Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Round 2

There are some things in life that are only worth doing for pride, and for the story you get to tell later.  This was one of those things. 

All week long we watched the forecast for Saturday in Nashville deteriorate.  Of all times for the weather people to be right, it was this time.  Saturday morning we woke up at 4:45.  Got on the shuttle at 5:30.  It was cloudy and cool and threatening to rain, but at the moment, still dry.  We got our gear checked in and hit the porta-potty line.  And it started to rain.  And kept raining.  We waited forever in the potty line and just got colder and colder in the rain and decided to take turns going back to the gear check to get our dry clothes back on.  As it turns out this was a poor choice since the jacket and pants I had brought were not particularly lightweight or quick drying.  But, for the moment we were warmer and dryer. 
When we finally finished with the potty line a steady rain was falling.  We were supposed to be in corral 9 but since we were running a little late by this time the race started without us and we joined corral 13.  Each corral has about 1000 people and they let them go about every minute or so.  I think we started about 17 minutes after the gun. So here are just some of the other 30,000 crazy people who showed up to run in the rain.
And rain it did.  The whole 13.1 miles.  Every. Single. Step.  If it has been 80 and raining it would have been ok, but it was 50 and raining.  Which I can now say, is less than ideal. At first it wasn't so bad but a few miles in we were soaked all the way through and my not so light jacket and pants were waterlogged and soggy and our feet were more or less swimming in our shoes.  But once you start, there's no turning back.  Two hours and ten minutes later we arrived at the finish-which ordinarily would be good.  But when it's 50 degrees and you have been running in the rain, and then you stop running in the rain you get really cold, really fast.  Plus you are wet, tired, sore, and stiff.  And let me tell you, the walk from the finish to the shuttle was one of the longest of my life.  I'd have to think really hard to come up with a time in my life when I have been more miserable.  So, no I don't have an "after" picture.  We didn't feel like stopping and digging out a phone or camera.  But I do have these for you.

Fortunately, the rest of the weekend was pleasant.  We enjoyed shopping at the expo on Friday when we checked in-there was no shortage of fun running stuff to look at.  And after some well-deserved hot showers and long naps on Saturday afternoon we enjoyed (well, I enjoyed, Cheri tolerated) the free Craig Morgan concert.  And Sunday we went to Burgess Falls and enjoyed a little hiking.  At least rain makes for good waterfall viewing. 

I hope to go back and run this race again in good weather so I can actually enjoy it!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Round 1

Ordinarily, I would not sign up for a half-marathon 2 weeks in a row.  But, Camp Barnabas sponsored a half-marathon right here in Springfield this weekend.  If you are not familiar with Camp Barnabas it's a summer camp for kids with disabilities, cancer and terminal illnesses.  During the years our friend Blaine was in remission from his own cancer he volunteered as a counselor there and the time he spent there was obviously very important to him.  So when I saw it listed it seemed like we should sign up and run in his memory.

This was a great event, especially considering it was the first time they had put it on.  The race seemed well organized and the food at the end was the best we've ever had.  There was the usual-water, gatorade, juice, bagels, fruit, yogurt and a huge variety of granola bars.  But there was also candy bars, mini reeces peanut butter cups, cold stone creamery ice cream, chips, hot dogs and sodas.  Plus the weather was great.  It started out a bit cool but with no wind and full sun it soon warmed up to near perfect running weather.

And although we entered this under the pretense of just a training run (that's never really possibly for me when it comes to actual race day) all three of us had such a good run we ended up with PRs.  I bested my last half-marathon time by more than 4 minutes.  Jerry was a given since he had never run one before and Cheri also beat out our time from last spring in CA.

I think Blaine would have loved this day and we will definitely be back next year!

Next weekend-on to Nashville!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Now Hiring

We are currently taking applications for a kennel position at the clinic.  And it's a sad state of affairs.  I realize this is not the kind of job that attracts rocket scientists but seriously, people need to do better than this. Along with the mandatory qualifications of loving animals and being a pet owner (along with a detailed description of all the pets they own) the following gems were found in the applications.


Under special skills and training:
security and massage therapy (interesting combo)
6 wpm (this is certainly a "special" skill-hopefully a typo?)

One person admitted to hating cats.

One gave no last name for one of their references.

One has not held a job longer than 6 months in twelve years.

Another applicant was "layed" off from a previous job.

And finally, if your mom comes to pick up the application, talks about how wonderful you are, and then announces she will bring the application back after you fill it out, you are probably not getting the job.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mythbusting: Vet med and TV

I'm sure there a lot of professions that have details inaccurately portrayed on TV, but I can only speak to the ones related to veterinary medicine (well, and some human medical details as well).  So today I wanted to write about a few of the ones I've seen recently.

