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  • Writer's picturedebbie8583

First Things First

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”

Lao Tzu

People have asked why I use these words of Lao Tzu, a 6th century Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism. I use this quote from his book the ‘Tao Te Ching’ because in the 30 plus years I’ve been practicing veterinary medicine, I’ve not seen a significant change in the way we approach companion animal care. Indeed, I don’t see any significant changes on the horizon either despite the huge advances in veterinary medicine.

Let me guess what happened at your most recent veterinary visit.

If your pet was there for a wellness exam, you provided answers to a series of standard questions about your pet’s current health status; your pet was examined; diagnostic testing was done or recommended; perhaps a vaccination was given; you may have left with a prophylactic medication for fleas and ticks and you possibly scheduled a sterilization surgery or dental procedure.

If your pet was sick, you provided answers to a series of standard questions about your pet’s current illness; your pet was examined; diagnostic testing was done or recommended; you left with some type of medication; and possibly scheduled a recheck appointment to assess the response to therapy.

Am I right? Sound all too familiar?

Veterinarians spend most of our day putting out fires… scratching and itching, ear problems, vomiting and diarrhea, injuries, arthritis and cancer. Wellness exams are devoted to vaccinating pets, promoting the latest in flea or tick preventatives, making cursory dietary recommendations and scheduling sterilization or dental procedures. I know this because this is what I have done most of my career. We are trapped in this vicious cycle and we continue to go where we are headed.

Veterinary health care needs to change direction. We need to focus on prevention. We need to be proactive in our recommendations. We need to provide our patients and you, their parents, with the full complement of options available, even if those options are outside of our level of comprehension or belief. There is a general reluctance to step out of our comfort zone into alternative paths of health and healing.

We should not be afraid to refer to our colleagues who may be able to offer differing services and opinions. Gone should be the days when veterinary hospitals operate independently, offering only what is within its limited scope and denying patients the vast wisdom of ancient medical systems as well as many modern technological advances. We need cooperation and collaboration, both within and outside the veterinary domain, in order to utilize the wide array of allied pet professionals such as dog trainers, animal chiropractors, massage therapists and reiki masters. So, if the veterinary profession isn’t going to spearhead this change then I’d suggest it is incumbent on you, the pet parents, to demand it.

Dr Peter Dobias, a well-respected colleague in the holistic community, has said “You don’t need to be a veterinarian to be your pet’s best healer - you only need to know how to make the right decisions.”

My goal is to provide you with options and resources which will help guide you to make those ‘right decisions’.

Dr Debbie

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