Why You Should Be Kind to Your Rural Cow/Dog Veterinarian.
I just read an article written by Baxter Black titled Time To Be Nice To Your Rural Cow Veterinarian. Well, it seems Baxter Black had read an article titled Before You Call Your Vet. As required by our chosen career, we are encouraged to voice our opinions. I guess that's why there are so many opinionated old veterinarians.
I can't help myself when I feel the urge to add my 2c worth (25c with inflation). I have some new suggestions. Suggestion 1- Do not call if you think we can diagnose over the phone. Sure, barn cats with snotty noses may seem simple but when your dog is vomiting and has been for 3 days, he/she's in more trouble than you might think. Take for instance: Zac a female yellow lab pup nearing her first year mark. She found her way into a trashcan and other places in her owners' house. When they arrived home, the found an empty bag of Valentine chocolates, a chewed up bottle of Ibuprophen and a few but not all of the pieces of a Bic lighter. If we hadn't seen her right away, she may not have fared so well. All the items were toxic, especially the Ibuprophen and the lighter, so we treated her accordingly including inducing vomiting. We'll always remember her because Doc gave her a new nickname. Labra-Goat. It's one thing that Labradors and Goats have in common; they'll eat just about anything. FYI, Diagnosing over the phone isn't exactly legal.
You won't always find evidence of what they've gotten into. Car batteries and toxic plants are among the things that they like to lick at and chew on. When I first started out as a technician. One dog had us completely baffled until Doc asked her owner if there was Nightshade growing in the back yard.
Suggestion 2- We do appreciate you much more when you call ahead of time rather than just showing up. You just never know what you might walk into. If you think you can get twenty head of calves work on short notice, think again. If you think we just sit around waiting for you to stop by with that lame bull you've been meaning to get to for 3 weeks, you might want to call ahead and make sure doc's not 30+ miles away trying to get a uterine prolapse replaced before she dies from blood loss. Oh, by-the-way. Doc only checks his schedule between patients/groups of cattle. You might as well ask the person who answers the phone to schedule your appointment otherwise Doc may double book himself and you'll end up waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
Suggestion 3- When Doc desperately needs a day off, please don't give him a hard time. Most of the winter, he gets up, takes the kids to school, comes to work, runs here and there taking care of your animals, sometimes he has full hour for lunch (with a short nap) or a quick bite to eat on the way to a country call, in between surgery patients, or we call in pizza because there isn't time to go anywhere for food. The afternoon is pretty much the same as morning except many evenings they are there from 6-10pm. Then the Docs get calls at all hours between 6pm and 6 am and dog c-sections take 3 hours between knock down time and clean up. It's no wonder that he takes a nap at lunch.
Our office hours are-
8 am or 7 am or 9 am TO 5:30 pm or 6 pm or 10 pm or 3 am. Sometimes we close early, most times we close late but mostly it feels like we live there. Our spouses and children don't recognize us on the weekends. Our cats hiss at us and our dogs growl at us like we're strangers, except for the dog that lives at the clinic because we never have time to take care of them at home. The dishes stack up all week because when we do get home, we drop dead after scarfing down Chinese take-out. It's no wonder techs don't usually make 10 years. -- It isn't like this always but sometimes it feels like it.
Truthfully, it has been a long week. The allergies have been driving me batty making my ears ache and the big dogs barking seem twice as loud as they should. I haven't had much free time to write this but I finally got around to it after planning it all week. It's a good thing I'm not on kennel duty this weekend. I'd been expecting a 30 hour work week starting in June. So far that hasn't happened. So much for all the writing time I had planned this summer. See what happens when I think about trying that National Novel Writing Month when I actually think I'll have the time to do it. I think Murphy's Law has been rearing its ugly head.