I recently enjoyed a day of whitewater rafting near Clayton.
Prior to that trip, my experience with river navigation was limited to inner tubes. Still, I’m an outdoor fan and grew up aspiring to be Indiana Jones, so I was very excited.
I had read up on rafting and felt prepared. But when I got on the river, I still had something to learn. Something I probably should have realized before I got in the boat.
Nobody can paddle a large raft alone. And not even an expert guide can steer and propel the raft without help.
Which brings me to veterinary medicine. Much as my guide told us, the expert is there to steer the ship in the right direction. But without effort from all the members of the crew, the raft can’t be controlled.
When your veterinarian makes a recommendation to you and prescribes a treatment to be administered at home, he or she is functioning as your guide. If you second-guess your veterinarian or just refuse to continue treatment as prescribed, you waste your access to an expert.
The raft will go where the river wants, not where you want. Maybe it ends up in an acceptable place through luck. Maybe it gets trashed on the rocks.
If you’re prescribed medication — be it antibiotics or a diuretic or insulin — use it as directed. If there’s a problem, consult your veterinarian.
I promise we will understand.
But don’t just stop or change the medication frequency or dosage. If there seems to be too big a side effect, let us know.
If the improvement we were hoping for fails to occur, let us know. If your pet feels like a million bucks, and you’re incredibly happy, let us know.
Rechecks are not meant to supplement income. They’re meant to track progress, be it grand or stumbling. Based on that, we know where we should go next. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but it’s always necessary.
If you don’t follow directions, your pet could end up on the rocks, and recovery can be much more complicated than turning over a boat.
Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.