Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The last day of the year

With only a few hours left to go in 2013, I am reflecting on what a truly wonderful year this has been for me. My husband and I have our health, happiness and a baby on the way. We were able to purchase our second house, and I finally realized a dream I have had since I could speak: I own my very own horse. (Of course, I am ironically not riding him since I am pregnant, but this too shall pass).

Every year does get better and better, and also passes by more quickly. Everything our elders told us about time passing is true, and I try to remember the small joys and moments that will later make all the difference. I am excited for the next year and what it will bring. I have no 'resolutions;' only that I might live my life and really be present for it.

Many of my closest friends and family have lost those closest to them this year, and for you, and for your loved ones, may I offer this candle. The light of their lives will burn for you forever.


To Everyone: A blessed and happy, healthy 2014 and beyond.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Truth About Non-Anesthetic Dentals (Gentle Dentals)

Dental care is extremely important for the long term overall health and function of our pets. Periodontal disease, which is irreversible damage of the gums and structures below the gums, can have many negative effects on the animal. First and foremost, pain and inflammation in the mouth can lead to a poor appetite, weight loss, and lower quality of life. Infections in the mouth can travel via the bloodstream to organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys. Dental disease is just as important as other diseases and deserves to be treated.

A new trend that has emerged in pet care is the non-anesthetic dental cleaning, or gentle dental. I suppose this came about as a way to capitalize on people's fears about anesthesia and as a "cheaper" alternative to a professional dental cleaning. Basically, as I will discuss, it is a quick and easy way to make a buck. There is no benefit for the pet and it can actually be detrimental to the animal in a few ways.

Gentle dentals:
- are generally not performed by anyone with any actual training (in fact in California, it is illegal to perform this procedure without a veterinary license)
- do not allow the lingual surface of the teeth to be cleaned or evaluated (the side of the teeth touching the tongue)
- scratch the enamel and damage the gums
- cannot be used to extract teeth
- give owners a false sense of security
- Most importantly: can not clean under the gum line which is where the problems lie!

Anesthesia is required to properly evaluate, clean, probe, and polish a pet's teeth. No cat or dog, no matter how cooperative, will hold its mouth open for a long period of time so a person can perform necessary dental procedures, which may include extractions. This is why we must anesthetize them for the procedure.

Anesthesia is safe, and actually it is generally safer to fully anesthetize a pet for a dental than to give "twilight" or light sedation. Pre-operative bloodwork is routinely performed to assess organ function prior to anesthesia. Appropriate pain control medications are given before anesthetizing. In a properly anesthetized patient, the pet is intubated (a tube is inserted into the trachea) to ensure oxygen is getting to the lungs and to prevent water or rinse from going down the trachea. The pet is monitored by the anesthetist (nurse or doctor) and has its temperature, blood pressure, oxygen tension, and pulse rate measured by a machine.

Rarely, a complication may arise that could not have been predicted or avoided by the doctor or pre-op bloodwork. With our safe medications, proper precautions and careful monitoring, this is rare.

Once under anesthesia, a veterinarian or nurse will remove all the tartar and plaque from all surfaces of the teeth (inside, outside and in between). All teeth will be probed for pockets, areas of infection, loss of enamel or nerve exposure, broken teeth, and root exposure or resorption. Any teeth that are non-viable (dead) or freely mobile in the socket will be extracted using proper procedures and often a nerve block to reduce pain sensation to the area. Dental x-rays may be performed to evaluate roots and bone structure.

The remaining teeth will be cleaned and polished. The teeth are cleaned on the visible surface and under the gum line. This is where the bacteria mainly reside and most "bad breath" comes from bacteria hiding out under the gum line. Periodontitis (irreversible gum damage) starts here. This is why many people who had a non-anesthetic dental done on their pet still report bad breath, even though the teeth may look very nice. If the teeth are not cleaned below the gums, the whole procedure is basically worthless. Anesthesia is necessary to clean under the gums in our pets.

