Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Being a small animal veterinarian may seem like a fairly cushy proposition compared to working with the big ’uns:
Horses can kill you with a kick. Llamas can upend you with a flick. Some
birds will bite your finger clean off. And a well-motivated monkey can leave you with disfiguring lacerations.
So, by comparison, working with dogs and cats would seem like a breeze, right?
Normally, I’d have to agree. Indeed, until October of this year, the last decade had proved fairly uneventful in the injury department: A few deep claw marks, one uncomplicated puncture, and a couple of wayward fang-bangs are pretty much what I expect from this profession on an annual basis. (Sure, it’s tough on the knees and back too, but who’s counting?) In any case, I consider myself lucky to do what I do and remain relatively unscathed.
But these past two months haven’t been so humdrum. (And I’m not just talking about the ringworm lesions I still bear on three separate anatomical locations.)
Here’s what happened: Not only did Paco the overly protective Dachshund bite my finger, leaving a deep fang mark and a fingernail-disfiguring bruise, Grotto the 140-pound Rottweiler head-butted me with the kind of force only a half-sedated, scared-out-of-his-skull dog his size can muster, flattening my nose in the process.
Both scenarios were bad enough for me. Attempting to keep my composure as best I could, I backed out of the room in silence. (OK, so I think I might’ve muttered something about having to go to the hospital in one of the two instances, but it’s all a bit muddled by my pain-addled memory.)
As much pain as I might’ve felt, however, there’s no doubt my clients were feeling an equivalent degree of mortification. Both owners held their heads in their hands as I tried my best to console them: “Don’t worry,” I explained, "this is all part of my job.”
And it’s true! Sure, it sucks to get clawed, bitten, head-butted, toppled, or injured in any sort of way by your patients, but here’s the thing: It’s never their fault!
In an animal hospital setting pets will act out. Not all of them, of course, but a sizable-enough percentage to make any aggressive behavior directed at the veterinarian or staff members an expected part of almost every human-animal interaction that occurs in a vet office. And since most aggressive behavior in vet settings is fear-based, that makes it even easier to forgive. I mean, what pet wouldn’t be scared?
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
In honor of the upcoming Westminster
Dog Show, put your breed knowledge to
the test with our fun trivia quiz.
Dr. Patty Khuly has a confession: Bringing
home a new dog or cat is stressful —
even for her and other vets.
Our veterinarian reveals why some
felines make a chattering sound when
they watch birds through the window.
Dr. Marty Becker clears up some
common misconceptions about bad
breath, anesthesia and dental disease.
The Boerboel, a South African Mastiff, is a strong and territorial breed who is not suited to inexperienced dog owners.
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.