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Episode #2—Vet Interview with Dr. Brooks

Cat Veterinarian

Elizabeth "Liz" Italia: Hello everyone. Welcome to the My Lovely Feline Podcast with Liz and Leslie.

Today, I’m going to be interviewing Dr. Leslie Brooks who is a vet. As a cat owner, I have some questions for her. Leslie, how are you feeling about this? Are you ready?

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the guest(s) and/or host(s) and may or may not reflect the views or opinions of My Lovely Feline.

Dr. Leslie Brooks: I’m ready. I’m a little nervous about what kind of questions you’ll ask me, but I’m ready.

Liz: The reason I wanted to do this is as a pet owner, a lot of times we have questions for our vets and some people aren’t comfortable asking them or we wonder why things are a certain way.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to sort of educate me and everybody else about certain decisions you have to make as a vet. Let’s get started. My first question is going back to vet school.

Tell everybody where you went to school.

Leslie: Okay. I’m originally from Tennessee and I went to the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine. It’s an in-state school, so even though I graduated with $100,000 in debt, it was still the cheapest option for me, so there’s that!

Liz: Oh my! Well, I’m going to take you back to that time period. I want to know, what was the most interesting case you worked on? It doesn’t have to be a cat, just something you thought was really fascinating or really cool or maybe there was a certain type of animal you loved working on – what is one case that stands out to you?

Leslie: Since I’ve been a vet or specifically in vet school?

Liz: In vets school.

Leslie: The one that always comes to my mind is a dog named Luna because I specifically remember telling the dog owner that if I ever got a dog of my own, I’d name her Luna because she was my favorite patient.

She was a Doberman that came in with a ruptured gallbladder.

I was on the emergency rotation and so I was the student that got to take her in, and then I transferred to the surgery rotation so I go to continue with her care. She was a case of ups and downs.

We were able to get in and take out her gallbladder, which had ruptured, but she never fully recovered after surgery.

We were able to send her home but then she ended up coming back a couple weeks later and unfortunately passing.

It was just so heartbreaking because I was so integrally attached to her success and as a perfectionist of my own and seeing how much effort me and her attending veterinarian were giving to her and how much her parents gave to her care, not just emotionally but financially, I was just really wanting her to make it.

I remember crying a couple of times on my rotations with her during her case because we just weren’t getting the outcomes we were hoping to get. So she was probably the most interesting one and the one I was most connected to.

Liz: When I think of things rupturing, I think of an appendix rupturing. Is it that type of thing where you have to get everything out or they’ll get septic?

Leslie: Yeah, exactly. If we didn’t go in and remove everything, she would have gotten septic. All the bacteria that’s natural and lives within the gallbladder to help breakdown fatty foods and stuff that we eat, when the gallbladder ruptures it gets out into the abdominal cavity.

It can cause death because of all the bacteria and septic nature of it. So yes, that’s exactly right. It’s kinda like a ruptured appendix. People can get ruptured gallbladders too, but appendicitis is more common.

Liz: Well, I’m sorry about Luna, but I’m sure it was a learning experience and probably a good thing to see in vet school as well.

Leslie: Yeah, it definitely was, you know, learning to follow-up with stuff and things aren’t always just a quick fix and there’s ups and downs.

Liz: Moving to my next question: What animal did you find or do you find is the hardest to work on, or one you don’t really enjoy working on? And I know you’re an animal lover so I’m not saying you don’t like the animal but maybe there’s a certain animal that’s difficult to diagnose or really complex.

Did you find it in vet school or after vet school, a certain animal where you’re like, eh, I’m not really a fan of this.

Leslie: In vet school, we had rotations in exotics and small and large animals so we would get varied experience. But when I graduated, I worked in small animal clinical practice, so just cats and dogs.

I would say when I was working with all different types of animals in vet school, in our exotics department we would get wildlife brought in they were hit by a car or someone found a baby bunny or baby bird or their cat brought a bunny to them. I would say wildlife is the most frustrating to work with.

