“Where are you going with my pet and why can’t I come too?” This is a common question in any clinic. It’s your baby after all. You should be present for an examination so you can provide insights about your pet that only you might be aware of and to ask questions of the doctor. This is YOUR time with the doctor and it is dedicated to you and your pet.
That being said, there are some procedures that do need to happen in “the back”. Those ominous words just mean: in the treatment area. Let’s introduce you to the treatment area. This is the part of the hospital where a lot of action happens.
This is a larger open area with treatment tables and sinks, a setup that provides an easy to clean area for procedures that might get messy. The treatment room is equipped with everything we might need in easy reach. We also have our surgery room, radiology room (X-Rays), dental cleaning station, kennels for hospitalized patients, an in house laboratory, the technician’s work station and our doctor’s offices all “in the back”. As you can tell, that’s a lot of activity. So now, why would we ask to take your baby to the Treatment Area? There are a number of possibilities, none of them scary.
This is a simple procedure under well controlled conditions. We want to be able to take care of this task quickly, safely and with as little stress as possible. This requires your pet staying very still for a short period of time. It usually requires 2 people to accomplish this, depending on your pet’s comfort level. That involves one technician holding and simultaneously presenting a front leg (for a dog) and another technician drawing the blood. For cats, they are usually laying on their side with blood being drawn from a rear leg. Pets are frequently more accepting of being held in the necessary fashion, when they are away from their owners. This is usually because they are protective of their owners, or they are sensing your concern which raises their anxiety level. Rest assured the technicians are trying to make this as stress free as possible, while not getting injured (because the pet may be frightened) AND getting the necessary blood for diagnostic purposes. Our technicians are trained to do this and will treat your pet as if it was one of their own! As soon as they’re done they will be returned to you, no worse for wear and you get to be the rewarding and comforting parent for a job well done! What a deal, right?
SubQ (subcutaneous) fluids
If your pet is dehydrated or in need for any reason and we want to administer fluids, they will come with us to the treatment area. We don’t keep fluids in the rooms because those cupboards in the exam rooms are already full. Also, it usually takes 2 technicians to administer the fluids. One person is holding them still and whispering sweet nothings in their ear while the other is placing the needle carefully just under the skin and measuring/monitoring how much fluid is being given. 99% of our patients sit or lounge back comfortably for this procedure.
Some nail trims can be done in the room with the owners present. But again, some pets are more anxious because their owners are there, they want to get back to them, which makes it more difficult to get the job done safely and quickly. We want to be especially careful that we’re not hitting the “quick” (the blood vein), and a wiggly pet doesn’t make it easy. Taking them to the treatment area frequently helps this because they’re not trying to retreat to mom/dad, and there are lots of new smells and sights to distract them (we also keep yummy treats in the back). Another reason for being taken to the treatment area is if your appointment is just for a nail trim, we probably don’t have an exam room available and we want to help get you in and out and on with your day.
Looking out for your safety & the safety of your pet
The reason the treatment area is “staff only” is not only because it’s a busy nexus for the clinic, but because legally, insurance covers our staff for work related injuries but not the public. The treatment area contains sharp objects, anesthetic gases and other animals that may be stressed. Our staff is trained to be aware of anything that may be harmful and how to proceed safely. We work hard to insure a safe working environment for everyone!
There are more procedures that might be best done in the treatment area, but the above are the most common. We just want you to know that there is nothing scary going on “back there” and we appreciate your trusting your fur kids to us. If you have any questions about any procedure that is recommended for your pet, always feel free to ask. We want you to feel comfortable and safe with our care of your family pets.