Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Power Of The First Impression

I got a call from a client last week. I called her back the same day as any respectable success business minded fellow human being would do.

Winston's pyoderma on the tail.
We call it a hot spot.
First place to start with these cases is flea prevention.
"Thank-you so much for calling me back!" I could hear that she was troubled, jittery, and grateful in her over-expressive preface. I have known her for many years. She is a smart articulate doting mom; always a need, a worry, and a barrage of questions with every examination. She travels a great deal and always finds home back in our little town. She would be intimidating and over bearing to others but she allows me to be my honest, forthwith self, and it is abundantly clear that she loves her dog, so I accept her abrupt inquiries with ease.

"We moved full time to Atlanta a few months ago and we have yet to find a real vet here so we need your help." So began the second line to the phone call.

"Molly had a rash on  her belly and private parts and a bought of facial swelling last week. We thought it might pass, but after a few days it appeared that she needed more than the Benadryl we were giving. We looked on the internet and thought this was the correct treatment so we waited,,,and after all you are her vet and we aren't comfortable anywhere else."

Zeus visits for hives.

Zeus is a pup with life long skin challenges,
Ugh, those white Boxer/Pitties they are a dermatologists daily planner. 

I jotted  few notes in her chart and a few in my head.

The chart contained;

  • Owner moved,
  • Rashes on ventrum, inguinal and perineum regions,
  • Facial swelling three days duration last week,
  • Non-responsive to Benadryl with accompanying dose.
My head contained;
  • Why did they wait?
  • Why did they diagnose with the internet?
  • When did they think they needed to find a new vet?
And then there was Molly. My worries with any swelling or rash are the following;
  1. Root cause? 
    • If it is allergies the swelling can progress to causing life threatening breathing difficulties.
    • If it is NOT allergies, is it lymph nodes? Could this be cancer or infection? 
  2. Time delay.
    • ALL of these need IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION for optimal outcome.
Lucy demonstrates her relaxation technique while waiting for  her annual exam.
We are very good friends.

The third part of her phone call was even more troubling...

"I also went online to find a vet. I was looking for someone close who had been in practice for some time. I found a vet who had been in business for over 30 years. I figured he had to know what he was doing and be good. I made an appointment and went the next day. It was an awful experience. When I arrived the technicians immediately took Molly away from me. I thought I don't know you, you don't know my dog. I was very uncomfortable. Sometime later she re-appeared. They told me that she was having an allergic reaction and they were prescribing some medication. I thought, 'Where is the doctor? I haven't even met him yet?' He arrived a little while later. When he came into the room he didn't introduce himself. He didn't greet Molly. He went on to say he was prescribing medications. When I asked 'Why she had gotten the rash?', he replied, 'Well, you know girls don't always wipe from front to back.' I was so dumbfounded I didn't know what to do."

The redness on her belly and inner thighs is from licking and laying frog-legged in the dirt.

I swallowed hard. Trying to choose my words carefully I said, "Well, that is indeed pretty awful, I agree. I think that if you are ever uncomfortable with anything being done you should speak up and remember that you know Molly better than anyone else. If you didn't want her to be taken away you can tell the technician that you want to be with her. That's a perfectly acceptable request. If you have questions you are paying for his time and his expertise. He should be happy to answer your questions. And, as far as the wiping comment goes, I have no descent excuse for that. It's immature, unprofessional and inappropriate. I don't know how you are feeling now, but as a practice owner I would want to know if anything like that was happening here. It might benefit another pet and another client if you called them and voiced these same concerns to the hospital owner or practice manager. And, certainly only go to a veterinarian and veterinary clinic that you trust and feel both comfortable and well taken care of. Maybe it would be  better to ask your co-workers and neighbors for a veterinary recommendation?"

If you aren't seeing a face like this often you are missing the great joys of a pet.

Related blogs;

If you have a pet story I would love to hear it. If you are looking for some help for your pet you can find me and a whole bunch of pet friendly people at Pawbly is a free service dedicated to connecting pet people to help pets the world over.

You can also find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice and Facebook, or book an appointment with me at Jarrettsville Vet.

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