Musings of a Veterinarian

Archive for the ‘Just For Fun’

Celebrity Kitty In The House!

April 23, 2014 By: Dr. K Category: Just For Fun

A few months ago I received a rather random email. My SPAM filter does a nice job at eliminating those pesky male enhancement ads and thwarts the Nigerian princes who will give me millions if I send them my bank account info. But it missed this one.

It read: “Could you get in touch with me about your video of Piggles in the garbage.  WAe [sic] would like to use it for a show that we produce for Animal Planet.”

Dubious to say the least. I used our trusty friend, Google, and found out that the person and production are real! After discussions with the producer, Miss Pigglesworth, a discarded cat at my clinic, is going to be a star!

Coming to a home near you this summer on Animal Planet’s Bad Dog:

The Worst Job Interview Ever Part 2: Captive

June 29, 2013 By: Dr. K Category: Just For Fun

Part 1

I should have ended it there, I thought, as I climbed into the front of his pick-up. Three hundred pounds, stupid, and a bitch? Who says something like that? Some nut bucket, that’s who. And there I was, riding to his home to meet his wife in the biggest extended cab pick-up truck you’ve ever seen. A blaring red with four rear tires, dual exhaust, running boards, and a large bed with four-wheel-drive suited to drive me out to the middle of nowhere. The middle of nowhere…a perfect place for a murder.

“We’re heading to my house. I want you to meet my wife. I also want you to see my barn and meet my horses.” Ah yes, Max Shaffer was a breeder of Arab horses. My knowledge about horses was and still is limited to what I learned in veterinary school. I had taken my boards and completed my large animal rotations and had long drained my brain of unnecessary equine fluff. They are flouncy prey animals destined for a broken leg, laceration, or colic.

We rolled up a long drive and passed two gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous, barns. The idyllic setting disarmed me a bit from our earlier debacle to the point my eyes sunk into the lush green scenery. I was jarred to reality when I realized the truck had stopped in front of one of the barns. I hopped from the truck and tailed after Max toward the entrance of the building. I entered the barn and the familiar smell of hay, alfalfa, and horses tickled my nose. The barn was immaculately clean, I noted, and found a morsel of respect for the way Shaffer kept shop.

That morsel withered away when he called me into his tack room. He furrowed his brow behind his large round glasses as he reached up onto a shelf and pulled down a wooden box.

“These are the ashes of my favorite foal, Bennie. Bennie spent forty-five days in the NICU at Teaching Referral Hospital. I had to euthanize him.” Dr. Shaffer had a noticeable quiver in his voice. “He was the best little foal. Beautiful.” Was he really crying during my job interview? In the tack room? “It just chokes me up.” Yes. Yes he was. Awkward.

I slipped out the door of the tack room and into the aisle way as Dr. Shaffer replaced the ashes on the shelf. I heard him behind me. “Ok, let’s head up to the house.”

Should it have been odd to me that Dr. Shaffer was taking me to his home during my job interview? I admit, I would have been a lot more nervous about it had he just not shed tears over the ashes of his prized foal. And I really needed to meet his wife; She was either just as nuts as him or she was a saint.

Turns out she was a saint or really good at putting on the act of normalcy. She was clearly the most normal aspect of his life. The meeting went smoothly with nary a profanity uttered. I sat in the living room and listened to her talk about their child, their horses, her career, and the annual Christmas party at their house. Yet this family was nothing akin to the Norman Rockwell picture she was trying to paint.

Back in the truck, Dr. Shaffer decided to take me for a cruise around the neighborhood to get a feel for the area. I just wanted to get back to the hospital, then into my car, then fly down the turnpike without looking back. Away we drove.

“So, let me tell you about the benefits. All of your pet care is free. I will give you my credit card if you have to take them to a referral hospital. You will get health insurance. Oh, and all my employees get a gym membership.”

A gym membership! What a nice perk.

“I think it’s really important you be in shape. It’s good for your brain, too. My previous associate had a smokin’ hot body!”

The pervert emerged and his creepiness factor just blew through the roof. He clearly put stock in his employees appearances, given his multiple comments about weight and physique. I certainly did not want him noticing my “smokin’ hot” body. I suddenly wished for a burka.

