Business has been growing at my practice far faster than we had expected this year. As a business leader this is a very good thing. As a doctor it's wearing me out!
The last two Wednesdays I've left work about an hour later than normal because of the sheer volume of cases. And it's not just the actual number, it's the kind also. When you're dealing with annual vaccines or puppy/kitten boosters it's normally a fairly quick visit. My staff does most of the client education, with me answering questions and filling in any gaps that haven't been covered. Most of the time I'm making sure the pet is healthy, reviewing and double-checking preventative care, then giving the vaccines. My time in most of these rooms is no more than 10 minutes, often less, and it's easy on my mind.
But lately we have been getting a lot of sick pets coming in. Most of them aren't serious illnesses, but it takes more time to examine them, run diagnostics, evaluate the test results, and determine what we need to do. These cases can take hours to fully work up and are much more mentally draining.
For example, let's look at today. I had a cat with a torn toenail from a dog fight, several ear infection cases, two dogs with bloody urine (one of which had a palm-sized bladder stone), two dogs with sudden lameness, a dog with fever and lethargy, a few skin cases, a heartworm diagnosis, a skin lump to check out....and I'm probably forgetting some. All of those cases can be a full day by themselves! Then throw in two dental cleanings and a spay, five or six well-pet drop-offs, and a good handful of pets needing vaccines spread throughout the day. A grand total of 37 pets seen in a 10 hour period, all by my little lonesome! For those who haven't been in the veterinary profession, that is A LOT!
And it wouldn't be so bad if it didn't seem like 2/3 of the patients had some major or minor medical problem to deal with. I am really looking forward to a day when most of the pets are well, and we're doing lots of boosters on young pets. My brain needs a break!