Monday, February 20, 2012

MMS Awareness

MMS is Marley and Me Syndrome. Marley and Me, the book, was a great favorite with many of my clients. This book basically gives an account of a yellow lab’s life with all of his faults. Most lab owners could tell similar stories as read in this book. Marley was not as unique as one might think and that is why I hated this book. For me, a veterinarian, it was like listening to a client for a long time—hours, days.

To be clear, I love stories about pets: short stories. I love to hear one or two anecdotes about my patients as I examine them. It is what adds flavor to my day and usually makes me smile. There is the dog that separates out his kibble, by shape, and then eats one shape at a time. There is the dog that brushes his own teeth if you give him a tooth brush. There is the hound who decided, untrained, to monitor his owner’s glucose and wake her if she dropped too low. Who wouldn’t love hearing about all of these cool things?

People who have MMS usually are talking about a dog, have no time restraints, do not rely on communication for an income and are possibly lonely. They usually relate one story after another and another and another, with no room for me to excuse myself. They rarely relate anything unique—they are stories of regular dog behavior, like Marley, that the owner does not realize is common. If you are worried that you may be bogging your vet down by some MMS, here are the signs:

Your vet quits asking you questions.
Your vet is painfully smiling like a baby with gas.
Staff randomly enter the room, repeatedly, asking if anything is needed (the staff is flagging your chart, I promise).
Your dog is no longer nervous and is in fact curled up and is snoring.
A visit has lasted 40 minutes longer (or more) than the 15 minutes for which you were scheduled.

I am sure that there is rehab or a pill out there for MMS sufferers. Admitting the problem is the first step….


  1. Try being a cop and eating your lunch anywhere public:

    #1) Approaches your table with hands up. "I didn't do it!" Hysterical.

    #2) Approaches your table pointing to his wife. "She did it!" Hilarious.

    #3) Approaches your table. "Hey, do you guys know my neighbor, Officer Smegma?" He retired in 1957, so, no we don't.

    #4) Approaches your table. "You guys mind if I join you?" You're genuinely out of your mind, correct? many of these do I get without getting the MMS Dx?

    1. Hahaha. It has to be regarding a pet, so no MMS here.

    2. Officer Cynical,
      I bet there is another type of syndrome that you experience. Maybe something along the lines of, "False Comedian Syndrome." But I have to ask, are people brave enough to ask you where the donuts are? One day you will hear about the time my friend had a policeman pose for pictures with a sedated patient. There were handcuffs involved.

    3. Yeah, I've heard donut-related remarks lots of times. It's usually from someone with a big smile on his/her face, walking by wherever I happen to be sitting down to a meal. People see the uniform as license to do/say the weirdest crap - stuff they'd never consider with someone else. I'll never understand it.

    4. Officer Cynical - That was the best "do you know..." name EVER! Smegma is a funny word!

    5. Officer Cynical, I solemnly promise that should I ever come across a member of my local law enforcement on a break, the most he/she will hear from me is "Thank you".

  2. MMS has ruined many a social encounter for me. Man, I hate being a vet in public. I either get snowed under with MMS-type stories, complaints about a previous vet, or solicitations for free advice. Kill me now.

  3. It is usually my vet who gets long winded but I don't mind a bit! The man is fascinating and wish I could work for him.

  4. We do love stories about pets but we hear so many. As medical professionals and usually we are more intrigued about your pet's anatomy and physiology by the time we have a DVM or VMD behind our names and we may get a little bored with the stories after so many.

    After all telling us about the antics of your pet is like telling your pediatrician about your childs non-health related antics. Or like telling an architect all about your playing with lego-s or tinker toys. I suppose a lawyer would equally enjoy hearing about you or your childs high school debates. Of course the lawyer will charge you by the minute. The pediatrician, I don't know. The architect, who knows - if you are in their office they'll likely charge you by the minute also.

    Don't be afraid to offer a 30 to 60 second share of your pet's great things just use some moderation.