Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Shamu, The Mysterious Whale

Every time we go to the vet, we manage to spend upwards of $400 on medications, preventative pills and drops, vaccinations, something called a “biohazard disposal fee,” etc. etc… and that’s with a healthy dog. We’ll end up selling a kidney if she ever actually needs the vet.

Picture 1079 I can’t complain too much about flea prevention, because fleas make my life hell. And heartworms? Well, that sounds awfully unpleasant. Anything for our little girl!

And, of course, allergy treatments. Benadryl twice daily isn’t so bad; we buy the store brand and Coco happily takes her pills wrapped in cheese with little fuss. But then there’s the prescription ear drops, and the cleaning, and the possibility of having to put her on an even more premium food. Is Innova at $50/bag in our future? Please God no. (And no thank you, Mr. Vet, I will not buy Hill’s prescription foods that they pay you to promote. Hill’s makes Science Diet, which, despite the name, is like feeding your dog McDonald’s every day. I can read an ingredients list as well as you can. Yes, I know that “most over the counter dog foods have the same ingredients.” Our food doesn’t. Shut up.)

When it comes to the medical profession, I’ve always had a healthy dose of suspicion. It’s a far cry from paranoia – it’s just that I don’t trust doctors to be supergeniuses, and so far it has served me pretty well. Like everyone else, vets are in business to earn money, and if Hill’s pays them to promote their products, well…

I can do the research and surround myself with dog people who aren’t in it for the money, but for the love of animals. I can find out what’s up. I can learn the common allergens and go out of my way to buy food that will keep Coco healthy. Picture 1089

Like most doctors, vets don’t bother to promote a truly healthful diet because a) it’s expensive and b) ultimately, it might not have an appreciable effect on your overall well-being. Most humans eat like crap, and most dogs eat like crap, but thanks to modern medicine we’re all living WAY past our natural life expectancy. I can’t really criticize vets for not insisting on premium foods; just please, trust me when I say I’m feeding my dog well. Because I am.

Ultimately, the most entertaining part of our visit was the Sarah Silverman soundalike who kept whining to the receptionist about how she lived OH SO FAR AWAY and COULDN’T GET OUT OF WORK EARLY and DID SHE REALLY HAVE TO COME BACK IN SEVEN DAYS. Hey, perky? Are there seriously no veterinary practices closer than an hour and forty minutes away? Because, if there are, then you really don’t have any right to complain.

And a special brand of hostility goes out to the person who called the vet while we were in the waiting room, asking if s/he could have his/her puppy’s ears docked. Not cool, buddy. Not cool.