Saturday, August 31, 2013

Product review: Orijen freeze dried food

These have been the biggest hit so far.  We received the Regional Red flavor, but it comes in to other varieties as well.  Everyone in our house loved this food.  Even Icy-when I saw her slurping up some crumbs I offered her a chunk and she ate it up right away.

I'll admit when I first opened these it was not what I had expected.  To be honest, they sort of look like dried up horse turds!
But apparently-they are delicious!  This a fully balanced food, but I've been using it as a treat.  However I can see it's convenience as a food, especially if you are travelling as you can just pull X amount of patties out of the bag and feed them to your dog.  No scoop needed.  Maybe not even a bowl!  It might more of a hassle with a large dog though as packing large amounts of patties might be bulky.  The official feeding instructions call for breaking the patties in to quarters and adding water to re-hydrate them.  I didn't actually try this but I suspect that would make them even more appealing, esp to picky eaters, old or sick pets.

This food has a ton of different meat products in it-so potentially not great for allergic dogs but the mixture must make it very yummy.  Like most freeze dried foods they break easily into smaller pieces but can be a bit crumbly/messy if you are using them inside.

Foster dog Cade really loves them.  Which is great because we are trying to teach him to sit quietly at the door before going out-and he needed a lot of persuasion for this.  It also enticed him to put all four feet on the dogwalk which he has not been super interested in before.

Overall we were very impressed with these-I'm sure the dogs (and Icy) hope we order more!

Product Review: Halo Cat Treats

For our next review with we chose cat treats.  The Halo seafood flavor protein and fiber got three paws up at our house.  Icy, despite shamelessly begging at the table and stealing sandwiches out of our lunch is surprisingly picky about her treats.  She was a little skeptical at first but once she got going she found these to be plenty acceptable and was soon doing her usual evening demand for treats while the dogs are out to potty.

I also tried them on the barn cats.  Barney will pretty much eat anything but he really loved these.  He followed me around and grabbed them out of my hand.  Lefty is a little more particular.  He did eat them but seemed a bit indifferent.  But when you are talking about cats and you get 3/3 to consume them then you are doing pretty good.

These treats are small-if your cat is on a diet then they can still have a few!  Also they are in various shapes for those kitties that are particular to certain textures.  They are not extremely limited in ingredients but they don't have an overwhelming number either so if your kitty is allergic then these may be a possibility.  They also come in chicken. So another winner in our book!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mythbusting: TV Part 2

Microchips are not GPS devices.  I get some clients that ask this too so might as well just get is cleared up.  Also, microchip needles are huge.  Flu shot needles are not.  You cannot tell someone they are getting a flu shot and sneak in a microchip.

There is no vet school in Bloomington, Indiana.

This next one is not even fiction.  Just a case of poor research and planning that we saw on 48 Hours.  Two teenagers tried to commit suicide by putting rat poison on their cereal.  There are several problems with this.  You need to eat A LOT of rat poison to kill a person.  They did not eat enough.  Also this is not a quick and painless death.  You don't just fall asleep and not wake up.  You will more likely bleed to death internally over several days.  If you are really lucky you could bleed into your brain and die quicker.  And to top it all off you won't even start bleeding for a few days-you need to wait until all your clotting factors are used up.

Another real life medical murder disaster (as seen on Dateline or other such show)-killing someone with the animal tranquilizer xylazine.  Yes, in theory it can be done.  But this also takes a large amount and is really not practical.  There are better ways.  The best being of course, not at all.

If, then...

If your cat weighs 25 pounds then you are overfeeding it.

If you are a physician  then you should know how important a good accurate history is.  The difference between your cat not eating for 4 days or 7 days might be important.

If you are a physician then you should understand that your cat needs to medicated twice daily even if it's "impractical."

If you are 20 minutes early to your appointment then you should not complain about waiting 20 minutes.

If you are concerned about your other dogs being in the car because it is hot outside then you should not have brought them, not left them in the car, and not showed up 20 minutes early.

If you think you have ringworm and all your pets are normal looking then you probably did not get it from your pet.  Please don't bring them all in to be "checked."

If your pet is spayed then she will not get pregnant.

If you have a fence, then your dog is unlikely to get hit by a car.

If you don't have a lot of money then you need to have your dog spayed and keep her in a fence.

