A quality vet will do little and enquire a lot.
So that you don't pay the vet dearly merely for the exchange of "Hello, and by the way your dog looks fine" - or worse and way more common, that you pay dearly long-term for the harm to health that the short-term relief of some symptom implies - what is a quality vet supposed to do in a consultation?
- Here are the only things we expect from a vet during the - at the very least - yearly vet visit.
- You may or may not want to expect the same.
- A good look in the mouth and eyes and ears - a quality vet can see MANY health concerns simply by looking in the mouth!
- Auscultation with a stethoscope: Cardiovascular system, Respiratory system, and Digestive system.
- Every three years a titer.
- IF either 1. or 2. raise concern, an ECG (electrocardiogram), ultrasound, urinalysis, stool analysis, or complete blood analysis may be indicated.
- Note that that's it!
- No vaccination "booster", no X-ray, no steroidal drugs, no nonsteroidal drugs, no antibiotics, and no kibble bags, dog "treat" samples, or chew bones from the vet's shelves!
- A complete blood analysis can be truly life-saving (as I had to learn with my new puppy!), and in all other instances it gives deep insight into the health of all 12 body systems of the dog.
- When you cannot observe that your chosen vet performs 1. and 2. - or way more common - when the vet does perform or prescribe or sell what is explicitely excluded then it would be wise to raise your concern immediately, certainly before you pay.
- If your vet then reacts stubborn or uppity, the best response would be to leave outright. Just leave.
- Like I said, you may or may not want to expect the same. It's your choice, your life, your dog, and your bank account.
- In most nations every three years (soon every seven years) a Rabies "booster" vaccination is legally required - ironically irrespective whether you have a Chihuahua who never leaves the house or a German Shepherd who roams the woods.
- Other vaccinations are voluntary and should NOT be repeated with a "booster" because actually vaccinations last for the life of the dog!
- Exception: When the dog's immune system has been compromised, either directly through administration of steroidal or nonsteroidal immunosuppressants or indirectly through administration of antibiotics, or through severe sickness.
- When the immune system may have been compromised, a titer should be ordered to establish whether immunity still exists.
- Only where the titer suggests that immunity is lost, we would re-vaccinate the dog when healthy for the life-threatening viruses (Parvo and Distemper) that are prevalent in our geography. For no other.
- Would because it has never happened, re-vaccination was never needed because immunity was never lost! The titer always showed some reaction, and for us that's enough.
- Again, you may or may not want to expect the same. Studying this Periodical will help you decide.
- Either way, your chosen vet should know very well:
- which vaccination is legally required in your geography
- and which vaccinations are sensible in your geography and given your dog's living situation, and why?
- If your vet cannot explain in plain English why (s)he wants you to pay for a certain vaccination, I would advise: LEAVE.
- And if your vet can explain her recommendation in plain English, then consider the vet's suggestion carefully, but do not blindly follow it.
- Because remember: the Foundation of Health.
Be a conscious medical consumer. For the benefit of your family, your dog, and your bank account.
Can you give back a bit today?