This online journal will hopefully allow me to create a common interface between pet lovers/owners and the vet team. We ultimately all share one big passion for animals and so we are advocates of the same cause and so we should play on the same team! We both want your pet to be in good health and we both genuinely care about its welfare. I honestly can’t speak for all vets, but I can still vouch that most vets, not all, really have the purest intentions when it comes to your beloved pets.
Vets and vet nurses do what they do for the love of doing it not to make money. There is a huge misconception about vets being rich. Yes there are a handful of vets that have done well for themselves but the average vet does not make much money. If I tell you how much my dad paid to put me through university being an international student and what I make now, it would make your stomach turn. Let’s just say I will never be able to repay my parents except in showing them how much I love and appreciate them every day.
We are only human beings and so we obviously can make mistakes whether a misdiagnosis, inappropriate medical management or so forth. However, we do not purposely want to hurt your animal and are always keen to correct our mistakes and strive to get it right! One of my favorite sayings is ‘to err is human and forgive divine.’ I am never scared to be very honest with my clients even if it risks them losing confidence in my ability. I am not afraid to say: ‘I do not know what is wrong with your pet but I will try to find out.’ I am always happy to get a second opinion from one of my colleagues or to refer them to a veterinary specialist.
Personally, I value an animal’s life as equal to that of a human being and I understand that not everyone is going to be on par with me on this one and I totally accept and respect that. I simply would love to share my views, thoughts, emotions, and turmoil and weekly experiences with the world and welcome all feedback and comments with open arms. I am hoping that my website will be full of useful information and interesting dialogues.
I will be uploading heaps of pictures and videos that will get you hooked. I hope the pictures and videos give you insight as to how passionate I am about animals. I apologize to your ear drums in advance as many of the videos will include my very high pitched laugh and loud voice.
So for my first blog post, I would like to start by acknowledging to the world that I am a veterinarian and I absolutely love it. Yes it is a very demanding, emotionally challenging and horribly underpaid job but I still love it and cannot imagine doing anything else.
Every day I feel like I am learning something new and do my best to store it in my memory. Unfortunately, I don’t always have all the answers to what is going on with your pet. I sometimes wish they could speak and point me in the right direction, maybe even wink or something.
It can be very hard when owners want me to give them quick answers to concerns with their pets that they have noticed for a few days to even years. The history we get from you sometimes can actually point us in the wrong direction if we don’t dissect it down appropriately and fully examine your pet. I want to emphasize the importance of history taking in determining the workup or treatment plan. Vets and pet owners need to be more patient during this process and exchange as much relevant information as possible. Then the next challenge we commonly face is finance. Owners want answers but cannot afford the workup and on some examinations, we may not find anything blatantly obvious and workup is simply necessary.
On the opposite spectrum, we get owners that are also concerned about their pet but can’t communicate enough information to point us in the right direction. We examine their pets and find them to be healthy but owners are adamant something is wrong and are happy to do whatever workup is necessary.
Each case is complex and unique in its own way. I have developed my own personal strategy that helps me manage all cases to the best of my ability. The cornerstone of my method is honesty and not withholding any information from my clients.
My secret recipe or approach to every case is this:
- Take very thorough history. I try to get owners to stick to answering my questions concisely but that doesn’t always work.
- Full physical examination. Start at the nose end (unless it is feisty little creature) finish at the tail end. I don’t take a rectal temperature of each pet I examine because it is irrelevant at times and rude to my patient.
- I am not afraid to say I don’t know what is going on with your pet. I always get a second opinion if the physical exam was unremarkable or if I can’t pinpoint the source of discomfort or concern in the pet.
- For more challenging and intricate ongoing cases, I tend to email a specialist for a second opinion. My digital camera lives on me and I can’t imagine going anywhere without it. Any interesting or quirky case gets a photo shoot from me and I always forward the picture or video footage to vet specialists for a second opinion. Bear in mind, I don’t always get a reply but hey never hurts to try. I have established a great rapport with so many great vet specialists in Victoria. This means I am very lucky to get a reply or call back immediately or within a few days to help me better tackle those challenging cases.
- Discuss all options including referral to a specialist thoroughly with the owners including costs.
So yeah that whole process discussed above should be conducted within 15 minutes as that is the average booking time for a consultation. Sometimes, the nurses predict it is going to be a more elaborate consult as it is a second opinion and book 30 minutes for the consult instead.
Hence if I start my morning with an unexpectedly challenging consult, I may have a waiting room full of disgruntled owners because I am running late. Many apologies for those who have suffered because of my heavily booked schedule and difficult case load. I always really do my best to be on time and to give you the best possible service.