The rise and fall of the veterinary medicine empire


Gather round and hear the story of how the noble veterinary profession battles the odds

Listen, my children, and you shall learn how mighty empires rise and achieve great fame only to disappear like tiny pieces of sand in the desert wind.

In the year 1979, there came upon this great land a plague. It brought great sorrow to our canine companions only to be vanquished by vaccination and diligence on the part of our unsung heroes—the veterinarians of the kingdom.

The army of veterinarians labored hard, and they were rewarded for their efforts. Many of them purchased new chariots and refurbished their castle moats and dungeons with the spoils of war gained from their battle with the evil parvovirus. Three decades have passed, and the plague of parvovirus has become nothing in the eyes of those in the kingdom who had not lost family members in those hours of travail.

Now, long after that battle ended, those noble warriors for truth, justice and the good fight to stamp out canine and feline disease find it harder to maintain their castles and feed their families. Fewer people in the kingdom seek the services of their veterinarian protectors and their powerful weapons.

Our nation's citizens abandoned the old ways

Now, the number of citizens choosing between fodder for their livestock and bread for their families and who still seek this protection fell to one in 20. Then it fell to one in 10 and now, the specter of as many as one in five abandoning the armor of vaccination appears on the horizon. To make matters worse, with the millennium having passed without the dire consequences our wizards predicted, a different and diffident disarmament has been ordered by the will of the populace.

Not so long ago, three in 10 of those medical cases dealing with the skin were caused by our foe the flea. Many of our canine and feline allies suffered because of these blood-sucking enemies.

Our weapons manufacturers invented an invisible armor to ward off the pests. Except for those less-hospitable climes, where these flea foes prosper not, veterinarians did not suffer from the sudden lack of flea foes. The profits from armor sales compensated for the loss of dermatology income.

Our newest threat

Now, there appears in every town throughout the kingdom the very same armor whose sales helped feed our families and maintain our stables. Thus, while the banishment of the flea foes is worthy of resounding rejoicing, there, once again, a deficit appears in the income of our veterinary warrior knights. With the continued abandonment of the sales of the armor of vaccination and the sales of armor to ward off our flea foes, there remains less coinage for us and the moats of many of our castles will soon be in disrepair.

A wise man will have a revelation where in his vision, three in five veterinary warriors fall back to secure lines defended by diagnostic medicine and surgery. They will begin to scrutinize their charges for those who can benefit by longer and more healthful lives under his or her recommendations.

One in five will continue to hold out for a return of the old times and do nothing to ameliorate this millennium madness. They will do the work of a knight for the rewards befitting a squire.

One in five will be forced to seek refuge in other professions, whether buying and selling castles for others or seeking other provinces with new battles to be won or lost.

The moral of our tale

The lesson is clear: In this period of crop failures and economic famine, as in other ages, our lives are governed by the application of the skills we acquire to benefit the folk of our kingdom. We ought not to build more castles than we can sustain by our medical skills. Parvovirus, other vaccinations and flea and heartworm medications are but transitory spoils of transitory wars and are never to be relied upon for long-term prosperity.

All the tools we need are already in our possession within our skulls. Depend only on those skills we possess to ease the pain and extend the years of our pet companions. Never build more castle than thy skills can maintain. And remember: Most provinces of our kingdom offer courses in castle maintenance.

Tremble not, fellow citizens, for while the new crop of squires and knights will invade our territories and lighten our purses, our future lies, as always, in service to our kingdom as diviners of the ills of those in our care and not as vendors of magic potions.

Dr. Snyder, a well-known consultant, publishes Veterinary Productivity, a newsletter for practice productivity. He can be reached at 112 Harmon Cove Towers Secaucus, NJ 07094; (800) 292-7995;; fax: (866) 908-6986.

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