Polishing is a very important step in a dental cleaning. The polisher is a not just a fancy toothbrush. It actually is meant to help smooth the microscopic scratches in the enamel that were inevitably created by the other instruments. It is a vital step to maintaining a healthy tooth and preventing new bacteria and plaque from attaching to the tooth and possibly penetrating the enamel to the underlying structures in the tooth. Polishing cannot be performed in a gentle dental.

Here is a picture of the lower incisor teeth of a dog who had two recent non-anesthetic dentals. All of them had to be extracted.
Note the tartar, recessed gum line, bleeding and root exposure of the incisors. 
The money (not a small amount either) that the owner spent on the gentle dentals would have been much better spent on a professional cleaning earlier in the course of disease. 

Nearly all pets will need at least one, if not more, professional cleanings in their lifetimes. Home care is possible, and daily brushing of a dog or cat's teeth will most certainly prolong the healthy lives of the teeth and the pet and increase time between professional cleanings. Dental care is extremely important for any pet.

Update: A video on how to brush your dog's teeth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB3GIAgrTPE


Resources

The American College of Veterinary Dentistry position statement: 

Ten Steps to Dental Health

Dangers of Anesthesia Free Cleanings





Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cats are not small dogs, but dogs are people?

When I was a little girl, about 3 or 4 years old, I had a talking Mother Goose. Under one of her wings was a cassette holder. I could pop in a tape and she would read me stories.

Not only did she read me stories, she read to all of my stuffed animals as well. She had a lovely little bonnet and pretty blue eyes with black eyeliner, and she looked around and winked and blinked kindly as she told her stories. We could read together for hours.

One day, her voice started to slur. I took her to the hospital wing and let her recharge (new batteries). But it didn't help. She got slower and slower, and then she stopped talking altogether. My Mother Goose was dead.

Since I hadn't had any actual pets, hers was the first death I really experienced. Now I experience it regularly.
--

We often say in veterinary medicine that "cats are not small dogs," as a response to many situations in which cats differ greatly from our canine companions. But are dogs small people?  This New York Times article, Dogs Are People, Too, was published a few days ago and highlights some recent work that was done with dogs and MRIs. Dogs were trained to remain still in an MRI machine while completely awake so that their brain activity could be accurately monitored in different situations. What they found was that dogs had very similar brain activity to humans in a particular part of the brain called the caudate nucleus, which is activated during positive emotions.

This is very interesting research and the closest yet to proving that animals have emotional lives. Animal behaviorists have been studying this for years attempting to design scientific experiments to gain more ground in this area of research. (Most likely Julie Hecht at Dog Spies and Dr. McConnell at The Other End of the Leash can better explain this). Every animal lover "knows" that their cats and dogs have emotions. But how can this be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt?

This research is the first step. But the author took it one step further already. He suggests that reconsideration should be given to animals as property and mentions many rescue groups refer to pet owners as guardians. I don't believe this particular author was quite aware of all the implications of his statement.

A few years ago, California was considering changing ownership to guardianship for pets. Thankfully, no serious attempts at passing a law were made, and the idea lost traction. "Guardianship" of animals will bring about many changes in the relationships humans have with their pets, and not good ones. There will be many unintended consequences of such a decision, as there often are when well-intentioned but misinformed people make decisions such as this.

Considering animals on a level with humans or at least more than "property" will mean that euthanasia will no longer be an option to end animal suffering. Animals with painful, terminal illnesses will have to suffer, just as humans with terminal illness do. The difference is humans can understand what is happening to them, but animals cannot.

"Guardianship" will mean that every animal must be treated to the fullest extent possible, even if it is not in the best interest of the animal, and even if the "guardian" can't pay for it. Veterinarians already experience this attitude from the general public ('I can't afford to pay for this, but you should fix this for free because you love animals.') We do not receive large insurance payments, or subsidies to operate from the state or federal government. We only survive on what we charge for our services. Veterinarians would not survive in such a world.

