I have been a practicing small animal veterinarian for the past 16 years. Being a veterinarian is a “calling”, a way of life, to call what I do a “job” doesn’t do my profession justice.
On any given day my heart will soar with elation after doing a C-section and delivering healthy puppies, just to have my heart “torn out” watching a family say good bye to there long time furry friend that has incurable cancer.
When people hear that I am a veterinarian they think of Puppies and kittens and how lovely everyday must be.
My calling comes with the awesome responsibility of caring for the health and well being of small animals.
I spend many sleepless nights, making sure the pets I see, get the best medical care.
I want the general public to understand the kind of questions I am forced to answer on a daily basis.
Ask yourself…how would you would respond to each scenario?
A) A Lethargic, vomiting dog comes in….”Doc, I know you want to do a blood, and Urine Test, to check for toxins, and organ function, but I don’t want you to do the X-ray ….even though my dog may have swallowed something that could perforate his intestine. …….money is tight right now for me.
B) An X-ray of a dogs back reveals a slipped spinal disc. This condition causes pressure on the nerves and weakness in the limbs…the owner declines pain medication and anti-inflammatories..because her friend told her “That Olive oil and Tea Tree oil rubbed onto the back” is just as effective (and less toxic) then my Therapy.
C) A client wants to have her healthy 3 year old dog euthanized because it is scratching her young child.
D) I successfully save a cats life by doing emergency surgery to relieve a bladder blockage in a cat…..the cats owner calls the following day angry that the nails were not trimmed “Well enough”.
Things you should know:
1. We Lose Sleep Over Your Pets
Your Visit is just the “Cover of the Book”. Veterinarians do not “turn off” caring about our patients when we leave the hospital. I cannot count how many nights over the last the last 15 years that I have stayed awake at night worrying about a cat being able to pee without pain or a dog diagnosed with cancer. My Wife can’t tell you how many vacation days I have stopped by the clinic “just to check” on a patient or see “one appointment”. I consider being a veterinarian my vocation, and I admit to being challenged by the balance of my professional and personal time. All the dedicated vets with whom I am acquainted face similar dilemmas.
2. We Know More Than Dr. Google
Many veterinarians are a bit nerdy and introverted. We “get” animals. People? Not so much. We don’t hide our surprise very well when you are super wrong about diagnosing your slightly plump, two year-old cat’s liver shunt after she threw up twice yesterday-because you read all about it on the internet. Sometimes, a hairball is just a hairball. There’s a really good chance that we know what we are talking about, but successful veterinarians learn to share their passion for veterinary medicine with their clients. We want to help you use the internet to find good information concerning topics like nutrition and digestive health in cats. We hope to gain your respect by combining our enthusiasm for your pet’s well-being with the latest medical knowledge and some really neat surgical skills. Trust is the most important component of the relationship between Pet owners, your vet, and your pet.
3. We are speaking for your pet.
We have trained our entire lives to provide the best care for your pet. A good veterinarian makes diagnostic and treatment plans based on what is best for your pet. I feel like I am the voice of your pet. If your pet could talk he would want me to ask you for the diagnostics and treatments plans that I offer in order, to return to optimum health.
4. We have a unique bond with your animal.
Throughout life everyone develops different relationships with different people. Some examples of relationships are, the student-teacher relationship, the coach-athlete relationship, and the parent-child relationship. I think that you would agree that the parent-child relationship is much deeper, then the relationship between a child’s teacher, coach, or mentor. The relationship between veterinarian and an animal patient, is as deep as any parent-child relationship. We have dedicated our lives to optimum wellness for your pet, and our decisions can often be the difference between life in death of a beloved pet. Like a parent to a child, a veterinarian feels deeply responsible for your pet, our tests and treatments are always in the best interest of your animal.
5. We Hate Discussing Money
Veterinarians became doctors to heal sick animals . Nobody told us when we were saving baby kittens that we would have to charge for our services someday. Nobody told us that a digital x-ray machine would cost eighty grand or that clients would judge the expertise of our hospital by owning this kind of high-tech equipment. Advances in veterinary medicine allow us to offer terrific treatments, and we get very excited about telling you what we can do. Unfortunately, all of this great care does have a cost. A good veterinarian will give you a solid estimate of fees for service and then be willing to have a frank discussion about what is reasonable for you and your pet. “Here’s a pet peeve: owners who don’t want to pay for diagnostic tests but then cop an attitude because you don’t know what’s wrong with the animal. Since you wouldn’t let me do the blood work or X-rays, how the heck do you expect me to know?”
6. Sometimes Money Does Not Matter
We are here to advocate for those who cannot speak . If true pain and suffering are present, all the money in the world may not save a pet’s life or cure her disease. The day may come when we need to be open and honest and tell you that the loving choice to make for your dog or cat is euthanasia. We hate talking about it and we hate doing it. Your pet’s life is precious to us, whether we have known you for five minutes or seventeen years. Because it is all about the animals, we say those tough words and we do what we can to guide you through those tough times.
7. Veterinarian KNOW they have the most important job in the world
Every time we help a pet, we help a person. The classic example is the 80-year-old grandma who has nothing in life but her cat. She’s a widow with very limited social contact, and the cat is what connects her to life. So when we help her cat, she’s really the one we’re helping.
Every time I save a life, every time I fix a patient, that makes everything worth it. And I love it when a client says, ‘I wish my physician would treat me as nice as you treat my pets.
Andrew Frishman DVM
Progressive Animal Hospital
149 Route 202 and Lovell Street.
Somers NY 10589
New clients mention this article for a discount on your first exam.
Phil Zeltzman, DVM, a traveling veterinary surgeon
Dr. Collen DVM ” The Poop from the Waiting Room”