I am not a vet

I just had the disturbing experience of one of my clients calling me at home asking for veterinary advice. Now, this lady legitimately has my number as she is the co-ordinator for a local dog rescue group that I have done some stints of foster care for. She wanted one of the vets’ home phone number so she could call them and ask them to diagnose a dog that none of us has seen for over 48 hours. I refused to pass on the information. Our phones usually divert to one of the vet’s mobiles unless they are on holidays, then it diverts to a recorded message with the phone number of the local ER vets which is a 5 minute drive from our clinic. The rescue lady doesn’t want to take the dog there as they are too expensive and wants one of our vets to make a home visit. Hello! It is a public holiday and the phones are diverted for a reason, which is that none of our vets are in the area. So, she tells me the dog’s symptoms and wants to know if it is parvo. Gee, I dunno. Vomiting and lethargy could be parvo, but they are also symptoms of kennel cough, which the dog has also been diagnosed with. I am a vet nurse, it is illegal for me to make a clinical diagnosis, no matter how damn sure I am of it. In this case, I have no idea. I told her I couldn’t help and that if she felt the matter was urgent enough to hassle one of the vets at home, that she should take it to the ER vets. Now, bare in mind, that the dog in question, isn’t actually at her home, but is with a foster carer, so all this information is second-hand. She is going to go take a look at the dog and make a judgment call from there. Why she couldn’t do this before ringing me AT HOME is anyone’s guess. *sigh* I should charge an on-call fee.

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