Hiring your Veterinarian: Learn the Doctors Attitude, not his preferences.

Posted: August 5, 2011 in At Home with dogs., Choosing a German Shepherd., German Shepherd, Veterinary Considerations, Working Dogs

If you put the phrase “Questions to ask your Vet” into Google, you will find a few good suggestions regarding your dog’s wieght, medications, frequency of check-ups, nutrition, spaying and neutering, etc.  These questions all have one thing in common:  The Vet will have a rock solid opinion that benefits his practice.  That is NOT an indictment of the Doctor.  He or she is operating a business that requires him to think about the financial “bottom line.”  By far, the majority of Veterinary Professionals ARE animal loving people, and they DO want the best for your dog, but they still answer to outside influences and personal opinion.  YOU, as your dogs best advocate,  need to be armed with “informed opinions”.

As an example, the issue of Spaying and Neutering.  It seems to me that during training, most Vets have these procedures pounded into their heads as absolutely necessary, and a foregone conclusion.  Many will even want to schedule your dog for the procedure as soon as possible.  You WILL be pressured to have it done, and the Doctor is already armed with the reasons he believes that it is vital for your dogs future health.  Many new dog owners have been pushed into having the procedure done, and regretting it later. If you ARE planning to have it done, then follow the Doctors instructions. However, if you have a dog that can legitimately add or preserve something for the breed, don’t be bullied.  Do your homework, and be ready to explain why you have plans to possibly breed, after the dogs health and structure have been confirmed.  BEFORE any of the Militant branch of spaying/neutering advocates jump all over me for not agreeing with them, and filling my messages with angry rebukes, let me inform YOU of something you will not be aware of.  The Hans Foundation , (The Legal/Business entity that presides over, and administrates ” The National Competitive K-9 Scentwork Association” and the “Civilian Volunteer K-9 Response Group”, and two other business groups.)  supports and contributes toward low-cost spaying/neutering programs, low cost vaccinations, and other Canine-centered concerns quite generously.  We are NOT anti-neuter/spay, nor do we advocate a complete rejection of all vaccination policies.  Do me the honor of  listening to my reasoning.)   There are those individuals that possess the skills, knowledge, and facilities  to improve and add to the wonderful qualities of the German Shepherd Dog.  (Or other breeds as well)  Such breeders should not only be allowed to do this work, but should be encouraged to pursue this passion.  Should they be held to high standards of practices?  Absolutely.  Should they be strictly governed by those without any knowledge (i,e. Federal Government intervention)?  NO!  Good Breeders will only survive if they produce good puppies and happy owners.  Good breeders understand the best practices and follow them.  They are self-governing by virtue of success or failure, and have the best interests of their dogs foremost in their practices everyday.  (  RANT MODE now turned off  )

Need a breather after that?  Go ahead…Here’s a Photo to look at…

Okay, next I want to discuss the issues behind Vaccinations for your dog, types, schedules, and frequency.  Again, I will ask you to do YOUR homework and educate yourself BEFORE choosing your Veterinarian.  Opinions vary widely in this arena from Vet to Vet, and you should know what is NEEDED, what is OPTIONAL (and Why) and what may very well HARM your dog.      By the Way, the funny caricature above was done by “Woofs by Weber” who has a site on Facebook!  Check out her charming work!

  1. Kyrie says:

    I agree Aimee, when I had gone in to ask for my dog Bella who was about 8-months at the time the response was, “Well, there are two ways for the procedure to be done. Traditional and Laser. Laser leaves less of a scar so that is probably the better surgery, and we do it all the time.” I then asked which procedure has a faster healing time and they said, “Well, traditional, but laser is the less painful way to go.” I then asked what was the price difference between the two and was told, “Well, laser is about $100 more than traditional, but it is the better way to go.” My point here was that the vet was trying to make it *seem* like that by paying MORE for the surgery it was the better surgery. This same vet then went and used the wrong suture and not enough glue or whatever to seal the incision and there was a horrible complication that kept Bella laid up for another two weeks…AND THEN they used staples when they fixed the botched closure and when I asked when I was supposed to go back to have the staples removed I was told that it was dissolving sutures and not to worry about it. WEEKS later I brought her in and TOLD the vet to look at her incision and that same vet basically said, “Oh, your right, I guess they did sure staples…” Let’s just say I made them refund my money and I will never use that particular vet again. As for my others, the surgeries were done by a different vet in the same practice and were all done with the traditional proceedure and I didn’t get any lip from anyone. Bottom line from me, it is out duty as owners to ALWAYS question the vet, especially if you are unsure of something because although they do have a vet degree they are human and make mistakes. Thanks for the post Robert, looking forward to hearing about vaccinations. (Oh, and I bring my dogs to vets in Canada in case there is any confusion over my terminology, lol. Blame it on the Canadian exchange…)

  2. Aimee says:

    Very nice! I just got into this with my vet’s assistant the other day actually when I was trying to get a price estimation for spaying for my future puppy. She said “Well the pup will weigh about 50 – 61 pounds at that point so…” and I said “Woah woah woah, we want to wait until the dog is at least a few years old to get her fixed” and she went off the wire, about “You guys don’t want to breed do you? After you rescued a dog from a puppy mill? You know how many homeless dogs need to be rescued!” And I said, “We don’t want to breed her, but we want to do what’s best for her, and we have read a lot of studies recently that say that it is actually healthier to wait, and that if you wait until your dog is at least 1 – 3 years old then she will have dramatically lower chances of getting illnesses like cancer later in life.” This went on for about fifteen minutes until she realized that I was not going to change my mind, and I just wanted a quote on their price for something we never had to do with our male, already neutered when purchased dog, and that I DID NOT want to set up an appointment for spaying for a puppy that is one week old and doesn’t even live with me yet! Love my vet, but you’re right Robert, they are a business after all, and the receptionists and vet assistants are like sales people trying to meet their quotas. I don’t hold it against them, but you definitely have to be firm with them.