Saturday, August 30, 2008

Eating Grass

Last week at the conference I went to a lecture about why dogs eat grass (among other unusual behaviors). I know you are all on the edge of your seat right now waiting to finally hear the answer to this age old question. Well, sit back in your seat and prepare for disappointment. We still don't really know. However there have been several surveys done and the data analyzed and grass eating is a common behavior of normal dogs rarely associated with illness. So, if your dog eats grass don't be concerned that he or she is sick, was sick, or wants to be sick. And here is a picture of Oreo eating grass.

There is one theory that is based on the principle that wild canines may eat plant material as a naturally way of purging intestinal parasites and that this is an instinctual behavior left over from pre-domestication days. However, given that most (hopefully) of our pet dogs are parasite free this would be based purely on instinct and not on the premise that the dog actually feels he has worms.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More New Toys

Well we loaded the Tug-A-Jug last night. All the dogs thought it was great. I thought they might fight over it. We shall see if they have sustained interest. It does seem to be harder to get treats out than some of our other dispensing toys so that is good-keeps them busy longer as long as they don't give up. I may soon be wishing I bought more than one since at the conference they were only $7 for the large. Here is Legend playing with it last night. You can also purchase them at Helping Udders. Finally here is Jelly with her catnip mouse from the conference.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


We arrived home from the CVC (Central Veterinary Conference) today. It was a really good time. I got to attend a lot of lectures-most of which were pretty good. I also got to learn about some new products and medications-some of which look pretty exciting. And of course I collected a large amount of free stuff I don't even need. Saturday night we went to the MU alumni reunion where I was able to visit with friends and classmates and their families. Sunday we attended the free Jo Dee Messina concert sponsored by Hill's. Although I am not a huge Jo Dee Messina fan it actually was a good concert-she put on a very entertaining show and was really funny between songs.

The dogs were excited to see me but were also excited about their new toys that I got for them at Crown Center (we managed to get some shopping in while we were there too). I also got a "Tug-a-Jug" at the conference but they have not tried that out yet. Here are Legend and Zodiac tugging on one of their new "Tuffies." Leslie and I ran into our practice consultant while at the conference and she insisted that I go with her and Leslie to some practice management seminars despite not being a practice manager or owner. It was a good lecture though and gave us some ideas of things we can do different or better at the clinic so we are excited about that.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I have always been a fan of teaching your dog or cat to eat meals, rather than having food out all the time or feeding them whatever they want throughout the day. This prevents a lot of obesity but also is more convenient in multi-pet households (especially when everyone eats something different). Also, if your pet stops eating, you will know right away. That said, everyone in our house generally eats in meals, they just all do it differently.

Zodiac is the gulper-he eats in no time flat. Do not chew. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Oreo used to be very demanding about his meals. He had to eat first thing in the morning and was up barking when the alarm clock went off. He would not even go outside before eating. Since he had some problems last summer he is no longer quite like that. We actually went through weeks of trying to get him to eat at all. Now he eats regularly, just not consistently. He will go for days and eat well and then days of not finishing. We just save the leftovers and add his next meal to it-he will eventually catch up. Sometimes he gets a late night meal.

Legend eats like a reasonable animal. She takes modes bites and chews her food.

Jelly has always eaten meals well.

Icy used to eat meals well until her surgery. Now she eats smaller amounts more frequently but is getting back to normal.

I used to free feed the barn cats because I didn't want either one to get short changed. Lefty used to roam a lot and I was afraid Barney would eat all the food if left alone. However they both got significantly overweight and so now they eat a limited amount. After a few days of this Lefty learned to be home every morning so they each get a fair amount and they are looking thinner.

I'm sure this has been most interesting for everyone but hey, I did write it in advance just so there would be something posted while I was gone!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fake Artwork

I took this picture of Legend today while we were out practicing. It would have been really cute but it was a little blurry. So I used some program Jerry downloaded to make it into a drawing and now it doesn't matter so much that it's blurry because it is "artistic." I used to actually be able to draw and paint and now I just use a computer program. It's so sad sometimes. Cool program but still sad that I haven't picked up any kind of art tool in years. One of the many things I gave up to go to vet school-not enough time for it all. And just think, in exchange for that I examined a cat because it won't come inside anymore and a dog who started sneezing this morning and has sneezed all day but not while in the clinic. I found nothing wrong with the cat and prescribed the dog some antihistamines which the owner doesn't even know if she can give because they are pills. You just can't help some people. And it is, by the way, my opinion you should not own a dog you can't pill. Cats are a different story-I'll let you get away with that. It's not always convenient but I understand.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This picture is a little hard to see but this is how I found Icy sleeping the other day. She's on her back with all her legs stretched out between the couch and the scratching post. I know it's a pretty sad looking post but they love it, so we keep it. It's a really heavy duty hand made one so they can't pull it over on themselves like the cheap pet store ones. We have been having great weather here-until it rained today. We got rained out of agility so Legend is disappointed but I am kind of glad because it gives me more time go get stuff done before leaving for the veterinary conference this weekend. I'll be gone for 4 days so I need to make sure I get some stuff done before leaving or I'll have even more to catch up on when I come home. And when I come back we'll have a new water heater-ours has been dying over the last week.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Since I have not been taking many pictures lately, here is Oreo on vacation again.
We have had the most beautiful weather here the last few days. Jerry has a friend in town and Friday night we enjoyed going to the outdoor mall in Branson. Saturday I was off to St. Louis to visit my family and attend the large craft festival on the Riverfront-the weather was perfect there as well. The boys are out playing ball somewhere as no one was home when I got back this afternoon.

