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Matthew Sisk: Veterinarian's advice is not a suggestion or a scam
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My significant other sometimes tells stories in which I have a speaking role.

That doesn’t sound too bad, but when she does it, she changes her voice so you know it’s me who’s speaking. Again, not too bad.

But the voice I have in these stories resembles Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants. I hope that’s not too accurate, because a large portion of my job involves talking to people whom I need to take me seriously.

Today is no different, as Leia’s “uncle” calls our office in a huff.

Uncle Donnie is visiting from out of town, and he’s just flabbergasted our office has been “taking advantage” of Leia’s owners. He wants to speak to me and only me. He feels he needs to give me a piece of his mind.

I try to remain professional, despite not thinking he has any pieces to spare. I advise I can’t discuss any case with him that isn’t his personal pet. He agrees to discuss generalities.

First, why do we test kittens for AIDS?

Well, we don’t. We test for FIV.

Donnie says there’s no difference. He’s wrong.

He adds the test is obviously unreliable, or we just make it up as we go, as some results change. Again, wrong. The test detects antibodies, which can go away under specific circumstances.

Second, he wants us to take back the heartworm prevention we sent home with Leia, since cats don’t get heartworms. It’s just a means for us to make “even more money.”

He’s wrong on this as well. Cats do get heartworms. And because they’re not a natural host for the worm like dogs are, they can die from only one worm, without warning.

And finally, we’re taking advantage of kitten owners by urging they be spayed.

Donnie says cats don’t get “pyermetria,” so that won’t be a risk even if she isn’t spayed. I offer the correct pronunciation of pyometra, and again correct and explain his error.

Donnie “knows better” from internet research, so he curses and hangs up on me. Luckily, he doesn’t control Leia’s health care.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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