Hold your horses, we’re switching gears from cows to dogs and cats here. If you’re looking for beef related posts, tune in this time next week.
I see sick pets every day here at the clinic. And rightfully so, owners are worried about their pets and want a solution. Most understand that the process of restoring a pet to health often takes an effort on their part. However, sometimes after I prescribe a certain treatment regimen, I am asked, “Can’t you just give him a shot, Doc?”
I can understand where this idea comes from. Every once in awhile, the answer is yes. Your dog has a skin infection? One shot of Convenia should clear it up. Brief seasonal allergies? A single dose of Depo-Medrol gets them over the hump.
But the “magic shot” is a very short list. The majority of diseases require medication for several days, multiple times a day, in addition to a change in diet, environment and/or exercise. This is much, much more difficult for an owner, but there simply isn’t any other way.
I must caution for everyone to beware of the non-medical person that claims the “magic cure” for your pet’s illness. There isn’t a single exotic Asian herb that is going to treat your dog’s glaucoma as effectively as daily medication. Nor will a bath in motor oil work for any medical issue.
In addition, even the one-shot treatments will fall short at times. Not all infections respond to a single Convenia dose, and some pets are allergic to the drug. Depo-Medrol is a temporary fix, and allergies that last longer than a couple weeks would be better managed with daily, oral medication.
In short, unless the veterinarian reaches for a bottle and says, “a shot of this will fix the problem,” we cannot “just give him a shot”. Dogs and cats are not machines, but living creatures that no one in the world understands every nuance of how their bodies work. It may take extra tests to figure out what the problem is, changing the treatment plan a time or two, and a change in the environment you provide them at home to restore your pet to health.
I get it, all these medications and lifestyle changes are tough. But remember, essentially all veterinarians are pet owners as well (just like Carolyn and I with our Cletus) and we’ve done these things with our pets. It is much better to go through all the work to fix or appropriately manage the medical issue than to ignore the problem.
Photo credit: http://www.co.fresno.ca.us/DepartmentPage.aspx?id=16359