Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where Do I Start?

Today was a crazy day that spiraled downward as the day went on. It has left me exhausted to the point that, for the first time since starting this blog, I nearly forgot that I hadn't written anything for today. Thanks to Chris for reminding me!

I don't have anything pre-written or saved so I'm going with the day. All of you who want to see what ANOTHER day is like in the world of veterinary medicine, here we go.

After our weekly staff meeting (communication - a good thing I highly recommend to ALL vet practices - but rarely have seen), I had 4 appts within a 40 minute period. They were all animals with problems. As one of the vets (she's an owner) said, it's nearly impossible to recover from something like that - ie, I was facing being backed up ALL day from this. I can be efficient YET thorough and we DO Have a great staff but still, time is still a finite resource. 

Side note: It was nice of her to realize THAT is not realistic or acceptable scheduling!! She was not happy about it (this WILL be addressed) and there were definite ways to have made it work better. 

One of the appointments (and one is all it takes), was a new client with a very sick dog. The dog had never been to a vet and never had one drop of a vaccine in her life. She had parvo - a very preventable disease we have excellent vaccines for! AND to make it even more prolonged, there were VERY limited funds. This is upsetting on many levels - for the dog, for the client and for us. We couldn't move the dog to another room because we now had diagnosed it (via a quick in house test) with a HIGHLY contagious disease. We couldn't put any other dogs at risk. The dog has a VERY guarded prognosis even WITH IV fluids, antibiotics and supportive care. A staff member has taken over care of the dog. If the dog lives, we will find it a home. 

I quickly changed and disinfected myself before moving on with the day. A sweet young lady brought her 10 yr old pit bull mix  in for hind limb lameness and pain. I had just seen her a week or so ago for front limb lameness. We were all thinking Lyme disease but the test was negative. I still don't know for sure what is going on here..the only "good" thing is that osteosarcoma (bone cancer) doesn't jump from leg to leg. We'll see how she does on some medications (x-rays were taken last week and were normal).

There was an un-neutered cat with an abscessed foot that needed to be admitted for sedation, neutering, cleaning of his wounds, etc. There was the 15yr old cat that had previously had TWO brain surgeries and now has an eye problem (what an amazing owner this lucky kitty has!!). 

In the midst of all this, Chris appears (after I simply texted him that my day was sucking big time!) with a Venti Nonfat Hazelnut Mocha from Starbucks (my favorite!!). I swear he read my mind! It was pretty much the only lunch I had so it was a God-send on many levels! 

Let's see..oh there was the sweet pregnant (by her littermate) cat that was in for a pre-surgical exam -- this happens more often than you think. The funny part of this appointment was that the tech was holding the cat whose tail was up as her butt was facing me..and I got sprayed by kitty anal glands. The way the whole thing happened it "appeared" as if she pointed and aimed at me. I know she didn't and we had a good laugh about it. Luckily it was on scrub top #2 of the day AND I had a top to change into for a meeting I had after work. Another good reason I always carry perfume on me too!!

Then there was the diabetic dog that had an appointment JUST for blood work that turned into a visit that required a doctor and extensive nursing time.  There was another tech only appointment that needed a "quick" check of a skin issue. Later in the day, I saw ANOTHER dog - a sweet 5yr old Rottie mix - that hadn't been to the vet in years either. She DID have Lyme disease and was febrile and really not feeling well. Ideally she should have more blood work run especially if she doesn't eat in the next few days.  Another limited funds issue. 

Oh, I almost forgot this: In the middle of the chaos I took a call from what I thought was one rescue group but it turned out to be something else.  THAT ended up being another 10 minutes gone.

In any vet practice one of the most important things, especially with sick animals, is making people aware of the costs of any diagnostics and treatments. THIS alone can take time as some team members may not be as able to come up with an estimate as others. Then there's the back and forth if the client can't pay for x, y or z. They need to find friends or family who can or apply for CareCredit. 

And while we don't want to seem like all we care about is money, it's amazing the number of either 1) payment agreements there are or 2) the amount of product people have walked out of the hospital with AND have not paid for.
THAT is not ok. Staff still wants to get paid each week - and we can ALL understand that. The electric company will need to get paid to keep the lights on, the lab and suppliers expect to get paid. I dare anyone to go into a grocery store and buy $150 worth of food and tell the cashier, "I can put $50 down today but I'll pay the rest in 2 weeks when I get paid." You know what, there are definitely people that WOULD but many would NOT. In any case, the grocery store would laugh at you, let you take what you PAID for and re-shelve the rest! 

What makes this even more "fun" is that clients aren't always upfront with you about their financial limitations. AND of course, all of this takes time and causes even more backing up of appointments. 

Owning and running a veterinary practice is so much more than medicine and surgery. You can be really good at those things but it's all the other stuff that can really be a challenge. 


  1. I'm afraid to ask, but how is the Parvo puppy?

  2. Still allive and brighter from what I hear. I was not there today.

  3. The dog is 1 1/2 years old BTW