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A Mastiff Blog | Dog Owners, Know the Limitations of Your Veterinarian

Author: Amanda, A Mastiff Blog

A Mastiff Blog



One of the most important relationships you will have as a pet owner is with your Veterinarian. As a lifelong pet owner, my pet’s health is always one of my biggest concerns.  Is this normal? Am I feeding this right? Is this safe for my pet? OMG, my dog just ate ______ (you can fill in the blank with countless items on that one).  There always seems to be some concern or question I have and generally those questions are best left suited for the professionals, or at least that’s what we are lead to believe.  That’s why it is so important to really know your vet and make sure they are the best fit for your dog’s wellbeing.

There are 161+ Breeds of Dogs

Consider this, the AKC (as a general jumping off point) has 161 different recognized breeds of dogs the last time I checked, but there are many other purebred breeds of dogs registered in the world as well.  Vet schools teach our Veterinarians about dogs, not specific breeds and these 161+ breeds are all a little bit different.  The medical recommendations you would give for a Pomeranian are not the same as the medical recommendations you would give for an English Mastiff.  As a pet owner I’m not saying not to not trust your vet, but do question things that give you concerns.  A good vet, just like a good doctor, should be willing and able to answer any questions you may have, and if need be listen to your suggestions as well.

My personal Veterinarian has no other Mastiff clients

As a specific example, my personal Veterinarian has no other Mastiff clients.  There is a very specific list of anesthesia’s that are not safe to use on Mastiffs because of their huge chest cavities, slow circulation and specific inability to metabolize drugs in the normal time frame that other dogs do.  My vet had never heard of this, but was very willing to listen and absorb the information that I provided (from a credited source of course) about this breed specific issue.

Know the Limitations of Your Veterinarian

It is also good to know the limitations of your veterinarian.  I live in a rural area and my vet is in a small town.  While she can perform most general medical tasks and basic surgeries, when my dog tore her Cruciate Ligament I knew my vet could be of no real help other than a referral, so onto the University we went. And from there onto a referral Veterinarian Specialist Group that only handles orthopedic surgeries, oncology and other emergency type invasive surgeries.  Currently I have 4 different Veterinarian office phone number programmed into my cell phone. Now for most pet owners that may be just a bit of overkill, as a pet mommy, it just makes me feel comfortable.

The point is, that’s all a great vet is, medical expertise with a willingness to learn new things.  Someone who will actually listen to their clients concerns and needs and be the support needed to get through whatever medical crisis your pet may be experiencing. As the only advocate your pet has, it is your responsibility to make sure your veterinarian is the best fit for your fur family.


Now it’s your turn! Is your veterinarian easy to talk to?


  1. Yes, It is a big problem. The most problem I have seen is lack of knowledge of Rhodesian Ridgebacks and mini dogs. So may Vets don’t know what how to medicate the little ones. With Ridgebacks it is a problem diagnosing their aggression due to thyroid since their values are different than other dogs.

    • When I read Amanda’s article, I was so excited because she brought up so many great points that I never considered. Do you think it’s location related? For instance, if an area is known for a breed, the vets will be more knowledgeable?

    • Interesting, I didn’t know Ridgebacks had different Thyroid values. It’s frustrating when you know that what the ‘professional’ is reccommending is not the best for your dog. Do you have a vet now you are comfotable with Jana?

  2. Great article! Consider the number of breeds like you said, then the challenges of mixed breeds and not knowing what may or may not crop up for an individual dog, then all the species they are taught about… yikes. Of course they can’t know everything about every type of pet, but it’s easy to forget that.

    One of the reasons why I adore my dog’s vet is just what you describe. She’s confident in her knowledge, yet always open to getting a second opinion, referring to someone with expertise in a specific area, etc. Her first concern is my dog’s health, not whether she looks like she has all the answers. That’s exactly what I want in a vet.

    Thanks for an excellent post and the wise perspective.

  3. Thanks Sonia! It’s wonderful you have a vet with those traits. I have a vet like that too, but I have heard of so many others with vets who have the “i’m always right” syndrome. Makes me realized how lucky I really am :)

  4. Great post and advice – my favorite dog and cat veterinarian is actually a good friend and former co-worker. The second clinic I worked at wanted to treat everything and almost never referred to specialists. We had the equipment and some of the vets had the expertise, not all though. This is something that really bothered me sometimes. Needless to say that while I loved the work at this hospital, I really hated the management. Some hospital’s with heavy management get in the way of how a good doctor might practice and I’ve seen it happen before.

    • No matter what industry you’re in it seems like management always gets in the way doesn’t it! I’m glad you have a vet you are content with now.

  5. My vet is my human cousin. She’s a very good vet but all the vets in the clinic, including her, have lil experience with rotties. Dad knows more about the breed than they do, which i find a little disturbing considering that i put my life in their hands.
    Don’t think that the problem is location related. Probably more a lack of studying less popular breeds in vet school. They seem to know everything about little doggies but when it comes to bigger breed – and rare ones – they are sometimes ignorant and often treat us as “normal dogs”, and we’re not.
    Very good article! Raises awareness about this important question for dog owners! Thanx!

    • I love that so many people have found great vets! We have a good vet, great vet actually. But our first vet intimidated me and I was afraid to ask questions. Thanks for stopping by, Lulu; I love it when the pups weigh in!

  6. Great and important article. Our vet is great. He’s “the head” of our veterinary “team”. He always learns things and he’s always open to discussing stuff (and I discuss stuff a lot). God bless him, he’s awesome.

    • I feel like I talk more than the vet too Jana. She’s like my doggy therapist. I know everyone else gets tired of me droning on about my dogs, so I figure they are paid to see me and talk to me about me dog, might as well take advantage! I’m so glad you have a great relationship with him.

  7. I love our vet. I’ve been bringing my corgis to him for over 14 years. He’s young enough to be innovative and open, old enough to have lots of experience. He’s a great communicator. When I had to put Rosie to sleep, and then Monty 3 months later, he was so kind, compassionate and respectful. He took very good care of them all their lives. He has humor and joy in his work and he knows what he’s doing. He even took two baby bunnies that Dakota found, nursed them, raised them and released them. Kudos to Dr. Donop!

    • The vet my mother used (and still uses) when I was growing up were like that. They knew all of our pets names and we got calls and sympathy cards when we lost a pet. It’s nice to know that they really do care about their clients. Compassion is key, and it looks like you’ve found that in your vet.


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