Is there anything I can do to assure my pet’s health?

Written by Kate Howell, Powell Veterinary Services

Many years ago I was talking to my son about his work. Although he rarely shares stories about his work as a firefighter, we were talking about a response from their crew to a horrific auto accident where there were several fatalities. I had thought often about how difficult it must be for these responders to handle this type of accident, but as he described the scene my admiration for him and all emergency responders rose immensely. To give you an idea one of his comments was “it wasn’t just that there were dead bodies, but that it was mainly body parts strewn everywhere.” Made me realize we don’t always appreciate what all is involved in someone’s work.

It is that way in a veterinary clinic also. We often think it is just the vaccinations that are required, the microchip placement, the occasional illness or the toughest of times, the euthanasia of an elderly pet, but it can be a very tough job for veterinarians and technicians on a daily basis. I think much more than what we realize. When they want so badly to help the animal and they can’t, or worse when they know the emergency could have been prevented.

This occurred in the Powell Veterinary offices recently when a beautiful five-year year old boxer was brought into the clinic. He was coughing and choking like had never been seen before. In the words of Dr. Powell “this is the closest I have seen to the walking dead.” He was suffering from congestive heart failure quite possibly caused by heartworm disease.
Committed to lifetime health

Now, I know I have been guilty of thinking that the veterinarian was just trying to “pad the bill” when he suggested further treatments and preventative treatments such as heartworm medication, or when it is recommended by the Veterinary Association that your animal have an exam twice a year. But this situation brought the realization that for the two to three hundred dollars spent on preventative treatments I could possibly avoid a situation such as this. Why is it that we listen to our doctor and we are willing to spend the money on examinations and medication to prevent serious illness but are not willing to do the same for the animals that we so dearly love?

I can’t imagine the guilt and the “if onlys” that this owner must be facing. Is there anything you can do to assure your pet’s health? Not always, but there certainly are some simple steps to know you did everything you could.