Getting Better Care for Your Pets - My Final Thoughts
As a new year breaks, it is time for you to hear fresh ideas from new veterinary voices. After almost four years here at petMD, I am stepping aside to make room for those new perspectives. I will leave you with some thoughts and challenges. But first I must thank those that made this time unforgettable.
Victoria Heuer has been the most supportive and helpful editor a writer could wish for. As a writer you are laying out your strengths and vulnerabilities on a time schedule that may not always work for the muse from which your ideas come. It is easy to doubt yourself and your contribution. There have been a lot of those moments for me and Victoria was always there to talk me off the ledge and offer ideas to please my muse. We have shared a camaraderie that I will treasure forever. She is worth far more to petMD than she will probably ever be paid.
I am thankful for sharing a platform with Dr. Jennifer Coates. I have constant envy of her ability to produce massive amounts of information that is invaluable to you and your pet. And she does it with that easy conversational style that I wish I possessed. Although we have never met or even had contact with each other, my hope is she experiences the writing accolades she so richly deserves. To have been a member of the Daily Vet blog team that included her has been a remarkable experience and an honor.
My Final Words
Veterinary pet care will progressively involve greater technology and consequently become more expensive. You will need to be more proactive about discussing your pet’s case with your vet. Here are important questions you will need to ask during discussions about diagnostics and treatment.
- What will each test or procedure tell us and why is that important?
- Which test or procedure is likely to yield the greatest amount of information?
- How would you rank the procedures and what if we proceeded down the list as needed?
- What are the risk/benefits to my pet for each test or procedure?
- What is the purpose for each treatment and medication you are proposing?
- What are the potential side effects or adverse reactions to each treatment or medication?
- How will hospitalization be of greater benefit than being at home in comfortable surroundings?
- What is your nutrition plan for my pet during the treatment period and going forward?
- Will the treatments and medications change the prognosis or outcome of the condition?
- What are your expectations of your treatment proposal?
- Is this likely to be an ongoing problem? How long? What long term treatments are involved?
Your vet’s answer to these questions will help you make better decisions about your pet’s care. I have learned over the years that medical intervention leads to more medical intervention due to the unanticipated consequences of each treatment. The key is finding that balance where treatment is just enough to let the body do its own healing. The body is the true healer. We vets support the body’s efforts to do so, hopefully without interfering by over treating.
Most vets will be frustrated by this thoroughness on your part. So be it. These questions should already be in their mental check list when they propose diagnostics and treatments for your pets. You are merely reminding them of Hippocrates’ primary rule of medicine: “First, do no harm.”
Good luck and good fortune to you all, and wishing you endless wet-nose kisses.
Dr. Ken Tudor