Monday, 30 March 2009


The exuberant Italian was back today with Mrs Fox a 92 year old client of mine who is a little hard of hearing and happens to live next door to him.

'I thought I'd come along to interpret as he doesn't speak good english.' She whispered in my ear before she took a seat in the corner of the room.

I delivered the news that the cat required 'ultrasound exam to check liver and spleen for bleeding.'  or in english a cancer hunt.

Mrs Fox remained quiet throughout.

'So that's ten to ten on Wednesday for the scan?' She asked finally at the end.

'No, ten to nine.' I replied.

'Oh, yes ten passed nine.' She smiled.

'No, I mean eight fifty.' I tried to clarify, speaking loudly as she leaned in closer.

'Right you are eight fifteen!'

'No! Iz eight fifty!' Bellowed the Italian.

Somehow I don't think he will be bringing his interpreter on Wednesday.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Veterinary Viagra.

It may surprise some of you to know that there is a veterinary use for this drug.

It is used for cardiovascular disease, mainly pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs).

Mrs Wilkes presented her prize cockerel to a colleague for 'lack of performance' this week.  A loud heart murmur was discovered and this was thought to be the likely cause of his lack of energy and failure to 'complete the job'.

Is anyone else thinking what I'm thinking?

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Local Mafia.

'You treat cat Madam, and I bring wine, which colour you like?'  Says the exuberant Italian man, waring a suit and sunglasses.

'No, there really is no need.' I tell him rather embarrassed.

'When can I see the vet?' He asks.

'I am the vet.' I reply.

There then follows a ten minute conversation where I understand only the words 'cat', 'London', 'Business' and 'wine'.

Finally the big important, Italian businessman drives away in a small Fiat Punto.

Two hours later he returns with wine for vets, receptionists and nurses.

Tomorrow he is phoning me for his cats blood results....and they aren't good.

How am I going to tell him?

Maybe a glass of the wine will help me decide.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

TV vets.

I sat next to Britain's favourite TV vet a couple of weeks ago on a medicine CPD course.  

He's actually very normal and he looks just the same as he used to at college. I remember him terrifying me as a first year. He is still bigger than me and when I talk to him I spend the whole time looking up his nostrils which makes him somewhat less attractive than when he is on the flatscreen.

I tell him I am very jealous of his job and if he needs a sidekick to help with the Orangutans to get in touch.

He tells me the BBC is mid-recession and budgets are tight.

He's got to go back to being a normal vet.

Poor him....

Saturday, 21 March 2009


'I'm very sorry there is nothing I can do, surgery is no longer an option.'  I tell the nice, polite Polish client as I hand him back his rat who is attached to a rather large tumour.

'What to do next?' He asks me slowly.

'Well I think it would be kinder to put her to sleep.' I say gently.

'Can you do now?' He asks.

'Yes.' I reply solemnly.

'OK - and I pick up later, around 2pm?'  He asks brightly.

I look at my watch, it is 10 am, does he really think it will take me four hours to euthanase his rat?

Then the penny drops.

'Do you understand what I mean by 'put to sleep'?' I ask him.

'Yes, you do operation.' He replies.

'No.' I sigh.

If the British Small Animal Association considered publishing a polish phrase book for veterinary terms, perhaps a potential crisis such as this one might be more easily averted......

Thursday, 19 March 2009


'So you don't know what's causing the problem?' The client asks me.

It's very hard to explain the term 'idiopathic' in lay terms.  Sometimes 'shit happens' in medicine and no-one, not even the the experts/super scientists have a reason for it.  If  'shit happens' to a lot of animals in the same sort of way and we don't know why then we call the condition 'idiopathic'.

But my client just thinks I am stupid.

'Don't you think she should be having the drugs in a drip so they work better?'  Is the next question.

I know I have lost the game.  

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Lady bits.

'Lady bits', 'Man bits', 'Front bottom' and 'Down below'

The english are very inventive when it comes to using other words to describe genitalia.  
We are a nation of prudes.

So much so that one gentlemen felt the need to come in to explain his son's female dog's intimate problem prior to the appointment because he knew he would be too embarassed to say the 'v' word.

I take great pleasure in pretending I don't have a clue what they are talking about until they are forced to use the correct vocabulary, if they don't I exclaim very loudly: 

'Oh you mean his penis?!'

Cruel, I know.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Sadly I am not an optimistic vet, I am a pessimist.

I always prepare people for the worst.

If I don't then the worst happens.

Like the one time in 2003 when I told a client his puppy would NOT die from Parvo and it died that night.

I have steered well clear from optimism for six years, until last night.

'Don't worry, Tigger will be absolutely fine' I told a distressed Mrs Peacock. 'It's probably just a tummy upset.'

With that, Tigger the rather overweight domestic shorthair stood up, walked five paces, wailed twice, collapsed and died on the consulting room floor.

I'm giving up optimism. FOREVER.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Getting it right.

When the ashes for a much loved pet were returned to the surgery with the inscription:

"In loving memory of Shopin"

I new some serious amendment might be required.