Meet Dr. Katz at Petmapz!

March 19, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Dr.Katz,Heath & Well being

My name is Dr. Katz Piller and most of my clients refer to me as “Dr. Katz”. I have had meaningful relationships with various animals since I was a toddler and after losing one horse to severe colic and another to cancer. I made a commitment to studying veterinary medicine and to helping alleviate the pain and suffering of so many animals in this world.

Medicine is learned by studying and I believe that empathy and compassion are expressions of deep experiential learning’s. Animals have taught me unconditional love and have allowed me to be vulnerable in the face of fear and negative judgments. With animals, I can let down my defenses and work openly towards mutual understanding and recognition.

I graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999 and since then have practiced as an ambassador for pets, taking histories and complete physical examinations and diagnostics to make diagnoses that then need to be communicated in layman’s terms to the pet’s guardians, their owners. I encourage the pet’s whole family to be present for consultations as there is often variation in what different family members have perceived. This also allows me to assess family dynamics and to engage each person in the process of understanding what problems exist and which treatment options are available.

I attempt to engage all family members in understanding the health and welfare of their pets. Toddlers smile when listening to their pet’s heartbeat through a stethoscope for the first time! When opportunities permit, there are various responses to looking through a microscope at creepy crawly mites or at colorfully stained bacteria and budding yeast. The whole family can look at x-rays and I often pull out one of my favorites of a Barbie doll skate in the small intestines of a cat that younger people are often quite astute at picking out!

I work with passion and compassion and my goal is always bigger than the moment. Through pets, I can reach out to all members of a family and through each family to the whole community. Pets are people too, with feelings and reactions, with ears and eyes and kidneys and with pain sensations just like their pet parents. Pets deserve respect and dignity and treatment when they are sick and suffering. Pets are at the mercy of the people who care for them, their pet parents.

I worked as a “locum” or “substitute” vet from the years 2000-2007 during which time I experienced many different practice management styles in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The one commonality was that payment needed to be made when services were rendered, save for some allowances for post-dated cheques or split payments. If a client could not afford the work-up and / or the recommended treatment then the options were bleak for the pet: either euthanize; or surrender to the vet hospital in which case the veterinarian could reserve the right to euthanize versus treat and re-home; or “go somewhere else” e.g. to a local society or rescue that might be able to help. In British Columbia, veterinarians are obliged to report any cases where treatment is declined for any reason including costs to the local SPCA.

I understand the dilemma. Veterinarians work in private vet hospitals that receive no subsidies. In other words, the costs of drugs and supplies and staff time have to be recovered through clients paying for their pet’s care. Pets are dependent on their pet parents to recognize when they are hurt or suffering and to take them to a vet hospital for medical attention. Pets are dependent on their pet parents for seeing value in their health and well-being. Some people value their pets as deserving of medical treatment and care, some don’t. I have seen people on marginal incomes take on extra jobs and sell assets to pay for the treatment and care of pets. On the other hand, I have observed people affording a pack of cigarettes a day and proclaiming financial despair and the inability to pay for their pets. Likewise, I have seen people drive into the hospital expensive cars and elect not to treat their pet because they don’t see the value to them.

Where does all of this leave the pet? Marginalized at best. Where does this leave the veterinarian? The one person capable of mitigating the pain and suffering but unable to earn an income without payment?

There is no one answer. Through community and education, I believe we can improve the understanding of the basic needs of food, water, shelter and healthcare of all animals, starting with the pets in our homes. Petmapz is a community platform for awareness and education, a strong advocate of adoption as the first option and for promoting the lives of all animals around the world. Community involvement in animals outside our homes e.g. the stray cat who drops by for her daily meal or a neighbor’s pet who needs medical attention that perhaps they can’t afford.

In 2007, now as my own practice owner of Clayburn Pet Hospital, I was faced with a dramatic emergency when a young cat ‘s hind leg and tail was run over by a train and he was brought to me 10 minutes before closing on a Saturday night. The family had limited money working for minimal wage and the cat was very special to them. On physical examination, the cat was in shock but otherwise in good condition. The heat of the train running on the tracks had cauterized the major blood vessels to his leg and tail. There was definitely a favorable option to euthanasia. We could amputate his tail and leg but the family had no money. After a brief discussion, I performed the surgery and we held a garage sale to pay for the costs.

Word spread and the garage sale grew into an annual summer event along with a BBQ and silent auction, with fun and games and face painting for kids and with live entertainment. Year after year we have used this money to help offset the costs of helping pets that are suffering or in critical distress where money is the deciding factor between treatment and euthanasia. My ultimate goal is to globalize this fund through Petmapz and have veterinarians participate in fundraising ideas within their communities.  Together we can make a difference!

I have been involved with students from K -12 in local schools, sharing the understanding that pets get sick and hurt and deserve medical attention and care. We have held drawing contests for students to capture what helping a pet in need looks like to them. We rewarded prizewinners with t-shirts printed with their art. I have gone into schools with rescue animals and with other peoples’ pets that I have saved from critical distress and through these animals we have generated questions and had dialogue with these students. Now ask yourself: What can I do to make a difference?

For starters, help us get the Petmapz word out into YOUR community! Like us on Facebook! Be a part of the one-stop pet community where we all participate in listings and reviews!

My blog will be my contribution to things I am passionate about! Join us next time for “Who is Your Vet?”

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