They just want to die. They get so stressed out. When you bring in a bunny or a bird, they are in constant fight or flight because they have no idea what’s going on and they’re super stressed. No matter what you do they like to die, so I don’t like working with them.

But then, working as a small animal vet, I like working with cats and dogs, so I wouldn’t necessarily say a type of animal, but a breed or behavior type I don’t like working with.

Huskies and Shepherds since they’re a little bit high strung, and sometimes Weimaraners. If I get those in and they’re the kind that are high strung and non-trusting and wired, I kind of dread working with them.

But I have the occasional husky or shepherd that’s perfectly easygoing and fine to work with.

We do fear-free handling. Instead of taking your pet to the back and if we can’t get done what we need to get done, we hold them down until we get it done  – we don’t do that anymore.

We work around their fears and anxieties and take it slow so things take longer. If we have a fearful dog or one of those breeds that’s more fearful it’s a little more complicated.

Liz: I’m sure. And I know Huskies are a difficult breed to work with. Even though I don’t work with dogs, I’ve heard that from a lot of my foster friends who do work with dogs that they can sometimes be tough.

Leslie: Yup. I’d say I equally like working with dogs and cats. But if I find myself with a dog that might be fearful, I end up talking baby talk to them and then telling them how horrible of a person I am for doing things to them and apologizing to their pet owner, so I’m constantly berating myself to try to make them more comfortable.

Liz: That’s great. I love that. My next question is … this is one I hear a lot from pet owners.

So from a pet owner’s perspective, it seems like vets always want diagnostics for everything when you go to visit. Affordability is obviously a concern for a lot of people.

I know in my personal experience I’ve found vets who work with me in that regard. We grade things like, how serious is this that we need the blood work. Or can we do a step or two before diagnostics, or is that not an option and we need diagnostics. I’ve found vets who work with me like that.

But I’m just wondering, I know how important diagnostics are, but I’m hoping you can tell me a little more about why vets are always recommending diagnostics, and if you have suggestions for pet owners on how they can work with their vets if they are in a situation that’s financially concerning, how to frame that conversation.

Leslie: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll definitely say to start of with, even though some people might think going to the vet can feel like going to get an oil change or maintenance on your car where you feel like you’re always getting upsold or they’re telling you other things you need to do and recommend – I hate that it feels like that.

And I’m sure there are some vets where it is that they’re trying to make an extra buck out of you, but for the most part, most clinics don’t do it because of that.

They do it because they truly care about the health of your pet and want to make sure they get an answer for you and for them so they can confidently tell you what’s going on with your pet and what the best treatment is.

And unfortunately for the majority of things, the best way to figure that out and give you the best answer so you can have a good, effective treatment plan, is to do a diagnostic test.

Whether that’s blood work, if we’re trying to find out if there is an underlying medical condition, or looking at a skin scraping or a piece of fur under the microscope or something to find out if there truly is a bacterial or fungus infection going on.

A lot of things we can diagnose by looking at it or by physical exam, but there are some things that we do have to do additional testing to provide you with an answer. A lot of vets are type A personalities and perfectionists, as well.

Liz: Just like you.

Leslie: Yeah, exactly. They don’t just want to throw it in the breeze. They want to provide you with a definitive answer. And so, don’t always take it as they’re trying to get more money from you.

They’re truly trying to help you figure out what’s going on with you pet. But that being said, I can definitely understand the frustration there.

There is pet insurance but it’s just not administered in the same way as human insurance. Some people have it, some don’t, so a lot of people do pay for medical care for their pets out of their pocket.

So, you look at it like, “It’s going to be $100 for a blood panel? I can’t afford that today.” And usually these things aren’t something you plan for right? It’s just something that comes up.

Liz: My cats like to get sick in the middle of the night. I don’t know if everyone else’s are like that. Oh great, midnight, fantastic, we’re going to the ER which is more expensive than the regular vet.

