As with all professions, veterinary clients and customers are capable of saying some outrageously hilarious things.
I think veterinary staffs get an inordinate amount of these experiences owing to the large numbers of owners that have such limited understanding of basic animal biology. I am sure my nursing and medical doctor colleagues share many of the same hysterical moments with each other. Today I want to be less serious about pet health and nutrition and share some of my funny experiences.
Ms. W had to euthanize her dog for acute irreversible kidney failure. Our hospital policy is to make a clay imprint of the pet’s paw and provide the imprint and a lock of fur to the owner prior to final care of the remains. In this case the owner elected to have the remains of her pet cremated. When she returned to the hospital to retrieve her pet’s ashes she asked if we could make her a second paw imprint for her sister, who was also very close to the deceased dog.
Kudos to the staff! They treated the situation very delicately, rather than hysterically, and explained the impossibility of such a request.
At closing time, Mr. X rushed into our hospital with a limp puppy that was weak from violent vomiting and diarrhea. Mr. X was concerned, and he was convinced that he knew exactly why the dog was seriously ill. He had a previous dog that he had also purchased in Utah and it had died of Provo. The puppy did indeed have Parvovirus, and he responded well to treatment.
Mr. X has sworn never to buy another dog in Utah, especially from the city of Provo.
Mrs. Y presented her dog to me with very bad breath and was adamant that the fecal smell was caused by constipation. She insisted that I give her dog an enema despite the fact that I could not palpate any stool in the dog’s colon. She refused an X-ray to solve the mystery, insisting that constipation could be the only reason for fecal breath. Not so delicately, I asked if she had fecal smelling breath when she was constipated. She assured me that such an assumption was absurd and that dogs were different.
The fact that the dog ate its own feces was immaterial.
Mr. Z reported that his dog was constantly voiding small amounts of urine very frequently. X-rays revealed that the dog had over 30 stones in its bladder. When I showed the X-ray to the owner, his response was, "How did she eat all of those stones!" Explaining to the owner that the urinary system and the gastrointestinal system are not connected was an absolute exercise in futility.
Fortunately, he let us surgically remove the stones from his dog’s bladder, but he has since removed all stones and gravel from his yard to prevent a repeat of the problem. Dietary management of mineral and water content made absolutely no sense to him.
Dr. Ken Tudor