Some people read Rolling Stone. Others read National Geographic. On the rare occasion we have a quiet moment in the clinic, my staff likes to read Veterinary Dermatology.
Now, I know lots of veterinarians are less than excited about this particular aspect of practice. Ear infections aren’t sexy, they say, not like, say, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or immune mediated hemolytic anemia. Bo-ring, they ho-hum over a flea allergy dermatitis while hoping a nice cranial cruciate ligament tear limps in the door next.
Pshaw, I say. Maybe there are less opportunities for invasive surgical interventions or emergency critical care hospitalizations, but if you’re looking for the WOW factor it’s hard to beat toxic epidermal necrolysis (google it, if you dare.)
So my staff has learned, while paging through my color atlas oohing and aahing over the close-ups of papillomas, mycosis fungoides, and assorted erosive lesions. They can be dramatic. They can be fascinating. They can be flat out hideous.
I left the book open to the page on Transmissible Venereal Tumors today, which triggered an impromptu sex ed lesson in the treatment area.
“Wait a minute,” said one tech. “Are you saying there is actually a sexually transmitted disease in dogs?”
“Yes,” I replied with an ominous tone. “Several, actually. But this one is the grossest looking.”
We stared at the pictures of the angry bloody red masses hanging off the unfortunate subject’s prepuce. “I’m always looking for reasons to try and convince owners to spay and neuter,” she said in wonder. “I never knew about THIS.”
For sheer shock value, yes, it beats some of the more traditional arguments in favor of spays and neuters. We live in an increasingly blase society. We should take advantage of every opportunity we can.
HEY KIDS, SPAY AND NEUTER OR YOUR DOG COULD CATCH THE COOTCHIE CANCER. I don’t know why this hasn’t caught on.