Miracles take longer than Google….
Is Goggle changing our world or just making us impatient with nature?
Like most of us, I seem to be addicted to the internet and use it multiple times a day. I am of the age that I can remember when knowledge only came from books and scientific papers and Google was a twinkle in the eye of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, ( Yes, I Googled that little fact). The process of taking time to use your own resources to find the answer to a question, to telephone someone more knowledgeable than yourself or write a letter seems to be a lost art. We have at our fingertips all the worlds collective knowledge in milliseconds flat, and it seems to make us instant armchair experts in our chosen field. I wonder if this is also changing our expectations of the speed of treatments and their outcomes.
As Veterinary surgeons, we have to deal with client expectations and malfunctioning biological systems. While our clients may expect that an animal may recover from its current malady, there is no guarantee that it will do so, and certainly not as fast as they are expecting. Healing takes time, after all it’s taken some time to become unwell before being presented to the vets. Biological systems are complex and if you think about it, the factors that made them go wrong in the first place are likely to be working against us. Take the case of a sore infected ear that has little ventilation, ideal warm wet space to grow bacteria and yeasts. Yet, we expect an ear preparation to treat this within a few hours and for the disease not to return. Working against nature means you are in an uphill battle, just when you think you have got is sussed – bam nature sneaks up on you.
We frequently admit quite ill animals for tests, observations and treatments as you would expect. Our diagnosis is based on a combination of knowledge, results of tests and quite often response to medications given. Given that some of these animals are very unwell, it always surprises me that I get asked what time the animal can be picked up later on. I know that clients want their pet back fixed ASAP, but biological systems take time to fix. For instance most Intravenous fluid therapies are designed to correct deficits or support organ functions over a period of at least 24 hours. Replacing fluid too fast and in the wrong way can at worst drown an animal and possibly cause more problems than the replacement solved.
The inner magic of veterinary treatment is how and if the animal can respond to your therapy, supporting it while you give it the tools and time to fix itself. If it cannot stabilise and return to normal function then all is lost, no matter what we may try. Overwhelming odds can be as simple as too many bee stings – envenomation, causing the body to shut down to an old cat who’s kidneys are failing and once IV fluids are stopped returns to acute kidney failure.
But the trying and giving time to heal is important lesson here, even against overwhelming odds we can emerge victorious. Chester the Maine Coon taught me that to try against overwhelming odds can yield results. He was a cat who kept us on our toes and even a veterinary specialist was admiring of his ability to resurrect himself with our support. I like to be pleasantly surprised by an animal’s response to treatment, beating overwhelming odds and making owners happy at the end of the day is what drives us as vets. We as a veterinary team, Vets and Nurses put in a great deal of time and effort to try to keep pets healthy and therefore promote happiness in their owners. Just have a little patience with us as miracles take longer than Google….

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