“I recall a clinical case where two older, no-nonsense, sensible looking ladies presented a paraplegic dachshund – let’s call this dog Fritz (not an uncommon name for a male Dachy). After taking a history and doing a physical examination, I spoke to them about the severity of the presentation and that we needed to consider work-up and probably surgery if we wanted Fritz to walk again. The ladies butted in and said oh no, that is not what our doggie chiropractor, Harry, said. Harry did some work on Fritz and said we should start swimming him and it will all be fine. Do you know Harry they said? He is a fine man and a wonderful chiropractor. Everybody loves him. Fritz loves him.

I was incredulous. I was angry. I felt powerless.

Why were these ladies wasting my time? They clearly felt that I was neither a fine person nor a wonderful vet. I was just somebody to be ignored. Why did they bother bringing in Fritz if they had no intention of listening to my recommendations? And what was to become of Fritz? The ladies obviously cared for him but nothing I said made an iota of difference to their plan to take Fritz home and start swimming him.

Many years later, I still imagine poor Fritz desperately trying to keep himself above the water with the two legs that worked. I wonder what happened and I wonder if I could have handled this differently and got a better outcome for Fritz?” – Dr Cathy Warburton

Have you ever experienced a clinical encounter like this? These situations are not uncommon in the clinic and can be difficult to manage, especially when we want the best outcome for everyone. If you’d like learn how to navigate difficult clinical encounters with confidence, please join us this October 15th – 17th in Sydney with three of the most supportive, intelligent and experienced veterinarians Dr Sandra Nguyen, Dr Cathy Warburton, and Dr Anne Fawcett. Register TODAY!