Friday, April 27, 2012

Reader's Digest May 2012 article

Part 3 of the Reader’s Digest May article, “50 Secret’s Your Vet Won’t Tell You.”
This section is entitled “What We’re Doing”
Number 11
“A lot of veterinarians have told me matter-of-factly that they still don’t use pain killers for procedures that they know are painful. They think that dogs and cats don’t need it, or that feeling pain after surgery is good because it keeps them from moving around too much. But research has shown that pets who are in less pain heal faster, sleep better, and don’t move around as much.” Dennis Leon, DVM, director at Levittown Animal Hospital in Long Island NY
 OK, I know that none of you want to believe this, but pain medication and the whole idea of analgesia is a relatively new, novel, and for some vets, a radical concept. For those of you who price shop for your pets services this is often a missed item that you definitely want to know about when you think you are comparing a spay (for example) at two different vet hospitals. Some pain medications (especially the injectable NSAID’s are expensive, (at our clinic a 50 pound dog who needs a 24 hour dose of an injectable NSAID will cost about $40), so you want to know if this is included in your spay price and if not how can you make sure your pet has some pain medication provided. At my clinic I am always happy to sit down and explain to clients what they need to inquire about and what questions are very important to have answers to. Never forget the cardinal rule, “you get what you pay for.” At Jarrettsville Vet Center we give an injectable 24 hour dose of an NSAID, and then four days of this medication to take home after every dog spay. I want my clients to have something at home so that if their pet wakes up at 3 am screaming in pain that you have something to give them. (Haven’t you ever woken up at 3 am and needed an ibuprofen?)
If you get an invoice from your clinic and a pain medication isn’t listed I suggest you ask your vet why?
I will admit that I do not over medicate cats. This is a learned decision for me. I have had some cats get “soo pain free” that their original injury was made far worse because they decided they were well enough to try to bust out of their cage. I don’t want a painful cat I want a rested, calm, healing cat.
Also some cats seem to get dysphoric on opioids. This means they get vocal and act a little drugged. I always want to mention this to owners and sometimes we slow down on the pain meds.

Number 12
“At a veterinary meeting I attended, it came to light that more than half of the vets there had not licensed their dogs, which is required by law.” Patty Khuly, VMD
We, as vets are responsible to be good examples to our clients and our communities. Why wouldn’t you license your dog?

Number 13
“You should never give pets chocolate, because its toxic to most of them. But my cat is obsessed with it and is all over me when I’m eating it, so sometimes I give her a sliver. Just an itsy-bitsy, tiny one.” A vet in Cal.
OH MY GOD! This is a confession for your priest, not Reader’s Digest. Shut up! Don’t tell clients that we say one thing and then we do another. Think of the anarchy that could ensue? Think of the dying choco-holic kitties?

Number 14
“Every time we help a pet, we help a person. The classic example is the 80-year-old grandma who has nothing left in life but her cat. She’s a widow with very limited social contact, and the cat is what connects her to life. So when we help her cat, she’s really the one we are helping.” Phil Zimmerman, DVM
IS there really anything I can add to this?
Number 15
“When people surrender their pets because they can’t afford their problems, I often end up with them. I’ve got a three legged cat, a one eyed cat, three dogs that required major surgeries, one goat, and 11 chickens.” Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM, an internal medicine consultant in Seattle WA.
I am going to send Sandy a note telling her how happy I am to know that I am not alone! A goat? How does an internal medicine vet end up with a goat? I bet there is a great story there?
OK, here I go, dancing on the border of pissing vets off. Here’s my “secret” hint; if your vets office doesn’t have a clinic cat, or, your vet doesn’t have pets of their own, it might be time to see if they have lost their compassion? I once worked at a vet clinic where the vet would randomly euthanize the “house” cats, to teach the staff a lesson. He would let us try to save and re-home a cat, or sometimes a dog, but then would decide they were “too expensive to feed” any longer. He broke our hearts. The staff secretly hated him and we all left. If you take away your staffs empathy and compassion you take away the heart of your clinic, and nothing, seriously, no dollar figure in the world is worth that.
My clinic has a whole slew of pets that came in the door to be euthanized for various reasons. All of our guys were treated and are now up for adoption. (OH, please see our website! Wouldn’t you love a Staffie Bull terrier? He is as cute as a button?)
Just in case you don't visit our website..Here are some of our amazing pets.
Meet Lobo.

Meet Tink. Our favorite, the sweetest girl in the WHOLE world!

More “secrets” to follow…stay tuned.


  1. I don't give my cats chocolate, per say, but my cat Sugar turned out to actually have a sweet tooth!! She LOVES licking the sour sugar off pink sour licorice straws, she loves mochi (kind of a Japanese candy), she likes honey-nut Cheerios (only if she thinks she's stealing one-she'll slooowly reach into my bowl, grab one, then run off to eat it).

    The only thing I give her that has any chocolate in it is my chocolate breakfast shake. She likes sharing it with me, so after I've mixed it, I take off the lid and give it to her to lick. There's maybe one or two drops on it, and if I put more on after she's finished, she won't eat it.

    So there's my confession.

  2. Wow, I was so hoping that such attitude towards pain management was extremely rare! Now I see that maybe it is not. I am so happy our vet is very serious about adequate pain management. But that's no surprise, he's is awesome all around.

  3. Hi Y'all,

    Every time Hawk goes to our vet there is another stray cat living in the clinic. No, they aren't up for adoption. They are official "clinic greeters". One lives in the waiting room. She has a fuzzy house she stays in most of the time. I never asked what happens if your dog hates cats.

    Thanks for the heads up about the pain meds! Yikes! I've always been sent home with pain meds for Hawk...but that is scary that your pet might not be getting pain meds for a painful procedure. I'll invite them to work on a horse and see how they feel about no pain meds. Yep, a big steel shod horse with big hooves that kick and strike.

    BrownDog's Human

    1. If my dog didn't get meds for a painful surgery, I'd kick the vet myself with steel toed boots. I wonder if a lot of vets research less expensive or holistic healing such as ear massages and chamomile. While it won't do anything for really painful procedures, it might help with needing as much drugs.

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  5. There is so much I want to say about this post.

    I will never let my animals touch caffeine, acidic foods, or alums, but that's about all that is off limits. I'm horrible at feeding them from the table and giving them a taste of what I am eating.

    Euthanize an animal just to teach the staff a lesson?! That's absolutely monstrous. I can't describe what I would do to someone who did that whether I worked for them or not.

    I have 20 animals (mostly rodents), 6 were planned. Once someone finds out you take in animals they start dumping them on you. I live in the city, so it happens often. If people would be more willing to give up their daily $5 cup of coffee than their pet, I'd be more sympathetic.

    And finally, you are absolutely right about helping people by helping their animals. Not only do the elderly count on their animals but so do the disabled both mentally and physically and someone who has gone through a trauma. I have a cat who could sense when I was suicidal and would lay on my chest and purr, preventing me from getting up until the urge passed.