Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dog Owners, Know the Limitations of Your Veterinarian

Featured on the online pet magazine: Keep the TailWagging!

One of the most important relationships you will have as a pet owner is with your Veterinarian. As a lifelong pet owner, my pet’s health is always one of my biggest concerns.  Is this normal? Am I feeding this right? Is this safe for my pet? OMG, my dog just ate ______ (you can fill in the blank with countless items on that one).  There always seems to be some concern or question I have and generally those questions are best left suited for the professionals, or at least that’s what we are lead to believe.  That’s why it is so important to really know your vet and make sure they are the best fit for your dog’s wellbeing. 
Consider this, the AKC (as a general jumping off point) has 161 different recognized breeds of dogs the last time I checked, but there are many other purebred breeds of dogs registered in the world as well.  Vet schools teach our Veterinarians about dogs, not specific breeds and these 161+ breeds are all a little bit different.  The medical recommendations you would give for a Pomeranian are not the same as the medical recommendations you would give for an English Mastiff.  As a pet owner I’m not saying not to not trust your vet, but do question things that give you concerns.  A good vet, just like a good doctor, should be willing and able to answer any questions you may have, and if need be listen to your suggestions as well. 
As a specific example, my personal Veterinarian has no other Mastiff clients.  There is a very specific list of anesthesia’s that are not safe to use on Mastiffs because of their huge chest cavities, slow circulation and specific inability to metabolize drugs in the normal time frame that other dogs do.  My vet had never heard of this, but was very willing to listen and absorb the information that I provided (from a credited source of course) about this breed specific issue. 
It is also good to know the limitations of your veterinarian.  I live in a rural area and my vet is in a small town.  While she can perform most general medical tasks and basic surgeries, when my dog tore her Cruciate Ligament I knew my vet could be of no real help other than a referral, so onto the University we went. And from there onto a referral Veterinarian Specialist Group that only handles orthopedic surgeries, oncology and other emergency type invasive surgeries.  Currently I have 4 different Veterinarian office phone number programmed into my cell phone. Now for most pet owners that may be just a bit of overkill, as a pet mommy, it just makes me feel comfortable. 
The point is, that’s all a great vet is, medical expertise with a willingness to learn new things.  Someone who will actually listen to their clients concerns and needs and be the support needed to get through whatever medical crisis your pet may be experiencing. As the only advocate your pet has, it is your responsibility to make sure your veterinarian is the best fit for your fur family.

1 comment:

  1. A very important article that all dog owners should read. I have worked with a number of people who have gotten very inaccurate information about dog behavior and training from their vets as well.

    I use the following example....would you go to your foot doctor to get help with bi-polar disorder?

    Building a working relationship with your veterinarian that fosters open communication, both ways, is key. This way you can work with them and find solutions together for things that may be out of the realm of expertise one possesses.

    Great read!