The word euthanasia means "well" (Gr. eu) "death" (Gr. thanatos). It is a completely painless way to end suffering, and most vets consider it a gift we can give to animals. Nearly every client whose animal I euthanize asks me, "This must be so hard, how can you do this all the time?' As we cry together, my answer is always the same. It is hard, but it is almost always in the best interest of the animal. I would rather let animals leave this earth easily and comfortably than allow them to suffer until they die on their own.

I would fight, and fight hard, before losing that ability.

Since Mother Goose passed on, I have experienced many deaths. At most, I cry. The human-animal bond is very special and it is my wish that all animals are treated humanely and with compassion and love, by their owners.

--
See Dr. McConnell's post here and many interesting and thoughtful comments.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Who has the right to own a pet?

Something we debate on an almost daily basis is whether people should have pets when they can't, or worse, won't, afford care that their pets require. This is a concept that I have struggled to write about for awhile, now. Who has the right to own a pet? Does everyone? Is it truly a right, or in fact a privilege to own an animal?

I'm not referring to people who have extenuating circumstances that are out of their control, like a lost job or sudden disability. I'm talking about people who already don't have a job who then decide to go out and 'rescue' an animal. Or the people that are raising multiple children on low income and get their kids a puppy. Which they don't vaccinate. And then it gets parvo. Which costs a lot more money to fix than the vaccine would have.

I'm not talking about thousands of dollars in expensive surgeries or hospitalization, here, although that is a potential need that may arise in any animal. Certainly even people that can and do afford basic medical care for their pets may be thrown off guard by an emergency. I get that, and I'll work with them, even though I do think its important to plan ahead and 'self-insure', or get pet insurance. I'm just referring to basic needs. Annual exams. Flea and heartworm control. Vaccines. Taking care of ear infections before they reach a critical mass. Radiographing a possible broken or diseased bone. Yes, these things cost money. Maybe if people stopped spending so much money on "premium foods" (by the way, who told you it was premium? the same company that makes it?) which are only making their dogs fat and at greater risk for problems, they would have extra cash on hand to buy flea control that is safe and effective.

There was an article I read a long time ago which I wish I had saved. It talked about a subset of the population that just does not have the ability to plan ahead. Where some can see down the road and adjust their current trajectory to avoid potholes, others simply cannot. At the time, I found this really hard to believe, but the more I work with people, the truer it appears. What I really want to know is: can those people learn to plan better? Do they have the ability to change? Or will they continue on in life not ever able to understand that if they just put flea control on monthly, the hotspots/infestations won't happen?

We always support adoptions and shelters, but is it fair to the animal to be adopted by someone who can't or won't give it basic medical care? Especially since that is how many animals end up at the shelter to begin with?

Is it fair to well meaning people who don't have a lot of disposable income to deny them the love and companionship a pet brings? There is no denying that pets bring happiness, stress relief, even lower blood pressure to their owners.

I don't know the right answer.

Certainly this man doesn't deserve to own a pet. (That is a great blog post by the way, about the worst part of being a veterinarian. Some of the comments are pretty interesting as well). Even though the entire situation was his fault, he chose to try to place the blame and responsibility on his veterinarian, something that is far too common. I would say if he had only planned better, things may have turned out differently, but he clearly never had any intention of caring for his own animals.

As one commenter points out, this is a gray area. If people should save money for their pets, how much should they save? How much is enough? What may be plenty to care for one pet may not even meet the tip of the iceberg to care for another. Life is unpredictable. That's what makes this subject so difficult.

I am no clearer now than I was before.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kennel Cough can Be Deadly

A couple came in for a second opinion on two puppies they just acquired that were diagnosed with "kennel cough." Kennel cough is a coverall term for several infectious agents, the two main ones being a virus called Parainfluenza and a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica. The technical term for kennel cough is Infectious Tracheobronchitis. It generally causes a self-limiting, hacking cough in vaccinated, mature dogs. Kennel cough can progress to pneumonia in immunocompromised or untreated individuals.

