The common line given when you ask people “What do veterinarians do?” is something along the lines of “They take care of and treat animals.” Yes, it is true that veterinarians are responsible for wellness and diagnostic care of animals, including exams, vaccines, surgery, evaluating blood work, diagnostic tests and prescribing medications. But veterinarians do a whole lot more than “take care of animals.”
Veterinarians are also teachers, which requires the ability to convey understanding and motivation. Veterinarians are responsible for educating and encouraging people to offer the best care for their animals. Everything from daily nutrition and exercise needs to blood work values and advanced surgical procedures are discussed each day, multiple times a day.
As with all science, veterinary medicine can respond in unexpected ways. No medication, treatment plan or vaccine is effective 100% of the time. When a pet’s treatment plan does not go as expected, veterinarians are responsible for explaining the situation and outcome to clients.
Veterinary care is as much a “people business” as an animal and healing profession. Our veterinarians build life-long relationships with both people and their pets. Long term relationships help people trust veterinarians and recommendations for their pets care. With on-going relationships veterinarians can help influence people to do things that may seem too intimidating, but are imperative for their pet’s well-being, such as giving insulin injections to their diabetic pet.
Veterinarians are responsible for discussing end of life care and the euthanasia decision with people. It is not easy to tell people that their pet has a terminal illness, even if they have been suspecting it for a while. Veterinarians help coach people through the last moments of their pet’s lives.