By Dr. Patty Khuly, PetMD
In a column for USA Today, I couldn’t help but offer up the ways in which some clients can perturb us with their protests. I’d had a hectic week so the column just kind of wrote itself and got itself e-mailed before I had a chance to take it back. This is always a bad thing.
For my efforts, I got treated to disparaging e-mails and comments regarding my compassion for my clients, from people saying they would never want to see a veterinarian who thought so poorly of them. Hmmm, I thought… maybe they’re right and I was too harsh. And maybe they’re not.
Some pet owners really get my goat. They’re the ones whose moans, lamentations and out-sized hand-wringing makes me and my staff want to wring their necks. You know who they are. They’re not your favorites, either. They’re just as willing to regularly return food at restaurants and routinely declare war against anyone behind a counter. Tiresome, right?
In a veterinary environment, such whining takes on very specific forms. In an effort to exorcise the demons of a difficult week (and for your infotainment, of course), here’s a list of the most common pet owner complaints I hear.
1. The free pet wail
“This FREE [fill in the blank species] is costing me hundreds of dollars!”
Need I explain why this grievance grates like nails on a chalkboard?
2. Dental extraction denial
“But I’ve had dogs my entire life and none has ever needed all this expensive dentistry — and all those extractions!”
Are you sure about that?
These owners want their pet to keep all her teeth but they’re unwilling or unable to do what’s necessary to mitigate the root cause: periodontal disease. Nor are they willing to accept that sometimes diseases truly are beyond our control.
3. The sick pet protest
A corollary to number two:
“Why do all my pets get sick?”
“How can this be?”
“What are you going to do about it?”
“Why isn’t he getting any better?”
To which I can only answer, “With your help, we will do our utmost to get your pets well again. We can only do as much as our technology and your cooperation (funds, sometimes) allows.”
I understand this one, really I do, partly because my (animal) family is commonly afflicted with all kinds of bizarre and stressful issues that aren’t always treatable. But to lodge a complaint against the veterinarian, as if it’s effectively the vet’s fault that your pet has X disease, (as many clients are wont to do) is completely unfair and highly counterproductive.
See Also: Dog Food Allergy Myths
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.