Are You A Veterinarian? Dogs, cats, cows, horses … are uncomplicated patients. Until human beings make an entrance! In addition to medical professional, you are expected to don many hats as friend, philosopher and counsellor to your patients and their people. Medical professionals realise and accept this aspect when they choose the profession. Veterinarians have the additional burden of a non verbal patient. Body language, facial and eye movements learned over time help us understand and communicate with animals. Often times better than with humans! Most vets will tell you, it’s humans they have trouble with not the animals.
Are you training to become a Veterinarian?
The digital age vet must be friend, philosopher, guide and medical professional. We hold veterinarians to unreal standards with little or no regard for their mental or physical wellbeing. Yes, your ‘fur baby’ deserves the best medical care, but it is prudent to remember that families, farms and communities have owned and lived along side dogs, cats, cows and myriad other domestic animals for centuries. Companion animal care did not begin with Facebook and Instagram. It did however transform.
Dogs and cats are our closest non human companions and have been for thousands of years. We have co-existed for mutual benefits of shelter, food and security. The relationship was and is based on trust. Cats and dogs have come to develop a trusting relationship with human beings and we on the other hand have trusted that domesticated these animals will not unexpectedly return to ‘wild’ behaviours. It is all the more important for the growing tribe or pet families to learn the basics of pet anatomy and behaviour. Dog walking may sound like a walk in the park, (pun intended), but it is so much more complicated than it sounds.
“I Googled it”
Does your heart sink when you hear “I Googled it”? Google is an incredible tool, it educates, informs and democratises knowledge. But as the old saying goes “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” In the context of pet care, the usually first time ‘pet parent’ believes animals come with user manuals! Google is a powerhouse of information – lethal in the hands of a novice. Let’s consider an absurd example, would you Google “how to pull a tooth” and then proceed to extract your tooth?
Know the steps, read and research (credible sources), but it is vital to know when knowledge can be actioned yourself and when to defer to an expert. Veterinarians are knowledge, experience and learning in action. Pet owners who’ve had cats, dogs, horses and companion animals for decades, will be the first to acknowledge – no one knows it all. Experience will teach you a lot, primarily, it teaches you to recognise and acknowledge your limit.
Are You A Veterinarian to Pet parents or pet owners?
Old school pet owners are not just on the decline, they’re in danger of extinction. If you do not call your pet (cat or dog) your child does that mean you are insincere? Pets are family, they always have been, the change in attitude to accept pets as a different species is worrisome. As pet owners, welfare workers, and pet business owners, the trend we experience of humanising pets begs the question ‘Is all this fur baby in his/her latest outfit benefitting the animal?
We’re all amused, at the occasional dog wearing a hat or sunnies! But when that crosses into dedicated pet wardrobes, maybe we should address a trend that may not end well for pets or pet owners. They’re being used as stand ins for human children. And this deeply troubling for the welfare of pets and the people who truly believe their dog or cat is their ‘child.’ Cognitive dissonance at its best, because so many of these are Pug, French Bull dog and other brachy breed owners who claim they can “handle it” It is unfair to lay blame squarely on their shoulders, unscrupulous businesses, breeders and industry insiders have created an eco system to enable their beliefs.
They cannot recognise the basics
- learned helplessness in animals
- Behavioural problems
- Physical deformities
- Breeding deformities
- Breed requirements,
Pets are not little people with paws
Veterinarians and Social Media
Once your client leaves your clinic/ practice with their ‘baby’ they head to social media . Your prescription is held up to scrutiny mostly by individuals with no medical expertise. It happens. 8+ years of gruelling medical school practicals, exams, classes and internships only for a Facebook Group to analyse your diagnosis! This is more than amusing, or ridiculous, it is down right dangerous.
Social media is changing our reality and opinions. We are watching in real time, the deconstruction of what some might call common sense! A veterinarian by now realises, investigating your patients health problems may including checking on their social media schedules and jobs. For the influencer cat or dog, life is sometimes more gruelling than we can imagine. These working pets are often the primary earning member of a family. The stresses and strains of a performers life, has now become the life of a regular household pet.
Social media is a great tool, and brings like minded people together and has been a saviour to many through a tumultuous couple of years. The insidious side is it’s reach for unscrupulous breeders and businesses. It gives them a reach they never should never be able to access.
Old school vet and pet care
It takes dedication to spend your life caring for and treating patients who cannot speak or communicate their ailments. A job hard enough without pet owners adding to the mix, because they now speak a language neither dog nor doctor can comprehend.
Who made us the experts on pets and vets? No one. And we’re not, but we do know customers and their mindset and the direction we’re headed in is concerning.