But My Vet Said… – Talented Animals Blog

But My Vet Said… – Talented Animals Blog

veterinarian is a crucial part of the team keeping your pet healthy, and they
have extensive knowledge and expertise that should be heard and incorporated
diligently if you want to do what is best for your animal. However, many people
seem to imagine that vet school or a few years of practice has rendered veterinarians
as experts on all things animal, and so people often accept advice given to
them by a veterinarian without thinking or questioning.

school covers a lot of information in 4 years, so many topics, particularly
those that are peripheral to medicine, are covered very quickly and
superficially. For the most part, vet school focuses on ailments that impact
animals: pathogens and injuries, diagnostic tools, pathology, pharmacology, etc.
and less on animals per se.

veterinarian MAY have expertise in other fields—may be a fabulous expert in all
sorts of additional animal fields! But if so, that knowledge came from somewhere
other than vet school…

within their field of expertise, if you ask ten vets the same question, in most
instances you will get ten different answers. Sometimes the answers will be
incompatible. Bodies are complicated, medicine is inexact, there are very few
questions in medicine to which there this a single correct answer, particularly
those that involve balancing objectives or applying judgment…

Topics about which veterinarians are often imagined to be experts but seldom are:

Behavior Training Breeds
Nutrition Weight Saddle Fit
Ethics Reason and Logic Animal Sports
Thermodynamics Equipment When to euthanize
Optimal age to spay/neuter Optimal age to start riding your horse Meaning of life

Topics upon which your veterinarian likely did receive a reasonable degree of education depend a bit on where they went to school and what they focused upon, although if they are not an expert in a particular field the education may have been limited, and unless they make a real effort to stay current their information may not be current, but in general:

Bacteriology Immunology SA Critical Care
Cardiology Integrated Problem Solving SA Primary Care
Imaging Intro. to Animal Care SA Medicine
Oncology LA Medicine SA Surgery
Pathology LA Surgery Toxicology
SA Medicine LA Emergency Care Clinical Nutrition
SA Surgery Microscopic Anatomy Theriogenology
SA Emergency Care Diagnostic Services Special Animal Medicine
Neuroscience Parasitology Anesthesiology
General Medicine Diagnostic Pathology Veterinary Ethics
Epidemiology  Physiology Virology
Pharmacology Practice Management Pathology
Gross Anatomy Mycology VM & Public Health

may hear this as being a refutation of expertise—as suggesting that vets do not
know anything, and you should listen to your cousin or some stranger on the
internet. ABSOLUTELY NOT! I am close friends with many veterinarians, and almost
without exception they are intelligent, informed, educated, rational people who
know a GREAT deal about their field of expertise, and I am incredibly grateful
to have their help in keeping my animals healthy!

You are the captain of the team caring for your animal, and you need to make the ultimate decisions, and in order to do so effectively, you need to gather the right input from various sources, weigh it appropriately, and then integrate that information into the best possible decision. There are few better sources of information about the health of your animal than a good veterinarian; just be mindful that the questions you are asking them are the right ones and that you are listening to their answers carefully, critically, and in balanced concert with other expert advice…

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But My Vet Said… – Talented Animals Blog

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