A few stories were floating around before the dogs arrived. First was that they had come from a breeder and the first opinion was the breeder's (not a real first opinion - did your breeder go to vet school?). Second was that they had gone to another vet who didn't treat them appropriately (also hardly believable). I dropped all misconceptions, but as soon as I walked into the room, I knew there was a terrible problem. The puppies both had a respiratory rate of over 100 (normal ~40). They were underweight, had fleas, and were clearly very ill.

I examined both puppies and told the new owners (who had rescued the dogs, not from a breeder) that the pups were extraordinarily ill and would likely require several days worth of hospitalization. I handed them a $1600 estimate that would cover the first 6 hours of initial care. They looked into my eyes and I could see they really cared about the pups. But, they just didn't have the funds for such care.

We reworked the estimate, took chest x-rays for free (I had to see what was in those lungs), and sent them home with detailed instructions on how to care for two puppies with severe infectious pneumonia. The previous vet's records came in, and I added on to their treatment plan with additional antibiotics, flea control, and instructions on nebulization and coupage.

I gave them a guarded prognosis with one ray of light: these were puppies. Healing machines. Their bodies wanted to heal, they just needed some help. Hopefully what we could do would be enough to save two sweet little dogs.

They thanked me. Several times, actually. With real words, and meaning. Even though I had discounted more than their entire bill came to, and we spent a decent amount of time with them, for once I felt like our efforts were sincerely appreciated in a crappy situation. And I really do hope the little dogs make it.

UPDATE: The owner came in today to bring me cookies and say thank you again. The dogs are looking 10 times better! They still have a long way to go but I think they're gonna make it! Yay!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rabies in the News

Ahh, rabies. My favorite disease. I recently read Rabid: A cultural history of the world's most diabolical virus. A fascinating book, which a friend over at Vets Behaving Badly reviewed nicely. Rabies is almost 100% fatal, but fortunately, we have stellar vaccines for it. Thanks a million, Monsieur Pasteur!

A question I get on about a monthly basis is:

"Why do I have to vaccinate my pet when it never goes outside or sees any other animals?"

Just because your cat is indoor only or your dog doesn't go to dog parks doesn't mean it isn't at risk for diseases, especially rabies. An indoor only cat tested positive for rabies a few months ago after it bit the owners for no apparent reason. Most likely this cat came in contact with a rabid bat that mistakenly flew into the house. In case you are unfamiliar with our feline friends, they are avid hunters and a bat fluttering around a room would make an irresistible target. Bat teeth are so sharp and the bites are so small that they often go unnoticed, even when it is a person who is bitten. That is why rabies vaccines are so important.

Just today, a rabies positive dog was found in Yellowstone County in Billings, Montana and a 60 day quarantine has been issued. You can read the full story here.

Some countries (or states) in the world believe they are "rabies free." My friends from vet school will know why I put that phrase in quotes. Viruses do not respect national borders, and the world is now smaller than ever. See Rabies Returns to Spain and Pet Cat in Arkansas.

The eastern seaboard is a hot bed for rabies. See Chesapeake CatTwo cats and fox in Baltimore,  and Fox In South Carolina.

Google rabies and there are dozens more stories about recent rabies positive animals.



Saturday, June 22, 2013

QOTD

"I'm hungry. Do you guys have a sandwich?"
.... Yeah, right next to our fecal testing area. Mustard or mayo???

---

How you know your cat is too fat:
"Your cat weighs 22 pounds. This is way too much."
"Yeah..... he weighs more than my two year old. Daughter."

---

"Why does this cat have a one dollar bill rolled around its collar?"
"Oh, a lady should always have a little money on her." 

---

Do you guys have any tootsie rolls?
.. Uhh the candy or....

---

{tech} How should I describe that mass on the report?
"Tongue based mass, protruding through the rami (?) if the mandibles, 5-6cm long."
Ok, tail based mass, protruding through the mandible-
"If its tail based coming out the jaw, we have a big problem.

---

Client to tech: Wow, you are really young.
Tech: I'm older than the doctor!!

