Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm nauseous with glee

Two glorious, wonderful events occurred today:

1. The inauguration

2. My acceptance into veterinary school

It is a very, very good day, one I think I will remember for a long time...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

Phone call

Client: "My dog just went under the table!"

Me: "...And?"

Client: "Someone told me that when dogs go under tables, they go there to die!"

Why no one gets my number

Back in the days of lore, vets were on call 24/7.

The days of lore sucked.

With the advent of modern medicine, so came the establishment of the Big Specialty Hospital and/or Shiny University Hospital right down the road. Huzzah! said the vet. Now, the 2 am blocked cat can make a 10 minute trip to one of finest veterinary hospitals in the nation and receive top-notch care while I sleep soundly away, said the vet. Everyone wins, you see - the cat gets prompt care and delicious drugs, the vet gets sleep and a nicely written summary of the case on the fax machine in the morning, and the owner gets a bill the size of Russia.

Ok, so maybe not everyone wins. Somewhere around 8:02 am, the owner (and proud recipient of a saurian-esque bill) calls Yours Truly to express his/her equally-sized outrage that we, THE VET, were not available at 2 am, forcing him/her to voyage to the other side of the street to a facility where "NO ONE CARED".

"I WANT THE VET'S NUMBER", exclaims the owner. Ya'know, for future emergencies of this nature.

Here's why the answer is an unequivocal NO:

1.) A single vet would be hard-pressed to treat a sick animal in need of hospitalization all by him/herself. It can be done, with the aid of anesthesia and good technique, but it's not a good idea from a "standard of care" point of view. Take this cat, for example - who's going to restrain/hold off while the IV cath is placed? Who's going to monitor anesthesia while the urinary cath is inserted and sewn in? Who's going hold for a jugular stick?

2.) The quality of the animal's care is not reduced by the referral to a different hospital. In fact, it is improved. Instead of a general practitioner and a tech or two, you now have board-certified specialists handling the case and whole boatload of techs providing 24 hour care.

I understand that it costs a lot...in part because you insisted on showing me your bill. Multiple times. However, the difference in the price between the veterinary ER and after-hours care at our practice (with a lone vet) is not comparable to the difference in the quality of care.

When we're open, come on in. When we're closed...we're closed, and it's for your cat's own good.

P.S. - As to "NO ONE CARED": Dude, they're an EMERGENCY HOSPITAL. They don't want to talk to you unless it involves a history or an ok for treatment. They don't want to have a conversation about how your cat likes to sleep in the sink or eat parmesan cheese when there's a GDV in the back and two HBCs coming in.

P.P.S. - Sporadic posting? Yes. Honestly, I've just been too busy lately, and with the economy sucking like it does, our practice has slowed down = not as many good stories, more stress.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


When your dog has SO MANY TICKS that little suckers (haha) have attached themselves to your dog's EYELIDS in an effort to stake out the last square centimeter on non-infested flesh, IT IS TIME TO GET SOME FRONTLINE! Or insert-preferred-tick-preventative-here. Whatever. No more averted glances and mumblings of "I have some at home", K? Cough it up.

Might also be time for a Lyme vaccine.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Check Please

A client's first visit with a new vet is sort of like a first date. Both parties try to make a good impression (mostly) while trying to figure out the other's interests and philosophies (regarding pet care) - and of course, there's a bill at the end.

In some cases though, somewhere in between the bread and the appetizer, the conversation slowly but surely turns from pleasant banter to a one-sided, deeply embittered bashing of "the ex" - how he/she was a crazy pyschopathic jealous angry horrible scum of the earth freak of nature. Etc etc. You attempt to gently steer the conversation towards more progressive, at-hand topics, but your dinner partner stands his/her ground. After the third glass of wine, he/she is throughly convinced that "the ex" was the devil incarnate - but you, YOU are AMAZING. You're nothing like the ex, they say, you are PERFECT.

Then you spend the next two weeks pretending to have an especially contagious strain of Ebola.

Maybe that's a bit extreme, but that's what I'm reminded of whenever the topic turns from the findings of a pet's exam to how horrible the Last Vet was. Whether it's a perceived improper diagnosis, getting ripped off, or just general mistreatement, the client obviously holds a deep resentment against their previous vet, and is intent on revealing every last gory detail - more than just "I left Dr. X because of XYZ. The End". The problem is, sometimes the complaint is 100% true and fair, but it would still be incredibly unprofessional for us to respond with the agreement the client is hoping to hear, unless there's a previous medical history that reveals evident malpractice. We don't know the vet or their side of the story, for better or for worse. In addition, it makes my spidey sense tingle - if we are this client's third vet this year, how long before we "mistreat" them and send them off to Vet #4 with tales of woe about how evil we are?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I want to crush your dreams

I love it when kids come to shadow for the day.

And by "love it", I mean I loathe it, of course.

Don't get me wrong - I love the one in ten kids that actually pays attention, asks questions, and shows half an interest in doing anything other than sitting around and asking where all the puppies are.

The remaining majority of veterinary hopefuls tend to quickly lose interest when they realize that the most/all of the day consists of smelly infections/fecals/animals/owners, and nary a puppy or kitten in sight. I can give the middle-school ones a break, but the seniors in high school drive me insane. Even though their little dreams are quickly crushed, they still have x amount of days or hours to complete for their school requirements. While they may be content to spend this time sitting at the front desk contemplating their next career path, we feel obligated to give them something to do - usually this means walking dogs in the kennel. If I'm feeling especially dedicated to the future of our youth, I may try to keep teaching them how to set up fecals - however, after the TENTH repeat of "put poop in tube, add floaty stuff, mix well" fails to stick in their heads, I give up.

The young ones do come in handy, however, when it comes to dealing with difficult clients - no one wants to mean in front of a twelve year-old.

Sunday, April 6, 2008





As a general rule, Saturday mornings are the busiest days at any vet clinic, as everyone and their cousin's girlfriend wants an appointment for that day, and we're only open for 4 hours. Hence, you can always bet that we'll be booked solid with "limping x2 wks" and "adr x? - outdoor cat, 16yr" and "discharge from 'pee-pee parts', per owner". (On that note, c'mon people, say it with me - "penis" and/or "vulva/vaginal area").

Anywho, Saturday 8am is very bad time to call up your beloved local vet clinic to declare your immediate need for medical attention for a problem that has been going on for the past 2, 3, or 4 weeks. You see, the people who procrastinated slightly less than you have already booked us up with THEIR 2, 3, or 4 week-old problems, and we're scrambling like crazy to squeeze in the truly sick pets.

"Fine", you might say. "I'll just walk in there and plop myself in a chair and demand to be seen", you say. I know this will come as a surprise to you, but when we are a receptionist and tech short and only have one doctor scheduled, open slots in our book will not spontaneously generate. Therefore, you and your ridiculously unsocialized animal will sit in our lobby for an indefinite period of time, despite our attempts to placate you with a smorgasbord of appointment options for Monday.

Finally, you strike up a conversation with the nice man next to you as he patiently waits for his SCHEDULED appointment. With a lovely touch of class, you inform him that if we fail to see you promptly, you intend to take your pet home and shoot it in the head.

Congrats, you got your appointment slot after the nice man insisted upon rescheduling his exam for later in the week so you could be seen for your minor, x4wk problem. I'm not sure what all your fuss was about, however, since "diagnostics" and "medications" were not part your extensive lexicon to begin with. Since our magic wand is in the shop, a physical exam can't really CURE anything.

I know, that's our fault too...