We cruised down side roads while Dr. Shaffer pointed out homes owned by his clients. “That one there is loaded. She’ll spend tons of money on her pets. She’ll do anything you say.” As he droned on about his wealthy clientele, I was lost in thought. The scenery was green, lush, and beautiful so I used it as an excuse to look out the window and not across the bench seat of his truck. I already disliked this guy.

We slowed near a sizable estate and Dr. Shaffer started, “See that bush there? That big one on the corner of the lot?”

“Yes, right there,” I pointed to the obvious bush on the corner lot near a very large and ornate traditional home.

“Yep. I picked Tiffany, one of the techs, up there once when she was at a party.” So benevolent of him, I thought, avoiding rolling my eyes at yet another story he used to convince me he was a good guy.

“She was bare-assed naked hiding behind that bush. She was drunk and, of course, with some guy and wanted to go home. She called me to come pick her up. All of my employees know they can call me at any time for help.”

Head. Explode. What does one say to that? Just smile and nod and I might get out alive.

We came to an intersection and he stayed stopped. He turned toward me and asked, “So what are you thinking? Are you interested in this position? I like you.”

Serving up a big dose of diplomacy I gently began, “Well, I am on the fence. I am not sure we would work well together.” Understatement. Of. The. Century.

“What’s the problem? Tell me what you don’t like!”

I continued to tactfully let him down, “I just don’t think we’d work well together. I think we have very different styles.”


“I am not very interested at this point.” If he thought I had balls before, his pestering was about to give him a good look at how big they were.

“What do you mean? Is it something about me?” Um, yes it is you crazy nut bag. I was telling him we won’t work well together and I was not that interested. Apparently subtleties were beyond him.

“I think you are annoying,” I stated flatly figuring I’d lay it out there in a manner of directness that I wasn’t prepared to deliver.

After a moment of awkward silence I was sure he’d offer to take me back to my car and end the interview. He shifted the truck in gear.

“Let me tell you why you want to work for me.” The tour continued.

 Part 3

The Worst Job Interview Ever Part 1: The Introduction

June 19, 2013 By: Dr. K Category: Just For Fun

You are about to embark on the single most horribly epic job interview story you will ever read. Ever.

Enough time has passed that I feel safe sharing the worst interview experience of my life, your life, your mom’s life, and even that exaggerating friend’s life.  Names have been changed to protect the guilty.  If you think you can top my story, which you can’t unless it involves dead *human* bodies, post below and I will feature your short story on my blog!

Warning: This post contains explicit profanity. VMDiva.com is opposed to the use of gratuitous language but feels the story will lose its character if edited for explicit content.

The Introduction

The late winter of my fourth year of veterinary school came with the revelation I had passed my boards and was about to *gulp* get a job. Like many of my peers, I took to the usual search routes of bulletin boards, online web services, and UPenn’s employer match. I found a couple of practices that looked promising and submitted my applications.

One of these practices was the Animal Veterinary Hospital, a two doctor practice in bucolic…errrr…ummm…Miami. Yes, Miami, that was it. Much to my surprise a jubilant and tightly wound owner called me within two hours of emailing my credentials.

“Jennifer! This is Max Shaffer! I got your application two hours ago and I just had to call you! I saw you were at the top of your class and had to talk to such a wonderful person!” Shaffer shouted through the phone with more enthusiasm than a five yr old with a new Hot Wheels.

“My practice is small animal and I’m looking for another vet. My wife is a physician’s assistant. When can you come for an interview? I tell you what, come on a Sunday and I’ll put you up in a hotel overnight for a working day Monday. I’ll take you to dinner!”

Didn’t sound too bad, especially for my first interview. An overnight with a working interview attached? Wined and dined? I was feeling pretty confident given the peon veterinary student I actually was. My husband and I decided that even if I wasn’t interested in this practice after my interview on Sunday I would certainly stay for the working interview on Monday for the experience. Unless, we laughed, it was a total disaster. But really, what could happen?

The day started as any other day would when one is prepping for an interview. I felt like a bundle of nerves while primping, prepping, and answering potential questions in my head as I drove to…uhh…Miami. I arrived at the practice 20 minutes or so early so I drove past, checked out the surrounding area, and looped back. Back in the parking lot I saw a very large farm-style truck and one other car.  I called Dr. Shaffer from my cell phone.

“Jennifer! I am inside! Come in!”

I walked with trepidation to the entryway and was greeted by a balding man wearing glasses, worn out jeans, a black faded sweatshirt, and white sneakers. This nerd was nobody to fear, I thought, as I slipped in the door. It struck me odd that my future boss was dressed for a day of yard work instead of at least trying to impress for an interview.