The 12 gauge needle
For this one there was a wound on a victim that was made by an unknown weapon.  As it turned out the weapon was a 12 gauge needle which is "only used by vets for large dogs and farm animals." False.  Other than for implanting a microchip I have never even seen, much less used a 12 gauge needle, not even in a horse.  And microchip needles are only that large because of necessity.  In fact this is the reason microchips are frequently placed while the pet is under anesthesia.  Also in this program the victim had an infection at the injection site because "veterinary drugs are not made as sterile as human drugs."  Also false.  If veterinary drugs are not sterile do they not think that animals would get infections or illnesses from them as well?  In fact many drugs, especially controlled substances such as this one, come from the same suppliers and are the same brand names in both kinds of medicine.

Use of ketamine to sedate a victim is a popular TV theme.  While ketamine is used in people, it's more common in veterinary medicine. Ketamine also has potential for abuse-street name "Special K."  Therefore it works nicely into story lines as it's available to both medical professionals as well as on the "street."  OK, that's the truth part.  Here's the myth part.  Typical scenario for TV is that someone sneaks up behind the victim, gives them a quick needle prick and the person instantly slumps over.  Problem with this are:
1.  It would take A LOT of ketamine to knock out a person, not just a quick 1/2 second stick.
2.  Ketamine burns given intramuscularly.  You could not give a large amount (probably not any amount) without the person noticing.
3.  Ketamine takes awhile to cause sedation intramuscularly, it is not instantaneous.

So there you have it.  Myths busted.  I'll add more if I see them!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Case 3: Oh baby

Someone had left a pregnant cat at the shelter.  Thursday night she had her kittens and then promptly prolapsed her uterus and drug it around in her litter and everything else all night.  

Friday morning we cleaned her up and went ahead and did a spay to reduce the prolapse and get rid of the whole nasty mess.  There was one kitten left, but not surprisingly it was already dead.  But, we did get momma cat saved.  Short and sweet!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Case 2: Mystery toxin

In the midst of a busy afternoon the receptionist stopped me to say that animal control was on the phone and urgently needed to speak with the vet.  That is never a good thing.  As it turned out they were busy trying to catch a dog that had been running loose for 3 days.  The dog was previously friendly but now would not even approach the owner, was drooling, growling, and tremoring.  As they taught us in school...think rabies first.  I thought great, now I have to stay late and cut off a head today.  But as it turned out it was a well vaccinated adult dog and unlikely to be rabies.

But, when the dog did finally he arrive, he was definitely having a problem.  The poor dude was shaking uncontrollably, and very nervous.  And the more worked up he got, the worse the shaking got.  Unfortunately because of his mental status I didn't get to do more than a visual assessment at a distance.  Toxin of some sort was at the top of my list but primary brain disease like meningitis was also there.  We drew blood, which was all normal, so we started fluids, valium and antibiotics.

The next day he was quite a bit better and in 48 hours he was normal.  This case is the one where I'm not 100% sure if I made the difference or not.  But, he was in bad shape when he came to me and got better after we treated him, so, I count it as a win.  Could have been stopping the tremors and breaking the cycle helped, or fluids to flush whatever it was out of his system, or maybe even the antibiotics   If nothing else he finally got a good (chemically induced) night's sleep! Based on his full and rapid recovery toxin is still my primary differential but the list of possibilities is quite long-ivermectin, chocolate, caffeine  moldy food, amphetamines (legal and illegal) or other drugs just to name a few.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Case 1: "Small" problem

A toy breed dog presents for vomiting and not eating.  Apparently they thought that the fact he had only produced a few drops of urine at a time for the past few days was not a big deal.  So, we took an x-ray.  And not surprisingly there was a stone.  One itty, bitty stone.  Stuck in the urethra.

Normally what you do then is try to flush the stone back to the bladder and then perform a cystotomy and remove the stone from the bladder.  If you can't get it flushed back you have to remove it directly from the urethra.  Urethral surgery is tricky and something I always refer to a surgeon.  I tried to flush the stone back with the little dog awake but was unsuccessful.  I called to warn the owner that they may need to make plans to take the dog to a surgeon.  This was not really an option for them so if I couldn't do it, they would likely euthanize.

So we placed the dog under anesthesia and with no small amount of effort and force (not to mention something of a mess) we were able to get the stone flushed back, proceeded to surgery and removed the stone uneventfully.  Everyone ended up happy, but I'm guessing no one more than the dog who for the first time in a number of days no longer needed to pee!

