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How do you take a fish to the vets?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How would you know if a tortoise has a cut in its skin but it was hidden under the shell?

While doing talks at local primary schools this year, my colleagues and I have been asked some rather thought provoking questions by the children. These questions tend to be split into two camps.

  • Genuine interest of being a vet: what’s the most interesting pet you’ve ever seen? (we have three skunks and a monkey on the books) How do you bring a fish to the vet? (in a tied, water filled sandwich bag in a tupperware box) What happens if you want to look at a tortoise’s head but it’s pulled into the shell? (tempt it out with food. NOT the ketchup bottle technique).
  •    Sceptical, testing ones asked through narrowed eyes: why can’t you stitch a fish? (you can- any fin is possible!)  What’s the easiest animal to treat? (one that isn’t ill) How old is my dog? (said dog was not present. She was just checking whether I knew or not).

My preferred tactic in answering is to hold my chin and say “hmmmmmm” or perhaps “that is a good question”, whilst my imagination spools up to speed at a particularly probing question about dragon husbandry.

Keeping the attention of ninety inquisitive children is no mean feat, but by showing them the head nurse’s puppy, dressing the kids up in gowns and masks ready to operate and revealing such details as to how we take a dog’s temperature - always gleefully received –we somehow manage it.

However, not all questions are without some form of insight. A final question asked to Lisa the vet was “why can’t men be vets?” – a strikingly perceptive idea given the changing balance to a female dominated profession and the rising intake of women to veterinary schools. Like I said- perceptive, but to be honest I think he was just building up to a dragon question.

by Will Marlow MRCVS, Weston Village Vets branch


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