Leslie: Exactly, so that’s even worse. Some ER clinics are really good and have good relationships with the vets in the area.

So if you have to take your pet to the ER in the middle of the night or on the weekend or something, ask the ER vet if you can have your pet transferred to your regular vet when your vet opens in the morning.

Some of them will offer that to you, but that’s something you can do if you’re stuck at an ER vet.

Let them know you want them to stabilize your pet or let you know what’s going on and if they can transfer the care to your regular vet the next morning or the next time they’re open, that can help you save some money too.

Liz: Okay.

Leslie: You also asked for suggestions for how pet owners can get their vet to work within their financial means. I know finances might be a difficult conversation for people to bring up.

I feel a lot of shame from pet owners or they feel bad because they can’t do everything that’s recommended and they don’t necessarily want to say it’s because of finances because then they feel bad, like it’s putting a numerical value on the life of their pet or the quality of life.

You shouldn’t feel bad about it. The best way to overcome these is by being open with your vet about it because then they can understand. Instead of just giving you a plan A, they can show you what plan B and C look like.

They might say this is the ideal plan if financial resources aren’t an issue, we’re gonna do all of this.

But there’s always a plan B and plan C. Don’t ever leave thinking, and I’m going to throw this out there because I’ve seen it happen, you don’t have to think, “Oh I have to do all of this and spend all this money to find out what’s going on with my pet and help them, or put them down.”

You should never feel like you’re stuck in that situation unless it’s a super serious situation, like a cat’s struggling to breathe.

That might be an emergency situation where you have to make that decision.

Liz: I’m glad you bring this up because I actually had this happen to me recently. I foster a ton of cats, and one of my foster friends reached out to me because she had a cat with allergies, and she wasn’t able to medicate him anymore because he was on so many meds.

He got smart to it and was sick of it and would hide from her. She reached out to her nonprofit who was helping her.

They said you have to foster this cat or we’ll have to put him down, there’s not really a lot of options here. She felt like she didn’t have options with medication and the only other option for this cat was to do immunotherapy, which is extremely expensive.

You’re talking close to $1,000, and she’s just fostering this cat, it’s not hers. She reached out to me and even though after fostering one cat with allergies I was like, “I’m never taking another one they’re so complicated,” of course, I was like, “Bring him over I got it.”

So took him to a new vet and I said, “Look, this is the situation, the dermatologist is recommending $1,000 in immunotherapy.

I do not have $1,000 to spend on immunotherapy. Are there other options we can look at besides that for him? Obviously, if there’s no other choice, maybe I can fundraise and raise the money, but I’d like to try some more affordable options first because it’s also a lot to ask an adopter to take on an animal like that.” She said, “Absolutely.

We’re going to have to run basic diagnostics, but let’s put together a plan that makes more sense, and there’s a lot of steps we have to do before we go to that $1,000 mark.” We were able to get everything under control without having to go that route.

I feel like that’s kind of what you’re saying, like you have to be direct like, “I cannot do this at this point.

Can we start smaller with things that might work first that aren’t going to stress out the animal and are more affordable and graduate if we absolutely have to?” I feel like that worked well for me and it saved this cat.

Leslie: Yeah, absolutely. I think a term we might use for that is incremental care, where we start with the basics, like a course of antibiotics, even if we aren’t seeing bacteria, and I know it’s controversial because there are resistant bacteria out there, but put him on a course of antibiotics and a course of steroids to control the itch.

Yes, incremental care before you get up to the super expensive treatments, if it’s something that can be managed by that. It’s a big thing now.

There’s a group called Aligncare, out of the University of Tennessee, my alma mater, trying to promote access to veterinary care for people who don’t seek it out or can’t afford it and trying to provide resources for them, but also work with vets across the country to start developing more incremental care plans.

So instead of making owners feel shameful for not being able to do the most ideal plan, like, if your cat’s nauseous, we’re not going to do full diagnostics today, your cat is stable.

