Getting Bad News on Your Dog
You may have noticed small changes occurring for some time now, or perhaps it came quickly - in an instant, an illness or trauma. As you wait anxiously in your veterinarian's hospital, you have just been given the news that your beloved pet is very ill. What do you do when the news is bad? What questions do you ask your veterinarian, and how do you make the right decision regarding the care and treatment of your pet? Here are a few guidelines to help you understand your pet's illness and what issues you should address with the doctor if this difficult time comes.
Your Medical Education
No matter what the diagnosis may be, your veterinarian's first job is teaching you some advanced medical science. This is a big job for your vet as it is his responsibility to explain in clear and simple terms what can be some pretty complicated problems. It may be a short course on diabetes, kidney or heart disease. When you hear an illness explained for the first time, the medical language can be confusing. It is difficult to remember technical information under emotional circumstances. You may spend an hour discussing every aspect of a problem only to forget everything when you get home. This is normal and expected. Ask your veterinarian for any printed information he may have regarding your pet's illness that you can review at home and share with friends or family. Schedule a consult appointment time. Leave your pet at home so you can concentrate on what the doctor is telling you. The distraction of your pet during this time can hinder your understanding.
Now What Happens?
Now that you've had a little time to comprehend the news, it's time to ask the down-to-earth questions of what it will be to deal with your pet's illness. You should not be shy in asking your vet these questions, as you and your family will be the ones responsible for care and monitoring once your pet returns home.
Understanding Bad News
I Just Don't Understand How This Happened. He Was Fine When I Left.
This is often the toughest aspect to understand. How is it that your pet was fine this morning when you left for work only to return home to find him very sick? Your veterinarian will help you weed through possible causes but it is important to remember that many diseases that have been coming on slowly over time can look as if they just happened. The body is capable of coping with many diseases for a long time until it can no longer keep up. Your pet probably gave you no indications he was ill, and probably didn't feel bad until the moment he was no longer able to compensate for the level of disease. It does not indicate ANY neglect on your part.