First published on The Riley and James Veterinary Website
by Shawn Finch, DVM
Dave Nelson, Riley’s owner and my little brother, asked me to write a newsletter every other month for the members of Riley’s Fan Club. I am so excited! I have enjoyed meeting some of you and you are AWESOME pet owners.
Every veterinarian has a favorite thing… a soapbox they never get tired of standing on… a topic they love to discuss… the best part of their day. Mine is health.
Sounds like a cop-out doesn’t it? Like I couldn’t pick one topic, so I swept them all into one? It’s not. I love to educate pet owners on disease prevention…how to help their pet be the very healthiest he or she can be for a very, very long life.
Does it seem like I might work myself out of a job? If no one is sick, no one needs the vet, right? In fact, I have found quite the opposite to be true.
You let me help them plan your pets’ diets, their exercise schedules, their wellness exams, their vaccinations, even their dental care. So time after time I see happy, healthy pets who either have wonderful boring health reports or the tiniest of beginning problems… a bit of dental disease, a few extra pounds, the very beginning of an ear infection…I will NEVER get tired of saying, “Riley is very healthy and fit, just like she was six months ago.”
Of course I see the pets who are very sick, or have chronic conditions, even emergencies. And it is wonderful to be there for people then too, but it is not my passion. Health is my passion.
You’d think it would get boring, wouldn’t you? Even other vets raise their eyebrows at me. “Don’t you love orthopedics, internal medicine, emergencies? Much more drama, swooping in and saving a life and all.” And of course I do.
I love the whole veterinary medicine package — my team members, my clients, their pets, and helping them with all the ailments and accidents they can come up with. But if every appointment consisted of examining a healthy dog or cat, guinea pig or bird… answering questions from proactive owners, and sending each pet home with a tummy full of treats and an A+ health report card, I would be the happiest vet in the world.
And as much as you probably love watching Animal Planet and hearing great life-and-death stories, I’ll bet when it comes to your pet, you would like our vet visits to be as boring as I would, huh? It sure has been a fun career as you all help me approach that.