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Guest Blog: And it looks like that!

As all medical professionals know, we have some long and stressful days, but we also get a few special moments that make it all worth it. Let me start this story by saying that I am a veterinarian, trained in animal diseases. It is my last appointment of the day. "Check skin," according to the chart. A young couple stand up when I call for "Winston". They follow me to the exam room, along with my technician Amy. They sit down while I start the physical exam and collect medical history. "Winston" is a very happy, hyperactive puppy, whose only goal is to lick us to death. Amy is using all of her restraining skills so that I can get a good look at him for more than a second. I work my way from head to toe, coming back to the tiny hairless spots on his head and neck. I tell the owners that I would like to do some tests on Winston to rule out ringworm. I inform them that ringworm is not a worm but a fungal infection, unfortunately fairly common in puppies in this part of the world (we are on a US military base in Asia). Given the clinical presentation and the age, ringworm is high on my list. It is also my responsibility to warn them that Ringworm can be contagious to people. I tell them innocently "and the skin lesions on people look like..." As I say these words, I look up at the lady, and freeze in horror. Amy follows my gaze, freezes too, slowly walks away and starts washing her hands thoroughly and noisily in the sink behind me. All this probably happened in two seconds but lasted an eternity, as I fought a extreme urge to scream and laugh at the same time. "And it looks like... " I repeat, as I cannot take my eyes away from the lady's red spots all over her legs, arms, and neck. She is wearing a tank top and shorts, and I can not believe I did not see that earlier, but I was too focused on my furry patient. The husband is wearing pants and long sleeves, so I will never know if he has the same issue. Not wanting to hurt my client's feelings, I refrain from finishing my sentence. For all I know, she may have some serious incurable skin condition, and I may be insulting her by telling her she has ringworm like her dog! "And it looks exactly like that!" I could not stop thinking, as Amy kept scrubbing her hands! Clients often ask their veterinarian for medical advice. Twice already, a client has lift up her shirt to show me a random scratch or spot on her abdomen. Past the look of shock on my face, I gently tell them that I do not know what it is and that I recommend that they go see their doctor... And I remind myself how lucky I am to be working on animals! Medelita Guest Blogger: Julie Pearson, DVM. Julie is currently working on the East Coast as a small animal veterinarian. She was born and raised in France, where she got her degree before getting licensed in the USA. She enjoys being a general practitioner, and feels privileged to be there for her patients, whether it is for a wellness visit or a serious medical issue. Julie has been wearing Medelita since August 2010, and is seen here wearing her scrubs.