Dr Melissa Reed has been in the veterinary field for 17 years. She grew up in San Diego and for 12 years she very much enjoyed being a vet technician. At the age of 27 she decided to go to school at the University of West Indies in Trinidad to become a veterinarian. She’s now been an official vet for 5 years. Just by looking at Melissa you would never guess she has her 17 years in the field as she looks refreshingly young and has a very light, and easily likable spirit about her. Having a fresh face isn’t always the easiest when your younger when it was impossible to get in anywhere, however to quote Doctor Reed, “ Well I’ll be cute when I’m 80!” And we absolutely agree although we’re pretty positive she’s been cute all her life. Here’s more from the Doctor!
What are the top 3 questions to ask when deciding on a Veterinarian?
“If they are AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association,) accredited that’s really a good sign, and there’s a website. Say your moving into a town where you don’t know anybody you can always go on the website and see which hospitals are accredited. This just means you adhere to stricter guidelines, then you have to. You certainly can ask for referrals and talk to your neighbors to see who they use. Also, if they are close to your house I think that’s another benefit. If you have an emergency you want to be able to get there quick.”
What’s the most common question you receive from an animal’s owner?
“People really want to know if their animal is normal, whatever they’re doing. Sometimes animals make these weird reverse sneezing noises and puppies get the hiccups. Puppies and kittens also lose their baby teeth. People don’t realize that and they find a tooth on the carpet and they are really alarmed. People just really want to know if things are normal or not.”
What is the most common reason an animal comes to see you?
“Most the time it’s wellness visits. We make sure they are up to date on their vaccines, check their poop once a year, do heart worm testing, and with senior pets test their blood and urine. Mostly wellness I would say.”
What is your favorite breed of dog and why?
“I’d have to go with mutts. We get all these fun little french bull dogs, and really cute adorable little pure breed dogs. They tend to have more health issues then some of the mutts. And I just think it’s so cute all the Heinz 57 dogs, all the different shapes and configurations you see. They tend to be healthier dogs.”
How often should you bathe your dog?
“It depends on the dog, if the dog is going out and getting really dirty all the time monthly is a good rule of thumb to start at. It’s not going to strip all the oils and everything that are important for their coat. Certainly if you have a short hair dog that tends to stay clean you don’t have to bathe them that often. Also, some dogs are very clean, and some dogs have terrible allergies. Sometimes when they are having a really bad outbreak we will have people bathe them a couple times a week or weekly. This just gets all the pollen off of them and their skin so their comfortable.
What is your number one piece of advice to give a client when getting a brand new puppy?
“Brush their teeth. Start brushing their teeth early and get them use to it. You should really just be brushing their teeth along the upper gum line. I think the little pet tooth pastes are nice fun flavors for dogs, and just starting slow is a good tip. We have a whole little “30 Days to Brushing Your Dogs Teeth” guide that we give to people. They just start with giving them a treat, sitting them down, and making it part of the routine. This eases them into things. You should have them lick the tooth paste,and then have them play with the tooth brush. We have the whole step by step guide, it should definitely be fun experience. If it’s not fun for the puppy they will not want to do it and if it’s stressful for the people, we don’t want to do that to our puppy. You should brush their teeth everyday but only for about 10 seconds. It should be real fast, people have more trouble remembering to brush their dogs teeth, then actually doing it.”
Thank you to Dr Reed, Zaya (pictured above) and the fantastic team at Turquoise Animal for participating in this week's Zen Veterinarian blog feature!