I am both a veterinarian and a breeder. I have been both a long time. I have been a licensed veterinarian for almost forty years. I bred a few horses many years ago, then bred Labrador Retrievers for almost 25 years. Now, I have been breeding RagaMuffins for more than eight years. Sometimes the line has to be drawn between what I can do as a veterinarian and as a breeder.

This morning that was made clearer than ever to me. I got an email from someone on my waitlist for a kitten. Attached were photographs of a cat with a skin lesion. The cat belongs to a friend and the person emailing wanted to help his friend by asking me what the lesion was and how to treat it.

While I understand wanting to help the cat out, diagnosing and recommending treatment  for a cat that I do not have a valid veterinary/client/patient relationship with  is inappropriate and, at worst, could cost me my license. I responded that it would not be suitable for me to comment. In this case, I went one step further to avoid potential future issues, advised the writer to seek a kitten elsewhere.  The emailer’s response? F#@k off, jerk. Nice, huh? I’m pretty sure I made the correct decision.

As a veterinarian, I am sometimes able to help a friend or kitten purchaser out with advice or guidance. I am pretty open to doing that when I have a relationship with someone. But, even in those situations, I am unable to diagnose or treat. It is very important to have a good working relationship with a veterinarian nearby. Even though I sold my hospital and can do most of the needed care for my animals, I maintain a client relationship with a local veterinarian. If that hospital is closed, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive an hour to the closest emergency clinic.