How Is Veterinary Medicine Different Than Human Medicine?
Our patients can’t talk!
This may seem obvious, but it often means that we are relying both on the detailed history you give us, as well as laboratory testing. More tests may be needed on your animal than on yourself because they are unable to help us localize the issue.
Our patients hide their symptoms!
Animals are evolutionarily wired to hide their symptoms to avoid seeming weak or like prey. This means that by the time we notice a symptom, the disease process is often advanced enough to need medical intervention. This also contributes to needing laboratory testing or imaging, as often what the patient is showing us is merely the tip of the iceberg.
We can euthanize!
We know this one is difficult to talk about, but it is worthy of discussion. In human medicine, we are often shielded from death but watching a living being dying “naturally” is unpleasant at best and traumatic at worst. Our furry friends very rarely “die in their sleep”, and a peaceful death free from pain is one of the greatest gifts we can give our pets when they are terminal.
You have to pay at time of service – and this doesn’t mean that we don’t care!
We have to be able to pay our amazing team, keep our lights on, and keep supplies stocked for all of our patients. Although pet insurance is becoming more widespread, it is a completely different model from human medical insurance. Furthermore, we are not subsidized by the government when clients do not pay. It is not a matter of how long you have been a client or not believing that you will pay – we are unable to carry accounts receivable.