Icy ate pretty well while I was gone. Jelly has been using her new assortment of litter well-we still have the couch covered and Spring is excited about her box of bunny stuff that arrived in the mail yesterday.
Our reservations are made for the Border Collie Specialty in October but we are still holding out on some of our entries and will be making last minute decisions. Perhaps I should go do some practicing in this nice weather!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fleas, Frontline, Free food

Tonight I went to a dinner sponsored by Merial (makers of Frontline and Heartgard) about flea control and perceived failures in flea eradication programs. I mostly went for the free food but there were some good tidbits I picked up on. It is however pretty widely known that Frontline is not safe for rabbits (it can cause seizures and death in some, but there is no way to know which ones). So one of the other vets at the dinner asked during the Q&A session at the end what was it in Frontline Plus that kills rabbits because after all he had been using Frontline Spray for years on rabbits without a problem but this week used Frontline Plus on a rabbit and it died. Um-first of all why would you continue to use a product known to be unsafe for rabbits just because you got lucky for awhile? There is a product that is safe for fleas in rabbits and he still put someone's pet at risk? And announced this in a room full of veterinary professionals? I found the whole incident disturbing-I'm not sure he should be working on rabbits at all. I mean if you are unfamiliar with a species you need to check before you use a drug to see if it's safe, but it sounds like he's just been using it all along as if the risk was worth it when Revolution has been available for years and is safe for rabbits. Anyway, the Olympics are on so I will now be returning to the couch!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ramblings from the "other family doctor"

OK. So I have a t-shirt that says "Trust Me-I'm a Doctor" which I was wearing today at Wal-mart when some one stopped and informed he had the same shirt. I didn't stay and chat but my guess is that he is not a doctor as most people with this shirt are likely not. But it did make me think that many people are out there who still think a vet is not a doctor. Now, not to discredit M.D.s but how did they get lucky enough to only work on one species and it happens to be the one that speaks? Do they know how much easier my job would be some days if I could just get one animal to talk? This is just an example of how one of my appointments might go...

Someone brings in a cat. Outdoor cat. Not eating. May be drinking. Owner knows nothing else since the cat lives outside. Had some vaccines a few years back and an OTC dewormer last summer. Cat has nothing to add to the conversation. Now figure out what's wrong but don't spend a lot money because after all he's a "stray" that they have been feeding for 8 years. Oh, and medications X, Y, and Z that you might want to use are not approved for cats. Um, when was the last time the ER doctor had to deal with that scenario? Now who's job is harder. Again, I'm sure there are many talented doctors out there but there is no way anyone can say a vet is not a "real" doctor.

And finally some questions I really wish some of my patients could answer

Where does it hurt?

When does it hurt?

What were you doing when it happened?

Did you eat a rock?

Did you eat a dead animal?

Did you eat a stuffed toy, piece of string, anything from the garbage, etc, etc?

Did you eat/drink anything toxic/poison?

Can you really not pee or does your owner just think you can't because if you can I will see you after my lunch break and not during

Is that bodily fluid in your cage urine or vomit?

What kind of food do you normally eat because your owner can only remember that it comes from the pet store?

And you think you could be pregnant?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Change of Plans

We thought there was only supposed to be a 10% chance of rain today but it rained almost all afternoon. So that means we did not get all our yard work done as planned after work. I did get a little mowing done in the horse corral so they aren't in a jungle at night. Instead we got some stuff done around the house-cleaned out closets and stuff. We threw a lot of things away-it's amazing the stuff you hang on to for no reason. For example, I still had 2 drawers full of vet school notes-most of which hadn't been touched in 4 years. So away they went. Anyway, now I have room for more stuff that will eventually get thrown away. Part of the reason we had to clean out closets was to make room for the extra litter boxes in the cat closet. I had to move some other stuff from that closet to the computer room closet. We now have 4 litter boxes with 3 different litter options for Jelly (and Icy, who doesn't care and always uses the box). We have also replaced the drop cloths on the couch with carpet runner-pokey side up. This is much less unsightly than the drop cloths and also inhibits her from even walking, sleeping, or peeing on the couch.

Icy is free in the house again and we are trying to get her back on her regular eating schedule. So far this is going pretty well. I was still offering her some canned food to supplement her regular dry (it's formulated for sick and recovering animals) but she won't even touch it-I guess she's telling us she's not sick anymore.

