Lately I feel like I am defending everything I say in the exam room. I have to compete with Dr. Google constantly. I don't just have to explain things. I have to actually convince owners that I know what I am talking about. (If I really don't know what I am talking about, I will tell them I don't and we will discuss where to find someone who does. That's called referral).
For example. A client came in with a clearly limping cat and said the cat got out a few days ago and came back limping. It hasn't gotten better, so she brought the cat in for an exam.
Many times, limping cat appointments are unrewarding because the adrenaline of the vet visit masks pain and so the cat often will not show any limp or pain during it's exam. This time though, anybody could have seen that the cat was favoring it's left front leg.
I recommended radiographing the leg and some pain medication to take home, assuming no bones were broken. The owner agreed that this was a reasonable plan. But, once my receptionist went in with my estimate for exam, radiographs, and pain management, the owner flipped out, said the cat is not in pain "He's just limping" and took him home without any treatment.
Well, when was the last time you hurt your foot? Pulled a muscle? Did you limp around, screaming in pain constantly for days after you stubbed your toe? NO!
It is a common misconception (I'm not sure why, honestly) that if an animal is not crying out, it is not in pain. Animals have an instinct to hide pain and illness for many reasons including self preservation. Most animals WILL NOT continuously cry out in pain from minor or even major injuries. If a cat or dog is screaming in pain constantly, obviously that warrants immediate attention. However, silent pain is there and deserves equal respect and attention.
Animals do not limp just because it's fun. You or I don't hop down the street on one leg just for the hell of it. They limp because they cannot bear to put their full weight on that limb.
I recently broke some bones and dislocated a rib. I didn't cry when it happened, but have been in pretty constant pain since. But I am still sitting here quietly writing this blog on my lunch break where I am back at work full time, driving, and doing all my regular activities without screaming in pain constantly.
So therefore, yes, it fucking hurts.
Ultimately I think this comes down to ---- duh-duh-na-nah! Money. She probably didn't have the money or didn't want to have the money for the recommended plan, but instead of asking if we could just try pain meds first, she decided to get angry and leave with nothing, except her painful cat.