Do you really know how your vet treats your pet?
By Dr. Peter Dobias
When I came to Canada, I worked for a vet who had a very short temper. When he was performing blood collections or other procedures and the animal would not stay still, he would pin it down and strangled it until its gums turned blue. I remember prying the vet’s hands off because I had grown to be less afraid.
This clinic also boarded animals sometimes for weeks, getting only two 15 minute walks, locked in a dark kennel room with the washer and dryer rumbling and the furnace going on and off. This colleague was later reported and reprimanded by the BC Veterinary Association that considered his behavior unacceptable.
Tragically, I have seen clients, who left the clinic choosing services of another vet that was also abusive. They believed that she was different because she was so kind and loving in their presence. However, she abused her patients when no one was looking, out of frustration; when collecting blood samples, doing procedures or taking X rays.
It would be easy to judge these colleagues, however, I think that it is more important to inquire and help them to get out of the vicious circle of stress and dysfunction. It is human to get angry, jealous, frightened or tired and I am not writing these lines to entice hatred towards these trouble souls. In fact they need our help and understanding.
Today, all the memories festered out as I write these lines. Now that I am older and less afraid of the consequences, I want speak out because it can help to make a difference. This said, I would like to reassure you that most vets are kind, caring and well rounded individuals who love their work.
How to choose the right vet
- The most important part is your gut feeling. Just notice what happens when you meet your veterinarian.
- Do you feel that he/she is honest and truthful?
- Do you feel comfortable and relaxed or do you sense an intense energy and stress?
- Is he or she sincerely interested in your pet? If a person is too nice to be true it most likely is.
- Ask friends, ask the veterinary staff who do they see or who would they recommend
- Remember that the practitioner’s behavior in the exam room or his reputation may or may not reflect “the behind the scenes reality.”
- Look for a well grounded and calm individual that has a good balance between work and personal life, appears calm and healthy, is not aloof or “too nice to be true. ”
- Ask if you could attend minor procedures like blood collections, nail trim or anal gland treatments. If you are denied the access for whatever reason, be clear with your request. If the practitioner appears angry or defensive about your request, consider finding another vet.