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Julia’s Weekly Column For The Middy

In the veterinary world, communication is essential not just between staff teams but between vets and owners too

I sometimes worry about clients understanding me.

 Much of my role is to communicate what I know about a pet’s issues and illness to its owner, so that they can support and nurse them back to health.

 A pet owner who understands the importance of why a medication needs to be given is much more likely to make the effort and risk upsetting their animal companion to get a pill down.

 But some diseases are really hard to explain in brief, concise language.

 It was one of my Registered Veterinary Nurses, Sarah, who really brought this home to me.

 She shared a story about her parents who took their dog years ago to another Vet. He diagnosed a heart problem and sent them home with some tablets. They never grasped what exactly was wrong with the heart, whether or not it was serious, or why the pills were necessary and what they were expected to do.

 I also noticed when a 15-year-old Work Experience student was asked to draw a cartoon about his experience the previous day, he drew himself in the operating theatre with three large questions marks over his head as I saved a Bernese Mountain Dog’s life.

 I thought I had explained fully and carefully exactly what was wrong with that beauty, and how I saved it. The cartoon admirably illustrated that he had not understood at all!

 So Sarah and I are now on a mission. We have chosen the most common veterinary disorders and given our RVNs extra training in each. One by one over the next 6 months we will be launching new nurse-led Clinics, at no additional charge, to assist the owners of pets with these problems to better understand why and how their ill pets can be treated.

 Our first is for pets with kidney disease.

 It is one of the most common disorders of the older cat, and also seen in dogs. I am passionate about diagnosing it early, and using appropriate medication and diet changes to maintain good quality happy lives for longer. We use our Life Begins @ 7 Club to regularly collect urine samples and measure blood pressures in our older pets, allowing me to spot and treat renal disease in its very early stages. This can postpone collapse from renal failure for many good healthy years.

 Now, if a pet is diagnosed with kidney disease, they will have one of my nursing team supervising and supporting their care – hopefully for many good years to come.

 To find out more about our free nurse-led Renal Clinics go to www.themewesvets.co.uk/services/clinics/renal-clinics.

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