And finally, a question to ponder...why are people able to find unlimited information on the internet about how heartworm or flea preventative "X" will kill your dog but somehow are unable to find anything negative about ear cropping?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cade update

I've been too lazy and too busy to take new pictures but Cade is coming along. We are working a lot on focus and impulse control as well as obedience and agility skills. I went to some Sophia Yin lectures at the veterinary conference this weekend and so I'm trying some of the learn to earn exercises with him. He's learning he needs to ask for things by sitting and that other undesirable behaviors won't get him anywhere. He's also learning to be able to relax, work and focus with distractions and in places where he is uncomfortable. It's coming along slowly but steadily. 

Tonight he did a jump, the table, and the tunnel. He's not much into contact equipment. I really should just lower it but I'm lazy. And the girls need to work them before champs anyway. So right now he's just getting rewarded for putting any feet on it. He'll probably end up in a non-agility home after all this but it still gives him something to do and helps him build confidence and figure out how to learn. 

He and Legend tug and wrestle non-stop. Lyric has even played with him some. It's super cute because he gets so gentle with her. 


When I started doing relief veterinary work it was supposed to be temporary.  As I suspect most people do, I started relief work out of convenience and necessity.  I always thought I would eventually go back to the "right" full time job.  I regularly browsed the ads for this "right" job.  But, as time passed I realized that I didn't really love private practice. I don't hate it, but I don't love it.  I also don't have any desire to work in industry (drug or food companies), public health, or government.  I have also been unable to talk myself into going back to school for a residency.  Now, it has been nearly 4 years and I just realized I no longer look for that "right" job.  Apparently I have already found it.

There are some down sides to this arrangement of course.  Obviously lack of job security is the biggest one. But I have managed to find enough work for the last 4 years so I expect I really don't need to worry so much.  The next biggest is no benefits.  But I didn't have great benefits at my last job and Jerry's job has insurance for us both so this really didn't hit me that hard.  And although I have no paid vacation as it turns out I can take unpaid vacation by working enough to make up for it and still make as much or more money as I did before.

Another down side is that not every clinic has state of the art equipment or practices the best medicine.  So unless you are only doing relief work at upscale clinics in well-to-do neighborhoods you might as well just get over this.  That's not to say that you need to do anything you are uncomfortable with or feel is unethical.  Most clinic owners are ok with any limitations you have.  If not, just don't go back there.

Some clinics also have better staff than others.  But it seems most places where the owner is willing to leave town and let staff run the place have at least some of them trained pretty well.  I think I've been mostly pretty lucky in the staff I have had to work with in this time.

Depending on your need for work and location, you may need to travel, or work undesirable times like weekends and a lot during summer or around holidays.  

Also you must remember to save money to pay taxes with.  And it's going to be more than you think.  Overestimate. Better to have some left over!

There is also lack of client relationships.  Although I do have some "regular" clinics that I work at every week I still don't get much of a chance to develop relationships with clients and manage cases long term.  Partly because I end up doing a lot of surgery and partly because I am just not there enough and we end up sharing cases.  Although I think this makes some of my medical skills a little rusty I realized that over the 5 years I worked at All Creatures there are really only a handful of clients that I actually looked forward to seeing and missed when I left.

I know that seemed like a lot of negative but,  there are some significant upsides.

At first, I had to take whatever work I could get.  But now, I pretty much work when I want.  I almost never work Saturdays.  Really, I could never work them if I didn't want to but it's nice to help someone out from time to time-builds a good relationship with clinics you like.  And if I want a 3 day weekend for trials or travel I don't work Fridays.  I did this a lot while Legend was working on her MACH. If there is something I want to do during the week, I don't work that day.  If I want 4 weeks of vacation a year, I take it.  I like to work about 3.5-4 days a week.  Often I work more if we are saving for a vacation or a remodeling project.  Or I work more when it's available since there can be a slow time in the winter.  Right now I am pretty much booked up to the end of the year minus time I had planned to take off.

It allows for variety.  I get to go into a lot of clinics, meet a lot of people, see different ways of doing things, different drugs, etc.  I also get to do some spay/neuter and shelter work.

At the end of the day, nothing is my problem.  Not sick pets, not staff issues, management problems, broken equipment, unhappy clients.  Nothing.  I just get to pick up my stuff and go home.  I also don't have any extra responsibilities.  I don't have to run staff meetings, write newsletters, update websites etc.