“Let me take you for a tour. This is the cat side and the dog side,” he said as motioned to the opposite sides of the waiting room. Walking through the treatment room door he waved at some kennels saying, “This is where we keep our pain in the ass boarders. Ah, look at that! There’s shit in there.” I grimaced while hiding a smirk acknowledging Dr. Shaffer was…what’s the word? Colorful?

“Let me tell you about my staff. Tammy is a receptionist. She and Trina don’t get along because Trina is dating Tammy’s ex boyfriend. They don’t talk to each other but since Trina works in the back and Tammy works in the front it’s ok. It’s a bunch of bullshit but it’s no big deal.” Ruh roh. I nodded knowingly while the screeching alarm bells started to make my stomach ache.

“Now Sandy, you’ve got to watch out for her. She has personal space issues. You can’t get within two or three feet of her or she freaks out. Just don’t touch her and you’ll be fine.” Danger, Will Robinson! I was already getting the feeling I needed to bail on the rest of the interview extravaganza but I wasn’t ready to pull out yet.

“You’ll be the other vet here…blah blah blah…but you will never be alone when you first start.” Wait, what? I was supposed to be the third vet here? “Now I go away for three weeks in the summer to show my Arab Horses and you’ll be left alone but you can call me.”

“I really like your cover letter. You didn’t mention all that mentorship bullshit. I hate that stuff. That tells me you need my help and can’t work alone,” Shaffer raved.

I countered, “Well, my letter actually did say I was seeking mentorship for procedures I haven’t gotten to perform during veterinary school.”

“You bitch! Well, that’s ok you can ask some questions.” Did Shaffer just call me a bitch?!? My head started swimming as I was searching for the words to use to walk out of this interview. I didn’t find them.

“What type of suture would you use to close the abdomen of a fat lab?” Shaffer was actually grilling me on my clinical proficiency. I didn’t expect this, being the bitch that I apparently was.

“O PDS.”

“Ok, I’d use Vicryl but good enough.” He was still going. “What would you do with a diabetic cat?”

“I would start him on insulin.”

“What kind?”


“And what about diet?”

“I would put him on a low carb, high protein diet.”

“Yes!!! You are the first person in 45 interviews to get that question right!” Forty-five interviews? I needed to leave. Now.

“How would you compare yourself with your classmates?”

Oh I had this one! “Well, I am at the top of my class, I am married, and I am a home owner. I bring a level of maturity that many of my peers cannot.”

Shaffer examined me and slowly nodded. “I like you. You’ve got balls. I was really afraid you would be 300 lbs, stupid, and a bitch and you would have been out the door.”

Part 2

Part 3


September 27, 2012 By: Dr. K Category: General, Just For Fun

Tumultuous. That’s how I describe the last 6 months in the VMDiva family. We’ve experienced so much change since the turn of the year and nearly all of it is exciting and wonderful!

As a general rule, I loathe change. Even good change scares me and exacerbates my ongoing neurosis and worry. But alas, the only sure thing in life is change and it really is better just to embrace it because just when you get comfortable…Bam! Huge changes. Huge changes usually reduce me to a wilted, blithering pile of nerves. But not this time. This Diva has stayed strong!

Bring on the Emergencies

I made the decision this summer to leave my veterinary practice in search for more mental stimulation and job fulfillment. Burnout is very common in my profession and I am not exempt. General practices daily doldrums lulled me into boredom and restlessness. I needed a jolt!

I’ve gotten my jolt with the pursuit of emergency medicine! Emergency practice always brings excitement even if it’s an emergency case of fleas at 2am. (Yes, seriously.)  I am thrilled to have finally pulled the trigger and pursued a dream. I suspect some very interesting case studies are on the horizon for you readers.

More Career Changes

Not only have I changed jobs, but my husband has begun a fabulous new position with room for personal growth and expansion. Two new jobs in 3 months? And I still didn’t melt into a puddle of uncertainty! We couldn’t be more thrilled with where our careers are taking us.

Saying Goodbye

One of the sad notes of the VMDiva family has been saying goodbye to some beloved pets. My dear Winston succumb to his many ailments and is sorely missed. I held him in my lap as he took his last breath. His neurotic, sneezing, snuffling persona endeared him to the soft spot in my heart for unthrifty animals.

