When we think of Doctor’s, a veterinarian is not usually the first thing that pops into our mind. Veterinarians are typically not treated with the same respect as human physicians across the globe. Veterinarians, however, encompass so many different types of medicine that it is hard to imagine all they are capable of doing and all they are entrusted with. When you speak to your veterinarian, their thought process immediately goes into an algorithm of organ systems. As your pet’s advocate, every piece of the puzzle matters. We are required to solve problems with minimal to no diagnostics. Withholding any part of the story, no matter how small the detail, can lead your veterinarian down the wrong path to helping find answers. For example, if a client says their pet has been coughing, my mind immediately wonders if it is related to the heart or the lungs. Coughing can be a symptom of allergies, respiratory inflammation, or heart disease, among the many other diagnoses. Veterinarians will ask you very pointed questions to try to figure out what IS going on. Diagnostics always help! When you allow your veterinarian to do blood work or radiographs, you are helping them get closer to finding answers. I tell my clients that I am only going to be as good a doctor as they are parents. The story matters!Furthermore, what most people do not realize is that we do this diagnostic pattern with ALL types of animals. There is no limit to what a veterinarian can do from the standpoint of species or type of medicine. We are dermatologists, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, oncologists, obstetrics, urologists, proctologists, dentists, surgeons, therapists…and the list goes on. The schooling to become a veterinarian is exactly the same as the schooling required to be a human doctor. Veterinarians are expected to be able to treat most common small and large animal species, such as dogs, cats, pocket pets (rats, guinea pigs, hamsters), rabbits, reptiles, horses, goats, chickens, zebu, donkeys, lama, cattle and so on. While all major organ systems are remarkably similar, there are vast differences to anatomy and treatment options. Working at a small animal hospital, I am never quite sure what species of animal I will see next or what challenges they may come in with. This is what makes my profession so exciting! The best thing you can do as a pet owner is to come in with a list of symptoms, what you think caused it, and help us make a plan as a team! The ultimate goal is the correct diagnoses to get your fur baby and you more quality time together. Your entire veterinary group has one objective: increase the human animal bond and care for your pet like family.Ps. Love you veterinary professionals. It’s been a rough year!
By Dr. Clara Scott, My Family Vet, myfamilyvet.com