---

"That's what my breeder said you would say."
... Why the F#@$ did you even ask me then??? Go.Away.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Its an emergency!

My boss and I are always discussing why clients finally decide something is an emergency after it has been going on for awhile. A guy calls, and makes an appointment for his dog who is having trouble walking. At his appointment time, he rushes the dog through the door carrying him (it is a large breed) and the receptionist takes this as a sign of an emergency and grabs the dog and rushes it back to treatment. The dog is in fact down and seems unable to stand, but vital signs are all normal. My boss goes out to talk to the owner.

"How long has he been unable to walk!?"

"About 2 months."

[pause]

"Oh."

"Well we need to run some bloodwork, do a few survey radiographs, and we should sedate him because he is pretty painful."

"Oh okay, sure. Hey, I just put money on my credit card so you won't be able to run it until tomorrow."

Hold the phone.

"We will need payment at the time of services unfortunately. Do you have any previous records so we can see what other vets have done?"

He hands a piece of paper to the receptionist with the phone number of the last vet on it, and it is a bill! Turns out he owes them several thousand dollars.

I just don't understand people. Do you think we can't see through your little game?

And why now? Once in the ER, a woman brought in a little dog for an ear infection at 4 am. An ear infection. It had been going on for, wait for it..... four months!!!!! And suddenly one morning at 4 am, it became an emergency. So she paid probably double the cost of what she had paid if she had brought her dog to its regular clinic, during normal hours.

The last few days have been filled with cases that are really depleting my reserves. I can only help people so long as they want to be helped. I cannot fix things in one day that have been going on for months. I cannot - nor can the internet - give people a veterinary education in 10 minutes. Some days I really wish I had chosen a different career. This is one of them.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Drug doses are really just guidelines anyway

The next 5 blog posts are all cases from the same week. It's a wonder I still have all my hair.
__

I really try to come up with happy, warm and fuzzy stories to tell you all but somehow its always the A-holes that make it to the blogs, isn't it?

Today I had a new client come in with a cat having urinary problems. This is probably one of the most common presentations I see (like on a daily, sometimes twice daily basis).  I've got my spiel down pat.

This one was a little weird... since the owners decided to consult Dr. Google prior to coming in and had administered bits of a 1000 mg Amoxicilin over the past few days. Have I mentioned how much I hate Dr. Google?? That jerk doesn't even have a medical degree.

They also recently changed the food because the cat was itching and clearly that means he had a food allergy, it could not possibly be a flea problem, no sir.

After we discussed how the cat likely did not have a UTI, although now it would be near impossible to tell for sure since they had decided to self-medicate, and they agreed to some basic things like flea control, I found out that they had been using "the bigger dose" of OTC flea control and splitting it between 4 cats.

Me: "Well, that's not really how it works. And what bigger dose?"

"It has a dog and a cat on it. Dogs and cats are the same."

"No, actually they're not the same. Not only are you not giving anybody an effective dose but if you put dog medicine on a cat you could make your cats really ill."

"Well can I just split this one (holds up prescription flea control)? It has a lot of liquid in there."

"No, this is meant for one cat. It is the full dose for one cat."

"But I can just split it."

"You can, but you will actually end up spending more money in the long run because its not going to work the full month, in fact you won't even know when it stops working. Then you'll have to apply more doses."

"But only two cats go outside."

"Well fleas can hitch a ride and they are going to jump between cats. You have to medicate all of them, or its just a complete waste of money."

Finally they at least accepted my answers, and left, if not actually believing them. Why even bother coming in if you are not going to listen to the advice you are paying for?

Monday, April 1, 2013

I wish these were April Fool's Jokes

Receptionist: "Hi, its been a month since we saw Mr. Kitty. We're calling to remind you about his senior bloodwork, which you were unable to do at his appointment."
Ms. Priority: "I can't afford bloodwork for my cat right now, I'm getting a new tattoo."
         
