Question Authority

Many years ago, during the last couple of months in veterinary school, the veterinary clinicians took it upon themselves to give us little practical quizzes.  I guess they thought it would be a good way to prepare us for the life of a real veterinarian.  They would come up to a senior vet student and create an imaginary scene of a situation that would require veterinary services.

I remember once when I was standing by a Brahma cow in a stock, the large animal clinician walked towards me with a grin on his face.  I thought, “Oh, no,  not another practical quiz.”  Sure enough, he did not disappoint.  “Hello Dr. Thomas,” he said.  “You know, I have always been curious about something.  What muscle makes that hump on the back of this cow?”  I thought for a moment and answered, “Sir, that would be the Trapezius muscle.”  The clinician corrected me and said, “Well, actually it would be the Rhomboidus muscle.”  I then looked at him and said, “The farmer wouldn’t know any better.”  The clinical said, “You will do well in this profession.”

Most of us are the descendants of a generation of people who never questioned authority.  Whatever the doctor, dentist or president said, well, they took it hook, line and sinker.  Unfortunately, when the authority figure understands this, he may just take advantage of it.

I recently had a phone call from a lady who had a dog with chronic hip arthritis.  She had been going to her regular vet once a month for his “arthritis” shot.  This particular injection is called, Adequan.  It has been around for at least 30 years and I personally have used it on hundreds of dogs.  I used to believe that it was completely safe until I read a recent report that was released by the FDA that said the company that makes the drug was forced to re-make the insert regarding the potential side effects.  It seems that the drug was not as safe as we were led to believe.  Not only were there potential severe long-term side effects, there were incidences of dogs that had died from the drug.

During her visit, the vet made the comment that her dog had shown significant improvement since the last injection.  She said that she politely told the vet that she had put her dog on CBD oil since that time, which might be the source of improvement.  Her vet immediately became defensive and said, “The CBD oil should not be used on dogs as it often causes bloody diarrhea followed by death.”  Remember my story about the Brahma cow?  The client immediately went into panic mode, feeling guilty and thinking she might have inadvertently killed her dog.

After some time, she decided that she wasn’t feeling that she had been told the entire story, so she empowered herself to look for a holistic vet that might steer her in the right direction.  I assured her that the information was not exactly correct and that I had seen CBD oil used on many pets over the last few years and had seen very little side effects and no deaths.

There is a seemingly natural hierarchy that occurs between person and doctor and that is ok because the doctor is the expert and should be focused on what is in the best interest of the patient, pet or human.  But, when the ego gets involved, the emphasis on the hierarchy becomes up front and personal.  As in, “Don’t question my authority.”

This type of approach will often create a sense of victimization, which is a method to remove the power from the caretaker or patient.  It does not feel good and at that point, there is a choice that can be made.  You can leave it at that and go along with the doctor or you can empower yourself to dig deeper.  Just the fact that you have chosen to empower yourself will take you away from those negative feelings and damaging energy.  Your intent to find the correct information will often guide you to the right person, place or thing.  In the case of the lady with the arthritic dog, she was directed to give me a call.

I am not saying that you should always question everything that a doctor tells you, but I am certainly saying that you should always be objective and if the information doesn’t feel right, then dig deeper.  Always question authority from a loving perspective and not in the form of an attack.  When one ego is attacking another ego, only bad things can happen and all attention is no longer on the pet.  The lady with the arthritic dog might have said, “Oh, I see.  I hope that I did not hurt my dog.  I care for him so much that I would never want that to happen.  Doctor, do you have any information that I might read about the adverse effects of using CBD oil in dogs?”

Politely questioning authority is not judging another person’s abilities.  We have sadly been conditioned to believe this and it often leads us to feel guilty if we want to find answers.  I have had many clients over the years come in for second opinions that did not want to tell their regular vet because they felt guilty.    Stay focused on your pet’s needs.  Come from a loving perspective and know that you will be led in the right direction, even if it means questioning authority.