We’re gonna give him an anti-nausea medicine, some fluids for hydration and easily digestible food. If they’re feeling better in a few days, that’s all that matters instead of jumping to we have to do blood work and x-rays right now.

Liz: I think that happens a lot. And I think pet owners aren’t confident enough to ask the right questions or push a little bit and of course the vet is trying to be super duper thorough because that’s what your job is.

Through fostering, I’ve learned a lot so I kind of know what I’m looking at with things that aren’t super serious. Like you said, if I have nauseous cat, I’m going to try cerenia first, which is a great anti-nausea med, we’re going to do fluids; I’m not going to do blood work unless the cat’s really sick for 48 hours or there is another symptom that introduces itself.

I feel like for things that are mild or seemingly mild, where you don’t have evidence that there’s something really badly wrong, my rule of thumb is 48 hours and I might reach out to my vet to kind of review things.

And I’m not saying everyone should follow that, but I think having a plan for yourself for what you want to do will help with that.

You know, if your cat has diarrhea but seems normal, doing all that diagnostic work day one might not really make sense, and it might be better to wait a little to see if it calms down on its own, or if you can give them medication that fixes it right away.

Leslie: Yeah, exactly. I think the drawback to that is you might have to make multiple trips to the vet if the problem doesn’t resolve instead of doing that all in one sitting, but it depends on the individual and their ability.

Liz: And I would offer advice to pet owners, that sometimes I say, “Okay, is there something that this is most likely? If this is most likely a particular problem, can we treat that and give me a timeline that if this isn’t resolved, we need to go to the next step?” And sometimes I’ve found that’s effective.

I had one with a UTI, they were pretty sure what type of bacteria it was. So we treated with one antibiotic, but if he didn’t improve in a day, he would need to switch antibiotics and keep an eye on him.

I think there are options like that, and I hope pet owners start to feel more comfortable about exploring those with their vets and speaking up.

Because it can be very expensive if everytime you go to the vet you feel like they want to do blood work, and I also feel like it creates a negative relationship without the vet knowing that the pet owner feels that way.

For the vet, you’re doing this all day and you’re seeing different patients. For the owner it’s like I was just here and you wanted me to run blookwork too. But I think opening the conversation is a good way to handle it and most vets will be willing to work with their patients.

Leslie: Yeah, exactly. And remember, your vet is trying to get the answer for you, and they might have a little anxiety about missing something.

They don’t want to misdiagnose your pet because they weren’t able to do all the diagnostics, and then they’re giving you the wrong treatment and something goes wrong.

So all those things are going through their head too, and in this day and age with litigation left and right, people are always thinking, “Oh, no, what if I’m wrong.”

Liz: I get it. I even speak up to that. I’ll even say sometimes, I know you can’t say 100%, but can we try this route, which is the most likely and that’s the way I want to proceed to this. Like, I know this doesn’t cross everything off the list, but if we can cross nine out of ten, I’ll do that.

Let’s go to a super fun question next: Even though you see kittens all the time, do you still get the feeling the rest of us get like you’ve never seen one before and you get so excited to see it because they’re so cute and fluffy and perfect?

Leslie: I usually don’t immediately, but once they start playing or doing something cute, then I soften up. And they’re usually easier because they’ll usually eat their wet food and I give them their shots and they don’t care.

It’s when they come back a year later when they hate me.

Liz: What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen a cat swallow?

Leslie: Um, I’ve definitely seen them swallow strings, and little plastic toys and ponytail holders.

Liz: Nothing too crazy? It’s more of a dog thing isn’t it? When they swallow weird things?

Leslie: It is more of a dog thing because they like underwear and things that smell horrible. They smell it and they want to taste it. Yeah, it’s gross. But I can’t say I’ve seen stuff like that with cats. It’s usually little pieces of plastic from toys or strings.

Liz: Does it usually pass or do you have to perform surgery? Or does it depend on what it is and the patient.

Leslie: It depends on what it is and if the patient was unlucky enough for it to get stuck in their intestines.

