Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Unsolicited Advice

I'm lucky that my best friend Kathy is so understanding. Recently, I babysat her pit bull, Lila, while she and her husband were in Europe. Kathy's mum and I traded off dog-sitting duties, so I mostly got to enjoy her on the weekends and shuffle her back to Grandma's house while I was busy working. I noticed Lila was a little sore in her back legs, probably because her bad knees were acting up (in addition to being her doGmother, I'm also Lila's vet). I picked up some Flexadin, a glucosamine supplement I'd been interesting in trying, due to the inclusion of the natural anti-inflammatory Devil's Claw. I started Lila on the supplement, and let Kathy know what I'd done via a Facebook message.

Lila had a great time at our place, playing with her "cousins" Jake, Granger, and Fletcher, and going for great hikes, car rides, and even a swim. I noticed a bit of "only dog" syndrome when trying to incorporate her into my crew, but she soon learned to wait her turn for treats, stay in the car until being released, and even made some progress in the no-pulling-on-leash department.

At a charity dog walk on Sunday, I chatted to Kathy about Lila's experience at our place, and went into detail about what I thought we could be doing better for her, health-wise. I also offered up a couple of training tips. Now, usually people pay good money to hear me offer advice like this, but I was happy to make recommendations free of charge. It wasn't until I got home that I realized it might have sounded like an unsolicited critique of Kathy's dog parenting skills.

I quickly sent Kathy a text explaining I hope she didn't think I meant Lila is neglected or unruly (she's any but!), I'd just had a chance while keeping her full-time to observe some areas where I thought I could help. Luckily, Kathy has been my friend long enough (since Grade 8) that she's had plenty of time to learn not to be offended by me, and she appreciated my concern for Lila. Sometimes my client-communication blunders turn out ok!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Why are we out of lube and latex gloves?

Lately I've been spending an awful lot of time at the rear end of my patients. I've removed loads of hard feces from cats, and, yesterday, pieces of a dish towel that was nearly all the way through a young mastiff. During vet school, some clinicians really harped on the benefits of rectal exams, so I make a point of doing them routinely. I've found intestinal foreign bodies, cancer, infections, detected fresh blood or digested blood in feces, assessed dehydration, and even checked the urethra for bladder stones. It is one the cheapest and most effective diagnostic tools and treatments we have, although not the most pleasant for doctor or patient.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The thanks of a wagging tail

Sometimes you can't make everyone happy. Maybe owners don't understand the severity of the situation, or what is involved in saving their pet, and only see a happy pet who gets to go home with a hefty bill. At the end of the day, I'm not working for a thank you, or even for a paycheck, I'm working for that wagging tail walking out the door.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The wacky and wonderful this week

In a typical home-run stretch to the long weekend, I had some neat cases this week. The first was a young mastiff mix with a perplexing history, bloodwork that didn't point us in any particular direction, an ultrasound that did the same, and, finally, a belly-tap and fluid analysis that resulted in the veterinary pathologist at the lab calling me to say WTF? Fortunately, she is doing very well, and between myself and two specialists, we came to a potential diagnosis and treatment. She is a lovely dog, who is a pleasure to treat, and I'm thankful she has devoted owners who were able to provide her with the necessary tests and treatments.

My second case was a cat who ate...the feet off a rubber chicken toy! He vomited one foot, but the other was removed via endoscopy after it lodged in his small intestine, 25cm past his stomach. Luckily his owner had brought in the vomited foot, so we had some idea of what to look for.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Mid Week

Wednesday nights I get to kick back a little. I work late on Thursdays, so I have Thursday mornings free to get my running around done (or maybe even take a little "me" time!). So what am I doing tonight? I'm reviewing hedgehog medicine for an upcoming wellness exam on a pet hedgehog.