Updated November 29, 2020
Please, please, don’t ever think you are wasting our time! When you tell us something isn’t right, we’re not going to ask for proof. You know your pet better than anyone so you are the first person to see your pet’s illness. Sometimes, at the vet we won’t even be able to see the problem but we’re always going to take it seriously.
Sometimes we can even seem grumpy or out of sorts. Please don’t ever think this means we aren’t glad you came. Usually it just means there are a lot of things on our mind, or that we’ve just had a difficult case to deal with. We’d be devastated if you didn’t feel able to discuss any concerns you are having.
Take Mia for example. We featured her in Myth 20: My dog is too old for surgery. When her owner rang us, she knew something was wrong just because she was briefly unsteady on her feet. By the time she rang, Mia was OK again, but we had a look just to be sure. We even did a house call because Mia finds it hard to travel these days.
Mia certainly looked OK, but we took a blood sample, which showed mild anaemia. Again we could have ignored this, but instead went on to an ultrasound exam to find a bleeding tumour on the spleen, which we removed and thus her life was spared. All from a wobble. Sometimes you only get one chance to get it right.
Many, many times, lives are preserved, eyes are saved, small illnesses are stopped before they get big and hidden diseases kept under control by early intervention from concerned owners. And sadly, sometimes the opposite has happened and owners are left to say “if only…”
There are six promises on the Walkerville Vet homepage. One says: “If your call to us is answered we guarantee we will see your pet on the day you request. We never say we are full or not available to see you.” We don’t want a treatment delayed because we said we were full, so we never are.
Another promise says: “Your pet will never be recommended a treatment that does not help them.” This means we often say “this problem should get better by itself”, or “it’s nothing to worry about.” That doesn’t mean it wasn’t smart to come and see us; part of being a diligent owner is getting things checked you’re not sure about. If you always know your pet is definitely sick, you’re probably waiting too long to get them seen. Luckily our very enlightened clients (like Jet’s owner yesterday) say “that’s why I like coming here” rather than either expecting antibiotics or feeling they wasted a trip.
You should find this attitude exists at whichever vet you see.
Sometimes, our days can be tough with the problems we see. If we get to see pets early, then we have a better chance to see less of the bad things happen. And there may even be a bright spark in our day when we get to say, “Your pet looks really healthy, keep it up!”.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These blogs are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter. Subscribe via email here to never miss a story!
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