Tales from the wild side of vet medicine
One of the most common questions we vets get in cocktail party conversation goes something like this: What is the wildest animal you’ve ever had to deal with?
I expect they’re hoping to hear something about the Wallaroo I artificially inseminated (once) or the Bush baby we ultrasounded for cancer in vet school. But, truth be told, the wildest are usually not the zoo animals that arrive half-sedated by their handlers.
My vote? If not the wicked orange tabby we call Hannibal Lester (the owner’s Christmas card extols the virtues of his malignant personality with slit-eyed, hissy Lester adorned with Photoshopped reindeer antlers), then maybe the heavily medicated Golden Retriever who lunges viciously at anything that moves.
But by far the most bizarre animals we deal with (on a daily basis) are the humans. They win hands down for difficult handling, strange behavior and inappropriate manifestations of personality quirks.
In a recent blurb in one of our trade publications, vets were asked to recount their favorite “weird client” stories. There was the woman who brought in her dead dog for treatment (if you recall I wrote of a similar client last summer) and the female vet whose client’s snake was kept in the front of his jeans.
Not to boast, but I’ve worked on South Beach. I’ve had to call the police for celebrity client inebriation (no names). I’ve been asked to perform cosmetic procedures on my clients’ bodies (including one notable case in which I learned of a gay culture, pre-party trick to enhance the appearance of one’s scrotum with subcutaneous fluids—I respectfully declined, citing those pesky rules I had to follow to maintain my veterinary license). I’ve been asked (begged!) for controlled drugs on countless occasions. And I’ve even had clients ask me to perform sado-masochistic medical treatments for their sexual pleasure. Yuck!
So when my vet boyfriend called to tell me the story of how his famous supermodel client took off her dress in the exam room (so her Yorkie could have something that smelled of her during his hospital stay), I said…that’s nothing! Remember when [unnamed famous singer] urinated in the plant in the waiting room (mimicking his dog)?
I could have made a mint in the tabloids with the latter episode (and my boyfriend another mint on Ebay with the former). Too bad we have these pesky professional standards to abide by. Otherwise, that security video at my boyfriend’s place would have made the rounds on Youtube.
Just try and convince me that anything wild animals [or pets] do rivals the oddity of [even normal] people. Teeth, claws and aberrant biological behavior are just no match for the strangeness of humanity.