Whole Dog Journal's Blog May 10, 2017

I’d Like Some Veterinary Medicine, Please

Posted at 02:26PM - Comments: (30)

After having a medical issue of my own recently, I had an epiphany: I’d rather see a veterinarian than deal with the human medical system.

The usual routine with human medicine: If something serious happens suddenly, you have to go to the emergency room; your own doctor can’t see you right away for anything serious.

The ER patches you up enough to be released and tells you to follow up with your own doctor. At the day of the appointment, your doctor decides you need an xray or ultrasound or other test – and sends you to another clinic or testing laboratory where this is done. It takes days for the results to get back to your doctor, and then he gets them, he sends you elsewhere for treatment. At least, that’s what happened to me, recently.

If the same event had happened to my dog – although, I don’t know why my dog would have been on a ladder cleaning gutters – my veterinarian would most likely have seen my dog that day unless it was after hours, in which case I would have taken the dog to the animal ER, a 24-hour clinic in the next town over. They, too, would have patched up the dog and told me to follow up with my regular vet.

But when I would have followed up with my regular vet, if she thought my dog needed an ultrasound or xray, she would have done it. And if she thought that my dog’s massive hematoma needed to be aspirated, she would have done that, too. And if she thought my dog needed an antibiotic or something, that, too, would have been dispensed right there at the veterinary clinic.

My husband once had an ugly cyst develop on his neck. His doctor, too, referred him elsewhere to have it lanced and drained. Again, if that had been my dog and my veterinarian, it would have been one-stop shopping.

I wouldn’t expect my “family veterinarian” to also treat my dog for an exotic eye disease or even cancer; I’m happy with the idea that there are veterinary specialists that one can see for special health problems. But boy, am I grateful for the fact that most veterinarians are both fully prepared and fully capable of triage, diagnosis, and hands-on treatment of our animal companions.

Are there still doctors out there who work like vets, diagnosing and treating problems on the spot?

Are there vets who don’t?

All I know is, I’m sending my vet some flowers.


Comments (30)

Good information about vets. But PLEASE LEAVE OUT the political analysis, and political comments!!! This is a DOG MAGAZINE. Skip the politics PLEASE! I am ready to cancel my subscription if I see any more of it.

Posted by: GGdogmom | June 9, 2017 9:45 AM    Report this comment

My vet, who I've seen for 15+ yrs. forgot to tell me that my dog's liver enzymes were elevated. It went on for 2 years before my dog had bloodwork because of a medication reaction. Multiple bloodwork, 2 ultrasounds, a surgical liver biopsy and 2 specialists later she is on a tangerine box full of medications and special liver supplements and a prescription liver diet for Copper Storage Disease, Elevated Liver Enzymes and a Fibrotic Liver. The pet insurance has paid $6000+ for her various treatments. Without the insurance, my dog wouldn't still be with me. I don't blame my vet, I know she's very busy and I know it's not something she purposefully did. But she also didn't say she was sorry for the oversight about the initial bloodwork. This vet is caring, usually very thorough and has a wealth of knowledge....and right now I'm not seeing her because her unintentional oversight put my dog's life in jeopardy. I hope that at some point we can talk about what happened and restore our relationship.

Posted by: clb | May 23, 2017 6:30 PM    Report this comment

Absolutely love the article - So true - We are so lucky - found a Vet about 20/25 yrs ago. Have been with her ever since. She has been with us through the good (adopting new rescue dogs) and (when we have had to put dogs or cats down) Love her - everyone in the practice is more than trained and happy to be working there. They are all so helpful.