Liz: And do you see that on an X-ray? Or do they have to do something else, like an ultrasound?

Leslie: You can usually see an obstructive pattern on the X-ray. Since it might be a string or cloth or plastic, it won’t show up on an X-ray, but if the cat is sick and you take an X-ray and the intestines look distended with fluid or all bunched you can be pretty certain it’s obstructed and they need surgery.

Sometimes we can’t tell 100% on the X-rays and the last thing we want to do is jump to a surgery that’s expensive and something your cat will have to recover from, so that’s a reason why we’d recommend an ultrasound, which is a little more expensive, because an ultrasound they can look within the abdomen and confirm whether or not it is an obstruction.

But sometimes they can pass it. It just depends. I think one time one of my cats did pass some string. It took a minute for it to come out.

Liz: That’s crazy. My next question, I already know the answer to this, but do cats really need annual wellness exams?

Leslie: I would say yes just to make sure that we maintain a relationship, not just with them and their health but with you, the pet owner, because I think that’s integral as well, maintaining that communication and trusting bond.

But then, sometimes we can say, your cat lost three pounds since last year – and you might not notice it because you’re seeing your cat every day, and that can open a conversation, “Oh yeah, she is peeing a lot but still eating a lot.”

And then we might want to check blood work to make sure there isn’t diabetes or something going on.

Liz: Also, the sooner you catch that stuff, the better it is, because you can slow the progression of a lot of diseases with early intervention, and I feel like if you’re not taking your cat annually, you’re not going to notice it, and it could be too late when you do notice it.

And then, I always say, especially with younger cats, you want the vet looking at their teeth, listening to their heart, and feeling for lumps, because they can get dental disease at any time or have some sort of other dental issue or we’ve talked about before tooth resorption.

Heart murmurs can show up at any time, cancer can show up at any time, or a benign growth but you still want to get it looked at. I feel like your annual visit is going to cover those things and it’s a good idea to have someone who’s not you looking at the cat, who doesn’t have that attachment and is looking objectively at the animal.

Leslie: Yeah, exactly. And for those where it’s just a horrible experience taking their cat in, you could talk with your vet about medications you can give your cat that are safe and can help with the anxiety and stress involved in taking them in. Gabapentin is a great one.

I’ve seen plenty of cats where they are devils in the carrier and in the clinic but if I got to their home, they let me do whatever I need to do. It just depends. Some are the opposite, some are so fun-loving and gentle and fine in the clinic, but if you try to go to their home, they’re like, “You cannot touch me here.”

Liz: I feel like they’re almost anxious and nervous at the vet so they change and then they can be mean when they’re at home because they’re not as nervous. What do you do if a pet owner is making a bad decision or not your recommended decision.

Is there a way you try to make sure they fully understand the choices that they’re making? How do you handle that as a vet? Or do you just say that’s the patient and they’re making their choices and that’s that? I’ve always wondered how that goes.

Leslie: It depends on the situation. It can be complicated. I would say, sometimes if I realize someone’s not following my recommendations, I get better results when I try to look at it from their perspective and ask more questions about what is difficult about this.

Or is it, “I see you haven’t been giving the medication. Is it hard? Is it the type? What if we changed how it has to be given or how often? Or if it’s a pill, would it be better if we did a liquid or injectable?” I think I have better results when I empathize with them and find out what the underlying issue is, because often times, yeah, they feel bad or they don’t want to tell me it’s a struggle to do what I’m telling them to do.

And then if it’s someone who doesn’t want to do my recommendation, like I remember a case right out of vet school, a puppy had fractured its femur, and I told the owner he needs surgery.

He was adamant there was no way he was going to do surgery. But I hadn’t experienced enough or grown creative enough in my brain to work around people’s expectations to still get a decent outcome. I still remember pressing him like, “He needs surgery and there’s nothing else.”

