Veterinarians Answer: If You Could Be Granted One Wish, What Would You Wish For via My Dog’s Symptoms

January 9, 2014

Jana Rade again called upon me and my fellow veterinary writers for My Dog’s Symptoms. As we’ve just started the new year, here’s a timely topic: If You Could Be Granted One Wish, What Would You Wish For?

New Year is time of resolutions. But what if one could just make a wish instead?

I would wish that every single person could see the beauty and spirit in every living being. 

Every animal has the ability to love, care for, and provide companionship. My wish would be for humans to look into not just dogs and cats but also other species for these traits. There is so much beauty, grace, and gentle magnificence in so many other animals. I truly think the world would be a more peaceful kind place if we looked into the eyes of more creatures with the compassion, love and devotion that we do our dogs.

Oh, and if there could never be another animal killed by the hand of man because we couldn’t recognize the inherent value of their unique miraculous life that would be my wish.

I love my pig, sheep, horses, and even those “so ugly they were cute” opossums as much as my dogs and my cats. To say one is more important or valuable than another is not possible.

—Dr. Krista Magnifico, DVM, Diary of a Real-Life Veterinarian
Dr. Krista on Twitter
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 If I could be granted any wish, I would wish to work my way out of a job by doing SUCH a great job of preventative care, disease and injury treatment and client education that along with all the other vet teams in the world, that every disease were eradicated and every injury were prevented, and the health and well being of every pet were optimized and we are left holding our stethoscopes and scratching our heads as we look around at all of the healthy, happy and vibrant animals.

I suppose for that to be a 100% successful plan, we would need to beat mortality as well.  (That would make all of our hard work of population control all that more important!)  And truly, if overpopulation and mortality were both solved…I would call my career a complete success.

As it is, I will never be completely successful, but will continue my efforts to work towards as long, pain-free and illness free lives as possible for our animal friends.

Knowing how good things should be (OK we are not solving DEATH any time soon) and even how good things should be (a long, healthy live in a loving home for every pet) and how things ARE (often that good but not always) is a disconnect that can be discouraging.  But knowing I can make some difference and partnering with the rest of the vet team and clients locally and the rest of pet lovers globally to get as close as possible to that wish coming true is encouraging enough to keep me coming back.

—Dr. Shawn M. Finch, DVM, Riley & James 
Dr. Shawn on Twitter 

I wish I could specialize in veterinary pediatrics. 

—Dr. Greg Magnusson, DVM (Leo’s Daddy), Leo’s Pet Care
Dr. Greg on Facebook and Twitter 

My wish would be that everyone had the financial resources necessary to properly care for their pets. 

Every day I receive emails from people who are trying their best to figure out how to come up with the funds to pay for what their beloved pets need. Some of these requests are truly tragic because a super-fixable problem is described- perhaps a broken leg, yet the people writing to me are having to consider euthanasia because of their limited financial resources.

I encourage them to contact their local shelter with hopes that they can find some assistance there. I also refer them to my website where I provide a lengthy list of organizations that may be able to provide them with financial assistance.

—Dr. Nancy Kay, DVM, Speaking for Spot
Dr. Kay on Facebook and Twitter 

That’s an easy one – to not have owner’s financial constraints limit me from providing the care that their animals need.

It’s not a perfect solution, but pet insurance can certainly help.

—Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, Fully Vetted


The wish that I would like to have granted (as pertaining to veterinary medicine) would be that pet owners would be dedicated to preventing diseases in their companion canines and felines that are truly preventable: periodontal disease and obesity (the number one and two diseases seen in veterinary clinical practice).

Both diseases have potentially irreversible side effects that can severely compromise a pet’s quality of life.

Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Los Angeles, The Daily Vet
Dr. Patrick on Facebook and Twitter 

 That’s an interesting question… My one wish would be that people would adequately research a particular breed prior to adding an animal to their household. There are so many dogs and cats that end up in shelters, rescues or worse, everyday. Often, many of these animals were a wrong fit into that individual’s household, right from the get go.  People often fall in love with a look of a breed rather than their characteristics.

