5 Things I've Learned From My Pet Patients

This time, I’m not talking about all of the interesting things that veterinarians can learn from investigating our patients’ medical issues.

Nor am I referring to the amazing things that we can glean from veterinary publications.

Rather, this post is all about the ways that our patients can offer us a different kind of wisdom — insights into how animals think and feel, as well as clues about our own humanity. Here are just a few examples for your consideration:

Things Go Better When You Just Give In and Submit

Have you ever heard about how marriages last longer — and spouses stay happier — when one or both partners are easygoing enough to submit to the other spouse's wants and needs? So it goes in the veterinary world too.

Animals in a medical setting predictably respond to stress in one of two ways: Submissively — or with all teeth and claws in attendance. In every case, the examination or procedure goes faster and less stressfully when submission is a pet's preferred approach.

It’s Easy to Comply When You’re Not in Charge

Consider the not-so-simple act of losing weight. It’s much easier to put your pet on a diet than it is to submit to one yourself. Well, in theory, anyway. The same goes for taking medication when it tastes really bad, as well as going to the doctor when it's the last thing you want to do.

Overthinking Things Can Affect Your Comfort Level

For example, injections don’t really hurt in most cases. Humans who have to inject themselves on a regular basis may never admit to it being a pleasurable experience, but they’ll almost always tell you that it’s no big deal — once you get used to the concept and stop stressing over the fact that a big, bad needle is pointed in their direction.

Pets don’t tend to obsess over things like we do, which is almost always a good thing. I’m sure you’ll agree.

Adrenaline Is an Excellent Pain Reliever

This is why your pets tend to make you look like a schmuck when you bring them in for a limp that has mysteriously subsided in the exam room. In these cases, the problem usually isn't gone for good. It's simply that the adrenaline now coursing through their veins has dulled the pain — and it works every time.

A Great Attitude Makes Life's Worst Moments More Bearable

When pets are well socialized, and their approach to life is relaxed and open, even an intimidating trip to the vet can be a fun thing. I look at some of my patients and marvel at their resilience, buoyancy and joie de vivre! Is there anything else quite like an unconditionally sunny disposition to prove that pets have got more than just anatomy and physiology to teach their vets?

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