I am constantly being reminded I am not God. I cannot cure or even control many of the diseases in my poor little critters.
This last week I worked with two extremely ill birds. One has died and the other may soon be euthanized. In both cases the owners had no financial limits - I had the freedom to do the diagnostics and to use expensive treatment modalities. They didn't/don't have treatable diseases.
Maybe if they had been caught very early and quickly diagnosed, I might have had a fighting chance. Unfortunately, the diseases had progressed and were systemic at presentation. All the major organ systems were/are shutting down. I would get one system under control only to have another collapse.
How do you explain this to an owner? "Yes, I know why your pet is dying, but I can't do anything to stop it." Why doesn't understanding bring a cure or at least control until the body can repair itself?
I stayed up all night with both of them (the patients). It just seems too horrible to die alone and in pain. And I'm the fuckin' expert! All I could do was sit holding them and inject steroids and anti-convulsants to ease the suffering and control the symptoms.