It's not a life for everybody.  I don't think anyone goes into vet school with the expectation that this is where they will end up.  I certainly didn't.  But it works for me, it fills a need and it's something for other vet readers to consider if they are looking for a change.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Beat this summer

Is there anything better than lazy afternoons with your dog at the creek?

Legend thinks not. I'm inclined to agree. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

That's how country boys roll

I know how much everyone loves mediocre concert pictures is Billy Currington from last night's Party in the Parking Lot at PFI. I didn't get any pictures but the best part was when he brought his (fat) chocolate lab out on stage for "Like My Dog."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Not so much

We were a little apprehensive about entering a race call the Hot and Hilly but it was the closest one so we did anyway.  To err on the side of caution we picked the 5k instead of the 10k.  But, thanks once again to this unusual August weather, a better name for this year's race would have been the Chilly and Hilly!  It was about 60 degrees at race time.  Crazy.  Also, the course was not terrible hilly, and there was at least as much downhill as uphill so it seemed fair.  Although I can't speak to the 10k course.

Anyway, since the forecast looked so favorable, we asked if we could bring our dogs and were given the ok.  I debated a lot on bringing her.  Since she has not been training with me over the summer (for obvious reasons) I knew I could probably run harder without her.  But, most races don't allow dogs and she seemed pretty excited to go so in the end I did bring her.  She paced me to a comfortable 26:30 which ended up winning my age group.  So,  running any faster wouldn't have helped me anyway.

While waiting in line for the race to start some woman seemed very concerned that we were running with our dogs and insinuated that it was good we were not running in the 10k as 5 would be about all they could handle.  Granted, right now I would not run my dog 6 miles but over the winter when she was properly trained she was running up to 9 with me.  I'm sure her intentions were good but it's insulting to have strangers treat me like I don't know how to take care of my dog.  I guess I need a shirt that says I'm a vet and I know what I'm doing!  Good thing she didn't see me feed her a chocolate chip cookie later!

After the race I let Legend jump in the yucky lake water and then she laid in some dirt and leaves while waiting for awards.  So I was pretty sure she was getting  bath later but she solidified that by rolling in poop while I was doing housework.  Evidently she objected to being left outside.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New adventures

Cade needs some mental stimulation and some manners so tonight I started working with him on some obedience and targeting stuff.  He seemed to enjoy the work and got more focused the more we did.  Once he gets a few things mastered I might show him some agility equipment too.  Or maybe he will get adopted soon...but only one app so far and it was not suitable.

Lyric is starting her preparation for the therapy dog test which first requires her to pass the CGC.  We also played around with some CD skills at the same time.  So we will see how that progresses.

And since we are having unseasonable cool August weather Legend got to running with me.  So she didn't do any additional work tonight.  But, there is a tracking class starting soon that I think I'm going to take her too.  And not to forget about agility-NADAC champs are coming up at the end of next month.  I already got her confirmation so I guess we might need to also touch up our agility skills.  Still waiting to see if Lyric made it in but I guess I should probably work her too huh?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My hip is not square

As you recall I hurt my knee running in the half-marathon this spring.  And I hurt it again running a 10k on the 4th of July (did manage to still get a PR though).  And these two examples are not the only times I have had an issue with this knee.  So I decided to ask my PT friend if there was anything I could do to prevent this.  She got her PT colleague who works with runners to take a look (for free no less-pays to have the right friends!).  Anyway after a bunch of tests and video analysis of me running we found that the angle of my hip varies while running from one side to the other.  Further evaluation showed poor endurance in the left hip.  And long story short, weakness in the hip transfers down to the knee and causes problems there.  So in fact, there is nothing wrong with my knee.  Just my hip.  I was given one simple exercise to do and to come back in a month.

Today, while the strength was good, the angles were still different.  But we checked the endurance and it was much better this time.  So although I have an anatomic imbalance it seems that so far we have found a way to compensate for it.  So I was declared "fixed" and am to continue doing the exercises and don't need to return unless I have more pain.  I'm still kind of nervous about running on it hard but I guess eventually I'll have to.  I did manage to run a 5K this weekend faster than I have in a year (and with no pain) so I guess that's a good start.

The whole process was quite interesting and I must say I have a whole new respect for the physical therapists comprehension of anatomy, physics, and kinetics.  He really put my grasp on those subjects to shame!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It's a boy!

