Emergency veterinary medicine is definitely not for the faint of heart. Some of the biggest lessons to be learned come from working in areas with very low income, which we all know can hugely affect a huge difference on treatment. Here are some of those lessons.
Parvo cases sometimes live
The prognosis for a puppy with parvo leaving the clinic with very little outpatient treatment is not very good. Owners are just destroyed that they have to deal with such a deadly virus and we usually urge people to at least find some treatment options at day practices.
When there's a follow up booked with a client the next week, it's always scary to make the phone call. You're anticipating a crying owner explaining how the puppy just deteriorated and didn't make it.
The surprising thing is that sometimes, you'll get the exact opposite answer, and will probably almost start to cry thinking how incredibly lucky this family is.
Euthanasia is sometimes okay
There are many times when it just comes down to money. If they could just get approved for a $2000 credit card, then they could potentially save their friend. When it is not always so black and white, then we are thankful to have the option to euthanize.
People are resourceful
It is hard not to judge people and just plain ask the triage nurse if they think the client has any money at all. The great thing is that some of the clients get pretty resourceful. We’ve had grandmothers, neighbors and friends show up to help a dog or cat out.
Doctors are resourceful
Vets probably have the toughest job when it comes to clients with financial restrictions.
Vet techs are always impressed when a vet comes up with a resourceful treatment, potentially using things that might have otherwise been tossed and at least providing pain relief when necessary.
Being in a financially restrictive scenario more often than not can be overwhelmingly stressful. While we strive to relieve pain and make pets comfortable, we are often torn between doing what is right in our heart and what the clinic will allow us to do. We do our best daily to give our patients the best outcome possible.