I’m not sure what happened to that puppy – I think we bandaged up the leg, but I don’t know. I think back on it now and I think if you’re more willing and open at looking at things through different people’s lenses, then you can get better outcomes.

Liz: How do you handle delivering a bad diagnosis? For us it’s horrible to receive, and I imagine for a vet who’s taking care of an animal, it’s got to be so difficult.

I know my vet, when my oldest was diagnosed with cancer, he called me and I could almost hear emotion in him and then he told me when he got the results, he threw the results at the wall and was just like, “Why is this happening?!” and I believed him because of the type of person he was and he knew my cat for so long.

That was actually something I appreciated because he meant he knew what I was going to feel. I wonder, do you feel that way too? Do you feel a big weight on you when you find out an animal you’ve been taking care of has an illness or a bad disease or really negative diagnosis?

Leslie: Usually it’s even harder in the times when you don’t expect it. Like you said, if it’s someone you’ve been taking care of for a while and they’ve done all the recommendations.

Usually it’s the ones that come in for their annual exams, and halfway in the year they come in because they’re sick and you find some horrible diagnosis.

Liz: That’s what happened to my cat, he went in and thought it was a cyst, and went in to take it out and was like, “Oh no, no, no, this is cancer.” That’s gotta be awful.

For pet owners, sometimes we think, “They’re our pets, so of course we’re going to feel a certain way.” but you guys are caretakers are going to feel a little bit of that pain we feel, even if you don’t fully show it. You want them to be okay.

Leslie: I think part of the burden of diagnosing it for you is we feel like we gave it to your pet. We’re giving you bad news and we say, “I’m so sorry.” There are so many times when pet owners say, “Well, it’s not your fault.” But we feel like it is.

Liz: I think we all do that because we hate giving bad news. It’s almost like you’re sorry you’re the one who found it and had to give the information.

Leslie: Yeah, especially when it wasn’t expected.

Liz: As far as euthanizing, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to do that. And does that take a toll on you, because it’s a necessary part of what you do? I might think about it a little differently than other people.

For me, I’m sort of like, it’s part of the journey of this particular animal. It’s going to most times end some sort of suffering and it’s going to be a peaceful way to end the cat’s journey.

How is that doing that as a job? It’s gotta be draining. Do you get drained? Do you get emotional? How do you feel around that whole topic?

Leslie: I would say, doing euthanasias is definitely draining. Especially when you have one day where there’s three or four. Having so many in a row can be especially hard.

Even more than that, going from appointment to appointment where one is euthanasia and the next is that kitten.

So having to constantly change the face. You can’t just go crying into the room with the kitten, “You know in 12 years, it might be a different appointment.” It definitely is hard and it’s a balancing act.

And I think even though you know you’re ending suffering or preventing suffering, just the act of it was alive two minutes ago, I gave it an injection and it is no more. There is something in that that is hard to cope with.

Liz: I’ve always thought about that, and feel bad for that part of your job. I do not envy that at all. That’s gotta be so difficult.

And especially, again, if you’ve known an animal for a long time, that’s gotta hit you a little bit because it can’t not.

Leslie: And also it goes back to diagnosing things too, because we want to make sure if we’re doing it there’s good reason to do it, and we don’t always have all of the answers either.

So we’re going off of our best guesses with the information that we have. And I don’t think we got enough training with euthanasia in vet school or experience with it or talking about it or even just doing it. It’s one of those things you tend to learn on the job as well.

Liz: I’m almost done interviewing you by the way. I’m sure you’re sick of being in the spotlight.

What is one thing that you can think of that pet owners do that drives you absolutely crazy, and what can we do to fix ourselves to help out with that.

Is there anything you think we’re doing that we don’t intend to do that just drives you nuts and what can we do to fix that?

Leslie: If you asked me five years ago, I’d have a list for you. I would say, and this is probably more of an issue now in times of COVID: The ones who constantly watch their pet and any little thing that’s different with them, constantly calling and asking about it.