And before everyone gets all worked up, we are NOT having a baby. Although based on the way I ate at dinner that could be debatable! We are, however, getting a "nephew." It seems Kennedy is getting a sibling for Christmas this year and much to her apparent dismay it will be a brother. I was actually pulling for a girl as well but largely because baby girl clothes are so much more fun. But, the parents wanted a boy so I guess it's ok.  I can live with puppies and turtles just fine ;)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Knee deep...and then some

Normally, the Roubidoux creek is just that-a quiet and scenic waterway that meanders its way around and through the city of Waynesville on it's way to the Gasconade River.  It serves as the backdrop for campgrounds, city parks and hiking trails.  It's a popular place to fish and in the summer months the shallow waters and lazy currents make it a possibly ideal place to take Legend swimming after work.  I haven't had the chance to do this yet and it certainly won't be any time soon.

This week the Roubidoux overflowed its banks and put downtown Waynesville underwater.  Tuesday, the clinic flooded.  It was not my day to work but reportedly there was enough water present to force them to shut down and spend the whole day mopping and cleaning. All things considered they were pretty lucky.  We did lose air conditioning to the kennel and some of our fence.

This is the creek bed behind the clinic looks like today (two days after it flooded into the clinic).  Usually it's dry or almost dry-right now it could sweep you away.

Downstream, the Gasconade wreaked havoc of it's own, reaching a record high and flooding all four lanes of Interstate 44 as well as many smaller roads and highways.
Here is the railroad bridge over the river-obviously, the water should not be that close!
When I returned to work today I took some time at lunch to take pictures.  This is the Roubidoux where it goes under the bridge downtown.

And here it is at the city park.  Actually you can't see where it normally runs because it's everywhere!  You could see that it has actually gone down a lot-there was evidence of where it had crossed the park road over to the pavilions and playgrounds.

Meanwhile it was back to business as usual at the clinic.  Until about 2:00 when the fire department came by to say that there may be an evacuation coming and to get ready just in case.  About 10 minutes later they returned to give the official mandatory evacuation order.  It seems heavy rains upstream were expected to cause the creek to rise another 4-6 feet locally before the end of the afternoon.  So basically they were telling everyone to get out.  Now.  Over the next 30 minutes we sent clients home, called owners to pick up, moved all the pets to top cages, unplugged and elevated all the electronics that we could,  pulled food bags off bottom shelves, and sand-bagged the back door.  We were ready.  But no one ever came by to make sure we left.  I don't know if that's how evacuations work but it did seem odd that other local businesses were not clearing out and people were still driving up and down the road towards the bridge.  After calls to both the fire and police departments we were told that even though emergency personnel were going door to door notifying people, the evacuation was not actually mandatory, just suggested.  So it wasn't really an emergency after all-but it was still pretty exciting for a little while.  Anyway, by that time we had called the rest of the appointments to tell them not to come in and it was almost time to head home anyway.  Thus far, I don't think anything has happened but we'll know more in the morning.  But for now, keep Wayneville and all the other flood damaged communities in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Model Family

The pet modeling thing is becoming a family affair around here.  Earlier this year Legend did a shoot for the same local photographer that did Lyric last year.  Because of copyrights I can't post any of the photos but let me tell you, they were adorable.  It was an easter and mother's day themed shoot and she got some great shots of Legend holding easter baskets and bouquets of flowers.

Today Lyric and Icy did a photo shoot for Elanco (makers of Comfortis and Trifexis, among other things).  Icy was somewhat unimpressed with this event.  She always gets carsick and on top of that they wanted to shoot her outside on the front porch.  She was pretty overwhelmed with this as she is exclusively indoors and only wanted to hunker down and lay still.  But they seemed happy with the shots they got as we just plunked her down next to the "actress" and they shot away.  Lyric was a rock star, as usual.

This is the second big shoot like this that we have done and I can tell you it's quite a production.  I would never have thought so much time and money and effort goes into getting photos for packaging, ads, literature and websites for these products and businesses.  So the next time you wonder why your Trifexis costs so much remember they have to cater lunch and breakfast at the photo shoots and pay all those professional pet models!

