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.