Voodoo diarrhea and other 'emergencies'

Clients have their own ideas about what merits a late phone call.
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Apr 01, 2013

I used to get an emergency call from Mr. Stant three or four times a year. It was always after hours and went something like this:

"Hello, Doc. This is Percy Stant calling. Dungbutton is having trouble with plopsie again. He seems real sick. Can I rush him right in?"

Knowing that Dungbutton had a history of pseudo-coprostasis, I would arrange to meet them at my office. And a glance at the pooch's record would cause me to become aggravated all over again. Every visit recorded was a Sunday night emergency.

"He crouches when he walks," Mr. Stant would say. "I'm not a vet, but it looks like a pain in the rear to me."


ILLUSTRATION BY RYAN OSTRANDER
I couldn't agree more. After treating the dog, I explained that the pup's condition had likely been going on several days—if not more.

"I know, Doc," Mr. Stant replied. "That odor has been there for three days, but I kept putting off bringing him in. You see, on Sundays he watches TV with me. That's when the odor really bothered me. So I called you."

At each visit I would explain to Mr. Stant that he should check the dog regularly and catch the problem before it worsened. That way the pain in the rear could be avoided. For everyone. But he never listened. For Mr. Stant, a condition became an emergency when it began to inconvenience him.

Luckily for me, I haven't seen him or the plugged pooch for several years. We now have an all-night emergency clinic in my area, so I've become accustomed to sleeping through the night.