Every professional or occupation has it’s own esoteric humor – things we hear either occasionally or repeatedly that push our buttons in one way or another. These are tidbits that we share with fellow workers for a laugh or bemused chuckle. I thought I’d share three of these gems from the world of veterinary medicine, particularly private, general practice (i.e. the world at its least filtered) :
1) “My dog won’t eat that food you prescribed, he’ll only eat fried chicken and steak – sometimes scrambled eggs – and only if I hand feed him, with a fork and from a plate.” To confess, I tried this tactic at my last physical too. “The reason I’ve gained 5 lbs is because I’m choosing steak and pasta over veggies and fish, oh well, what are you gonna do?” My doctor was not impressed, and neither is your veterinarian. I’ve had a number of dogs and cats in my adult life, and (call it luck, or wise planning) I’ve yet to have one learn to open the refrigerator, start up the grill, or program the digital controls on these new high-tech ovens, much less whip up a spaghetti meat sauce, fry an egg , or build a turkey bacon sandwich. Neither have any of my dogs or cats either come with a driver’s license, or that sat for the test at the local DMV office. So, if my dog can’t drive himself to the grocery store or the Sonic drive-thru, and the cat can’t pick out his favorite treat from the refrigerator, nor whip it up in 15 minutes or less, that leaves only one option for them when it comes to food – eat what I offer. Don’t get me wrong, I treat my pets (more than I should). But I also don’t let them dictate what food they eat, nor how much.They don’t pick the treats, I do. If they don’t want them, I’m still sleeping tonight. They get all the nutrients they need to thrive and perform their normal functions (which isn’t much, trust me). Your veterinarian is not buying that your dog will only eat Bojangles chicken tenders. He or she is really thinking “you need to come back to earth and man up. You’re the boss.”
2) “I don’t think my dog needs that anti-phlegmatory shot (recommended to alleviate swelling, pain, redness – you know, inflammation), since I haven’t heard him coughing and I don’t think there’s really any phlegm.” Now… I spent the first 23 years of my life in Georgia, so I know I speak with a bit of an accent, And, I’m ready to admit that I can mumble sometimes (ask my wife). So, perhaps my enunciation was inadequate. I’ll also acknowledge that I’m not one to raise my hand and ask a question at the drop of a hat. I was that way throughout school, and still have a strong degree of shyness. I’m sure it has to do with my desire not to be embarrassed by my own ignorance. So, I can empathize and imagine that maybe this person was embarrassed that they had never heard the term “anti-inflammatory”. On some level, I admire a person who doesn’t know what they don’t know. It’s probably a very liberating way to live. OK, maybe I’m a bit jealous.
3) “My dog doesn’t need heartworm prevention because she’s always inside, she doesn’t spend anytime outside except for using the bathroom” My response to this is sweet and simple – I live inside too. I even use the bathroom inside. But somehow, it never fails that I get one or two mosquito bites every year. Heck, where I live, we have mosquitoes in January, so I can’t even narrow down my “prime bite susceptibility” to the spring or summer. In my observation, bugs are tricky and resourceful creatures. They seem to make their way into my house from time to time. I use an exterminator, but I guess nothing’s perfect. So, I accept that from time to time I’ll have to rid the home of a stray spider, or roach/cricket/millipede, etc. Mosquitoes, on the other hand – they fly. And, unfortunately, I am likely to open my doors from time to time in an effort to leave or return to my home. There you have it – mosquitoes in the house! If you live in the southeast (99% of my clients do), your dog needs to be on heartworm prevention all year round. Don’t try to argue with your vet or convince him or her otherwise. They know better, and they want you to know better.
‘Til next time….
- Todd Worrell, DVM