In addition, my parents have lost two pets who held large pieces of my heart. The most loving, entertaining, and dopey black labradors you could ask for crossed their rainbow bridges this summer. These siblings, Jake and Rachel, passed within three months of each other leaving a void that may never fill.

Saying Hello

The biggest change of all: The VMDiva family is expanding! My wonderful husband and I are expecting our first child in January! We are excited, nervous, and going through all the emotions expectant parents experience. We can’t wait to introduce you to the newest addition of our family.


In Memory

Empathy: I Has It. (Or at least I’m working on it.)

December 07, 2011 By: Dr. K Category: Just For Fun, Opinion

Every now and then I need to remind myself what it’s like to owner a pet without all the knowledge I’ve accrued as a veterinarian. I often find myself diagnosing a limp, finding lumps, and grasping at lymph nodes when I am in the company of my friends and family. That auto pilot is awfully hard to turn off!

Several weeks ago I allowed myself to immerse in the unbridled joy of being a crazy cat lady as I shopped for a kitty staircase for Winston, my debilitated old man. I purposely failed to divulge my career status to the very enthusiastic and obviously crazy cat man who assisted me in my purchase. It was so awesome to just enjoy being a pet owner without the expectation of expertise. Dipping my toes into the non-veterinary pool was so refreshing I’ve decided to plunge wholeheartedly into my reflection and reconnect with my clientele.

If you’ve followed my posts in the past, you’ve realized I’m an all-or-nothing gal; I hate it or I love it. This personality trait proves challenging for a little emotion called empathy. I’ve outlined some of the pet owner quirks that, frankly, drive me nuts and paired each with an empathetic thought process that keeps my sanity and helps me practice better medicine.

I am trying to better connect with clients while alleviating self-induced irritation. Win-Win!

1. Any Nervous Dog or Cat Has Been Abused

I encounter at least one pet owner a day who believes his pet was abused prior to adoption. The default thought process of an owner is this: “He cowers so he must have been beaten. He barks at men so he must have been abused by one.” If every nervous pet I see was truly abused, every neighbor is a suspect animal abuser.

There’s certainly no harm is believing Fido was beaten under previous ownership but it really chaps my hide when an owner allows this perception to foster bad pet behavior. The perceived abuse provides a scapegoat for their animal’s aggressive behavior and lack of training. Instead of reinforcing good behaviors, owners unwittingly allow the biting, writhing, pain-inducing creature to wreak havoc on me and my staff.  All the while they reinforce the behavior with coddling and praise under the notion that discipline equals abuse!

Empathetic Moment: Human nature, lack of understanding of animal behavior, and compassion drive owners to these conclusions. Submissive behaviors and failure in appropriate socialization most likely account for a majority of these fearful “abuse” cases. However, the truth is abuse does exist and dismissing the idea altogether is a disservice to the pet and owner. Educating owners to the variety of behavior types and teaching them to acclimate their pet to new situations is key.

2. What Breed Do You Think He Is, Doc?

Who cares?!? Okay okay, owners care about their mutt’s constitution. I hate this guessing game because it sets me up for a discussion about a subject I find irrelevant and, it seems, I never tell the owner what they want to hear. Not many owners are keen on me telling them their “Labrador-mix” is actually a Pit Bull. After I’ve offer my best guess, I’m told the groomer/friend/neighbor  has told them it’s an insert-name-here-a-poo and they agree with them over me. *face palms*

From a veterinary standpoint, does it really matter? Nope. The genetic diversity of a standard mutt generally equates to less inherited diseases and medical problems overall. Do owners still want to know? Yep. Some owners seem so fixated on figuring out the amalgam of breeds they even throw money away on those dreadfully unreliable doggie DNA tests.

Empathetic Moment: Why is it so important for owners to know what breeds their dogs are? Knowledge of your pet deepens your emotions and creates a greater bond! I will continue to play the guessing game and call your new rescue a labrashepacockadoodle, but I still refuse to recommend those DNA tests!

3. My Groomer Said/My Breeder Said….

It’s like nails on a chalkboard. The Dr. House part of me begs to ask, “Oh? And where did your groomer attend vet school?” Of course, I’d never. Okay, maybe once but only in the right circumstance.

