Questions from the “Dog Side” My Interview with Dr. Ryan Llera DVM

Time to turn the exam room table!

Questions for the Dog Side

My Interview with Dr. Ryan Llera DVM

This week I turn the exam room tables and ask questions from the dog side, as I interview Dr. Ryan Llera. We discuss needles, cold thermometers and whose the better patient – cats or dogs.

1) What’s your favourite part of being a vet?

Excellent question. I really love surgery!! A chance to cut is a chance to cure. Whether it’s spaying/neutering, removing bladder stones, or saving a life because a silly pet ate something it shouldn’t have, I love it all! In an almost too close to call second, I derive immense satisfaction from healing pets and reuniting them with their families. Seeing the happiness on people’s faces when their beloved pets are sent home is a feeling I will never get tired of.

Questions for the Dog Side - My Interview with Dr Ryan Llera

Dr. Ryan Llera


2) Do you (secretly) like giving us needles and taking our temperature?

Oh gosh no! I hate needles myself!! I always use the smallest needle possible and appropriate for each patient and whatever is being given (some medications are really thick!). I do this for their comfort but also to try and make a visit to the vet less fearful. As an added bonus, if somebody moves and I get poked too, the needle doesn’t hurt as much! About the whole temperature thing, I’d like to say “let’s not go there” but it’s a necessary evil. If there was a reliable safer way, I’d be all for it.

3) What about that scale – are you sure it’s set correctly?

I certainly hope so….I weigh myself on it! Oftentimes, we’ll put one of the larger bags of food on it to see how accurate it is and usually it might only be off by 0.1 kg either way. What I do suggest for smaller dogs and cats, is that your veterinarian get a baby scale which will be more accurate for lower weight pets.

4) How many pets do you have?

Currently living in our house we have 5 pets. The two dogs are Charlie the border collie mix and Taylor the English Springer Spaniel. The three cats Gremlin, Asia, & Louie all get along with each other for the most part and love snuggling the dogs as well. We also have two horses, Willie a pony cross and Gus, our Hanoverian stallion that was part of my wedding gift to my wife – but they don’t live in our home! I also have an iguana named Guida who is almost 24 and still lives with my mom in Florida.

Questions for the Dog Side - My Interview with Dr Ryan Llera

Dr. Ryan Llera and Family


5) Be honest – who is a better patient – dogs! Or those cats?

Ah, trick question! I love them both equally. If I had to give preference, it would be to whoever doesn’t bite or scratch!

Questions for the Dog Side - My Interview with Dr Ryan Llera

Who’s the better patient?


6) If you weren’t a veterinarian, what would you be?

Wow…where to begin? Being an astronaut would be cool but I’m not much of a risk taker….something about sitting on an explosive amount of fuel is unsettling let alone being isolated in outer space; they are truly braver than I am. I always felt that I would probably enter into some kind of teaching field. This pairs naturally with being a veterinarian and trying to help inform pet owners. When all is said and done though, I don’t think I could be anything but a veterinarian because it’s the best job in the world!!

7) Why do you make me leave my humom to go into the “back room”?

The treatment room is often where we do a lot of our work. Taking blood, nail trims, and ear cleanings are some of the things we do there. Oftentimes, we can also get second opinions from our colleagues who aren’t usually able to also come into the same exam room. One of the main reasons we take pets to this room is to be able to safely get work done. Pet parents really do love their fur-kids and we understand that but their well meaning attention to the patient sometimes gets in the way. People have clutched on to their pets too tight and we can’t adequately examine them. Another facet is that if the humom or hudad is anxious about things, the pet will often pick up on that and the visit will be more stressful for everyone. Lastly, we have trained staff that are able to safely hold onto the patients and well intentioned parents can get bit if they try to hold their own pets.

Questions for the Dog Side - My Interview with Dr Ryan Llera

What happens in “the back room?

8) Why do I have sit on the tall stainless steel table to be examined?

For small dogs like yourself, and cats, being up on the table is primarily to help the veterinarian out. When a lot of patients are on the floor, they tend to move around and wiggle too much. This can be a problem with larger dogs too but not as often. Also, when you’re seeing 15-20 patients a day, your back can really hurt if you’re bending over all the time to do a thorough exam. I’m in talks with our practice manager about trying to remove some of the fear from the vet visits and part of that will include covering up the cold steel tables.

Questions for the Dog Side - My Interview with Dr Ryan Llera

Dr. Ryan Llera and friend

I would like to shake Dr. Ryan Llera’s paw and say woof for taking the time to answer these impawtant questions to help pets understand the other side of the examination table.

To hear more words of wisdom from Dr. Llera, you can visit his Blog, catch up with him on Twitter or follow him on Facebook

Stay tuned next week on Vet Chat with Dr. Llera, as he asks the tough questions and interviews me!

Author: Kelly Harding

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