Posted by: Buster#1 | May 23, 2017 8:43 AM    Report this comment

A good vet is a godsent. I have had great vets, good vets and lately BAD vets. Anf believe me, I know the difference. My last dog waited 3 hours at an emergency clinic for bloat. I've had other vets make mistakes whuile the dog was under anaesthetic and never admit it. (Another vet diagnosed the issue a year later.) However, even the bad ones usually call the same or next day to see how the dog is. I guess they figure that justifies their outrageous bills.
I am lucky enough to have found a fantastic holistic vet who actually cures ailments that regular vets just prescribe meds for, misdiagnose or throw up their hands. I've seen her reduce the size of tumours on dogs, mine being one of them. She works on all animals and I've even seen a sick goat in her kitchen. She may prescribe pills for pain if herbs won't do the job and she may send you for x-rays or ultrasounds, but boy, is she ever good. Of course, what is good gfor the dog, is good for the human and I often use her remedies for my own ailments.
She has made my old, sick dogs happier and healthier for as long as they have yet to live. She kept a fading 12 and a half year old Malamute alive until he was 14, an 11 year old until 15, others far more comfortable than others vets would and without using poisons such as worm meds, flea and tick prevention and products like Rimadyl and Metacam. She uses other treatments which may not work for as long a period but do work. I haven't had a flea on a dog for 20 years.

Also being Canadian, I don't have to pay for my medical care (as long as the treatment falls under their proscribed illnesses, but we wait and we wait, and we wait for specialist care. If the wait is too long, we even go to the U.S. for surgeries. Emergency rooms are full and there can be an 8 hour wait to be seen by a doctor. Then, one is told to follow up with the family doctor who also is very busy. Then one is sent to a lab for blood work (where one can wait for at least an hour), then one is sent somewhere else for the x-rays, then sometimes back to the hospital for another long wait and possibly a bed on the hallway because funding has been cut back so much, beds have been closed and nurses fired. To make achieve bed space, patients are being released too early and then they are back to the hospital again to be readmitted. American hospitals LOVE to get our nurses.
So much for my crabbing.

Posted by: Hlevin | May 15, 2017 1:39 PM    Report this comment

It helps enormously to have a vet in whom you, and your dog, have total confidence. If you know in your heart and mind that NOTHING could have been done more or differentIy, you do not blame the vet. I live about an hour North of Atlanta.and very few vets have ultrasound equipment. Ours does, uses laser surgery, and conscious sedation for teeth cleaning.
Many vets keep dogs who are just in for a dental, those who are boarding, and sick, contagious dogs, and surgical patients in the SAME room. Please be sure this is NOT your vet.
We lost our toy Poodle on 11/11...our vet came to the house AFTER HOURS to euthanize him and set him free from his pain. She cried right along with us.
We are about to rescue a 5 year old show Toy Poodle who went oversize, and his breeder has been keeping him til we were ready. You better believe we are using the same vet.
On the other hand, if there is an egregious scew up, report that to the state and national veterinary agencies; lawsuits just prolong your agony, and do not really address the problem.

Posted by: LTD912 | May 15, 2017 12:01 AM    Report this comment

Amen!! I am so thankful that my vets, father - holistic, and son, conventional, are the most well educated, owner and patient oriented that I have ever had!! I get the follow-up calls and empathy when appropriate. I'd go to them in a minute if I could!!!

Posted by: Narrowdog | May 14, 2017 10:08 PM    Report this comment

Being a Canadian, I never have to worry about the cost for my medical care, but it is so impersonal. When my dogs have a problem, my vet treats them, and a couple of days later I get a call from his office asking if the dog is OK. Yes, his bills are higher that my doctors, but he has a lot of overhead. When I have to have an oldster euthanized, my vet sends a donation to the Vet College in the dogs name!

Posted by: Old Lady | May 14, 2017 4:57 PM    Report this comment

Vets are smarter than MDs anyway. They diagnose and treat animals who cannot verbally (well, except for yelping, maybe) tell the vet what's wrong and exactly how they feel.

Posted by: MJC | May 14, 2017 1:18 PM    Report this comment

I have sent my vet flowers twice. She is the most incredible person I've ever met. Saved my dog's life twice because she pays attention, comes to the house when your dog needs to let go, and the last time, stayed for an hour helping both me and my sweet dog through the ordeal. As for human doctors, I had the same wonderful doctor for almost 40 years. She remembered everything I told her, knew my history inside out and always acted as if I were the only patient that day. I changed insurance more than once just to be sure I could keep her. Then she retired, and here I am, in my sixties, when I need her the most, stuck with the medical system you all have described.

