By Cliff Sawit
All too often, people think of veterinary clinics as pet mechanics, a place to send your living stuffed toy to get fixed, like a car getting its oil changed. But any true animal lover will tell you that our pets aren’t playthings, but living, breathing members of our families. Wouldn’t you want your family members to receive their healthcare from a clinic that treats them with love and compassion?
Enter Pendragon Clinic, a state-of-the-art 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic located at the G/F Amaremca Bldg., 107-A Kalayaan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City. Mayem Yao, DVM, the owner of Pendragon Clinic, says compassion and innate love for animals–not a particular set of skills–is what is truly necessary to be a good veterinarian. “Just like everything else in life, skills are mastered through practice and repetition. And someone who loves what they do, even being a vet, would most likely practice what they do to get the skills that they need. I would say though that critical thinking, and open mind, and the will to keep working to gain a skill is important in one’s practice as a veterinarian.”
She displayed this characteristic inclination towards animals at an early age. “Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by little creatures, playing and taking care of them as a child.” In nursery school, she recalls, she would bring a new animal to class every day, like hamsters, rabbits, ducks, dogs, cats, pigeons, and so on. “Thankfully my parents were always very supportive of my passion for animals.”
It’s this dedication to their patients, says Dr. Yao, that distinguishes Pendragon Clinic from other veterinary clinics; despite the various advanced equipment and procedures available there, sometimes only at Pendragon within the entire country. “We are one of the few clinics, if not the only clinic, offering confinement for canine distemper through our isolation ward,” she explains, “and along with this we also offer a treatment for canine distemper not readily available in the local market called the Sears serum.” This distemper treatment was discovered by Dr. Alson Sears using a treatment based on the Newcastle Disease Serum. Pendragon Clinic also offers blood transfusion services from their own donors.
Pet Care Goes Mobile
Pendragon Clinic fields its own mobile clinic, which is equipped to do a wide variety of laboratory tests, such as a complete blood count, serum chemistry tests, ELISA tests, and so on. “This allows us to do a proper diagnosis of your pet at your home,” she explains.
Good communication with your doctor is important when planning your healthcare, and Pendragon Clinic makes this more convenient with their mobile app. The mobile app, due soon for an update to version 2, allows pet owners to view their pet’s laboratory results, prescriptions, and medical history.
Communication goes a long way in building trust between pet owner and vet. “First and foremost,” says Dr. Yao, “it is important that you go to a vet that you can trust. Honestly speaking, it doesn’t matter if your vet has all the equipment and technology in the world, or if she merely has an exam table and a microscope – if you trust your vet, then you believe that you and your vet are doing everything possible for your pet.”
In her years as an animal lover she was disappointed by vets who seemed to have no compassion for their patients. She was dismayed by vets who could not even approach dogs to treat them, and even lost a beloved dog undergoing a very difficult labor in the middle of the night because vets refused to perform the Caesarean section until it was too late. “Rest assured,” says Dr. Yao, “your pets are monitored 24/7 when confined in our clinic.”
Aside from trust, pet owners need to feel that their vet is competent. “A vet should always be ready to answer a pet owner’s questions,” says Dr. Yao. “If you encounter a vet who does not explain what is going on with your pet, then look for another vet. Your vet will not always know everything, but s/he must constantly be learning something new.”
Pendragon does its PART
Sometimes, despite all the care and knowledge and compassion they have, vets still find themselves helpless when they lose a patient and there is nothing they can do. “It is even harder when you know how much a pet means to its owner and you have to deliver the bad news to them,” Dr. Yao says. “Many pet owners treat their pets like family, and they mourn the loss of their pet like they would a family member.”
Pendragon Clinic is the formal partner vet of the Philippine Animal Rescue Team (PART), an SEC-registered, non-profit, non-government, no-kill animal rescue organization. “Although we are very much part of PART now,” says Dr. Yao, “this was not the case from the beginning of PART. They needed to consult with Pendragon regarding one of their rescues, and we were looking for an animal welfare group as part of our clinic’s charity efforts.”
Pendragon basically handles all veterinary concerns of the rescues and the shelter. “We are also in charge of biosecurity, and provide input in the husbandry and management of the shelter. All of PART’s rescues have to undergo a complete medical check at Pendragon before proceeding to the shelter.”
But Pendragon doesn’t profit from its partnership with PART. In fact, Pendragon Clinic subsidizes expenses from rescues. “For every peso spent by PART, Pendragon spends the same, if not more,” says Dr. Yao.
This appeared in Animal Scene’s October 2016 issue.