Many animal-loving children dream of becoming veterinarians when they grow up. Helping and healing animals seems like the ideal career, and in fact, being a veterinarian is very rewarding. However, not all of the procedures we do are fun and games. Some can be heart wrenching, frustrating or even just plain gross. While these are my opinions alone, I thought I would share five of my favorite veterinary appointments and procedures; keep an eye out for my top five least favorite coming soon!
1. New Puppy and Kitten Exams
Of course, every doctor is different in terms of the things they love to treat, but unanimously every veterinarian loves taking on new puppy and kitten clients. During these routine pet care exams, it’s also a fun time to talk with you, the client, because you are usually excited and invested in your new pet’s care at this time. Sharing helpful healthcare tips, such as considering pet insurance for your new family addition, can help a family start out on the right foot for a long and healthy life. The puppy kisses and kitten purring doesn’t hurt either!
2. General Routine Check Ups
Veterinarians also love routine wellness and preventative care, especially for senior pets. It shows that you, the owner, are invested in caring for your pet. Additionally, many diseases are easiest to treat when diagnosed early on. This translates to better outcomes and healthier pets. Screening laboratory work for senior pets is a favorite as well, since it can help assure owners that their older pet’s organ function is all within normal limits and ease worries about the aging process.
3. Dental Cleanings
Some veterinarians might disagree with me about the next one, since it can be gross, but dental care would be on my list of favorite procedures because it translates to immediate health benefits for dogs and cats. Bad breath goes away, gingivitis improves, the risks of secondary bacterial infections and other diseases complicated by periodontal disease lessen, and most importantly, dental pain is improved. Cleaning a dirty mouth can be instantly gratifying.
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4. Treatment of Curable Diseases
Any disease that can be ‘cured’ is always favorable as well. Hyperthyroidism in cats, or an over active thyroid, is extremely common in older cats. It usually presents with a slow history of weight loss despite a healthy appetite. It is diagnosed with a blood test examining thyroid hormone levels. Hyperthyroidism is one of my favorite diseases, because it can be cured in 99.9% of cats with an extremely safe and non-invasive procedure called I131, or radioactive iodine therapy. The catch, of course, is that this can be relatively expensive, usually around $1,000 to 1,500 to treat. Cat and dog insurance is truly an invaluable tool that can help our pets get access to lifesaving procedures for a fraction of the out-of-pocket cost.
5. Caesarian Sections
Caesarian sections and birthing can also be rewarding for veterinarians. Watching new life come into the world never gets tiring. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go smoothly. Unlike humans, dogs can’t have scheduled c-sections, meaning many occur on an emergency basis or after hours. There is a certain sense of satisfaction and happiness felt when all the puppies are born alive and squeaking.
Although as veterinarians we deal with a lot of illness and disease, for every sad case there are many joyful pets we have been able to treat, or that come in for healthy preventative reasons. These are the cases that make veterinary medicine such a rewarding profession.