Dr. Chris Bern

21 Years Experience

Cartersville, GA

Male, 49

I have been a practicing veterinarian since 1997, but have been in and around the profession since 1984. I am a general practitioner and see most pet species, from dogs and cats to parrots and snakes. In my job I do everything from routine vaccinations to complex surgeries and difficult medical cases. Becoming a vet takes hard work and dedication but can be very rewarding.

SubscribeGet emails when new questions are answered. Ask Me Anything!Show Bio +


Ask me anything!

Submit Your Question

116 Questions


Last Answer on January 14, 2019

Best Rated

What can make a dog lose a lot of weight and constantly drink and pee?

Asked by tracy over 10 years ago

Many things, including cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease. This is something you need to have a vet evaluate in person, and you will need to expect lab tests.

If someone brings in an animal that's illegal to keep as a pet, do you have an obligation to notify the authorities? And if so will you treat it first and THEN call the cops, or refuse to treat it altogether?

Asked by 7y7kan about 11 years ago

Thankfully I've never been faced with this situation as most pets that would be illegal won't come to me. If I did feel that the client was doing something illegal I would feel morally obligated to report them to the authorities. However, I would have to be able to reasonably prove or have assurance that their actions are illegal. For such pets I would have to think that they didn't have the proper permits, and if they told me they did I wouldn't have cause to think otherwise. Interestingly, most states have laws prohibiting a vet from treating many wild species unless they work for the wildlife department. So if someone brought in an injured eagle or even a deer, I would have to refuse treatment or face being fined by the state government.

My dog is such a lover and is so affectionate. But she gets so upset when I leave and cries like crazy (even if someone else is home with her). It breaks my heart! Is there a way to train her to stop? Why doesn't she realize I always come home?

Asked by ColeD about 11 years ago

Animals don't have long-term memories in the same way that we do. They also do not have the same sense of time. So when you leave the house she doesn't remember that you'll come home in five minutes or five days. Also, it sounds like she has a bit of separation anxiety, a very well-recognized and studied disorder. There are several methods of treatment, from behavioral therapy to antianxiety medications. Such treatment requires a lot of work and consultation, and isn't something that can be handled here. I would recommend talking to your vet about the various options. If your vet doesn't feel qualified to handle behavioral cases, ask them for a recommendation of someone who does.

Do people ever come in and ask you to prescribe ADD or anti-depressant meds for pets?

Asked by anna_b about 11 years ago

I really don't have clients ask for these, but I do prescribe them. Animal behavior is a very strong interest of mine and I've done additional self-education in this area. I think that behavioral medications certainly have their place in treating certain disorders and am familiar with their use. Just yesterday I refilled a prescription for Prozac for a dog.

Weird question, but is there a such thing as plastic surgery for pets? People adorn their pets with so many stupid clothes and costumes, and I've heard of some dying their pets nothing surprises me anymore.

Asked by Best in Show about 11 years ago

Cosmetic surgery can be done! Most of the time such surgery is reconstructive after a serious injury, cancer, and so on, with the goal to return the pet's appearance and even functionality. If you think about it, ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removals are all cosmetic (i.e. "plastic" surgery) as they serve no real medical purpose. People have those surgeries done on their pets because the owners want them to have a certain physical "look". Beyond that I'm sure there are vets who will do a strictly cosmetic procedure, especially in certain parts of the US where owners have lots of money and have such things done on themselves. Most vets I know are against purely cosmetic procedures.

Do you think "...because I love animals" is enough of a rationale to consider becoming a vet? Why did you get into it?

Asked by georgia_navarro about 11 years ago

"I want to become a vet because I LOVE ANIMALS." Yep, I've heard this plenty of times. And if this is the only reason for going into the field, it is the wrong one. When you're a vet you have to see many hardships. You see pets that are injured, sick, or dying. You will have pets die despite your best care. You will see pets suffer because the owner can't afford treatment. There are many heartbreaking situations that we see every week, and if you are too soft-hearted you will go crazy. There is a delicate balance, because you certainly have to care enough to do your best and be truly compassionate, yet you can't give away your services or take in every stray or hard-luck case. You also have to handle seeing blood, pus, feces, and numerous other gross things. Just yesterday I had an angry cat urinate and then spin around, flinging urine in my eye! "Love" is not enough to handle these kinds of things. Plenty of people who love animals couldn't handle the day-to-day events in a veterinary practice. So why did I get into it? I love animals! Or at least, that's part of it. I do want to ease suffering, heal pets, and help owners. A vet can't be successful and happy if they don't love animals. But I also found anatomy, physiology, and medicine fascinating. I enjoy the intellectual challenges that I face, especially if I can make a pet better. I also love to teach, and being a small-animal vet gives me the opportunity to do it with every client.

I love animals and enjoy biology. I also like trying to solve a problem. I've seen all the pictures on your blog and do not think they are gross, but interesting. Would I make it as a vet? And what kind of math do you do in your career and how often?

Asked by someone over 10 years ago

Being a vet is much more than being able to handle "gross" or graphic sights. While it certainly helps, that doesn't say anything about your ability to remember details of diagnostics, drugs, and disease. It also doesn't indicate if you can handle the daily stress of the job, make proper decisions, and so on. So it's impossible for me to be able to tell if you would make it as a vet based on that alone. As far as math, most schools require you to take calculus, though I have no idea why. I use basic algebra on a daily basis, so that's essential. Understanding how statistics are calculated and reported also allows you to interpret studies properly. Math is important, but you don't need highly advanced knowledge.