at the veterinarian

anonymous asked:

Any advice for someone who really regrets not going into veterinary medicine and is looking for ways to be more involved with animals beyond their own pets?

There’s lots of ways to work with animals and not be a veterinarian.  You could be a veterinary technician -  It’s a two year program in most cases and you interact with animals much more than the doctors do.  You could also volunteer at a shelter or be a foster mom.  I did a program in vet school where you could take a shelter dog home for the night.  There’s lots of ways to get involved without being a veterinarian!

Aesthetic

The computer said my next patient’s name was Lucifer, and that he was a domestic. Not that an unusual name for a pet, I have to admit.

“Come on in. Do you have Lucifer hiding in that box for me?” I say. A gentleman dressed all in black with a rather spiky aesthetic and a selection of piercings comes into my consult room and opens the box.

He places a perfectly black rabbit on the table.

Honestly, I had been expecting a cat.

Turns out Lucifer is his new rabbit. He’d insisted on taking it from a friend who wasn’t taking care of it a few months ago.

Lucifer, for his part, had decided the table was too scary and that his dad’s leather clad armpit was the best place to be.

To my surprise and delight, our new goth rabbit owner is doing everything right. Perfect diet, read up on rabbit health, vaccinating, enrichment, the works.

He even started a vegetable garden to grow treats for the rabbit, or as he put it, “tributes for lucifer.”

Please, stop.

“Hey! How are you going? I just have a quick question regarding [insert pets name here].”

“Long time no speak. My dog hasn’t eaten in 6 days and has had vomiting and diarrhoea for 5 of those days. What should I do?”

“Hey, just a quick one but I really want to let my cat have kittens just once so she can experience motherhood, is 8 months too young to let her mate?”,

Please, stop. 

Please, if you have a friend you rarely chat to, a friend of a friend of a friend or an extremely distant acquaintance who is a vet/student/nurse/tech etc, it is really not okay to ask for free advice. It is actually disrespectful.  

Most of us (including myself) are obliging and willing to help because that is the nature of our profession. Though I tell you, if you haven’t bothered to say hey prior to Mitten’s getting into a cat fight at 2am or if you haven’t cared to check in and see how life is going before Charlie started coughing 2 days ago, it is not okay to ask for that free advice.

You usually message us in the middle of a busy day or you message late at night when we are settling in, trying to unwind from a 15 hour hectic day of sick animals and devastated/angry clients. A Facebook message or text pops up from someone we haven’t spoken to in 5-10 years. I get it, you are desperate. Most want to know if they should take their pet to a vet or not. My honest answer is, if you are desperate enough to ask someone you rarely know or haven’t spoken to in a while if you should seek medical attention for your pet, then you more than likely need to. If you are unsure, it is best to call an emergency clinic and ask for advice.

Be mindful. Veterinary medicine already consumes our lives. It bombards us in all aspects of life. I will reply and help as much as I can without physically seeing your animal, but keep in mind that I am most likely replying to you when I am shoveling food into my mouth in the 2 minutes I have spare to eat during a shift or I am in the middle of spending some rare, free time with my loved ones. I will always advise to seek veterinary attention because if you are that concerned to message me, best bet is that your pet requires it.

All we ask is to please be mindful. 
Here’s a thing: If you suspect your vet is ripping you off, they just might be ripping you off

You know the thing where people either don’t have health insurance or do but mistakenly get sent an itemized medical bill and they see hospitals charging like $80 for an aspirin and $150 for a blanket and $5000 for a paper gown*? That shit goes on in veterinary medicine both with procedures and drugs prices. Only difference is, almost nobody on the planet has pet insurance so almost all vet bills come out of pocket. And there’s an added layer of mystery because much of the time your animal can’t (or doesn’t) indicate if something is wrong. Even more so than with with human medicine, people are entirely at the mercy of what their veterinarian tells them is necessary.

