clients’ personal parts. Therefore, I tend to notice these things more than say, a bank teller would. If you bring in your small dog or cat, you put them on the table. I’m across the table and I’m looking down at your Precious – and your cleavage. If Fluffikins decides to hide from me, guess who has to gently remove her from between your breasts without being accused of copping a feel? Seriously, there should be a class on this in vet school. It is a skill.
People with big dogs aren’t exempt. Then I’m on the floor while they may be on a chair so I’m at chest level to the owners. Or, their dog decides to hide between their legs adding crotch extraction to my job skills. Let’s not forget the energetic dog that the owner tries to hold which makes me worry if there is about to be a wardrobe malfunction.
I’ve requested that we post signs on the front doors saying that we require breasts to be covered before entering. I’ve offered to get large coats from the thrift store to give to clients who seem to have forgotten large portions of their clothing at home like fancy restaurants that loaned out jackets and ties used to do. My suggestions usually just remind my male boss that he needs to spend more time in the exam rooms.
I’m not sure if all this exposure is turning me into a prude or a connoisseur. I feel very strongly now that if you are going to have your naughty bits all up in my face that you should have appropriate foundation undergarments. I understand that time and gravity take their toll but bra technology is amazing nowadays. Scaffolding is available. There is no reason to have your nipples at your waist. Yeah, I’m talking to you, 80+ year old lady in the strapless sundress who chose that day to go au naturale and to all the ladies obviously wearing a stretched out piece of cheapo lingerie that you bought 20 years ago.
I wish I could write prescriptions to fix this. “Yes, Fluffy needs this antibiotic for her skin and I need to refer you to Marlene down at Macy’s. She’ll measure you for an appropriate bra. They are having a sale next week. I’ll schedule you an appointment.”
Two of our best recent client stories involve ladies who were obviously “poor”.
The first was told to me by a male technician. (This proves that it is not just me that notices these things.) He set up the story by saying that it involved a lady who “was under the impression that the shirt she was wearing was a dress.”
She brought in a new kitten. She said it was 6 months old at registration. When he got it out of the carrier it appeared younger so he asked her if she was sure on the age. She said that she was because it had been born in May. It was August at the time. (Go ahead, do the math. Count on your fingers. Recheck it a few times. I’ll wait.)
Unless the kitten had gone off time traveling for a bit in July, it was 3 months old. This matters because 3 month olds and 6 month olds do not receive the same vaccinations. It was the size of a 3 month old and had the baby teeth that a 3 month old would have. He pointed this out. She insisted it was born in May and was 6 months old.
He went and got the doctor. He told her the trouble and she checked. It was 3 months old. The owner insisted it was 6 months. Finally the owner’s friend, who had been quiet up to this point, turned to her friend and yelled, “I TOLD YOU that you need to quit smoking so much weed! It is messing with your brain!”
I had a client, who fussed with her clothes continuously because she was seconds away from a wardrobe malfunction at any given time, bring in two kittens. She said they were sisters. She had had one for a few weeks and then she went back to the same place a few days ago and got the other. The new kitten was 1 pound smaller than the first kitten. The new kitten was very skinny but that wouldn’t explain the size difference entirely. They looked like there was about a month difference in ages. I asked her, “Are you sure these girls are littermates?”
She replied in a sad voice, “Yes, I just got the second one and I haven’t had time to set up a second litter box.”