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 our time.
Many vets don’t get to leave the hospital for lunch, or even have time to have a designated lunch time 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 occasion we get off work on time is so rare it’s cause for celebration. 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 the 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. My anesthesiology professor in vet school told us, “Anesthesia is the closest the body will get to death without dying.” He is right.
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. We 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? Vets 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 vets.
Are you aware that most vets spend time –on their own clock–consulting with other vets about unusual cases? We do. You may be getting multiple expert opinions without even knowing it. I can think of many nights where Dr. Jed 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–my best friend is a vet too, and we talk daily about cases.
A great vet keeps your budget in mind without compromising your pet’s health by writing prescriptions for generic drugs at human pharmacies like Target and Walmart where hundreds of drugs are available for less than $4/mo.
4. Reviewing adverse reactions of medications with you.
Has your MD or pharmacist ever reviewed side effects of a drug with you? Likely, you just sign the slip or electric screen that says you are aware of the potentials, and they give you a handout. 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 we gain no revenue from this. The vet that takes this time is out 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, we 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 with time for your vet, but the truth is, most vets take it home with them. Not only the vets, but the staff as well. 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 Walmart where hundreds of drugs are available for less than $4/mo. Instead of spending all your money on pills at the vet, this allows the pet to get the medicine it needs, as well as the diagnostic to ensure that we are treating the right disease.
Don’t know what pet hospital does? Ask a vet about their animal health jobs.
What wonderful things does your veterinarian do that you appreciate? What makes your vet a great vet? Let us know!