I won’t go so far as to say vets deliberately mislead people to make money. I will say that I’ve seen prices for pretty standard procedures cost as much as 100% more depending on which clinic you go to. And I don’t mean ‘normal vet office in suburban neighborhood vs mobile vet bus in downtrodden area’. I mean like, down the street. Sometimes things cost what they cost though. That’s why I say the biggest problem I see with vets ripping people off is in their policy on expensive, invasive procedures. In my time I have seen vet’s offices recommend annual full dental cleanings (anesthesia, x-ray, and all, every single year), and whole hip replacements for 12 year old dogs with like the normal joint/skeletal degeneration you’d expect from a 12 year old dog–while not telling owners that said replacement will mean the animal may also need to be on blood thinners, pain killers, and anti inflammatory meds for the rest of its life. 

And I know this shit is bad practice because I’ve seen good, responsible, pragmatic veterinarians who sit down with owners and explain that having a tumor removed from their 4 year old guinea pig is probably a waste of money, and there’s a higher-than-normal chance that such a small animal could die under anesthesia. I’ve known good vets who will tell you their whole office policy is to try to not do invasive surgery on dogs over 10, because it’s super stressful and carries higher risk. I’ve known responsible vets who just straight up say yes your dog has epilepsy, but the meds to help that are expensive and will damage its kidneys, so unless it’s having a seizure a month I don’t recommend it. I’ve known pragmatic vets who straight up tell people, “Your pet is old. It’s going to slowly degenerate. When it gets to be too much you can have it put down, but burning money to make it act like it did when it was young is fighting a losing battle that will ultimately decrease its quality of life and bankrupt you.”

Those are the sorts of vets you look for, because those people know that animals are animals, and people have budgets. PLEASE don’t internalize messages that the amount of money you’re willing to spend is evidence of how much you love your pet. Sometimes shit is extremely expensive, and it’s just not responsible to spend thousands of dollars on a pet. IME I’ve noticed a difference in the kind of clientele certain offices get? Like, ‘upper-middle class people who can afford dog chemo and will shell out a mortgage payment so Fluffy can live 1 more year’ vs ‘everyone else’. You can tell quickly which kind of client your vet is used to servicing based on what kind of shit they recommend. It’s tough to draw a firm line on that, because young animals need rounds of vaccinations like young humans, and some animals do have health problems, or special concerns. But if you have a healthy 5 year old cat and they have you coming in every 6 months for blood work, and they’re trying to sell you on pet insurance**, I’d say that’s a red flag. Some vets are pretty down to earth, and will work with you, or offer alternatives to expensive procedures. Some live in a beverley hills bubble and look down on owners who won’t sell all their possessions to have their dog’s brain transplanted into a rocket-powered cyborg body.

So if you have doubts about either the cost of a procedure or a diagnosis, shop around/get a second opinion. I just had to do that for my dog. She needs her teeth cleaned and her regular vet was charging $600 for it before the x-ray. I called around one afternoon and found a great place who will do it for $240, x-ray included! So we now we have a new vet!

*for those not familiar with the widespread phenomenon of outrageous hospital markups and soaring drug prices:

**Lots of people have good things to say about pet insurance. I’m not one of them. I think it’s a scam. It maybe comes in handy in the first year of your pet’s life when they need all their shots, and to get spayed/neutered. And maybe at the end of its life, depending on how much money you’re willing to spend to delay the inevitable. But most of the time, your average mongrel dog or cat won’t need any serious medical intervention, ever (barring getting in a fight with a porcupine or car).

8

Based on the UK vaccination recommendations. 

