Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pocket Pets

I've never had a pocket pet of my very own. It's not that I dislike them so much as they just fail to really engage me so much. The closest I've come to having one was the two New Zealand White rabbits we had as kids; trust me, that type rabbit does NOT qualify as a pocket pet. I also have no problem treating them but do approach their care with the same blend of practicality and individuality with which I approach all of my patients.

There is a local pet store that brings their pocket pets to us for care. The entire outlook is unique to me because we can do pretty much anything but they are very practical in that heroic efforts to save the dying is just not the way to go. Today, they dropped off a mouse, a hamster, and a bird while I was out for my lunchtime walk. The exam went something like this:

Hamster is taken out of cage and is clearly in bad shape. He looked as if he had been worked over by a gang of hamster thugs. He was shocky and so lifeless that his only attempt to bite consisted of a slow motion, half hearted opening of his mouth. In my experience, a hamster, particularly a dwarf hamster, that does not latch onto one of your appendages is actively considering death as a good option (to die, to sleep no more...).

The mouse had a nice abscessed bite wound on his back . He tried to get away and was very active.

The bird had weird funk on its head and feet and did not want to stand, curling its feet and legs beneath it. It was also less than normally responsive.

I returned all three to their respective cages and gave the hamster a warm towel while I called to discuss treatments. The bird promptly flopped on its back and died.

My comment afterwards was: "The bird is dead, the hamster is about to be, but the mouse should be fine. One reason I'm not such a fan.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cats - The Ultimate Weapon

Sssshhhhh, don't let my dogs hear this, I'm really more of a cat person, generally speaking. I've even threatened to open an all cat clinic; particularly on those hundred plus pounder dog days. But there is just no way a dog can match a cat for the sheer amount of damage inflicted on a human when said cat is angered. It kind of reminds me of the facetious piece about deer hunting that explains in great detail why the human gets to carry a gun. Maybe declawing isn't such a bad thing, after all... Two illustrations to follow.

The first happened last week at work and, fortunately, no major bodily harm occurred. We had a cat to neuter who was supposed to get pre-anesthetic blood work including a FeLV/FIV test. Notice I said supposed. I can handle a lot of cats that other people find impossible. Suffice it to say this was not one. Despite our best laid plans, the cat exploded from his crate and was high-banking around the room. He created shambles with scratches up and down the walls, on the chairs, and through an oxygen hose. He kicked over two oxygen tanks and hit the door multiple times before we were able to lasso him (me) then pin him to the floor under a thick blanket (my tech) and slip him a quick acting mickey. Okay, so the blood work became post-induction. Other than a nice bruise and minor bite wound on my arm, we all emerged unscathed - including the cat!

The second incident led to bloodshed. Mine. My personal cat herd is a motley crew with mixed backgrounds including a couple of semi-feral cats. All have baggage except maybe Caleb. Cassie is a spoiled brat and she likes to whine about anything that isn't her idea therefore the monthly application of Revolution causes great complaint. The whole crew was somewhat edgy because I've not spent enough time with them the past few days and because the food bowls were a little low (gasp, you could see the bottom in places!). I picked up Cassie for her turn and she started squalling then a quick, white movement from across the room caught my eye. I turned just in time to see Katrina, the white witch, come charging at me to attack Cassie, who was dangling from my hands. In a flash of white fury, she ran up my leg. As I tried to stop her, she clung to my leg just above the knee. With supreme effort, I held onto Cassie, who was screeching and scratching to get away, and shook the white witch off my leg. Then I put Cassie's Revolution on and released her.

If you'll excuse me, now, I'll limp away and clean up the blood...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Supreme Disappointment

I have confessed my fascination with abscesses before as well as my enjoyment of the art of attempting to hit someone with the spew thus you can imagine my excitement over the beautiful scrotal abscess that presented this afternoon. It was warm and very swollen with fluid palpable and a wound just waiting to be opened...

I anesthetized the dog, prepped the area, and inserted some hemostats and...NOTHING!

After a thorough exploration of the scrotal sac I found two normal sized slightly bruised testicles, a LOT of cellulitis, a small seroma, and a wimpy walled-off pocket of pus that I had to exert a lot of pressure on to get drained. What a disappointment; no thrilling gush, just boring. I'm sure the dog feels better, though, with his good drugs and all. Me, on the other hand, I'm just let down after the anticipation of a really good abscess.

On a side note, I loved the vets behaving badly "V is for vomit" entry. Right there with you. Funny part is that we had a surprise office Valentines party; the last time I celebrated Valentines Day, I was in grade school and we all had decorated baggies to put cards in...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Feel So Very Old!

I guess I've always been a bit of a nerd which is probably one of the many reasons I always feel old. I found myself greatly distressed when I couldn't stop myself from stepping in on a political discussion taking place between one of the kids at work (18) and one of the techs (30). The kid didn't know that Obama is the only democrat in the presidential race. Neither knew anything about any of the republican candidates. Their ignorance was so appalling that I was forced to break my usual rule of silence. I knew about politics when a mere child; I have recordings (on a cassette tape!!) of "shows" invented by myself and my brother complete with political commercials. Okay, so they mostly made fun of the candidates - can I help it that the majority of politicians are worthless other than as an object of ridicule?? Hearing the two of them reminded me of a recent conversation in which myself and a friend were trying to find a good word for a political atheist. Initially, American was suggested but we then agreed that American would be better defined as politically ignorant...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

MAC Abuse

I may be forced to discontinue my recently instituted MAC award. It's certainly not for lack of recipients; the problem is that I keep having to remind my staff that giving it to every person that walks through the door really tends to diminish its significance...

