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Madame Françoise Tenenbaum, a deputy mayor of Dijon, has suggested that Vets could be drafted in to make up for a lack of Doctors in Rural Areas, “so that all Burgundians are guaranteed to have access to healthcare”.

She does accept that Vets might need a little bit of training for this new arrangement.

A trip to the vet / doctorA trip to the vet / doctor

The Doctors have treated the suggestion with derision, and for good reason, because the Vets have not gone to medical school where they would have been trained to deal with all diseases and maladies with drugs and chemical concoctions supplied by Big Pharma, or by surgery. After all, the object of modern medicine is to keep people on cures, not to cure them. Vets tend to make animals well. Owners demand it.

Also Doctors know that they themselves have not perfected the art of explaining to relatives, as Vets have, that “Dear Aunt Maud is now suffering a lot of pain, and it would be kinder to… you know…. put her to sleep.”

The last doctor that tried that approach was jailed as England’s most prolific mass murderer, but Vets get away with it all the time.

So speaking as a Rural Burgundian and possible patient, I am thrilled at this Vet/Doctor Interchange suggestion. Who knows, maybe soon I will be able to take my dog to the doctor at the same time as I take my wife… think of the time I will save on appointments!

I have always known that the medical profession goes into a panic when confronted with a case of Mad Cow Disease at two in the morning, when you phone them up for advice after you come back from the pub. However our local vet will know exactly what to do in these circumstances: “Give her a swift Gin and Tonic, and call me in the morning!”

Also the Vet won’t, as politicians do, insist of destroying the whole herd and burning them, because they are all future potential patients, with names like ‘du Four’, which is a common destination for farm animals that don’t respond to Vets’ administrations.

I see a sharp upswing in local health as Vets take on more and more responsibilities: Husbands suffering with distemper will be given a quick “shot”, be de-wormed and won’t be subjected to a CAT scan.

Wives will be given a full body shampoo, all over grooming and have their nails clipped.

Fractious teenage boys will be neutered and delivered home, much more docile and amenable.

Teenage girls will be given a birth control pill and a flea collar to keep any ardent pursuers, at paw’s length.

And everyone will have an ear tattoo and a passport chip inserted in them, so that international travel will be streamlined.

I am a bit concerned that after my next anti-rabies shot I might find that “Foxy Lady” at Number 6 a little more attractive than I do now.

After my next session of howling at the full moon, pinching the neighbour’s dog biscuits from outside his kitchen door, I shall have to go and piddle under her mailbox as a sort of Burgundian introduction, authorised by the deputy mayor of Dijon.