Dr. Cynthia Maro
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and pet moms.
Last week, the veterinary community celebrated World Veterinary Day, a day of recognition for the work veterinarians perform in every country on this planet.
Though the public in the U.S. often thinks about veterinarians as caretakers for pets, the work of veterinarians is more far-reaching, touching the lives of all people, even those who don’t have pets.
The work of veterinarians impacts:
- Zoo animals and endangered species
- Marine life and the ecosystems of our fresh and ocean water
- Wildlife care and protection
- Our entire food chain, and all the foods we consume, including vegan diets
- Farm animals and their health and welfare
- Pets and companion animals of all species, including fish and exotic pets
- Infectious diseases and the prevention of infectious diseases in this country
- Epidemiology and studying emerging diseases with the goal of safeguarding human and animal health
- Research in pharmaceutical and medical device industries, directly benefiting human health
- Prevention of human death through programs to control fatal disease transmission, including Rabies and Lyme disease.
- Protection of animals through legal and judicial systems.
The amazing part of all of the above is that the list does not include everything we do as a profession, AND your veterinarian had to learn all of that stuff before graduating from their veterinary college, after obtaining a degree from college.
As I watched several posts made by vets from many countries on social media, one. in particular. stood out with a message of love, the love vets have for patients, great and small and the people or clients who are intimately involved in their care-taking. In the video, the vets showed how and why they do their jobs. I will try to represent the sentiments shared and how the vets I know feel about their work.
1. Each day we walk into the office, zoo, onto a farm, put on the wet suit or waders, we have love in our hearts for the animals.
2. Our desire is to help the caretakers and owners gain the feeling of partnership with the veterinary staff, with a common goal of enhancing the human-animal bond.
3. Money is a factor in our jobs, just as getting paid is a factor in everyone’s job. Getting paid allows vets to feed their families, have a vehicle, pay for the equipment and staff in the office (which are substantial expenses) and for the veterinary college and ongoing education we all are required to obtain.
4. We do not just care about money. Your vet is a very bright person who knows that the 8+ years of education they obtained could have been spent getting a degree in a more lucrative profession. If that is what we cared about 1st and foremost, we all would have gone to tables showing the highest paying jobs and picked one of those.
When we started our careers we knew we were not going to be rolling in cash. In fact, my first two years in practice, which I wouldn’t trade for anything, was spent working 80-hour weeks, with an average hourly salary of what McDonald’s was paying in the late 1980s (not current wages).
5. We feel deeply when animals are hurting or injured. We care about their pain and that of the owners. We form bonds with our clients and enjoy watching you, your kids and families interact with the pets. We are here to serve you by supporting your bonds.
6. The veterinarian will make the best recommendation for your pet’s care at the time of the visit. Since we want your animal to be healthy, we will make recommendations that are ideal for both human and animal health.
7. If an owner, in the office, on a farm or on a house call, cannot afford the recommended care, THE OWNER should tell the vet. The vet is NOT trying to take your money, but rather take care of the problem and provide a resolution. Most vet staff will try their hardest to find something to help your pet, even if it isn’t curative.
8. When owners see a high estimate or a potentially high bill that includes a lot of testing, the veterinarian is not getting all of that money. Their staff is being paid, the laboratory is being paid, the cost of the in-house lab, supplies, controls and maintenance, the loan for the x-ray machine, and all the other maintenance pieces of equipment, and for the office.
9. We want to help you budget for your pet’s care and can help you create a budget for annual care to spread out the expense.
10. We think about your pets and animals long after you have left the office and wonder about their progress. We encourage you to email us or text us regarding their improvement or lack of improvement.
Know that vets are here to be of service. We love helping you and your animals and see ourselves as part of the care team which includes you, your family and our staff.
Dr. Cynthia Maro is a veterinarian at the Ellwood Animal Hospital in Ellwood City and the Chippewa Animal Hospital in Chippewa Township. She writes a biweekly column on pet care and health issues. If you have a topic you’d like to have addressed, email [email protected].