This past weekend was our second consecutive Saturday spent at our vet’s office. Django had an eye inflammation and ear infection. Both were itchy and driving her crazy. Hayley had a gooey eye (which turned out to be a bacterial infection different from Django’s).
Last week, they were examined and treated; this week was reserved for a progress check-up and annual shots. Each time, before our appointment, I cleaned their faces and made sure they looked presentable, the same way parents do with their kids before a pediatrician visit. As both parents of kids and parents of furry kids, we want to put our best foot forward.
If a vet sees a visible problem that might indicate neglect such as matted fur or an unkempt appearance (which happened with our cat, Chloe, who at her advanced age cares little about her appearance). However, there are times when vets can ascertain surprising facts about our home life just by examining our pets.
Dr. Nancy Kay recalls a patient in her practice who presented with an unusual case. A French Bulldog named Layla came in after having two neurological episodes in which she became temporarily unable to walk, slightly unresponsive and depressed. The symptoms lasted for a short time and barring extensive and expensive testing that necessitated general anesthesia, Dr. Kay couldn’t say exactly what the cause was. Layla was acting completely normal and showed no signs of lasting illness. It would be up to the owners if they wanted to submit Layla to the invasive testing.
Dr. Kay had a hunch, however, that what was causing Layla to have these incidents might be something else: marijuana ingestion. She asked the couple and they both that was impossible. Then Dr. Kay asked if anyone else lived with them and they said their 15-year-old son, and come to think of it, Layla did hang out in his room quite often. Dr. Kay filled in the couple on her reasoning behind her question and then related how she was also the parent of a teen and these types of situations were not uncommon. She advised that the couple go home and discuss it with their son and then get back to her about if they would like to arrange further testing for Layla. When Dr. Kay called a few days later to see how Layla was feeling, she was told that further testing was no longer necessary.
Dr. Kay illustrates how a good vet is a blend of part scientist, part detective and part family counselor!
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