This essay was meant to remind vets how EXCITING preventative care is because so many spectacular things get accomplished during what to us is a routine wellness exam. This is by far the dorkiest article I have written for veterinarians, and also my favorite. Most of the rest of the articles I have written for veterinarians are being gathered and posted together on the Riley and James website.
Next time your patient needs “just an exam” or “just preventative care” I hope you think of this and smile.
A Dramatic Wellness Exam
You have seen this case countless times, as have I. Your Pet Nurse hands you a medical file and yawns. “Wellness visit, Doc.” You see the pet, sigh and move on to the next. It seems like it’s been forever since you actually saved a life.
Or has it?
Imagine the same case with the drama I believe it deserves. Your Pet Nurse runs out of the exam room and shouts, “DOC! I can not find one thing wrong with this cat!”
You gasp and grab her shoulders. “Did you check the molars?” So moved she cannot speak, she nods, and you both stare together into the future at Kitty curled on a sunny ledge, healthy and happy, thanks to years of incredible health care from the amazing combination of her wonderful family and your wonderful medical team.
You hand her a tissue, and she hands you the medical record.
You swing open the door and yell, “You love cats! I love cats too!” You all join hands and jump up and down as you celebrate this great coincidence. You turn your attention to the gorgeous cat on the table and perform a thorough exam. This cat is completely healthy! “What food are you feeding her?” you ask. “That food is entirely balanced and contains TAURINE!” They had no idea they were preventing the horrendous heart conditions you describe!
Together, you review the intestinal parasites you intend to prevent. When you get to the descriptions of children with ocular larval migrans and hookworm infections, Dad faints dead away.
Holding a vaccine behind your back, you announce, “Kitty is up to date on everything except for the most horrendous, uniformly fatal neurological disease that has ever existed!” At this, Mother and children begin to weep. Dad regains consciousness and lowers his face into his hands. “But wait!” you whisper. “With this fifth teaspoon of liquid, I can provide complete protection!” You raise the syringe above your head and the fluorescent lights shine through it, creating beautiful pink patterns on the walls of the room.
Kitty heads home with her eternally grateful family, protected from a myriad of unspeakable diseases. They have an arsenal of medications that will shield her from the worst of the parasites to which she could be exposed. You have discussed cat care and provided resources to learn even more. She will be vigilantly protected from the Scary, Scary Outdoors. Her family agrees to meet you again in six months for another celebration of health and prevention, and six months after that…this could go on indefinitely!
Once again, you have preserved the life of a pet. You are protecting children and enriching families. You are doing it with limited resources, and doing it well.
You are amazing. You are a Pet Saver.
You are the Veterinarian.
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