The Modern Vet

I feel compelled to write this blog on behalf of my vet colleagues who work so hard everyday. Did you know that vets are four times more likely to commit suicide than the general public? Why? A feeling of helplessness. Veterinary medicine is at crisis point in Ireland, there are not enough vets to fill all the positions in Ireland. There are plenty of vets studying veterinary but on graduation they are choosing jobs abroad where they get a better quality of life.

As vets we are dealing with real live animals. Every case is different, every animal responds differently to treatment and every pet brings a new challenge. Our job is unpredictable, and sometimes pets get sick and die despite our help. We always feel like we should have done more, or done something differently. We discuss with our friends about the case and we reassure each other that there was nothing else that we could have done.

There is no vet in this country that has never woken up thinking about a sick patient they are looking after. That sick feeling in your stomach worrying about the cat that breathing problems that are getting worse, the dog that is still vomiting or the pet that is coming in tomorrow for major surgery. Vets are under continuous pressure from online social media to perform and out perform for clients. People have a platform to reach millions of people with their complaints and others without the full story can ruin someone’s reputation very quickly.

Often vets feel helpless and have their hands tied because of economics. There are animals presented to us that we know we can fix and help but owners can’t afford it. If we help every animal by providing free care, the business will become bankrupt and we are unable then to help anyone. Discounts and offers are so popular now with facebook and other social media outlets. People expect reductions on surgeries and other procedures. Discounting means reducing the quality of service offered and putting the pet’s health at risk. We as vets spend most of our time discussing how to cut costs for owners, how to pick the best treatment for the money available, how to cover costs. We feel responsible for the animal’s health and safety and are devastated when we can’t help.

Vets are human, we have hard days, tired days, long days and horrible sad days. Sometimes our bodies hurt from busy spring days, sometimes our brains are drained from a heavy case load or sometimes our hearts are tired from being there for people. When you call we get up and go, sometimes we can’t when our other human life takes over.

Nobody went through vet college and graduated to come out the other side and not care. In college we learned perfect medicine but in reality this doesn’t exist. If I could run every test possible on a sick dog, it would be very easy. Life isn’t easy or perfect so all we can do is try our best.

Vet Mum Life

Apologies for the lack of social media up dates recently, I guess I’ve being busy. I’m a Vet Mammy after all- no not a vet of Mammies but a Mammy that happens to be a vet.  With one small 4 year old boss at home and another nearly ready in the oven it has been a busy few weeks.

Being a vet isn’t just a job…it takes over your life but being a vet mammy takes over your other half’s life and your kids life too. ‘Mammy is going into the clinic to a sick dog or cat’ is a routine phrase in our house. I have a mini vet at home that knows where to find the drip bags in the clinic, knows what a giving set is and helps get bandages from the bandaging press.

 

VMG (Vet Mum Guilt) is a real disease, it’s a chronic lifetime disease that can’t be treated, only managed. I suffer with it really bad- dog in clinic on a drip needing looking after and minding, little boy at home needing cuddling and stories before bed. Sunny Saturdays spent playing with waterbowls and syringes when we should be digging with buckets and spades. Christmas morning xraying an injured cat when we should be playing with new toys. Late evenings in the clinic working on an emergency when your baby is crying at the minders to be collected. VMG- vet mum guilt slowly eats away at you and becomes harder and harder to treat until you realise that family life is number 1. Without a stable family life as the foundation, every other aspect of your life can crumble and fall.

I love my job and I love my family. I find it hard to choose between them and try to combine them both. This means that my little boy becomes a little helper,  learning about the life of vets early on. Hopefully it instils in him a love and respect of innocent creatures that rely on us the humans. Hopefully it gives him a good work ethic foundation for his future and hopefully he understands growing up that together we are a team and a family working hard together for a great life.