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I've decided to institute a new award; the only question is how often to actually award it. At this point, I'm leaning towards daily....

MAC: Most Annoying Client

Yesterday, the choice was so easy. A young lady who brought her dog in for the first "official" visit. I had met her once before when she came by with a teeny pup, a million questions, and no money. She is a good friend of one of the kids that works at the clinic. The first time we met, I talked her into spending a couple of dollars on dewormer and flea treatment for her house since the pup was infested. She came in yesterday with the same pup, now grown, still infested with fleas, still no money but with the belief that she can charge since her friend works there. The chart said vaccines. Not so much.

I walked into the room to find the two girls chit-chatting and before I could re-introduce myself was interrupted by the employee. I then squatted down and invited the dog to sniff my hand while talking soothingly to both him and his owner. He approached me and we were becoming friends when I casually commented that his nails could use a trim. His owner responded with "Oh my gosh, is that what's wrong with him?!?" I was struck dumb but only for a second and rallied with "Noooo, but they do need trimming..." The conversation continued as follows:

Owner: Well I read on the internet you shouldn't trim a dog's nails.

MBI: That's not true. Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

Owner: I also read to give garlic for fleas and that's what we've been doing.

MBI: And clearly it's working so well (highly sarcastic tone). Garlic can actually be dangerous for dogs. There are a LOT of bad internet sites and misinformation. I would suggest that if you don't know how to determine which sites are legitimate (they teach you what to look for in school these days if you chose to listen and apply the information) then I'd suggest you refrain from using the internet as a resource.

Owner: Well we also use flea medicine.

MBI: Which also is clearly NOT working. What kind and did you treat your house like we discussed?

Owner: Yes, several months ago. We use no-good brand that we buy from local big chain store.

MBI: You might as well flush your money down the toilet. You only treated the house once?

Owner: Yes, I didn't know I should do more.

MBI: We talked about repeating in 2-3 weeks to break the life cycle. I'd also strongly recommend that you purchase good veterinary product that actually works for at least three months.

Owner: Which should I do ?

MBI: Both!!

At this point, I have picked up the dog and become friends as well as completing most of an exam. I proceed to begin cutting nails and am through 2.5 feet when employee friend wants to hold dog for me. Performing half-ass restraint, the employee pays no attention as the dog becomes upset then screams and tries to bite me. I tell said employee to get out of the way and finish without help. Turns out the owner brought $35 for an exam (not the correct amount) and no more. I work up a minimal estimate for flea treatment allowing the dog to stay in the clinic while she treats her house. She then asks if she can charge that. Nope, sorry. Miraculously, she produces more money. Included is a rabies vaccination which I intend to give after she leaves but...

Owner: Aren't you going to give his shot?

MBI: Yes, but I thought I'd do it after you leave because he will probably cry.

Owner: Oh no, I'd really rather you gave it now. It's part of my puppy therapy.

Reluctantly I complied and the dog screams and tries to bite and the owner screams. I then pick up the dog to take to the back for his bath and the owner freaks out.

Owner: You're not taking him now?!?

MBI: Yes, I'm taking him for him to get his bath (thinking I have no intention of continuing to visit with you, you gotta leave sometime!)

Owner: But I don't want to leave my baby!

MBI: Well don't. I told you that you could wait and bring him back in the morning.

Owner: But it would be best for him to stay, right?

MBI: The sooner we get rid of the fleas, the sooner he stops itching.

Owner: Oh yeah, I forgot to ask if he might be itching because he's allergic to his food.

MBI: You must be kidding! Look how many fleas are on your dog!!! Do you really think he needs another reason to itch?!?

Owner: Oh...(trailing off)

I take the dog and flee the room then instruct the employee (her friend) to give the dog a flea bath.

Employee: Now? (Incredulous voice.)

MBI: Yes, now. He's miserable and itching and it's not like you are doing anything anyway (ok, so I said it in a very sarcastic tone).

Employee: What kind of bath?

MBI: A flea bath. (Again, very sarcastically).

Employee: How do you do that?

MBI: Speechless and staring open-mouthed. Fortunately, my tech stepped in at that point probably saving me from strangling her and giving me the chance to get some chocolate. As I told a cashier once when a rude comment was made about the amount of chocolate I was purchasing, "Consider it a philanthropic gesture; it keeps me from murdering people that annoy me. People like you..."

Telemarketing Insanity

Most of the time if I see an obvious telemarketer phone number on the caller ID I blatantly ignore the ringing phone with no problem. Occasionally, however, I have a little devil that takes over resulting in conversations like the following:

MBI: Hello

Telemarketer: Hello, may I speak to May B?

MBI: I'm afraid she's not here. She's dead because I killed her.

Telemarketer: Dead silence

MBI: Hangs up phone