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Starting with Quincy, M.E. and running through today’s C.S.I., it seems there has always been a TV show where figuring out how people died (and if, of course, they were murdered) captures the public’s fascination. A coroner’s job is a hard one, we’re told, because the “patient” can’t talk.
Welcome, my friends, to veterinary medicine. Our patients usually aren't murder victims, fortunately, but they never tell us where it hurts, and we don’t even have the luxury of trying to solve a mystery in just one species. Even if we’re mostly dealing with just cats and dogs, we’re presented with mysteries every day, in the form of the “ADR,” or “Ain’t Doing Right,” pet.
Fortunately, we have our own investigatory techniques to solve these medical mysteries.
When I step into an exam room, I’m always aware that I’m part of a team. What I bring to the table: generations of medical knowledge, the latest research and my continuing education. I never stop looking for the best in cutting-edge care, and I never forget the basics of good medicine. But I’m also not the only one on the veterinary team. I am in constant touch with colleagues, both other vets in my practice and specialists across the country. And that’s just the beginning.
Listen to the techs. In order to be a great veterinarian, it's important to come out of school with more than the latest, greatest knowledge of a freshly minted graduate. A really successful vet also hews to the maxim that God gave us one mouth and two ears for good reasons. And one of the reasons is to listen to the veterinary technicians. In many, if not most, practices, the tech will have already taken information on the ADR pet before the veterinarian sees him, and the vet will hear (and read in the chart) about that. But a smart vet will ask the vet tech what he thinks is going on. A great technician is an invaluable part of an outstanding veterinary practice.
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