Snow Leopard

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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Things Heard In Public

Sometimes when I am out, I overhear things that people say about animals, vets, things they think they know about medical care of people and pets, etc.  Many times, these people don't realize that the person in earshot or even in the conversation is a veterinarian.

This should serve as a reminder - as it often does to me - that you never know who is around you when you are talking - so be careful with your words! 

There are times, though, when people know what I do for a living and tell me things that make me cringe. One of my biggest jobs as a veterinarian is educating clients. However, when I am out and hear some of these things, I have to bite my tongue at times. I've heard some ridiculous things and also things that make me want to tell people to seek another vet. I have to be careful what I say and how I say it. I do get rather tired of Dr. Internet popping up as the answer (instead of them calling a veterinarian first). 

Here are a few examples of things I've recently heard:

1. When discussing a no-kill shelter and the fact that they keep animals that are suffering horribly - alive (um..generally not true - even NO KILL, does euthanize!) - "they are so full of worms it's a shame"  - worms?? Intestinal parasites are so common! I know many of YOUR well loved pets have them. They pick them up all the time outside - cats that hunt, dogs that go out back and pick up everything - and they are generally not serious and very easy to treat! (note: if your pet is on monthly, year round heartworm prevention YOU are a step ahead as these prevent/treat many of the common ones!)

2. "My vet will sometimes scrape my dog's teeth in the exam room." WRONG. Scraping teeth without polishing is BAD. You are putting grooves in the teeth, giving greater surface area for plaque and tartar to accumulate! The only proper dental for a PET is done under general anesthesia. On this one, I actually had to say it. Their vet is a waaaays away though. But really..come on now..he's older but that's no excuse.

3. From an on line dog group: someone complained about the stain their dog's vomit was leaving - the yellow bile that comes up sometimes. Someone else - NOT a vet - said this was a sign of pancreatitis. WHAT?? No, no and no. Vomiting bile is not a sign of anything but whatever is causing the vomiting - of which, pancreatitis is one of about 75 things. Where do people get this info?  I know, the great internet. OR their dog vomited and was eventually diagnosed with pancreatitis so they linked the two. 

All I can say is that the more I hear this stuff, the more I realize how much work I have ahead of me.

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