Having a vet is not always part of the whole having a pet thing.
vet dog BigStock
Many of you reading this have pets, and that’s probably why you’re here. Either that, or you’re terrible, terrible bored and have no pets, you’ve just read everything else on the internet and finally ended up here. For you, I say go find a kitten video or something.
For those of you with pets: thank you. You are the reason I work. You are the reason I can feed my kids and wear pants made of fabric instead of newspaper. Someone once said that all the money that ever comes into a veterinary hospital comes in the front door, and that’s the truth.
So…thanks. Thanks for having a pet, and taking care of it and feeding it and naming it George. Thanks for bringing it to me for care, or some other vet out there who also wants to wear fabric pants, and letting us help you prevent sickness when we can, and treat it when we can’t. And for giving us the honor of being there with you in the final moments when life has lost its luster and allowing us to administer a final kindness. From the first visit to the last, we all work together to keep pets healthy and the people who love them happy.
But, what’s odd is that not all of you that have a pet have a vet. Would you go get a kid, or give birth to one, or however one acquires them, without a pediatrician? It’s pretty likely that once you’ve…hatched, I guess?...a human kid, you’d have a doctor to take it to when it breaks out in spots or suddenly starts speaking Zulu.
But if your emu suddenly starts speaking Zulu, by my estimation about one-third of you have nowhere to go. You just have to sit there, in your newspaper pants, listening to your emu drone on in Zulu with no idea why or what to do.
One thing I have noticed in my 20-ish years of ER work is that having a vet is not always part of the whole having a pet thing, and that’s not how it should be. Here’s a triple of reasons:
- It’s expensive: If you do all of your pet care through the ER, you’re paying way too much. The ER is an expensive place (it has to stay open at odd hours, after all many are open 24 hours a day and have huge overhead costs) and using the ER for your pet’s everyday medical needs makes about as much sense as using your local human ER for your care. Meaning…no sense at all.
- It leads to worse health for your pet: One important function of having a regular family vet is preventive care. Vaccines, dental cleanings and having someone who knows what is going on poke and prod your dog, cat or potbellied pig once in a while can prevent horrid things like parvovirus that can cost thousands to treat.
- It’s stressful: When your emu starts speaking Zulu, if you have a regular vet, you can call them and they’ll review your emu. If you don’t…well, your emu may be in deep doodoo. When your family vet is closed, then it's a good time to go to the ER. Many vets have a close relationship with an ER that they know and trust who can provide after-hours care and that will make sure your vet stays in the loop.
Don’t be in the one-third of bad emu owners who have nowhere to turn when a bad case of emu Zulu-itis settles in. Get a family vet today. Or, as we say in Zulu: ngempela kufanele ube wezilwane.
VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email firstname.lastname@example.org.