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Friday, November 18, 2016

Joyful Parts Of Being A Vet.....An Update On The "No-Eye" Dog

My last post was rather sad and depressing, so let's talk about some happy things!

Back in 2013 I wrote about a Siberian husky named Diesel.  Due to worsening glaucoma I surgically removed both of his eyes, and it turned out well.  You can read about that experience here.  He has continued to be a regular patient and has been doing exceptionally well since then.

A couple of weeks ago I saw him for a routine wellness exam and checkup, and was talking to one of our new staff members about his case.  It really made me think about some of the positive things about being a vet, and I thought that would be great to include in a blog.

One of the things I love most about being a vet is the bond that will often develop between me as a doctor and the clients and patients.  There is something magical about being able to continue to see patients year after year and continue to get to know them.  Diesel is a great example of this!  His surgery in 2013 is very memorable because it was the first time I removed both eyes at the same time.  I've used him as an example many, many times since then when discussing similar issues with other clients.  I love when he comes in because he is still such a friendly, happy dog, and being completely blind hasn't affected his quality of life at all.  In fact, the quality is much better than when he was dealing with glaucoma.  It is a true joy for me to see him a few times a year since that surgery, and to see how well he has been doing.  In fact, the clients recently moved to a new home and were worried about how he would adjust to the new environment.  We were concerned that he might become anxious because he didn't know the layout of the home and furniture.  But it didn't affect him in the least!  He didn't seem to care about the new place and hasn't had any problems making adjustments.  Over the last three years he's learned how to move around a place he doesn't know without hurting himself.

Here is a photo of Diesel from his most recent visit.  

Besides just being able to continue to follow up on him I also have the bond with his owners.  They are great people who love their dogs, and always try to do the best for them.  Since he did so well they have never regretted the decision to have the surgery done, and we always enjoy talking to each other when they come in.  I love clients like that!

I also recently saw another long-term client for a semi-annual checkup on her puppy.  As we were talking she happened to mention that her oldest child was now eight years old and I had seen her when she was pregnant with him.  I didn't realize it had been that long!  During those eight years I helped her with one epileptic dog, another who developed cancer, and the unfortunate euthanasia of both of them (at different times).  When she got a new puppy I was happy to see her family able to move on and welcome a new love in their home.  There is something so rewarding about knowing that family for so long, and having go through so many things with their pets.

The human-animal bond is something incredibly special.  As a life-long pet owner I couldn't imagine my life without my pets.  As a vet I love seeing that bond in my clients, and love getting to know them over many years.  When things like what I described in my last post happen, it's cases like Diesel that remind us of why we went into this profession.  It's great clients like his owners and many others I have that make the job worthwhile, and give us those emotional boosts that allow us to make it through the hard cases.

Veterinary medicine is hard and often emotional.  We deal with real tragedies and life-or-death situations.  But thankfully it's not always like that, and we can look at all of the patients we've helped and the clients we've gotten to know.  Those bright spots are what get us through the darkness, and why so many people want to become a vet.