Whether a pet is sick, injured, or just in need of a check-up, we all feel better once they have seen their veterinarian. We work hard to find the perfect vet, one who understands our needs and makes our pet feel comfortable. For World Veterinary Day and everyday, we should take a few minutes to appreciate the work of our vets, who keep the furry (or scaly!) members of our families happy and healthy.
I was fortunate enough to talk with Dr. Krista Magnifico DVM and Dr. Janet Tobiassen Crosby about their work experiences. Krista writes a blog, “Diary of a Real-Life Veterinarian,”about her thoughts and experiences as a small animal vet. Dr. Tobiassen has been writing veterinary articles for the last 16 years. Both are hard working, talented vets. Talking to them shed light on what it truly means to be a veterinarian.
The day I spoke to Dr. Magnifico, she had just finished a 10-hour work day, all of which was spent on her feet. She had spent that Monday performing surgeries on various injured animals, then checking in on her post-op patients. She loves her job, she says, because “it’s like figuring out a puzzle. There’s a mystery behind what’s going on with someone who can’t tell you what’s wrong.”
Veterinary medicine has helped humans and animals alike. Veterinarian science reveals that about 61% of all the disease-causing agents in the humans come from animals. By identifying the sources of animal-borne diseases, vets have helped to contain these ailments. Vets have identified West Nile Virus in the United States and helped to conquer malaria and yellow fever. Dr. Tobiassen Crosby spoke about the importance of vets in teaching owners how to look for signs of injury. The best part of the job, to her, is “helping people observe their pets better – in health and illness.
For certain subtle cases of illness, pet owners are often the first to know something isn’t quite right. Frequently, they intuitively know what to watch for, what questions to ask, and how to be the best health advocate for their pet. Early intervention is best for pet health and for owners’ pocketbooks, so this intuitive knowledge is very important.
Vets are not simply doctors studying animals to find injuries and diseases. Our vets become an extension of our family. They are there with us, bonding with our pets from beginning to end. Dr. Magnifico explained how vets are an integral part of a family’s healthcare plan. Our vets are just as important as our pediatricians, physical therapists, pulmonologists, or optometrists. They’re there to make sure we have our companions for as long as possible. They see them at their best, as fluffy little monsters curious about life and their new home. They also see them at their worst, in pain, sickness, or injury. “Every single one of my pets has produced a strong, unique bond. I have been a part of so many client-pet bonds, but a few stand out in my mind. Several Guide Dog clients showed not only the bond of love, but the bond of doing anything they have to in order to protect each other. A young man with little financial resources who put everything into his middle-aged dog with Lyme disease (thankfully, recovered),” remembered Dr. Tobiassen Crosby.
Hearing these stories of pet owners who’d do anything for their companions reminds us that we should always think hard about the responsibility of having a pet. Both vets reminded me that it is a lifelong commitment. Dr. Tobiassen Crosby said to “research the average life span, typical health problems, and what to expect at each life stage (early, middle, senior care) to ensure that the pet is the best fit for the family. Shelters and rescue groups have so many wonderful, beautiful animals looking for a forever home! Many shelters now offer “matching” programs and are able to work with potential adopters to find the pet that is the best fit. If unsure, fostering is a great way to help out a pet and, at the same time, get an idea of what pet works best each lifestyle.”
The vet is able to take our pets out of harm’s way, giving them medicine or surgeries that improve their happiness and well-being. It is only fitting that World Veterinary Day exists; our pets simply wouldn’t be the same without their amazing veterinarians. Getting involved with animal-assisted therapy or animal assisted activity is something any animal lover can do.