        -------------> for more info, see post describing cannot afford vs. will not afford

---

Guy walks in, new client, no appointment. Old dog in the crook of his arm.

Receptionist: "How can I help you?"
Owner: "My dog is having trouble getting all of the poop out."
R: "Ok, would you like to make an appointment with the doctor?
Owner: "No, I don't want to see the doctor. I just need you to tell me what is wrong."
R: "Here is the information for the emergency clinic."

---

A lady walks in with her dog in the afternoon complaining that her cat scratched him in the eye. As it turns out, she had called that morning.

Receptionist: "Good Morning, how can I help you?"
Can'tPayHerBills:  "Hi, my cat scratched my dog's eye, and I thought it was going to be okay, but now he can't open it."
R: "Ok, that sounds like something that needs to be seen. What time can you bring him in?"
C: "I don't have any money. Can't you just give me something to fix it?"
R: "No, you'll need to see the doctor. Our exam is $X, and after that we will give you an estimate--"
click 

Later that day, the door opens.

C: "Hi, I called earlier this morning about my dog's eye?" {dog urinates on books in lobby}
R: "Ok, we can see you, but since you didn't make an appointment we will have to charge you a walk-in exam."
C: "That's fine, my friend is paying for this visit.
R: "Oooh..."

After I've spoken to the woman and diagnosed a large corneal ulcer, a conversation during which she said several rude and contradicting things, I walk outside to tell her about it. She is sitting in our courtyard on her iphone smoking a cigarette. She looks at me, so I begin to speak.

"Hi, so -"

She actually holds up her index finger in order to stop me from talking. She continues her conversation regarding going out with her friends to get drinks later that night.

I turn tail, walk back to my office, and proceed to sit there for 20 minutes while I cool down. By the time I felt like going back to talk to her, she had left.

The absolute nerve of this woman, walking in on someone else's dime and doing all of the things she did, left such a bad taste in all of our mouths. I will never understand how some people can behave the way they do. Shameful.


All names and identifying details have been changed, and any resemblence to actual persons or events is purely coincidental.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Value of Service

Our clinic does free shelter exams for first time visits of just-adopted animals. This is nothing unusual, virtually every animal hospital in the area will do free shelter exams. It is a way to get these animals checked out fairly quickly after leaving the shelter, and also to get new owners to develop a relationship with a clinic.

Last week, a woman came in with her new dog. She was a new client to us, and brought all of her paperwork from the shelter. The dog had just gotten neutered, and was coming in for his first healthy visit to the veterinarian.

The owner was very friendly, open, and had a very interesting job.  She was very funny and interactive and we had a good conversation which lasted about 30-40 minutes, while I also examined the dog and figured out which vaccines it would need next. I knew I didn't have any appointments after her, so I didn't mind spending the extra time, even though I knew the exam fee was waived.

Then, as we were wrapping up, I mentioned the dog would need two more vaccines and some flea/heartworm control, and that I would have the receptionist come in with an estimate for those services.

That's when the owner said that if the dog needed vaccines, she would take him to her regular veterinarian.

What??? I just spent 40 minutes with you, talking to you about your dog, the shelter, vaccines, training, plus a number of other things, for free, and you're going to take him to your regular veterinarian? If you already have a veterinarian, why on earth didn't you just go there to begin with? I guarantee the clinic that you go to does free shelter exams as well. So thanks for coming and wasting all of our time.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

NY Times Article on New Grad Debt and Vet Economics

Just wanted to share this article which appeared in the NY times in case anyone hadn't seen it.  I am so so glad to see the state of veterinary medicine appear in the popular press, and truly hope that more people start to understand what we are facing as a profession.

“It’s not a sustainable model,” he says of vet school economics. “For the long-term success and health of the veterinary practice, we’ve got to look at every end of it.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/business/high-debt-and-falling-demand-trap-new-veterinarians.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Of course, now I read some of the comments and people are missing the point entirely. Sigh.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Microchips and Hermaphrodites

Last (whatever day it was) was crazy, but the craziest case happened at the end of the day.

