I've been known to poke fun at our human medicine colleagues, saying that compared to those of us in veterinary medicine,
they have it easy. Only one species? Must be nice, huh?
There's also the matter of communication: MDs are usually able to discuss symptoms and ask questions to help them with a diagnosis.
I've yet to meet a dog or cat able tell me, "My lower back is killin' me, doc!"
But just because I can't talk with my patients, doesn't mean I don't talk to them. In fact, I do all the time. If they don't
understand what I'm saying, well, it really doesn't matter, because I'm talking to them to help the pet or the pet owner or
even my veterinary team members relax.
I've written before about pointing out something good about pets to the owner instead of always hammering them with what they're
doing "wrong." I continue this endeavor when I'm taking to their pets, "You're so lucky to have a mom who loves you so much
and takes such great care of you!" The owner beams. "Your owner does a great job keeping your nails trimmed," I'll tell another.
There's always something good to say and saying it to the animal is another way to engage the client. In our profession, we
have to deliver a lot of bad news and there's always enough sadness to go around. But when you have an opportunity to find
some good news, I encourage you to share it with your client and with the pet.
Dr. Marty Becker is a practicing veterinarian, popular speaker and author of more than 22 top-selling books. He is the resident
veterinarian on Good Morning America, a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show and the lead veterinary contributor to