Vets on the whole are a humble crowd, and there are many things they do on a daily basis that you aren’t aware of. Here are some of the top unrecognized practices that an excellent compassionate veterinarian does that you likely don’t know about.
10. Giving Up Their Time
Many vets don’t get to leave the hospital for lunch, or even have time to have a designated lunchtime while at work. We are often so busy and accommodate walk-ins that our “us time” must be spent completing diagnostics, medical records, checking on patients, returning phone calls, emergency surgeries…the list goes on. The occasional bathroom break even makes the biggest difference. On the rare occasion that vets get off of work on time, celebration is in order. Vets almost ALWAYS stay late for clients and their pets.
9. Pulling up an injectable drug with one needle, and switching out the needle so your pet gets a new perfectly sharp and less painful needle for an injection
This costs the vet more money (double the costs of needles in a vet hospital and it is not insignificant), and is only for the comfort of your pet out of kindness.
8. Using high-quality surgical practices
Many clients don’t know or care what kind of surgical care their pet receives at the vet. An excellent vet will use IV catheters (not inexpensive) so they always have venous access in case something goes wrong – which sometimes it does. They also will provide IV fluids during surgery, as well as have different methods (EKG, blood pressure, pulse oximetry) to monitor your pet while under anesthesia. Any anesthesiologist would agree that, “Anesthesia is the closest the body will get to death without dying.” This is true.
7. Bathing your pet
A shockingly high number of pet owners come into the vet with their pet covered in feces or vomit without having attempted to clean them up whatsoever. An even higher number of pets will soil themselves while at the vet, despite receiving appropriate potty breaks. We can’t send them home filthy, and have to bathe them. Think of how much a groomer charges to bathe, dry, and brush your pet. Most vets do it for free.
6. Putting in phone time with you
How often can you get your medical doctor on the phone to discuss symptoms, or test results with you? Isn’t it usually the nurse? Veterinarians put in a lot of time, and generate no revenue from phone time, but still choose to because we value the personalized connection with you, the pet owner.
5. Putting in phone time with other veterinarians
Are you aware that most vets spend time, on their own clock, consulting with other vets about unusual cases? They do. You may be getting multiple expert opinions without even knowing it. As a vet, I can think of many nights where my veterinarian husband and I spent the evening in the office reading the latest journal articles and bouncing ideas off of each other. And, it doesn’t just happen to veterinarians who happen to be married to each other. All vets do this, we hope.
4. Reviewing administration and adverse reactions of medications with you
Has your MD ever fully reviewed the side effects of a drug with you? Likely, you just sign the slip or electric screen at the pharmacy that says you are aware of the potentials, and walk out with a paper handout stapled into oblivion. A good vet takes the time to make you aware of a drug’s side effects, and how it should be administered.
3. Typing up personalized instructions for you to read at home with tests performed, your pet’s diagnosis, what that means, and the step-by-step home treatments
This takes a tremendous amount of the veterinarian’s time, and they gain no revenue from this. The vet that takes this time is for your pet’s well-being, as we can do a stellar job in the hospital, but if the pet owner doesn’t understand what to do at home, the pet will remain sick.
2. Grieving with you
When people find out I am a veterinarian, they always say, “I don’t know how your get used to that, putting animals down. I could never do that.” Well, vets don’t get used to it. It never gets easy, and it’s something we have to mount up and do for the well-being of the pet and their pet parent. You may think this gets easier over time for your vet, but the truth is, most vets take it home with them. Not only do the vets, but so does the staff. Your tears are not the only ones shed when that sad time comes, rest assured. We remember that face and that sloppy wet nose too.
1. Saving you money
A veterinarian who wants to practice quality medicine and keep your budget in mind will offer to write you a prescription when possible to get generic drugs elsewhere, such as human pharmacies like Target and Wal-Mart where hundreds of drugs are available for less than $4/mo. Instead of spending all your money on pills, the vet wants the pet to get the medicine it needs, as well as the diagnostic it needs to ensure that they are treating the right disease effectively.