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Posted on 12-05-2012
Dr. Jaynie McDaniel, Practicing Veterinarian @ Richter Animal Hospital & Pet Resort. Arlington, TX
What is a veterinarian? For those of us who have pets and other animals you might think, well that's a strange question. Of course we know what vets do right? Well, mostly we do. They see our pets for physical exams, administer vaccinations, discuss test results and ultimately review their overall health with us and sometimes present us with what we think is a big invoice, right? Well, yes, but they also do so much more that we never even think twice about.
So what is it that veterinarians really do?
In your lifetime, there are about 23 different doctors (give or take) who can or will take care of you from the begining of your life to the end:
Our Veterinarians act as most of these different doctors for our pets.
Your Obstetrician Your General Practicioner
Your Internist Your Surgeon
Your Surgeon Your Dermatologist
Your Pediatrician Your Cardiologist
Your Oncologist Your Opthalmologist
Your Nutritionist Your Gastroenterologist
Your Geriatrist Your Pathologist
Your Orthodontist Your Endodontist
Your Endocrinologist Your Psychiatrist
Your Urologist Your General Dentist
Your Radiologist Your Anesthesiologist
Your Medcial Examiner Your Pulminologist
Of course when we have pets, they are always perfectly behaved ---not! So in many instances your vet may also serve as your pet behaviorist or therapist to you depending on the laundry list of shenanigans your pet has put you through!
Veterinarians spend 4 years in undergraduate studies earning their degree before they can even apply or be accepted into vet school. Once accepted into this highly competative field they spend the next 4 years in intensive studies and internships. Vet school is not for the faint of heart, it's for those who have the biggest heart. They know the road ahead is not paved with anything other than hard work, being on call, and eventually finding that home base, that "right place" to devote their time and talents to. For many it's the decision to own their own practice or not and all the millions of hurdles and headaches that can come with shouldering the weight of your own hospital. Vets have a deep dedication to the animals and their people. It's definitely not the life depicted in the James Herriot novels we've all read and fallen in love with growing up. However, it is one of the most rewarding careers one can choose.
For many reasons we have a different kind of relationship with our vets, they feel like our friends because they take care of our most prized possession, our best friends. The bond we develop with our pets transcends all other kinds of relationships, they ask us only for our companionship, our love----oh, and food! In return we get so much more than we could have hoped for; a best friend that never judges us, unconditional love, holes chewed in couches, our favorite rug shredded, land mines dug in our yards or gracing our floors. You get the idea. All kidding aside, it is through the advances of veterinary medicine and the dedication of the people in the veterinary profession that our companion animals have a greater chance of living longer, happier and healthier lives while greatly enhancing ours.
So the next time you have the opportunity to visit your veterinarian, you may have a whole new appreciation for what they do and all the areas of expertise we expect from them. Some of the finest people I know are in the veterinary field, so here's to all the folks who dedicate their careers and their lives to making life better for our companions and for us!
Practice Manager, Richter AH
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