Three Myths About Veterinary Care
March 14, 2015
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Caring for your pet can be confusing, and there are many myths about veterinary care that make matters even tougher. Some of them result from comparing the field of veterinary medicine to that of human medicine, and others are just plain off the mark. Here are a few common misconceptions about the world of animal care.
'Veterinary Clinics Aren't Real Medical Practices'
Not only are veterinary clinics real medical practices, but their employees went to college for the same amount of time as other types of medical professionals — and must become familiar with a more diverse clientele. Like traditional medical school, veterinary professionals must apply and be accepted to a college for veterinary medicine or technology at a university. Currently, there are 28 veterinary colleges in the United States, with similar statistics of acceptance as in most human medical programs.
Many veterinarians also pursue a similar course of study as human doctors until they earn their bachelor's degree, after which time they attend highly specialized, animal-based courses. Here, they may teach and participate in surgical procedures, clinical care, pharmacology and many other medical subjects. After the eight years required to earn a PhD in veterinary medicine, some animal doctors even choose to pursue further education. Although veterinary staff don't communicate with people as much as their counterparts in human medicine, they work in a passionate atmosphere and see the rewards of their work through happy pets and the people who care for them.
'All Veterinary Clinics Offer the Same Services'
Although almost all veterinary offices offer basic services, many of them are highly specialized. Not unlike human medicine, veterinary doctors may pursue additional classes and internships to earn certifications in areas like orthopedic surgery, ophthalmology or exotic animal care. A common specialization would be the feline practitioner, often referred to as the "cat doctor." These veterinarians have focused their practices to serve cats exclusively and offer unique services for their care. Cat doctors are unlikely to allow dogs into their practice for many reasons related to their facility's atmosphere, but they will usually refer their clients to a veterinarian who'd be happy to see them.
Veterinary specialists in organ systems, like veterinary ophthalmologists or veterinary physical therapists, usually require a referral from a general practice veterinarian in order to see your pet. If you have an exotic pet, you may need to find a veterinarian who advertises "exotic animal" care, as these species frequently need special equipment for proper care.
'Pets Don't Get the Same Quality of Care as Humans'
Many people believe there are vast differences between veterinary medicine and human medicine. Often, they misunderstand the importance of hygiene and disease prevention throughout the office. Animal care may be inherently messier than human care (think fur, fleas, dirt and dog licks) and involve many different anatomies, but it is just as important to maintain the same standards of cleanliness you would find in a human clinic or hospital when performing procedures. Finding a clean, bright clinic, with caring vet techs, is just as important to your pet's health as a clean medical office with attentive nurses is to yours.
Veterinarians study for an average of four years following undergraduate school, and many clinics' most versatile staff member, the veterinary technician, does so for at least two years. The education received is structured similarly to those of human physicians and registered nurses. Most veterinary procedures are also learned using the same methods of disease control and patient monitoring as those used in human procedures.
Myths about veterinary care can be found high and low, but with the truth to these three in tow, you're on your way to a better relationship with the practice in your life.
Photo credit: Flickr