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Vet in a ‘vette
It’s the Pitts
By Lee Pitts

Have you ever considered how lucky we are that animal doctors are not more like people doctors? If DVMs were more like MDs:

•Golf courses would be far more crowded. You’d hardly be able to get a tee time on Wednesday afternoon if veterinarians all started playing golf like doctors do.

•There would be more Ferrari and Bentley dealerships in places like San Angelo, Texas, and Cherry County, Nebraska. There’d be a sailing regatta, wine tasting and yacht dealership in cow towns like Bend and Billings. Vets would drive Corvettes instead of pickup trucks.

•For the sake of this discussion let’s suppose your horse got a bad barbed wire cut and you called your veterinarian for an appointment. If vets were more like MDs, you’d be asked by a rude receptionist if your horse had ever visited the vet before and, if not, you’d be out of luck because he’s not taking any new patients. If you were a regular customer, the first opening would be in six weeks.

•You’d have to bring your horse to the office because the vet no longer makes house calls. If you wanted the vet to actually come to your place, you’d better hope you live on the fifth tee of a golf course, otherwise the vet is never coming by.

•Once at the vet’s office you’d have to wait for hours reading three-year-old copies of Super Looper and cow magazines while your horse was busy getting a highly infectious disease from other animals in the cramped and crowded waiting room.

•The veterinarian’s receptionist would ask you to fill out reams of forms asking you all sorts of embarrassing and useless questions such as: “Have you or your horse ever had herpes? Does it hurt when he urinates in the morning?” You’ll also be asked who should be contacted in case of an emergency... such as your bill not being paid.

•Before making any diagnosis the vet would have to run all sorts of tests, such as if your horse has Blue Cross or belongs instead to an HMO (Horse Maintenance Organization.) Then after performing an expensive MRI, colonoscopy and brain scan on your horse (with the barbed wire cut) you’d receive the following letter in the mail: “After careful review of the above referenced claims we regret to inform you that benefits are not payable under the terms of your insurance.”

•If vets were more like MDs, they’d have more nurses to do all the dirty work.

•After your horse’s barbed wire cut had become infected the vet would then refer your horse to an equine gastroenterologist, who, coincidentally happens to play golf with your vet. The gastroenterologist doesn’t know a thing about treating barbed wire cuts but he happens to be a partner in the rendering, tallow works and hide company that several veterinarians in the community own.

•The specialist would then diagnose that your horse suffered from BWS (barbed wire syndrome) for which there is no cure. He’d no doubt recommend elective cosmetic surgery and the best in the business just happens to be his brother-in-law who specializes in udder reduction surgery for Holsteins, nose jobs for Berkshire hogs, and horn wrinkle removal for old cows. Afterwards your horse will still have an ugly scar but the veterinarian’s bank account will look far more attractive.

•Now that your horse has a terrible infection your vet will write something on a prescription pad that only another doctor can decipher. Later you learn that it says, “Charge this guy through the nose. He has good cow insurance.” On the bottle of the horse pills will be this disclaimer: This medicine may cause drowsiness, constipation, poverty, nausea, diarrhea and symptoms far worse than the original ailment.

•As your horse’s health deteriorates, it will have to spend five weeks in the ECU (Expensive Care Unit) so that it can die in a more sterile and expensive environment.

This farm news was published in the June 7, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.