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January 14, 2012 / Jackie H. Burns

Beware the Diagnostic Weenie!

Article by Jacquelyn H. Burns Reprinted from SC Tidbits:

My office has been a busy place of late.  Besides going to various elementary schools for career day, we’ve hosted an entire school’s kindergarten (a big round of applause for about sixty well-behaved 5 year olds!) and VIPs from the local humane organization.

During one of these visits, I noticed a woman staring oddly at the side of the medications refrigerator.

Oh, goodness, I thought, there must be something naughty up there. Horrified that there might be an off-color cartoon posted on the ‘fridge, I leaned around the corner to see what she was looking at with such intensity.

 Thank goodness it wasn’t naughty at all.  She was looking at my Beware the Diagnostic Weenie poster.  I made it myself.  It features a brindle and white English bulldog caught red-handed with a strand of old-fashioned frankfurters in his mouth.    The dog looks sheepish, and I freely admit that I cut the picture out of a magazine and wrote “Beware the Diagnostic Weenie” in block letters underneath.

This one requires an explanation.

The weenie is so very important in Southern culture that it is revered for its veterinary value.  Pet owners always keep weenies on hand and use them as both a diagnostic and therapeutic tool when it comes to veterinary medical issues.  And I must note that my clients who use the wiener diagnostically and therapeutically often have difficulty pronouncing the word correctly.  More often than not, it comes out “winnie” instead of “weenie.”   I even had one client who honored this tradition by naming her dog Weenieman.

Dog owners who are unable to administer their pet’s capsules or tablets by pilling them very often use a weenie as a therapeutic tool.  In fact, I wish I had a dollar for every pet owner who has told me, “We don’t have no trouble getting Harley to take his medicine.  I just hide it in a weenie and he gobbles it right up.”

Then there is the diagnostic weenie, a pet owner’s divining rod or crystal ball.  This is when the pet owner uses the wiener to determine exactly how sick their pet is, much as the veterinarian might use a stethoscope, an x-ray machine, blood tests or an EKG.  A weenie, it seems, is a very accurate prognostic indicator.

A pet owner may say, “Dr. Burns, I give Puddles a weenie and she didn’t eat it, so I knowed I needed to bring her to you.

Or, “After Rambo got  run over by the UPS truck last week, I give him a weenie and he et it, so I knowed he was a-gonna be okay to wait ’til Monday to come see you.”

I’d almost bet my next paycheck that for every hotdog, corn dog or pig-in-a-blanket consumed by a human being in the United States, there are at least three wieners used to medicate or assess the severity of illness in dogs! My expert conclusion after twenty-one years in practice is that wieners might have a legitimate use in triaging pets.  The frankfurter industry might do well to do a marketing study on the use of their product in veterinary medicine.

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