Veterinary professionals tend to stick together; there's an unspoken bond between those who dedicate their lives to this profession. Who else can you vent to about awesome abscesses, challenging cases, and interesting client interactions?
However, there's also another group to keep in mind. We're talking about family members, friends from high school, friends from hobbies you may have in your (super abundant) free time. You know the ones; friends with animals that they love dearly, but when it comes to questions about their babies - they ask you first rather than going to their regular veterinarian.
In some cases that’s okay, but what happens when it’s something serious? Or what happens when they rely on solely on your advice and never go to the vet?
Here are some things we wish we could tell them:
We can’t get you medication
Dear friends that say ‘I know exactly what my dog needs, just that diarrhea stuff from last time. Can’t you pick up a couple of tablets for me?’ The simple answer? No. A lot of people seem to think that vet clinics are like human clinics with samples of medication on hand. Even if we did - we’re not going to give you something without a vet having examined your animal!
We can’t help (well) over the phone
Sure, absolutely call us to get our opinion on the small things. Like what kind of food is good or what to do if your dog just started having diarrhea (not 6 days later!). But please know that we can’t help you over the phone very well if your animal is having a serious problem. We’re not there to see your animals, we can’t look at the wound ourselves, or see their reactions to certain stimuli. We don’t have their history like their veterinarian would. You could also be misinterpreting what your animal is doing, and therefore giving us wrong information that could lead to a false assumption that your animal is fine. So please, if you think your animal needs help, chances are it does, so please find a veterinarian near you.
If we say go to the vet, go to the vet!
If you do call us, and we do think that your animal needs to be seen by a veterinarian, either ASAP or in the morning- please take our advice! We don’t just say this stuff for fun, and we don’t love to see you spend your money for nothing, we actually mean it! The most frustrating thing is when the owners don’t listen, not only because our educated opinion is rejected, but because we genuinely worry about the health of the pet. Plus, what happens if we say everything is okay and then needed treatment is delayed?
DO NOT try to do the vet's job at home!
Anyone working in an animal hospital has seen their fair share of clients come in with their animals that they first tried to fix up at home. The attempted removal of porcupine quills that resulted in all the quills breaking. The blood feathers that get clipped during at home wing clippings. The glued wounds. Please, please, please, come into the vet clinic before you attempt to fix the issue at home. The extra money you 'save' is not worth it if your animal dies or needs even more veterinary intervention as a result of your ‘quick fix’.
Don’t listen to the internet
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of really terrible advice out there. Just google ‘my dog is vomiting’ and you’ll see dozens of different ways to treat it yourself at home, ‘saving’ you a trip to the vet. If you have questions about your animal, be sure to only use websites that are approved by your vet. Or instead of making a Facebook status, just make an appointment with your vet!
If you have things you wish your non veterinary professional friends knew, let us know by commenting below!