Dr. Jackie Dueñas has all the makings of a reality superstar: She’s young, she’s beautiful, and she has a gorgeous new baby and doting husband. At her Miami-area veterinary clinic, she lances bulbous cysts on all manner of beasts — from canines to crocodiles — for the viewing pleasure of Discovery+ subscribers via their bloody good new show, Pop My Pet.
But as Dr. Dueñas explained when she sat down with Nicki Swift, popping animal pimples, cysts, and boils is a lot more than a sickly satisfying viewing experience. Those odd bumps and lumps that form on your pet’s body can in fact, be cancerous. And even if they’re not, they often overlap crucial organs or require dangerous surgical removals that slice close to delicate arteries.
Dr. Dueñas is no mere pimple popper DVM — she’s there to save the life of your pet. But even with all the skill of this vet school grad who graduated in 2017 – for what it’s worth a Harvard study showed younger physicians outperform older ones when it comes to saving lives, per USA Today – veterinarian medicine does have its limits. She told us the sad tale of the one patient she lost that she now dreads seeing in an upcoming episode of Pop My Pet.
Dr. Jackie Dueñas reveals the one pet she couldn't save
Dr. Jackie Dueñas grew up working in animal shelters so when a patient dies, it hits her hard. And this sad story was all captured on camera for Pop My Pet.
“One of my first patients, Bailey, was a 14-year-old Weimaraner who came in at the cusp of the end of her life,” Dr. Dueñas told Nicki Swift. “Her owners were really concerned about quality of their life. She was an overall healthy pet, but when you’re talking about doing surgery on a 14 year old, even versus any eight year old … that’s a big difference.”
Dr. Dueñas revealed “a 14 year old is like a hundred-year-old person.” She explained the risks, but the family wanted to go ahead and Bailey didn’t make it. “It was definitely really disappointing. It was something that was very hard on me. Veterinarians will always say if you haven’t lost a patient, you haven’t been doing this long enough.” That being said, it definitely doesn’t get any easier. “It’s hard to be able to give that peace to the family. It’s hard on yourself. And I feel like those are the ones that stick with you. And I don’t think necessarily our clients see that side of us,” Dr Dueñas said.
She continued, “So I’m nervous about that episode … but I just hope that people understand that their veterinarians are real, that we grieve loss, just like they do.”
As of March 1, 2021, Pop My Pet is streaming exclusively on Discovery+.
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