Now, don’t hang me by my toes yet, all ye breeders and groomers. You folks are often advocates for the pets you care for and for that, I’m grateful. Some of your advice is excellent! But some, particularly pertaining to vaccinations, is woefully inaccurate and not rooted in science. I dread refuting bad advice and fear that if not worded just-so, I’ll come off pretentious and judgmental.

Empathetic Moment:  How are pet owners to tell the difference between good and bad advice? Veterinarians should welcome questions regarding alternatively sourced information handed to the client; sometimes the only way we find out what type of misinformation is out there!

The best pet owners hunger for knowledge and desire the best for their pets. Veterinarians must educate pet owners with reliable and scientifically-based information or they might just get their information from unreliable sources. I don’t want my clients to rely on Drs. Google and Wikipedia exclusively for their veterinary information.

4. We Left Our Last Vet Because Fluffy Didn’t Like Him

New clients who reveal they’ve left a practice because the pet was unhappy with the veterinarian immediately ring alarm bells in my head. This equals one of two things in my book: (a) the client is either using the dog/cat as a mouth-piece to voice disapproval of the care and service provided at another veterinary hospital, or (b) she simply does not understand animal behavior.

All puppies and kittens enjoy visiting the hospital during those first innocent check-ups. Gradually the smartest of the patients, Labradors and Goldens excluded, catch on that maybe this veterinary hospital thing is not so much fun. Do clients really expect their pets to like vaccinations, blood draws, rectal exams, and nail trims?

Empathetic Moment: It is crucial to avoid labeling new clients as “high maintenance” or “difficult” because they were unhappy with service elsewhere.  The new client may have a legitimate reason for leaving disgruntled. A preconceived notion may change the tenor of the appointment.

This initial conversation opens the door to conversation about expectations for Fluffy’s care at my hospital. Meeting a client’s expectations will not only leave the client satisfied but will also, hopefully, establish a long-term relationship of care.

Empathy is perhaps innate, perhaps learned, or even both. No matter, I’m striving to practice mine everyday!

Burnt Burgers, Urgent Care, and Guilt

May 07, 2011 By: Dr. K Category: Just For Fun, Opinion

Last weekend was filled with calamity for the Koehl family. I contained my excitement for the first grilled burgers of the season, a big deal here in the north east, until the afternoon of house projects came to an end. I got the burgers on the grill and the macaroni and cheese on the stove all the while dreaming of that first bite into the mouth watering juicy beef patty. On my way to flip the burgers, I repeated the habit I’ve had for years by walking out the back door and pushing the storm door closed so my feline frenzy didn’t push it open. Hey, they get excited about burgers, too. Only this time, as I pushed the door closed the glass shattered in my hand.

Ruh roh.

Initial synaptic reports indicated I was going to die. As the blood dripped on the floor, visions of crippled exams and banishment from surgery filled my mind. Rational thought took over…err…eventually…and I notified my husband of the 1 cm laceration on my palm. That evening taste of summer ended with burnt burgers, soggy mac and cheese, and a lot of kitchen clean-up. I’ll spare those details. I decided to craft steri-strips from waterproof tape and declared myself on the mend.

The next morning, aside from pain, I felt tip top. That is until my husband woke up declaring he had a plank in his right eye. We, like so many of my clients, decided to see how he did through the day and applied lubricant eye drops and homemade remedies. Hours later he decided the pain in his eye was too severe to endure until Monday and we found ourselves at an Urgent Care Facility.

I paid the fee before he was taken back. As my husband was examined I chatted with the receptionist. Our conversation went as follows:
” You guys busy today?” “No, we’ve only seen about 12 people.”
“What kind of stuff do you see here?” “Rashes, UTIs, colds.”
“That’s interesting. Hey, let me ask you a question. What happens when people come in here for urgent care and they can’t pay the exam fee?” She grimaced and shook her head. “We won’t see them.”

That didn’t surprise me as much as what came next.”Do these people ever get angry and tell you you don’t care about them and expect service anyway?” She raised her eyebrows in surprise and said, “Never.” Probing questions revealed another difference between my job and my medical counterparts. The dichotomy between the expectations in human and veterinary medicine always amazes me.

Most veterinarians occasionally face accusations of not caring about animals when they refuse service to someone who has no money. Why don’t we hear doctors accosted when they refuse service to patients without money or patients with unaccepted insurance plans? Perhaps I haven’t been listening but maybe, just maybe, the guilt pet owners feel when they are unable to care for their pets emotionally trumps their personal health concerns.