Here is a picture of Wiggles-this is what he looks like when he sheds. He looks even funnier in real life. In other news Legend and Zodiac appear to have ceased the relentless killing of stuffed toys, so now maybe they will last longer than 15 minutes!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nothing too important

Here is a picture of Oreo from vacation since I have not been posting many dog pics lately!

Icy seems to be back to acting herself, I would like to see her eat a little more but she was not a big eater to begin with so I guess I can't expect too much. I will keep monitoring her weight as I try to get her back on a normal eating schedule as we prepare to turn her loose in the house again soon.

Jelly peed on the plastic covering the couch today. Darn. I collected some to take in tomorrow for a urinalysis but I don't have high hopes of this being a purely medical problem.

We are still trying to catch up on yard work from being on vacation so our weekend is shaping up to be really fun I'm sure. The dogs are still feeling neglected since we have not been doing any agility or much of anything else outside with them for that matter. But hopefully now that the cat is doing well and things are starting to slow down a little they can get back into a training routine.

Here is a picture of Spring trying to stay cool-not that the house is that hot but I guess she wasn't taking any chances of being too ambitious!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Yep. Three. That's the number of scent articles Zodiac can now do successfully-and he's not just getting lucky and grabbing the right one either-he's checking them all and then choosing the scented article. Maybe he can do this after all! I'm very excited about his breakthrough. The other exercises are coming along too. Maybe I will be able to enter utility at the specialty (notice I didn't say "qualify" just "enter").

Legend was very disappointed that class got rained out tonight but we did get to work on some obedience. I may try her in Novice again this fall to see if she has matured enough to get through the exercises. I also have her entered in 3 days of agility at the specialty and one day of Rally. Hopefully we will get some Excellent legs. We will be also be doing Novice Fast-we're late getting into that but we had a fun time the last time we tried it-which was our first attempt.

And now for the cat news-if you have been reading for dog/agility stuff you have probably been pretty bored lately as the cat has been consuming our lives! Anyway here is Icy before she got sick...
And here is poor Icy now. She has lost a pound (but ate well today) is matted and ratty where she does have hair and is clipped on her belly, sides, legs, neck, rear end, and underside of her tail! Oh well, it grows back and we can bathe her. I have let her out of the bathroom tonight to mill around the house and she has enjoyed that. Jelly is very disturbed that we have allowed "that thing" to return home!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Or not

I was thinking that I should have received Zodiac's NAP and NJP certificates from the AKC by now so I checked the website to see if the last trial had been recorded. It had, but apparently I managed to set it up so that he earned all 3 legs on both titles under the same judge instead of the minimum of 2. So he has not finished those titles after all. I guess I will enter him one day at the specialty this fall and see if he can "finish" them again.

Icy had her staples and feeding tube pulled today. I was going to leave her IV in for a few more days in case she needed fluids but it started leaking this morning so I pulled it too. Now she is down to just her e-collar. Her infection is still draining some but so far no fever. She did not eat well this morning but I think she's kind of mad about all the stuff I did to her today. She did eat a little tuna when we got home and I have her another pain injection since she seemed crabby and sore.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I spoke too soon. Last night Icy wouldn't eat and was running a fever. Today at work we examined the site around her feeding tube and found it was infected. We also took an x-ray to evaluate her abdomen but it looked good as far was we could tell. I'm so glad there does not appear to be any infection on the inside! We got the abscess draining and started her on 2 antibiotics and this afternoon her fever was gone. She was still pretty fussy but after some more pain medication and her appetite pill she seemed to feel much better and ate some canned and dry food while we were out tonight. She was even howling about being locked in the bathroom-which she wasn't doing last night.

Jelly seems happy with her new pee box-she already used it. Hopefully we will be able to uncover the couch soon.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Linda, Leslie and I attended the Gretchen Wilson concert at the Ozark Empire Fair on Friday night. It was super hot but we had a good time. My pictures still turned out a little fuzzy, even though we were in the 6th row-the best one is below. My parents spent part of the weekend with us and we had a good visit-despite the heat. This was their first time to see Spring, who is getting bigger all the time. I need to see how much she weighs now.

Icy is very much tired of staying in a crate so we went ahead and moved her to the bathroom. It gives her more space and us more sleep! There are a few things she can jump on and off in there but hopefully she won't get too rowdy. I think I will be pulling her IV and feeding tube tomorrow. She's eating pretty good, not much interest in dry food yet and I am still giving her appetite stimulants but I don't think at this point we will be in danger of needing the tube.

In other news Jelly has peed on our couch. This has made me very unhappy and promptly got her locked in the bathroom for most of the weekend. She has always had a fondness for peeing in laundry and dog beds and after multiple attempts to break her of this we just kept all the laundry locked up and got rid of all dog beds. She has never used the furniture before now but I guess all the other stuff she liked is gone. She has also used our chair but we rarely use the chair so that didn't bother me as much. So we gave in a filled a large litter box with a blanket and put it with the other litter boxes and have limited her access to the rest of the house and will be covering the couch. Hopefully we can get the cushion clean and hopefully she will like her new pee box enough that we can someday go back to normal. I do need to check her for a bladder problem but I suspect that is unlikely since she has always had something of an issue with this.