“Which do you like better, Cats or Dogs?”
I get this question A LOT! This is so hard to answer because, like parents, veterinarians are not supposed to have favourites. As it turns out, I do play favourites with my own animals. My family has the greatest dog, Cannelle. We adopted her from the Oromocto SPCA when she was a puppy and with lots of work, she is now a well behaved, seven-year-old dog that is my enthusiastic running and X-Country ski partner. My cat, Cheeto (also a ‘SPCA Special’), is the first cat in my life who loves me best! He comes running when I get home, and flops over on his side for me to scratch his belly. That is his picture with me on this article. Greatest cat ever. I love the time spent just being with these guys. There are no demands other than to pay attention (except at feeding time, then we get ‘the stare’).
However, when people ask me which do I like better, cats or dogs, I figure they do not mean my own animals, and that makes the question hard to answer. Dogs are such good companions, full of heart and drive. They are a joy to work with day-in and day-out. Most dogs just want you to notice them. They think that when you are palpating their abdomen or examining their skin that they are getting a massage and a belly rub! It is not the aggressive or difficult dog I think about at the end of my day, it is the dogs that are the goofballs of this world. Happy to show off a well practised trick for a low-calorie (or liver) treat in the examination room. Lucky for me, Oromocto is full of happy, goofball dogs to see each day.
Cats are so different. This is where the challenge comes each day. Not because cats are hard to work with – they really are not. Respect and admiration for the individual in front of you goes a long way when working with cats. However, cats are so good at hiding their illnesses that we need to look closely for subtle changes and signs of illness. I always list Feline Medicine as my special interest because I continuously use what I have learned about their wellness and illnesses to move forward in how I treat my current cat patients. There is so much we can do for cats if we can find their illnesses early. My goal is to extend the lifespan of each of my cat patients beyond expectations by noting those changes, treating illness early and completely, and thereby, improving their life.
So, which is best? Cats or Dogs? No need to choose. If I can give you extra time with your beloved dog or cat by helping it to live better for longer, that is what I choose.
Dr. Linda Speizer – Oromocto Veterinary Hospital