Dealing with the financial component of practice is harder than any medical decision I’ve made. Accusations of  selfishness, greed, and lack of compassion don’t easily roll off my back. I believe many of these accusations are rooted in guilt and frustration.

The truth is pet ownership a luxury. Shame and guilt felt when they can’t properly care for their animals can tip even the nicest client over the edge.  That helpless feeling coupled with compassion towards man and beast puts emphasis on caring for others over oneself and probably fuels the angry diatribes from troubled clients.

My husband was diagnosed with corneal abrasions. One trip to urgent care, two trips to the ophthalmologist, and four trips to the pharmacy later we’re on the mend. I’m grateful for the finances to ensure medical care for the entire Koehl family – Fox, Winston, and Miss Pigglesworth included!

VMDiva Named To Top 50 List

April 22, 2011 By: Dr. K Category: Just For Fun

The gracious folks at RNCentral.com compiled a list of the 50 Best Blogs for Veterinary Students and yours truly made the cut! It’s humbling to be categorized in the “For the Pros” section. As VMDiva has developed, I have explored both professional and personal blog posts and found my niche in what I enjoy most – talking about my opinion on anything vet-related. Not every post interests every reader which makes me even more grateful to my dedicated viewership.

I took some time to check through the list of the Top 50. What a group! I was really happy to see some of my blogger friends on the site but even more excited to see blogs I haven’t discovered yet. I’ve got a lot of reading to do!

Check out this list!

Baby Names Ruined by Veterinary Medicine

March 12, 2011 By: Dr. K Category: Just For Fun

Something’s in the water in my social circle; It seems everyone I know is having a baby these days (except your Diva). Two questions always follow. Are you having a boy or a girl? And then, do you have a name picked? The last one has been getting me in trouble.

Just like there are associations you make with people’s names that would prevent you from ever naming your child said name, you can run into a naming quandary if you spend all your time with animals. Do you hear the name Molly and think of a sullen-faced Basset Hound? How about a cat named Sophie? Bella, Max, Sadie? There are names I will forever associate with pets and are, therefore, struck from my acceptable lists of baby names for everyone. Hey, we all know I’ve got an opinion on everything.

Several weeks ago I was examining an old, crispy Siamese who was resentful of any and all restraint. She wiggled her way around the table, refusing to allow a proper ophthalmic exam. Her owner was helping me but was starting to distress over the exam. To assure her I was being a gentle as I could without allowing the cat to squirm from me one more time, I firmly held on to her  and sang, “C’mon, Priscilla.” Her startled owner replied,”Oh, am I not holding her enough?” Doh, I called the cat the owner’s name!  Read the chart carefully my friends, species neutral names are everywhere!

The changing roles of pets to child status has muddied the waters and a staunch name purist like me will be forced to adjust. But I’m going down swinging!

And just in case you missed it, here are the top Pet and Baby Names of 2010!

Baby Girls Female Cats Female Dogs
1. Sophia 1. Bella 1.  Bella
2. Isabella 2. Lucy 2. Lucy
3. Olivia 3. Chloe 3. Molly
4. Emma 4. Lily 4. Lucy
5. Chloe 5. Molly 5. Sadie
6. Ava 6. Kitty 6. Maggie
7. Lily 7. Luna 7.  Bailey
8. Madison 8. Sophie 8. Chloe
9. Addison 9. Lola 9. Sophie
10. Abigail 10. Misty 10. Lola
11. Madelyn 11. Abby 11. Lily
12. Emily 12. Daisy 12. Roxy
13. Zoe 13. Lilly 13. Zoe
14. Hailey 14. Sasha 14. Ginger
15. Riley 15. Nala 15. Ruby
16. Ella 16. Jasmine 16. Abby
17. Mia 17. Princess 17. Princess
18. Kaitlyn 18. Gracie 18. Gracie
19. Kaylee 19. Kiki 19. Zoey
20. Peyton 20. Sadie 20. Emma

A New Addition to the VMDiva Family

January 02, 2011 By: Dr. K Category: Just For Fun

This past November I was presented with an all-too-familiar case of economic euthanasia. For those who don’t know, economic euthanasias are performed when pet owners cannot afford or choose not to pursue veterinary care for their pets due to monetary concerns. A 2.5 year female spayed tortoise shell prsesented to my practice with a solitary bladder stone. Her owners were going to euthanize her instead of electing a curative cystotomy.  These situations have arisen even more in the last few years of economic down-turn and are a very frustrating part of my job. My ethical compass couldn’t let me euthanize this wonderful kitty so I had her signed over to me.