Things I am surprised people don't know
  • Neutering your pet is a surgery not an injection.
  • Most male animals have nipples
  • Dogs and cats have more that one pair
  • Ringworm is a fungus, not a type of worm
  • Topical flea products are not to be given orally.
  • Staff work late nights and weekends because they get paid better rates. Not because they like those hours.
  • There are lots and lots of pets with the same name as yours.
  • There aren’t a lot of effective taste deterrents for a dog that really likes to eat it’s own poop
  • Whether or not the nose is wet, dry, warm or cold, it means nothing. Really nothing.
  • Being female does not automatically make me a nurse. I’m the vet.
Why a veterinarian *might* be a useful romance lead

If I haven’t put you off writing a veterinarian in your romance novel, or if you’re still undecided, let me assure you that many of us do manage to lead reasonable lives, and some even find time for romance. We’re unlikely to be rich and unlikely to be bored at work but we do have other features that make us, on the whole, at least pretty average human beings.

All of us are different. We are all (to my knowledge) human beings, but many of us do share a few common traits.

Dedicated. To even graduate a veterinarian must have dedicated themselves to their studies, often for more than 5 years, and continue to work in a difficult field for relatively poor pay compared to other types of doctor.

Emotional Softies. They endure everything the profession throws at them, late nights, poor wages, emotional turmoil, all because at the end of the day, they like animals.

Likes certain animals. Every vet will develop opinions about what sort of animals they never want to be near again, and would never own. They are generally very happy to be surrounded by everything else, so long as they’re healthy.

Not always fond of people. A large number of vets chose this career over human medicine because they “don’t like people.” While a good vet can certainly put on their public-facing persona as required at social events, they are equally as likely to be the person hiding in the back room talking to the cat.

Educated. They went to university and have studied sciences alongside veterinary medicine.

Problem solvers. If there’s only one thing that all veterinarians have to be, it’s able to solve problems. Whether it’s converting medication for a patient of an exotic species or a dog that’s ludicrously tiny, or devising a treatment plan that fits in with the owner’s limitations, we sole problems every day.

Understanding. Many of us face mental health issues of our own at some point. We do understand, at least a bit, about what that’s like. We also learn very quickly that things do not always go according to plan, and some things are just beyond human control.

We have access to a large supply of at least two different types of lube. Fact presented without further comment.

anonymous asked:

Are commercially bred fish (such as goldfish and bettas, who have been altered by humans for their pretty tails/colors/patterns) considered domesticated? Wikipedia classed them as such but I'd like a professionals opinion in conjunction with that.

Yes, they’re considered domesticated. Humans have kept them for multiple, multiple generations and selectively bred them to an extent that they are now very different genetically and phenotypically from their wild ancestors.

For example, the Prussian Carp

(Source)

Was eventually turned into multiple varieties of goldfish.

(Examples from here)

That’s the result of a long period of selective breeding. There’s some pretty strange shapes we’ve bred into those fish, several of them making me downright uncomfortable. Some of these fish can’t see in front of their face, they can’t see what they’re eating. They’re pretty, but I wish people would remember these things are alive too.

I was very keen on Bettas in my adolescence. I think the most I had was twelve at one point. I would classify them as domesticated as well, because we took a fish like this:

and bred them into these:

They’re genetically and phenotypically different from the wild type betta. It shows, too. Breeding half-moons and over half-moons is very challenging, especially if you’re using a ‘quality’ male. The volume of finnage they have to drag around is huge, and they breed by wrapping their body around a female and squeezing her. The female is lucky enough to have much shorter fins.

They are very pretty and I like them a lot, these little fish to actually have personality and attitude, but I also feel like going beyond super delta is too far.

The welfare aspects of breeding fish to such extreme shapes s generally overlooked, and will probably remain that was because fish are often viewed more like ornaments than like animals. I hope that changes, but I doubt it will happen very soon.

And I’d like to take a moment to indulge a pet peeve. Someone, somewhere, had the bright idea of taking my favorite species of fish, the beautiful pearl gourami…

… and inbreeding it to the point where we end up with creatures like this…

I mean, WHY did you have to do this? It just saddens me like you wouldn’t believe.

Just because we can do these things, doesn’t always mean we should.