What Is A Veterinarian?

I’m writing this column at an interestingly serendipitous location: my Uncle Sam Burrell’s house in Attala County, Mississippi. Interestingly serendipitous because it is here that the seed was planted for me to become a veterinarian.

My wife and I talk to each other on the phone almost every night when either of us is out of town, and tonight was no exception. To her question, “What are you doing tonight?” I answered, “Writing my next column, I hope.”

When she asked me the topic and I answered “What Is A Veterinarian?” she offered, “That’s easy, a healer,” to which I replied, “Yes, but I’m not going in that direction; I’m highlighting our role as educator.”

Here I should interject that Brenda is my number one critic and first-line editor.

As our discussion developed, I was reminded of the old saying, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”

It’s that way with healing and educating, too.

If a veterinarian heals a pet of, say, an ear infection, for that episode that pet is healed. But, if a veterinarian heals that pet and teaches the pet owner how to manage the ears to prevent future ear problems, he may have healed that pet for a lifetime with just one visit.

It is widely known that veterinarians are dedicated to prevention of disease, injury and infirmity. It is through our efforts as educators that we spend time with our clients helping them to know how to prevent problems with their pets through:

  • semiannual physical examinations
  • regular intervals for vaccinations
  • heartworm prevention for both dogs and cats
  • semiannual heartworm and intestinal parasite testing
  • monthly, year-round use of flea control and flea prevention
  • spaying female pets to prevent reproductive tract disease, mammary cancer and pet overpopulation
  • neutering male pets to prevent prostate disease and pet overpopulation
  • baseline laboratory testing in middle-aged and older pets
  • geriatric workups for older pets
  • regular dental prophylaxis and home care for pets’ teeth
  • preventive ear care that focuses on cleaning and observation
  • proper nutrition, especially for age-related needs and special diets for medical conditions
  • prenatal and postpartum care for breeding females

This is but a baker’s dozen ways that your pet’s doctors are focused on keeping your pet healthy and ensuring that every malady that can be prevented in pets never gets a chance to inflict itself on a loved one in our care.

If it has been more than six months since your pet has seen his doctor, give the office a call today, so we can help you, too, with the educational tools we have available.

At this time of year when people start to think about New Year’s resolutions, a good one to make would be a commitment to preventive care for the four-legged best friend in your life.

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