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Stefano Fontana

“Getting veterinary advice from your breeder is like getting gynecological advice from a pimp”

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This is one of pimp2my favorite quotes. It is amazing how many people take the advice of the breeder or even the pet store clerk over ours. It is beyond frustrating. So much for the years I spent gaining an education in veterinary medicine.

To be fair there are some good breeders out there, but they are few and very far in between. In my 20 year career I have met only three and two of them were not “professional” breeders.  They were clients that had dogs that were temperamentally and genetically perfect and had a love of that particular breed. If you have your heart set on a pure bred dog (I am partial to King Charles Cavaliers and Golden Retrievers) be sure to find yourself a
GOOD breeder or better yet you can contact a breed specific rescue and get a dog or puppy that way. You might also be surprised to learn that 25% of all dogs in the shelters are pure bred.

There is a great check list provided by the humane society that will help you decipher a good breeder from a back yard breeder. They need to fulfill ALL of the points on the checklist and not just some of them to be considered a good breeder.

Ideally, dogs should be bred once every 2 years after 2 years of age, but certainly no more than once per year. Your average back yard breeder does so every 6 months. Breeders make hundreds to thousands of tax free dollars on the sale of every puppy! You might want to let that thought sink in.

For us in the veterinary world, it is often an uphill battle of, “my breeder told me this and my breeder told me that”. Please bear in mind your breeder did not go to medical school and should not be giving you medical advice. PERIOD. A good breeder will have a working relationship with a veterinarian and have all the puppies vet checked and be given at least an initial vaccination by a veterinarian prior to you getting custody of your new puppy.

During my years in emergency medicine, I saw too many dystocia (obstructed labor) cases to count. They more often than not ended in euthanasia, when the owner refused to pay for the emergency surgery necessary to save the mother and puppies’ lives. Never mind that these people had been making money off their dog every 6 months for her whole life. These dogs are treated as a commodity, not a living breathing entity.

OUR job, is to care for these animals, even if all we can do is end their suffering.

If you are thinking about breeding your dog, know that if you do it responsibly, you will lose money.  The testing necessary to make sure you pet is genetically sound is very expensive. Things go wrong and when they do you need to be mentally and financially ready for them. The AKC has a checklist of sixteen things you should do before breeding your dog. Also, please remember before you do, 2.7 million dogs and cats are put to death every year due to pet overpopulation.

Love Exists Times Infinity

By Purrs One Comment

rowdy Last week we helped one of our favorite patients cross over the rainbow bridge. It made me think about how often we are there for a patient’s first ever vet visit, until their last. There are pets that we share our lives with, we love them and care for them, but that elusive something more remains absent. What makes us fall in love with one pet and not the other? Those of us that work with animals experience love at first site often. It IS real and it DOES exist. It’s frequently a surprise even to us. Maybe, it’s a breed we wouldn’t normally like, or even a species, but like all love affairs once it has begun it changes us forever. When such a pet or a patient inevitably leaves us to cross the rainbow bridge, it leaves an unfillable void in our soul. Regardless of the pain inflicted by their loss, we wouldn’t change one second of the experience. Sure we can go out and get another dog, cat etc. and another puppy or kitten will walk through our door: and we may very well fall in love with our new friend, but they will never fill the void left by the one that came before. To all of you that I have loved and lost, I miss you, thank you for being a part of my life. To all of you yet to come, I look forward to meeting you and experiencing our adventures together…

Thank You!

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Sometimes I feel we are the luckiest clinic around. We have wonderful clients who have followed us from clinic to clinic until we found our “forever home” here at Paradise Veterinary Hospital.

We have had clients on multiple occasions bring in neighborhood pets and pay to have them treated because their owners couldn’t afford it. We have had a number of clients only adopt geriatric animals because no one else wanted them and give them a loving home until it is time for them to cross the rainbow bridge.  For these people, I say that there is a special place in heaven for you.

Of these people who have followed us many have become fast friends and we are grateful for you all. Thank you.

To those we have just met and to those we have yet to meet, Welcome! We hope you find your own special place in our hearts.

To those who cast aspersions on my profession…

By Hisses No Comments

To those who cast aspersions on my profession…

A friend posted pictures today of her pup having heightened vaccine side effects. While she trusts and respects us, the comments posted to her page were insulting and enlightening.

Comments like these, inevitably makes me angry, then deeply saddened. I have dedicate the last 15 years of my life educating myself, both formally (earning a degree in animal science) and informally (taking over 100 hours of continuing education every year to stay current), on the subject of animal welfare and medicine.

When people ask me I can honestly say I love my job, but when people ask me about becoming a Registered Veterinary Technician, I emphatically tell them not to do it. The job includes low pay, long hours and often no appreciation or understanding of what we do, other than from our peers and a few special clients. We are constantly second guessed and questioned by clients, because their neighbor told them this, or Google told them that, or they read some article written by some quack with not an ounce of medical knowledge. Consider the source of your information. Make sure you get it from an educated and reputable resource. Just because someone claims to be an expert, doesn’t mean that they are!

I have never and will never make any recommendations for a client’s pet that I have not and would not do for my own pet in the same circumstances. We spend every day educating people and falling in love with our patients. We watch these same patients grow into adult hood and then old age. We give them preventative care and nurse them when they get sick. We know the heartache of caring for an animal from its first kitten or puppy visit, until our last act of mercy when we help them cross the rainbow bridge and we do this over and over again, day in and day out. We have the strength to do what is right even when it hurts.

So the next time you question our knowledge and integrity as individuals or as a profession, please consider all I have said.

If you loved animals you would do this for free!

By Hisses One Comment

REALLY? NO REALLY? You would not believe how many times I have heard this statement uttered in my career.  Of course I love animals, do you think I would be doing this if I didn’t. Working as a veterinary professional means low pay, long hours and perpetual heartbreak, broken by the occasional success story that ultimately makes it all worthwhile. If we can save even one, then it is worth it to us all. That is why we do this job. So when someone looks at us and says that, it is a proverbial slap in the face.

I am sorry that you have a pet that you can’t afford. That is not my fault and it is your choice. Pets are expensive and a luxury! The worst is when someone puts an animal to sleep because it has a disease that they can’t afford to treat and show up a week later with a new puppy/kitten.  If you couldn’t afford the last one you can’t afford this one. It is a LIFE people not an object to be replaced! And for you disbelievers out there yes it happens ALL the time… When you get a pet, you make a commitment to take care of it, which includes vet bills when they get sick. We understand that circumstances change, people lose their jobs etc. and these things can’t be foreseen.  We are here to help you, help your pet and will work with you if you are NICE.

When it is time to pay the electric bill, the rent and the phone bill, I can’t call the phone company and say, “Sorry we can’t pay you because we love animals.  You’re okay with that right?” While we want to help animals, it is part of our nature and why we have ultimately chosen this career, we are also a business and we can’t keep our doors open to help the next patient if we don’t charge.