Posted by: GiftofGalway | May 14, 2017 12:14 PM    Report this comment

I wish we could find a real holistic veterinarian and a real holistic human doctor. Now all the allapathic (all is profit ) vets and allapathic (all is profit) doctors are drug dealers selling chemical meds, and toxic vaccines and don't even care about anyones health anymore but white coats salesmen and saleswomen.
There are a few holistic doctors but they are hours away and are booked constantly almost a month in advance as so many are learning that is you want health, one must seek a holistic doctor or holistic veterinarian. We now do nosodes instead of vaccines, as nosodes prevent disease without the chemical toxins and live cancer cells that are contained in all vaccines both human and animal. We research now and do most all our own health care, and will only see a doctor or veterinarian in an emergency. I have learned so much about real healthcare as I have watched both pets and family members die from the chemical toxins and vaccine toxins offered by allapathic doctors and vets. One must learn to do their own research as allapathic doctors and allapathic vets are not looking out for their customers but are only looking out for their pocketbook. Long living pets and long living humans avoid chemical meds and toxin vaccines so they live much longer healthier lives. Fortunately there are nosodes to prevent disease and nosodes to treat disease with great success thru the ages, but the research is hidden by big pharma as they don't want the masses to be aware of the safe better nosodes alternatives and holistic alternatives. The powerful elite use nosodes, bioidenticals, holistic and natural care to this day quietly but invest and sell the chemical meds and toxin vaccines to the masses for great profits. I have done so much research to learn about truth health which is not available to the masses or the masses pets.

Posted by: guest1 | May 14, 2017 11:04 AM    Report this comment

What you all said.

Posted by: septembermary | May 12, 2017 9:55 PM    Report this comment

I grew up in the 60s. That's exactly how doctors were. The family physician took care of just about everything. No you have a "primary care" physician and they are just a traffic cop funneling you around.

Posted by: VLK | May 12, 2017 7:29 PM    Report this comment

Right on and well said.

Posted by: dancing lady | May 12, 2017 12:07 PM    Report this comment

Boy did you hit that on the nose. I have been saying that for years. I'd rather see a vet.

Posted by: pap luv | May 12, 2017 9:09 AM    Report this comment

I have a friend who works as the manager of a healthcare call center. They take after hours calls for a large hospital system and a large vet hospital. She has told me that the MD's routinely miss their call back window which is an hour. They have never had a VMD miss their fifteen minute call back window. I think that says a lot.

Posted by: Furrykids | May 12, 2017 8:53 AM    Report this comment

I'very been asking our vet for years and years of she would accept me as a parient! She's been with us pretty much since our first dog .. that was in the late 90s, and she still says no because I'm the wrong species, LOL

Posted by: 3grrrs | May 11, 2017 1:13 PM    Report this comment

Oh, wow! I so agree. Recently saw my Internist and when I resisted ascribing to the awful medicine she wanted me to try, I was dismissed with a curt remark. She thinks she is so empathetic but she is so NOT
Took my pup to the vet today and she took the time, thought and care to deal with his problem and no dismissive remarks were made. Plus, she offers many services that my doctor would never offer. I'd go to her long before I'd go to the medical doctor if I had the choice!

Posted by: jww | May 11, 2017 12:39 PM    Report this comment

Your headline really touched a nerve with me. I've been saying this same thing for several years now. The veterinary medical system, for those who have the sense and resources to use it, is far superior in almost every way to the human medical system. Certainly in ease of attaining an appointment, cost of care, time spent with the patient, thorough explanation of the problem, and overall concern for your loved one. The AMA should make medical students intern at a vet hospital to learn something about how to treat patients.

During my mother's illness, she was shuffled through the system by a bunch of "robots" intent only on checking off a box or stamping a form. At the vet, I have never felt rushed or disrespected - they are much better listeners and seem to take your input much more seriously. They are also more open to alternative therapies like acupuncture or supplements, that MDs tend to dismiss.