Miss Pigglesworth is two months post-cystotomy and is thriving in our home. She was obese, weighing in at a robust 15.7lbs. Two months of strict caloric restriction and increased activity and she is down to 13.2lbs! Go Piggles! She’s our only female (and I am thrilled to have more estrogen in the house!) and gets along well with her brothers. We love her already and look forward to many healthy years ahead.

Miss Pigglesworth

Miss Pigglesworth

Your Dog Ate What? The Top Eats of 2010

January 02, 2011 By: Dr. K Category: General, Just For Fun

Dietary indiscretion can make for some good blog fodder. This year’s more memorable consumptions weren’t too hard to remember. I’ve left out the non-descript fetid balls of fabric, the shredded toys, bones, and rawhides due to their predictability and opted to let you in on some of the more ludicrous, dangerous, and enormous meals my client’s dogs have enjoyed.

Note: Labradors are overrepresented in this top ten.

10. One M&M

A panicked chocolate toxicity call always spices up an evening at work. But no, a solitary M&M is not anywhere close to a toxic-dose for Fido. For toxic doses of chocolate, check out this old Chocolate Toxicity Post.

9. Silica Gel Packets

The Animal Poison Control Center reports a large number of calls about dogs consuming these tiny desiccating packets. These little delicacies that come with your new shoes must taste great. Relax, this little nosh is non-toxic but can cause GI upset.

8. 50+ Pieces of Orbit Xylitol-Containing gum

This little Yorkie had a hankering for spearmint. What she didn’t count on was the dangerous hypoglycemia and potential liver damage from this outrageously high toxic dose of Xylitol. She lived to tell the tale and her owner has vowed to never have gum in the house again.

7. Feces

One of the most common complaints I get revolve around a dog’s proclivity to eat its own feces, other dog’s feces, any feces. Does it indicate a nutritional deficiency like some speculate? Maybe. Consumption an innate way to camouflage the dog’s presence in the environment? Could be. Does it taste good? Definitely. Another reason not to let Jake lick your face!

6. A Full Bottle of MultiVitamins

This proud pooch didn’t have a vitamin deficiency, just an apomorphine deficiency. We happily obliged, induced emesis, and Fluffy went home without complication.

5. Transmission Fluid

Perhaps the foulest smelling diarrhea I have ever smelled (yes, worse than parvo) came from a Labrador who consumed the remnants of a bottle of transmission fluid while exploring the garage. The mixture of feces and lubricant smelled like the tar used on telephone poles. Despite the cathartic effect, this guy didn’t miss a meal.

4. A bag of Cat Nip, Reese’s Peanut Butter Trees, and Styrofoam

If I told you this dog had no diarrhea, would you believe me? I suggest not putting your Christmas presents under the tree until it’s time to open them. While large amounts of styrofoam can cause an obstruction, this lucky dog simply enjoyed opening everyone’s gifts a few days early.

3. Tampons (Twice In One Year)

You’d think the first foreign body surgery to remove a tampon from your dog’s intestines would be enough of an incentive to buy a garbage can with a lid or close the door. I guess not.

2. Two boxes of Andes mints, 2 bags of Lindor Peanut Butter Truffles, 2 boxes of Pop-Tarts, and the box for a creme brulee baking kit.

This one goes to my parents’ three labradors, who diligently found their way through a closed door and consumed all of the above without consequence. A chronicle of all of their indiscretions is the subject of it’s own blog.

1. One bulk box of Cheese Its, one bulk box of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, 16oz of Almond Slivers, 16oz  of Raisins

Both of these labradors can’t seem to stop eating their owners out of house and home. These repeat offenders raided the pantry after their owners came home with purchases from a wholesale club. They pranced into our office thrilled to have their dietary indiscretions rewarded with a trip to the vet. They were more than eager to eat up wet food laced with hydrogen peroxide and savored their spoils – for about 5 minutes. Waves of nausea hit the ladies but neither would…errr…cough up the goods. Good old Labrador iron gilded skulls and stomachs. Activated charcoal treatments, IV fluids, lab work, and two days of hospitalization later I decided to crown these two with Top Digestive Honors for 2010!