The adventures of a veterinarian with lots of practical advice but no practical experience on raising a puppy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Ouch Factor

In my profession there is always the possibility of the "ouch factor". Sometimes animals come to me in pain and sometimes there is pain associated with their visit. Despite our ongoing and aggressive efforts to prevent, eliminate or at least control pain - it is there. Surgery, shots or abscessed teeth - that stuff hurts.

Some animals are amazing in their capacity to tolerate pain and likewise some are amazing in their ability NOT to tolerate it. The trick is you don't know which is which until after the fact.

So it was with much trepidation that I prepared to vaccinate Darcy. She had already experienced the occasional discomfort during ear cleaning, grooming, nail trimming, etc. I vaccinate LOTS of dogs and cats and believe me - the vast majority of them don't even acknowledge the actual injection. I counted back on the calendar a couple times and confirmed that she was actually due for a vaccine then gave my assistant the go ahead. We carefully prepared the vaccine and used a new, sharp needle (courtesies extended to all our patients of course!).

After a bit of stress on our parts, Darcy took the vaccine like a champ. She was sleepy that day which is a very common question from my clients. Most noticeably, she did seem sore in that spot and so I was very quick to give her a dose of oral pain medication. After that it was smooth sailing.

Since I became a veterinarian and then later a mother I realized those sensations I feel when sitting in the pediatrician's office are similar or the same to what my clients feel. I vividly remember taking a newborn infant to the doctor for the first time and the trapped feeling as my baby was hurting. OK - so maybe I was a little bit more hormonal and a little bit more sleep deprived than the average client walking into my office but it is still stressful! I always try to reflect on those feelings for just a moment when the tables are turned and I'm sitting in the waiting room - dreading what is about to happen. I know that Darcy's "well-puppy" visits and her spay (yikes!) will help me to stay more grounded and in touch with the not-so-fun aspects of getting a new puppy.

She was anxious to help me type this post so I grabbed a picture to show how she is growing. She has gained about 6 ounces since arriving and is learning something new everyday - whether I'm trying to teach her or not.

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