Liz: Something odd like, “Well their thumb nail isn’t growing as quickly.”

Leslie: Yeah, but then I get frustrated with myself because sometimes they truly do notice something that is important.

Liz: I would also say, I’ve told friends, and I don’t know if you’d give this advice too, if you’re that consumed with everything that’s going on, that’s stressful for you and the cat is going to feel your anxiety.

That’s going to come out when you think you’re showing it or not. If you’re constantly picking at them and looking at them the cat’s going to be stressed too.

I try to tell my friends, it’s okay to be observant, but try to relax a little bit. When I was little, my mom was very chill, even when something was wrong, and that was comforting for me.

Because if I was upset, she was the calm force that helped me. And I sort of feel we should be that way with our pets.

Obviously if something awful is happening you’re going to have a reaction, but if you’re obsessing and obsessing, the cat’s going to feel it, and it’s not good for you either as a pet parent.

Leslie: Yes. And I would say the other thing that pet parents do sometimes that a lot of vets cringe over is Dr. Google. So Googling medical stuff or questions about your pet.

It’s one reason why I wanted to write articles for websites because I know if I’m flooding it with a veterinarian’s perspective and information it truly would be a Dr. Google. But yes, Dr. Googling is something that is frustrating, especially when a pet parent has put off care for their pet for a while and they come in, and they say, “Well, I found this online.”

Or they might trust stuff online over their veterinarian’s recommendations. Again, I have $100,000 in student loans, so I’m hoping that you’d trust me. Or they trust their breeder more.

Liz: Okay so we should be Googling a little bit less, I think is a takeaway from this. As well as improving our communication with our vet by being open about what we want to do for our pet, including financially what we can afford or if we want incremental steps of care.

I think those are things we can make a difference with as pet owners when we meet with our vets. And to just be honest and build that relationship. I would say, and you would probably agree, if you can’t have that relationship with your vet, I think you should find a vet that you can have that relationship with, because your pet is important to you and it is expensive to care for an animal.

You should be going to a vet who wants to hear you and work with you. And you should never feel like you don’t have options. If you feel like you don’t have options, it might not be the right vet for your personality or your pet, for some reason.

It doesn’t mean they’re a bad vet, they just might not be a good fit for you.

Leslie: I’d definitely agree with that, and we have some work to do on the veterinary side to earn the trust and respect of our clients and pet owners as well. I think there has been a little breakdown in that over the years, so we need to improve upon ourselves too.

Every vet is different.

There are great vets who don’t want to sit and talk with you for 30 minutes about how they can give you a better treatment care plan, but they are probably really super smart and really great vets, they just don’t have that kind of bedside manner.

Liz: If the pet owner is more analytical, that might be a fit. If you’re someone who really wants to talk about your pet for a long period of time, maybe you have to find a vet who has that bedside manner.

That would be better for you and make you feel more comfortable. I think it’s an individual thing and I think it’s important for pet owners to feel like we have options too. And just because I went to a vet and we didn’t hit it off, doesn’t mean they need to keep treating my pet.

There are other vets I can try to find who I can trust, and talk to, and there’s not just one. I imagine on the vet side, if we’re not feeling it on the pet owner side, you guys are probably like, “I’m not sure if this is a good fit. I’ll treat the animal but maybe this isn’t the best fit personality-wise.”

Leslie: Yup, all of that.

Liz: Thank you for letting me interview you. This was so fun. I loved it.

Leslie: You’re welcome. I hope that our listeners enjoyed it as well.

Liz: Stop Googling everything.

Leslie: Especially if there are a ton of ads on the page.

Liz: Exactly, probably not the best.

Leslie: Alright.

Liz: Alright. Thank you, Leslie, I really appreciate it.

Leslie: You’re welcome.

Liz: Thanks everybody for listening and we will see you next time.

Podcast Hosts:

Dr. Leslie Brooks 👩‍⚕️

Elizabeth Italia 🙋‍♀️
Cat Behavior & Fostering Specialist