An Eastern European man, new client, brought in a cat. The cat was big, orange, and presumably male.  It was covered in fleas (what else is new). My boss noticed that the man had written female on the information sheet. Naturally, he commented on this, since orange female cats are rare. But, the cat had the long anogenital* distance typical of males.

"What makes you think she is a female?"

"Vell, she acts like a female."

My boss scratches her tail base and she sticks her butt in the air.

"See? Just like that. That must be a female thing to do."

"Not necessarily. Some cats just like their butts scratched."

"Oh really?"

The owner had found the cat approximately 8 years ago, and had never had it spayed or neutered.

He came back and told me about the conversation, and said the cat had a prepuce but he couldn't exteriorize a penis. He said, "Maybe its a hermaphrodite!"

See, I'm not the only weirdo in town. Other people think crazy like that too.

The owner took flea control but declined all vaccines. As the receptionist was getting ready to check him out, my boss reminded her to scan the cat for a microchip.

"The guy said he doesn't have a chip, but okay."

She came back from the room and guess what? The cat was chipped. Of course.

We called the microchip company and got the name of the registered owner. It wasn't the current man.

While we were explaining that the cat had an owner somewhere, the phone rang. It was the cat's previous owner! The microchip company had called the number on file and gave the owner our phone number.

She called and said the cat had disappeared about 8 years ago, asked if we were going to euthanize him. My boss said no, the current owner loves it. (Loves it, but never took it to a vet or updated its vaccines. Hmm). The previous owner was glad to know someone was taking care of her cat and didn't want him returned. She agreed to call the microchip company to allow his owner information to be changed.

Also, before they hung up, the previous owner confirmed the cat was male and had been neutered.


We spent the rest of the week posing this question to everyone: What if you were the one who lost the cat? Would you want it back?



All identifying details have been changed, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is entirely coincidental. 

*Distance between the anus and genitalia.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

40 year old Aspirin

I have a bit of an obsession with nutrition these days. It's actually more of a mission I guess, I don't know, I can never seem to think of the right word. I'm working on a long post about pet food. Anyway yesterday I had 2 separate discussions with clients about dog foods. One of them is kind of crazy. She calls about 30 times a week and drives the reception staff nuts. She is very sweet and has very good intentions but she has no idea how to raise a dog, and if that weren't bad enough, the dog ended up being kind of a lemon and he is in every week it seems. She was in with her dog for some simple recheck that took about 30 minutes and then we started talking about food and after about a 10 minute discussion on that, she told me I should write a blog.

I thought, Well I do and it's about crazy people like you!!!

On Thursday one of my clients came in. He is an older gentlemen with a very old dog. He was complaining that the dog was sneezing. He had given it a tablet of a medication that probably was about 40 years old. The bottle was small and yellow with a brown cap and the label was faded yellow and cracking. It was a combination anti-histamine, aspirin, and decongestant. I picked it up and asked how long he had had it. He said he's been saving it for awhile because they don't make it anymore.

He likes to tell me things that he thinks I don't know. Especially about his breed. Yeah, he's one of those people that think their breed is very special and different from other dogs. He started out today by saying, "Now, that's a sulfa drug which I know because the pills are a yellow color like sulfur, with an anti-histamine, and I know that because they told me to take it for allergies."

"Well," I say, "it's not a sulfa drug. It has aspirin in it, and you probably shouldn't be giving it to your dog."

As I set the bottle down I had to wonder if the pills even had any viable drug left in them, literally it was THAT old.

I couldn't find any reason for the dog to be sneezing, and dropped some steroid down into his nose hoping that any inflammation would subside. I couldn't wait to get rid of him and I can't even wait to finish writing about it.

The same day I saw several of my other clients who are, let's just say not my favorites. People that have no business owning animals and with whom I am quickly losing patience. People that would probably feel like their money was better spent at a séance than at a vet.

Sometimes I really wish I could just say what I am thinking out loud.


All names and identifying details have been changed, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is entirely coincidental.