The practice where I work is a walk-in only, extended hours practice. Because of this, it often feels like I’m working in an emergency clinic. We see all sorts of emergencies; from dog fights, to animals hit by cars, to accidental (and sometimes purposeful) poisonings.
Sometimes I feel like I’m doing mental and emotional gymnastics at work- I may go from vaccinating a litter of happy, healthy 6-week-old puppies to euthanizing an animal or seeing a critical patient within seconds.
There is one thing that you could do to help me win gold in these mental gymnastics: always tell me the truth.
I spend a lot of time trying to get a straight answer from clients about what happened to their pet. This would all be so much simpler if we didn’t have to go in circles- I could spend less time deciphering code and more time helping your animal.
If your pet is ill, the best thing that you can do for it is to bring him to a vet, and recount exactly what happened or what you think happened- even if it’s something embarrassing or illegal. Animals can’t speak for themselves, and so the “history” I get from the owner is just as important as my exam and lab findings in making a diagnosis.
If your pet could’ve eaten drugs, you can tell me. I won’t tell on you or judge you. In fact, I can’t. In Kentucky (and most other states), clients are protected by a confidentiality clause. In section 321.185 of the Kentucky State Practice Act, it states:
“A veterinarian shall not violate the confidential relationship between the veterinarian and the veterinarian’s client.”
The section even goes on to say that a subpoena or written consent from the owner is required to release any confidential information. So, rest easy knowing that what you tell me won’t leave the clinic. Even if your pet has eaten drugs, ate your mistress’s underwear, or you gave it chicken bones because you weren’t thinking (even though your husband told you not to), my lips are sealed.
I just want to know what, when, and where. I don’t care nearly as much about the how or why- that’s your business.
Before we wrap up, here’s a great video from Kelsey Beth Carpenter. Remember- we just want to help your dog!
Question for readers: Were you ever in a situation where you were tempted to lie to your veterinarian? How did things turn out?