I have heard a term used before that I don’t fully understand.  “Annual vet visit”. What is this singular visit in one year that you speak of? HOW IS THAT EVEN A THING?

Max went to vet about 20 times a year. He had some thyroid issues, arthritis and sensitive digestive system.  He also had some funky anal glands.

Jake goes to the vet more than Max did.  In addition to his legs, Jake gets a lot of skin infections, he is prone to nail injury (I don’t know why) and he gets stuff like feathers and frog legs stuck in his throat.  In the two years I’ve had Jake, he’s had an MRI, a spinal tap, teeth pulled, nasal passage widening and four ER vet visits.

While I have not officially counted, I am fairly certain that Melvin went to the vet HUNDREDS of times. Best I can estimate it was more than 400 but less than 500.  There were his allergies, that took up at least half of those appointments.  Skin infections, ear infections, yeast infections, giardia, mange, colitis.  He had diarrhea at least 200 times. He threw up fairly regularly, was nauseous more days than not and got monthly medicated baths.  He went to the ER at least 30 times.  He aspirated acorn throw-up into his lung lobe and almost needed an emergency lobectomy. He had a tail amputation (that refused to heal) and he too had an MRI and spinal tap. He had seizures. He had countless x-rays, several CT scans, and many, many, many ultrasounds. He had a mystery tick disease. He took ~20 pills a day (prior to the cancer)(some were supplements for the arthritis and pre/probiotics for his wacky stomach).

There is no way I could have done Melvin’s life without our vet. She was there every step.  Every challenge, every mystery, every success.  When something presented that she was not sure about, Melvin went up on chat boards to have other vets weigh in. This happened right down to his last week. She is the second phone call that I made in the parking lot after we got the ultrasound done that turned up the cancer. Not for her to comfort me, although she did, but to have her on the case as soon as possible. I have her cell phone number. During Melvin’s illness, I’d text her when I was overwhelmed and confused and she would gently bring me back to the medical reality.  She and I, together, got Melvin to ten.  And she came to the house to help me send Melvin onward. We’ve laughed together and we’ve cried together. We championed Melvin together.  And now we do the same for Jake.

There are some vets who believe in traditional veterinary medicine.  There are others who go holistic.  Some vets meet in the middle on approaches.  Our vet, well our vet was the best of them all. She just wanted Melvin to have the best life he could.  She believed in our journey of joy. While I drove that joy bus, she was the compass that kept us moving in the right direction.

So while you may be one of these elusive ‘annual vet visits’ households or you might be of the ‘can’t go to the vet enough’ variety — find a vet that champions your pet’s joy.  They exist and it’s amazing!  And at the end, you will be so glad you have someone next to you who knows how lovely your journey was.

8 thoughts on “Vetted.

  1. I can totally relate….In Lainey’s first 2 years of life she had 5 orthopedic surgeries, 1 minor surgery, allergies, stomach issues, multiple ER trips, etc. It’s exhausting, but i don’t really know any other way of life. She will be 4 in July and we are still doing massage, chiropractor and weekly physical rehab appointments. Not to mention the dozens of pills she gets each and every day.

    But, to be completely honest, the payback I receive by her love and slobbery kisses more than makes up for it.

    • We need club t-shirts! I agree, the vet trips and bills were worth every single moment that the dogs were better, great and happy! And I knew Melvin was going to be a vet dog, so I got to decide on that life when I rescued him. I’m just so grateful for great vets!

  2. It is so important to find the right vet. I stayed too long in an unhappy relationship with one that was near my house, for the short trip and after a while, the fact that they had the history on my three senior pets. Their handling of the last weeks of my elkhound’s life was the impetus I needed to seek out a different vet and now I have one I trust completely and who has a balance of compassion, practicality and perseverance that I relate to.

    • I dislike and love this comment so much! When you find the right one, you just breathe so much easier. We also have a vet that is five minutes away but OUR vet is 30 min away and I the best part is the boys love car rides so going to the vet is a treat in that respect also. Cheers to great vets!!

  3. This, this, this: “…find a vet that champions your pet’s joy.” Yes. A million times. We had the most incredible vet who was there for these guys every step of every illness, allergy, emergency, diagnosis, etc., and she emailed, called, chat-boarded, everything we needed. And then she moved away. Sigh. We have a new vet now who, I think, will turn out to be as equally fabulous. She’s fresh out of vet school, so she’s energetic and full of ideas. But, in the meantime, until we get to that point with New Vet, our previous vet, our most wonderful vet, is my FB friend and still reviews all their test results. Can’t ask for more!

    • You get it! YOU MOST CERTAINLY GET IT!!! I mean, there is so much we know and our gut says something strongly but you have to have someone you can count on that believes in your gut and your love and your journey goals!

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