So when exactly will you start seeing all their smiling faces plastered on all over the place?  Well, Lyric's Banfield stuff should be out any day-so check your local PetSmart regularly.  Nothing has officially been published from the local studio but some of the pics were being considered by a few companies.  And today's shoot was for Elanco's European ad campaign/packaging so it will be pretty tough to find.  On the plus side I think this officially makes them international superstars!  Not bad for a broken down street cat and a dog dropped off to be put to euthanized.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A lesson

With very few exceptions we were taught in school to always take two radiographic views.  This is why.

First view-pretty straightforward looking fracture.  Routine fix for anyone who does orthopedic work.  
 Second view.  Major problems.  Broken in 3 places. This requires a specialist or amputation.
I guess some of that stuff you learn in school really is important.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Perceptions, misconceptions, and questions

I hear some of the same things from clients over and over again.  Some are things that I would consider common general knowledge, some are things that I think maybe should be common knowledge but perhaps it's only my experience that tells me that.  Either way I will address them now.  Some I may have mentioned before.  But I hear them so often it's worth saying again.

1.  He limps but I don't think he's in pain because he's not crying.  I don't get this one at all.  Seriously, the only reason dogs, or anyone, limps is because they are in pain.  Not crying or whining doesn't have anything to do with it.  If you sprain you ankle, pull a muscle, etc you don't sit home crying all day long.  You limp around and carry on with your day.  Even if you are in pain you can laugh, talk, eat and function as a normal being.  Dogs are the same.  They will happily wag their tail, give kisses, and eat treats all the while hobbling along on an injured leg.

2.  Periodontal disease does not cause pain because he is still eating.  Again, see #1.  Just because your pet is still eating does not mean that his severe dental disease, or even moderate dental disease is not painful.  Have you ever had a toothache?  Did you stop eating?  Probably not.  But you might have eaten differently.  I did not eat hard or crunchy food on the left side of my mouth for the months before I had my wisdom teeth pulled.  But I certainly didn't stop eating.  And I didn't cry all day either (once again, see #1).

3.  He's not eating so he must have a bad tooth.  Now, see #2.  On the flipside, some people believe that the only cause of partial or complete anorexia is a bad tooth.  In my experience it is very rare for a pet to stop eating solely because of one or more bad teeth.  I have however seen them not eat because of significant oral pathology such as electrical burns, ulcerative disease, abscesses, and tumors.  Generally these things are more affecting the gums, tongue and mucous membranes and not so much the actual teeth.

4.  How do I get him to lose weight?  This one really blows my mind.  Apparently people are unfamiliar with the fact that weight loss in pets is biologically the same as weight loss in people.  You must burn more calories than you take it.  Eat less, exercise more.  One might think that this simple answer would be all a client would need.  However, this often leads to more questions that, once again, I would not have considered rocket science to figure out.  Such as...

  • I free feed/leave food out all the time.  Stop doing that.
  • I have multiple pets and they eat each other's food.  Separate them.
  • How much should I feed?  Start with 25% less than you are feeding now and weigh in one month.  Adjust accordingly.  
  • My pet won't eat meals, he grazes.  Put food out 30 minutes.  If he doesn't eat pick it up.  Repeat at next mealtime.  It will only take a few days and the pet will be eating meals.  Works on cats too.  
  • He's always hungry.  So am I.  That doesn't mean I eat candy bars and fast food all day long.  Use healthy treats, lower calorie foods and tough love.  They can't feed themselves, you hold all the cards!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Reaping the Rewards

This week I got the chance to visit my former foster boy, Trip, and his mom.  As you can see he was very much beside himself!

Don't get me wrong, Trip very loves his new mama, but he is clearly still pretty fond of me too!

This is one of the great experiences of fostering.  As hard as it was to let this boy go, it was the right thing for everyone.  Trip leads a charmed life and is a successful agility dog.  Although he is a regular on the local AKC circuit, we haven't been doing much AKC lately so I visited him at home since his family lives just a few miles from my parents.

Not only do I get to remain a part of his life but I have become good friends with his mom.  She so much enjoys Trip that she has even fostered some dogs for Border Collie rescue herself including her long term "project" foster dog who is still looking for her perfect forever home now that Mary has done so much to bring her out of her shell and socialize her.

This is a great example of how fostering can change lives of so many for the better.  If you have not considered fostering, now is the time to think about it.  Many rescues are in desperate need of these priceless volunteers!