The veterinary medical industry has now made the long-awaited move towards specialization. While general practitioners still populate the industry, younger doctors, especially those with easy access to other specialists in the area, have begun to realize that it is difficult to provide the best possible care for animals without having access to a specialized field. Though many general practitioners currently perform surgeries on a regular basis, these surgeries are as varied as the animals they perform them on.
There is no way for a general practitioner to effectively learn each surgery with expertise. Conversely, a veterinarian who specializes in brain surgery in dogs will complete many similar surgeries routinely, enabling him to effectively handle complex cases and operating room surprises.
Many of my colleagues scoff at my attitude toward surgery. As a general practitioner, I could legally do many types of surgery, however I have not made use of my qualifications for years. I’ve never even tried to learn many procedures, such as plating or pinning a broken bone. While some veterinary professionals may scoff at me reluctant to complete what they view as “simple” procedures, I still maintain that I would rather recommend my patients’ owners to a specialist, or if need be, bring a specialist into my own practice to help. I believe that my patients deserve the best care, and I can acknowledge that I am not always the best practitioner to provide it. While it may cost my patients substantially more to see a specialist, in my eyes it will always be worth the money.
All About General Practioners
Many other people, however, question whether the extra thousands of dollars are worth it. After all, isn’t it just paying more for the same procedure? While I am sure to tell my patients that there are other general practitioners that will perform surgeries, I am also sure that they know the facts: A general practitioner will perform certain surgeries two to three times a year while specialists perform them several times weekly. Surgeons also have much more training under their belts, and therefore are better able to handle any mishaps that may occur during surgery, a life or death matter when it occurs on the operating table. Finally, patient care increases as well. In most cases pets that receive care from a specialist will be monitored overnight.
I don’t know of many people that would put their life or the life of their child on the line without knowing the qualification of their doctor. It’s about time that pet owners begin to do the same. Owners need to be asking questions of their pets’ surgeons, including the number of times he or she has completed the procedure, the complications that are known to occur, the monitoring that patients will receive, and the care that the pet will receive after the operation. It is also important to consider the care of the pet after he or she returns home – what is the doctor’s plan for pain management?
Question to your Paediatrician
These are questions that it would seem obvious to ask of a paediatrician or other human doctor, but that are rarely asked of veterinarians. Many people look at pets as important members of their families; members they care deeply for and do not wish to lose. As veterinary care continues to improve and specialize, I encourage families to consider the options available for their pets’ care.
Look into the qualifications each veterinarian possesses, ask about their interests within the field, and explore their background and education. Be sure to investigate the facility itself – does this veterinarian have current equipment and resources? By answering these questions pet owners dramatically increase the health care of their pets, meaning that Fido and Boots have a much higher likelihood of returning home after the surgery.
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Graeme Swayne is an animal doctor in Ontario and has been practicing from last 4 years. With an extensive experience in veterinary medical industry, Swayne shares important information that helps pet owner choose the right vet.