Veterinarians & the rest of us

Dennis Praeger, who seems to be a milder version of Rush Limbaugh, recently did a show about mankind`s obsession with pets. In between exhortations, he conducted several man-on-the-street interviews. The question several of the random interviewees answered was this: If a human and a pet were both in a traumatic accident, who would you rescue first? Surprisingly, most passersbys said they would retrieve the pet first before their fellow homo sapiens. Praeger, of course, took these opinions and ex

Mark Hartley

Editor

markh@pennwell.com

Dennis Praeger, who seems to be a milder version of Rush Limbaugh, recently did a show about mankind`s obsession with pets. In between exhortations, he conducted several man-on-the-street interviews. The question several of the random interviewees answered was this: If a human and a pet were both in a traumatic accident, who would you rescue first? Surprisingly, most passersbys said they would retrieve the pet first before their fellow homo sapiens. Praeger, of course, took these opinions and examined the deeper meanings behind our relationships with domestic animals. An increased sense of individual isolation from our society and the ongoing breakdown in morality were two assertions I remember him making. I think this basically means we lock our doors, babble to our pets, and teach them good manners that the thugs and gangs outside haven`t quite learned yet.

We probably are obsessed with our pets. But, hey, my Boston Terrier can climb over a chain-link fence just like a human. And, hey, I`m proud of her. And the way she wiggles when she`s happy ... Don`t tell Praeger, but the family secretly calls her Mrs. Wigglesworth.

In our pet kingdom, some people adore all of the domestic animals, while the rest of us merely pamper the ones sharing our living quarters. The rest of us think, as teenagers, that it would be neat to be a veterinarian. Until, that is, we scrutinize college catalogs and realize it`s easier to be a lawyer.

For some hygienists, though, the desire to administer health care to our pets never quite fades. In this issue, Carol Weldin (page 16) explains how you can realize your childhood dreams of working in the vet`s office. Veterinarian dentistry has come a long way during the past decade. Animal health technicians (AHTs) are important members of the staffs at animal clinics, and they are responsible for prophylaxis procedures performed on animals` teeth. As you well know, consumer products now advertise benefits for the animal`s dentition, and some clinics actually educate pet owners on their animal`s oral hygiene. Does the dental hygienist fit within this market? Well, why wouldn`t she?

Our animals are also living longer, just like we are. On page 22, Claudine Drew outlines procedures for endodontic therapy performed on pets. Veterinarians, of course, handle these tasks, but it`s nice to read about how dentistry prolongs the life spans of our animals. The merging of veterinary science and dentistry is fascinating to watch.

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