And here is the culprit!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Feel like a rock star

I've made it no secret that I often find my line of work frustrating and/or amusing.  But what I don't often write about is the monotony and lack of mental stimulation.  Sometimes this is good and sometimes bad.  I love my work at the shelter but there is not much variety to it.  On the other hand, I find giving annual parvo vaccines to dogs who don't need them and treating flea allergies day after day a disappointing use of my expensive and lengthy education.  Not to mention nail trims, which I strongly believe is NOT a doctor job (but that's more of personal pet peeve).

Anyway, between regular day practice, and shelter work I may go weeks (sometimes months) without taking on a case where my direct intervention saves a life.  Sometimes this is because despite our best efforts, we lose the pet anyway.  Sometimes, owners don't allow diagnostics and treatment. And often, the cases are quite simply, not life threatening and/or would have eventually gotten better on their own.

But this week I had not one, not two, but three cases where I feel I made a huge difference and in two of them I most certainly rectified a life threatening problem.  Thus far, all three pets are still doing well.  And it's Friday afternoon so if something goes wrong now, I likely won't know until Monday anyway.

So yeah, I feel pretty awesome.  We'll see how long that lasts.  And yes, I'll give case details later.  But I have plans tonight.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Color Run

This year the Color Run came to Springfield!  We were really excited about this as we had been wanting to go to one and we didn't even have to travel.  It was super fun-if you don't mind getting dirty.  And it's not timed or competitive so even non-runners were there in droves. 

We got there early in case there was a parking issue as 10,000 participants were expected.  This was fine except we didn't realize they would be starting us in waves (which was a good idea) and so we ended up standing around on the starting line for 45 minutes.  We didn't get to go until half our after the first wave started!  And there were lots behind us yet to go. 

Here we are waiting-I have the pink stripes on my shirt sleeves
 Some of the starting line
Approaching a color station
 See the cloud of orange?  At each station there were volunteers squeezing bottles of "color" on you.  The stations got pretty crowed and we had to slow down and wait in line a few times.  Hence the wave starts-and still it was crowded!
Partway through!
Finish line fun

The finished product!

 Yes, I wore old shoes.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An unusual way to save a life

As promised, the happy story...

Last week we had  new client euthanasia on the schedule.  These can be tricky, it would be better if we didn't schedule them but we do.  Sometimes it's obvious that the animal is actually in need of the procedure.  But sometimes it's someone trying to sneak in a convenience euth (not happening) or they don't want to admit to their regular vet that they don't want to pay for any more treatments and diagnostics, or won't fix a treatable problem, etc.

Anyway, the dog in question was an older fat yorkie (about 12) who came walking in tail wagging and looking for all the world like nothing was wrong.  The receptionists thought this was suspicious and brought the dog back for me to evaluate.  Other than being chubby he seemed happy and stable.  The complaints at home were lethargy, urinating and defecating in the house.  They had a whole laundry list of things the other vet had said was wrong with him, some of which were certainly not as fatal as they seemed to believe.  Now, there is often a huge disconnect between what a a client is told and what they hear.  So although they seemed pretty set on euthanizing I decided to wait on the faxed records before doing anything permanent.

When the records arrived (after no less than three phone calls to the other clinic) it seemed the dog had a pretty thorough work-up the day before, which indicated only a UTI and some arthritis.  I'm not sure where the communication breakdown occurred or how the other doctor interpreted these findings but I felt like the dog might have a favorable response to antibiotics and pain meds.  After a lengthy discussion, they decided to try it.  A follow up call today revealed that the dog was doing fantastic and they were eternally grateful to us.

So it took half the morning and a team effort from my staff, but in the end we saved a life.  Not in dramatic Emergency Vets fashion, but a life nonetheless 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Things that make vets angry

No-shows for the last appointment slot of the day.

If your dog is acting like a wild animal-flailing, screaming and biting while on the table under no circumstances should you hug, coddle, baby talk or feed her treats.  She is not a "good girl" and it is not "ok."  Performing these actions only reinforce that this behavior is desired and acceptable, the opposite of which is true.

Calling at 4:20 because your dog is "dying."  I'm quite certain it was apparent your dog was "dying" prior to 4:20.

Obtaining a large breed dog and failing to pursue any kind of obedience or socialization training.

Leaving poorly behaved children unattended in the lobby.

Bringing poorly behaved children into the exam room.

Arriving late to your appointment, not apologizing and suddenly having a lot of questions about health issues your new puppy may develop since you did not do any breed research ahead of time.

Allowing a problem to go on for a month, making an appointment towards the end of the day, showing up late, and being unable to make any decisions without calling your wife.

Don't worry, tomorrow there is a happy story.