—Dr. Roxane Pardiac, DVM

Allow me to preface my answer with the story of Pedro. Pedro is a 15-year-old, 17-pound Chihuahua mix who was diagnosed last year with a severe cardiac arrhythmia. It quickly became apparent that without a pacemaker, he wouldn’t survive.

This intervention meant traveling to a specialist and came with a $5000 price tag. Pedro’s parents chose to have the procedure done and borrowed the money necessary to pay his ransom. He became my first patient to get a pacemaker.

I’ve practiced veterinary medicine for nearly 17 years, working in a busy emergency practice, general practice, and alternative practice. I’ve seen countless committed clients forced to decline expensive tests, procedures, or referrals because they simply weren’t affordable. I’ve wrestled with these painful decisions in my own family.

My utopian wish:  That the best modern medicine and technology have to offer be affordable and accessible for every pet.

Pedro, by the way, warms my heart every time I see him.  He still acts like a puppy and I hope will live for another decade with his bionic ticker.

—Dr. Julie Buzby, South Carolina, ToeGrips
Dr. Julie on Facebook and on Twitter

I would love to see all of the shelters emptied by adoption.

—Dr. Keith Niesenbaum, VMD, New York, Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital
Dr. Keith on Facebook and on Twitter


It would be easy to say as a private veterinarian that my wish list would be to have my practice acquire a CAT scan to make it easier to provide diagnoses to my patients that such a modality would provide. It would be easy to say that; “I wish my clients had the resources (money and time) to treat their pets and my patients to the best of my, their and modern technology  abilities.”

But I really think my wish is, “Let there be less but better science published.”
The corollary is that ” Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”

The worst example in the last 12 months was the extraordinary claim in a study from France that claimed that GM foods caused cancer. Newspapers ran this headline on the front page. Less than 12 months later the study was repudiated as flawed. Hardly a peep from the press.

Our understanding of standards of research evidence and statistics has evolved far enough that bogus or bad studies or even worse unsubstantiated opinions should not get attention at all. If we all had to only read, understand, and communicate good science, my life and my patients’ lives would be so much better. And so would society.

Of course maybe we need a study to confirm my hypothesis.

—Dr. Rae Worden, DVM, Ontario,  Fergus Veterinary Hospital
Dr. Rae on Facebook and Twitter 

 A wish is something that is impossible or something that is imaginary. If a wish is actually attainable, then it would no longer be a wish but rather a goal. However, many goals have started out as wishes, so here is my wish.

My wish is for integrative medicine to become the norm, to be main stream, for all veterinarians to be on the same page when it comes to treatment options.

The hard core holistic medicine practitioners and the hard core evidence based medicine practitioners are on the fringes.

For the holistic practitioners, I will tell you there is a time for vaccines, antibiotics and yes, even corticosteroids. There are many times that the benefits of the altruistic medicine far outweighs the negative influences. In the long term, the body is a magnificent piece of machinery and can handle and recover very well from the use of altruistic medicine, if used judiciously and as necessary.

For evidence based practitioners, I will tell you that the scientific method is not flawless and because of this there is much that we do not understand, we do not know, and much we have wrong. There is a place for anecdotal evidence and the acknowledgement that each patient is just that – a single patient. A patient is not a number in a group and responds as an individual to treatments and should be treated as such.

That is my wish – a better understanding and cooperation for the betterment of patient treatment making integrative medicine as the norm. Once there then I can wish for functional medicine instead of reactionary medicine being the norm, but that would be asking for a big wish to change both diagnostics and treatment options.

—Dr. Daniel Beatty, DVM, Dog Kinetics
Dr. Dan on Facebook and Twitter 

Thank you for reading this article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).
Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.
Copyright of this article (2014) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

TheOldBroad January 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

“I would love to see all of the shelters emptied by adoption.”

I’ll take that one step further. I’d like to see a waiting list of GOOD and financially stable homes wanting to adopt, but there aren’t enough critters needing a home that all applicants will get a pet. (This would solve the homeless problem as well as the hoarding problem.)

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