‘I wanted to be a veterinarian until I saw a video of a vet performing surgery on a dog. Then I decided I wanted to be a pianist.’ Amy Lee.

22 Apr

badbackThis week at morning tea at the college we had a lively discussion about medical diagnosis, alternative treatments and the importance of getting a second opinion.  I can’t quite remember how the conversation started (somebody’s bad back I think) but at one point it was suggested that perhaps that person might be best to get a second opinion from our local vet, as whatever their doctor was doing for them definitely wasn’t working.  We all laughed of course, but I am not sure that the suggestion was entirely silly  . . .

sick catI have a huge amount of respect for vets.  As you might imagine, having had many dogs and cats over the years I have spent a lot of time at my local vet surgery.  I’ve been very lucky.  For the most part our visits have been for the ‘usual’ yearly checkups, injections, nail clippings and minor infections, and only once or twice for something more serious, but I have always been amazed at the depth and breadth of knowledge that a vet has to have.  Not only does the vet have to be a general practitioner (and very probably also their own radiologist, surgeon, cardiologist, ophthalmologist, nutritionist, allergist, groomer, business manager, and legal expert) but he (or she) also has to be a general practitioner across multiple species.  (I guess a human doctor could say that too on occasion—but he’d have to be very careful who he said it to . . . )

And, unlike most human doctors, the vet has to be able to diagnose an animal who can’t, at least in words, give him any indication of what the problem is.  In addition, the vet’s patient may also (no matter however cheerful and docile at home) be just as likely to kick, bite, or scratch (or all of the above) the hand that is trying to help it—even when visiting for something very minor.

crazy dogA case in point.  My Maudie loves everybody and everything.  She is the happiest, lickiest, waggiest little dog I have ever owned—but it regularly takes three grown adults (and very stern words from her mum) to keep all 6 kilos of her under control when I take her in to get her nails clipped.  (I am sure our lovely vet Gavin and his team (CamVet) have seen it all before, and probably much worse, but I do find it very annoying.  Does it really have to be such a drama every single time??)

BloodhoundShakingOffWaterLeft_Med And it was because of these drama-queen antics that I had to take Maudie into the vet again this week.  She’d had an ear infection several months ago and although I’d had ear drops to administer (8 drops in each ear, twice a day, for 10 days—oh dear God) I was pretty sure I had ended up wearing more of those drops myself than ever went near her ears.

(I did take her back to Gavin at one point to tell him the issues I was having putting the drops in but she sat there like a lamb (smiling sweetly at me the whole time) and let Gavin put the drops in with no problem at all.  Gavin looked at me like I was the diva.  Sorry Gav, but you did.  The next morning when I tried to administer the drops again, the shrieking and thrashing reached epic proportions.  Maudie’s shrieking and thrashing—not mine—although . . . )  

Anyway, although she never complained out loud, over the last couple of weeks I had caught Maudie a number of times with her back foot gingerly probing her ear, so I was pretty sure the problem was still there.

sedatedSo it was back to Gavin to get those ears checked out.  Happily, this time Maudie did her little freak-out in front of witnesses (yay!—see it is her, not me—I felt thoroughly vindicated) and it was decided that as she was obviously not going to let me (or anyone else) anywhere near her ears ever again, the best course of action was to keep her in the surgery for a day to be sedated and have her ears thoroughly cleaned out and treated while she was out for the count.

That meant no breakfast that morning (wow—and that is a whole other story) and all the extra fun that goes with trying to get only one dog out of the house and into the car without becoming homicidal (dogicidal?) with the other two, or becoming totally deranged and incoherent myself in the process.  (Tricki Woo going ‘crackerdog‘ has nothing on my three girls.)  But we got there, of course, as we always do, and as crazy as she makes me sometimes, I fretted about her all day.  Not because she wasn’t in good hands, because she was—just because—well—you do . . .



When it came time to pick her up that afternoon I was told she had been ‘good as gold’ and had just ‘sat quietly smiling at everyone’ all day.  I was not overly surprised at that—my girls are all much braver in a ‘pack’ than they are as individuals and Maudie is a big smiler anyway—but I do also think it might have something to do with the sedative which was obviously still in her system.  After a brief but riotous reunion with her sisters, (and after she had finished her dinner, of course—no breakfast, remember?) she settled cozily into her favourite spot on the couch, still a little bleary-eyed and unfocussed, and happily hummed a little tune to herself until she finally fell into a deep, deep sleep.

It had been long, exhausting day for a little dog (and her mum).  I wonder if those sedatives are available on-line . . .


Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


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8 responses to “‘I wanted to be a veterinarian until I saw a video of a vet performing surgery on a dog. Then I decided I wanted to be a pianist.’ Amy Lee.

  1. Judy

    April 25, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    I thought nothing could be as traumatic as Paddington needing his nails cut Sal but sounds like Maudie’s ear ordeal came very close. No one in our family is prepared to endure our Vet’s solution which is physical restraint while the Bear attempts to extricate himself at a maniacal level. We now do one a night (or every two nights if his memory is particularly acute!) one of us plies him with nibbles while the other clips a talon! Just had a thought…it would have be a perfect time to sketch little Maudie while she was post sedation, but no doubt you were too exhausted!


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 26, 2016 at 7:44 am

      You would think (hope) that they would realise that you are only trying to help them wouldn’t you? Strange thing is — I have had Mabel and Maude since they were 8 weeks old. Neither of them has suffered any kind of nastiness or trauma in their lives, yet they are both so highly strung as to screech (loudly) at the slightest (perceived) harm being done to them. Molly, my rescue dog, was already five when she came to me, but she will let me, and the vet, do almost anything to her without a murmur, and doesn’t seem particularly terrified at the prospect either. (She will freak out if a stranger tries to pat her, but the vet can cut her nail no probs . . . ) I would love to know what goes on in their little heads . . .
      P.S. Did get a sketch of Maudie sleeping, but not a very good one. Maybe I’ll put that up at a later date.


  2. Steve T

    April 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Great post Sal, I have a big grin on my face 🙂
    It struck me that you have a lot of VET in your life, in one form or another!
    And I think you should talk seriously to Gavin to see if he will give you the vet equivalent of the coffee card – get the (dogs’) nails clipped 10 times and the eleventh time is free.
    He can only say no


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 22, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      I think that is a great idea! I’m going to mention it next time I go in – hopefully that won’t be too soon though . . .


  3. Val Evans

    April 22, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    ROFL – if I could, but I have a bad back!!! I think I may have been the subject of the tea room conversation. Yes, a vet may have been much wiser as I now recover from back surgery and the initial situation still exists – grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 22, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Oh No Val! I’m so sorry to hear that the problem is still there. That really sucks. We all asked Jon if she had heard from you of course, but I think we had all assumed your op would fix your problem. The other person we were actually talking about has now, I believe, resorted to ‘alternative’ therapies to try and sort out his back problem. Perhaps Gav has some ideas for both of you . . .


  4. Vee

    April 22, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Ohh dear poor little Maudie. Just as well she has a mum who jumps through all the hoops and more xxx


    • sallyinthehaven

      April 22, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      What else is a mum to do?



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