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What does a vet do? By Mr Richard Harper BVetMed MSc(Onc) MRCVS

It was, I think, fairly inevitable that I would become a vet. I grew up on the outskirts of Dudley with a practical menagerie; chickens, goats, pigs and I spent many happy hours riding the put upon but steadfast family dog, Rover, around the back garden. (Note to reader; riding the family dog is not advised!) Rover was ostensibly a black labrador but he stood around 4 foot to the shoulder and was covered in a thick fleece of ginger curls. He was a forerunner of the now popular labradoodle but in the Eighties that just meant we got him for half price. My older brother had decided at an early age that he’d like to become a doctor, so not wanting to follow precisely in his footsteps and being of the firm opinion that I’d like to wear shorts to work I nailed my colours to the veterinary mast.

Having been in and around vet practices for so long it’s easy to forget that for most people what vets do is a bit of a mystery. My clients will often say to me ‘it’s so difficult because they can’t talk to you, can they?’ (my brother, the GP, would probably say this is something of a blessing!) This is true and it makes the problem solving aspect of veterinary care endlessly challenging and interesting. A good vet will tailor diagnosis and treatment to the individual pet in conjunction with their owner who should be an integral part of the process.

The diagnostic tests available to vets range from MRI scans to smelling their ears (again probably frowned upon if you’re a human doctor!) the art is being able to interpret both. Diagnosis is interesting but treatment is more rewarding. For a vet there is nothing better than seeing one of your patients bound back in to the practice, tail wagging, after making a full recovery. Unfortunately full recovery is not always possible and we’re here for that eventuality too. It’s always difficult, especially with older animals, to weigh up the advisability of certain interventions. We never want the treatment to be worse than the disease, but sometimes relatively straight forward changes can make a big difference and we wouldn’t want to deny them these just because they’re old. These are difficult decisions which require careful thought, we’re here to explain to you the options in as much detail as you’d like.

Animals improve people’s lives and vets derive great pleasure from being a part of that. We value the trust that’s placed in us as a profession and endeavour to always be honest, diligent, informed and compassionate. If you’d like to know more, call in at the practice and we’ll show you around, the very least you’ll get out of it is a biscuit!

0208 444 9006
[email protected]
Arc Veterinary Centre
Arch 3 The Viaduct
St James Lane,
Muswell Hill,
N10 3QX
 Mr Richard Harper BVetMed MSc(Onc) MRCVS
About Richard Harper (25 Articles)
We put your pet's health at the heart of everything we do and take great pride in providing expert, compassionate care to all our patients.