Thursday, October 6, 2011

Top 5 things I wished pet owners knew (but don't)

This was a requested post, and I thought it was a good idea. I'm sure I will expand this list one day, but for now, I am sticking with 5.

1) Aspirin, ibuprofen, Tylenol, Advil, etc. are the not the cure-all for every problem a pet suffers. I cannot tell you how many pets I see with every symptom known to man (vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, stumbling, loss of appetite) that have received an NSAID at home. These are painkillers that help with inflammation. They are NOT going to do anything for a vomiting dog. Just like YOU wouldn't take aspirin for nausea, neither should your dog. Further, these products are dosed differently (or not at all - in the case of naproxen in dogs and Tylenol in cats). These medications can pose serious threats to your dog's health.

2) Allergic reactions to beestings, pollen, and the like that cause facial swelling, itching, and hives/wheals are not life-threatening emergencies requiring immediate care. I shouldn't complain, as this is job security for me - but if your dog breaks out in hives, his face swells, and he starts to itch like mad, give him Benadryl, and wait it out. It can take up to 24 hours for the hives and swelling to completely resolve. This cutaneous reaction is not life-threatening in any way. Now, if your dog has trouble breathing, collapse, weakness, or the like - that IS an emergency.

3) A dog or cat is not embarrassed by the words "penis" or "vagina" or "vulva." Neither am I. You can use them freely. I do NOT like the words "lipstick", "hooha", "wee-wee", or "peanut."

4) I have no control over prices, billing services, or anything else to do with the financial aspect of the pratice. I am an associate, I do not own any part of the clinic, and thus, if I give you a discount or do things for free, then I am essentially stealing from my employers. Do I sometimes do things at a discont? Yes. Should I? Probably not. Oh, and I don't drive a Porsche. I drive a 13 year old Mercedes SUV that guzzles gas, has 210k miles on it, and was a freebie hand-me-down from my generous father-in-law.

5) Lastly, I wish that pet owners knew that I love my job, take it incredibly seriously, stay up nights worrying about cases I'm managing, strive to always, always do my best for every pet
I see, and constantly berate myself when I can't save the world.

That about sums it up for me, at the moment!


Can'tSpell, DVM said...

6) Yes, I *do* think that heartworm prevention, flea control, vaccines, and anything else I reccomend is necessary. I'm not out to "gouge" you and I'm not talking just to hear myself talk. :)

Anonymous said...

Number 3 reminds me of the book "The Higher Power of Lucky" which won a Newberry Award but was still banned by many school librarians because it contained the word scrotum (referencing a dog's scrotum).

My kids and I spent the next week trying to work the word scrotum into every possible conversation, and giggling like dopes.

Angie in MN

Nicki said...

In regards to #3 I have had people use words I could not associate a body part with and had to ask what they are talking about.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add...I'm glad owners have evidently received the memo about chocolate being toxic to pets. However, a hershey's kiss is not going to kill your 100 pound lab. If you rush him in, in the middle of the night, for treatment, we will likely roll our eyes...a lot.

Mary said...

I work with the research director at our zoo from time to time and she is a reproductive endocrinologist who has done many studies involving sperm. She told me she had a graduate student who could not say penis. The student was supposed to give a talk at a conference and apparently it was difficult for her to say the word penis. Penis, penis, penis. Sheesh, you're a biologist, get over it!

Dr. May B. Insane said...

Well said. #5 particularly appeals to me, probably because I feel the same. You have to admit, though, those allergic reaction emergencies are very fun and rewarding, especially when sandwiched into otherwise frustrating overnight shifts...