Posted by: Dogvocate | May 11, 2017 11:26 AM    Report this comment

I heartily agree - I'd rather have my vet treat me than my primary, who by the way has never even seen me. Docs keep leaving the practice - I was assigned to this new person a few months ago. In fact, I do sometimes get medical advice from my vet, and frequently both my animals and myself take the same nutraceuticals.

Check out the progress of the new One Health initiative, which seeks to unite the realms of human and animal health care - search under "One Health Initiative" - also search for a fascinating TED talk from by a cardiologist, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, entitled "What Veterinarian's Know that Doctors Don't".

Posted by: Wyomingsara | May 11, 2017 10:51 AM    Report this comment

So true! My greyhound & I both shattered our wrists. She stepped in a hole; I fell off my bike. Her surgery $5k; mine $26k. Her Vet called his orthopedic surgeon friend in Portland, drove to the 24 hr vet to pick up Lulu's x-rays & delivered them to the orthopedist who agreed on surgery the next a.m. My ER orthopedist handed me off to several assistants, was brisk & cold, finally did surgery 3 days later. My aftercare included visits with several office assistants & PT. Only 2 visits w/ orthopedist over 8 wks. Lulu's surgeon arranged for our vet to open his office after hours so he could come from Portland to check on Lu. BTW - Lu had bone grafts; I did not. I'd rather have a vet than a doctor!

Posted by: 3dawgma | May 11, 2017 10:30 AM    Report this comment

It would be wonderful. I was thinking about my own general practitioner the other day. She's wonderful and treats many things herself. She does refer me out for some things, but a lot of things she manages herself. That's so comforting to know that someone who knows me and my history is a central figure in my healthcare.

Posted by: Kellie | May 11, 2017 10:25 AM    Report this comment

I've been saying this for years and people look at me strangely. Other reasons, I can call my vet and describe the problem and she will tell me whether or not I need to come in, thus saving me money. And when I have a life-threating illness, I'd rather be put to sleep.

Posted by: mjk | May 11, 2017 10:22 AM    Report this comment

My vet in San Francisco (where dogs outnumber children) moved to the human medical model- they are so booked up, you have to make appointments a week or two in advance. For an unplanned illness, you are referred to the expensive emergency vet clinic.
I wish my dog & I could plan our medical emergencies in advance.

Posted by: susan in sf | May 11, 2017 10:21 AM    Report this comment

Well said! Never thought of it before but sure is true!!

Posted by: joanne.c | May 11, 2017 10:14 AM    Report this comment

All I can say is a profound AMEN !!!!! I really believe Physicians send you all over the place because they make more money the HUMAN TOUCH & CARE have disappeared. To be honest I have asked my Vet for advice regarding myself. He is really great and is genuinely concerned when it comes to treating my baby (Jack Russell Terrier Beagle mix) without costing an arm and leg. I really wish he could be my PCP

Posted by: Vicky M | May 11, 2017 10:05 AM    Report this comment

We're very lucky to have the most amazing integrative medicine veterinarian who kept my 15 year old dear, sweet Golden girl going for easily an additional year with Chinese herbs and acupuncture treatments. Hands down, I would go to him for any of my human healthcare needs if he would treat me.

Posted by: Bella and Breeze's Mom | May 11, 2017 9:26 AM    Report this comment

I am a medical physician: I agree completely. Human medicine has lost the caring touch that veterinary medicine still has. (Part of the reason is money.) Jim L., MD

Posted by: Dr. Jim | May 11, 2017 9:20 AM    Report this comment

Yes, veterinarians are the definition of "primary care." Nice idea to send your vet flowers!

Posted by: Robin Chaffey | May 11, 2017 9:08 AM    Report this comment

I hear you. Not to mention my vet calls the next day to ask how my dog is doing or calls with lab results when they are in - even if the labs are normal. I could be dangling in space forever before hearing from my PCP - even if there is something off with my labwork. I wish my vet would treat humans!! She is kind, thorough, patient, and amazing!!

Posted by: dipoficat | May 11, 2017 8:59 AM    Report this comment

And most vets treat more than one species!

Posted by: Maggie's Mom too | May 11, 2017 8:55 AM    Report this comment

New to Whole Dog Journal? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In