Every good cat deserves a good poop

Constipation and difficulty defecating are common in older cats. Why is this? A lot of it has to do with the kidneys. Continue reading

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Ethology of the veterinarian, part II

VeterinarianThis is the second in a series of articles wherein we will attempt to articulate some of the common idiosyncrasies described by experienced owners of Homo herriotus pollulus (the common small animal veterinarian). The first article, The Husbandry and Feeding of Veterinarians, was met with relief by some, who finally had explanations for the bizarre behaviors they were witnessing. We hope to expand the topic here, for the edification of those who are forced (or choose) to interact with veterinarians regularly outside of a professional relationship.

Warning: The following paragraphs may be disturbing to those in the early stages of owning a veterinarian Continue reading

The Rise of the X-Poo

Several things came across my Facebook feed and showed up on my favorite vicarious veterinary forum this week with a similar theme.

I must conclude that a lot of veterinarians are somewhat irrational breedists.

Cute mutt

Simply full of squee.

Why do we (vets) insist on being breed purists? We aren’t dog show judges. We aren’t dedicated to preserving the genetic purity of any one breed. When we see some admitted mutt with a cute little face we melt and feel happy and gush over how adorable he is. Yet, when presented with a dog that is a putative cross between known breeds, particularly if the cross is given a name, some veterinarians completely lose their shit. Continue reading

Open up a whole new world

Get pet insurance. Veterinary medicine is advancing at a rapid pace. It always has, I guess, just like human medicine. We can do things now that were impossible 20 years ago, but 20 years ago we were doing things impossible 20 years before that, so in that respect progress is unchanging.

Cat face Now, though, I think that the advances are relatively more expensive. New stuff always costs, but I think the technology that backstops the latest advances is costing more of a paycheck percentage-wise than the lower-tech advances used to. A new surgical procedure, suture material, or antibiotic are cheaper to implement than a million-dollar MRI machine.

Perhaps steps just used to be smaller. In any event, this hike in cost presents a problem when it comes to providing excellent care to my patients. Continue reading

Stuck in the 60’s

There’s an interesting mind set with some clients when it comes to treating animals, a sort of temporal stickiness. Their minds get stuck in time, to when they were kids and how animals were treated “then”.

Most of the time this happens with people from a rural background, and I can understand why. Animals on the farm are regarded as commodities, which most certainly are (thinking cattle, sheep, chickens). You can only put as much money into them as you think you can get out, or you’ll go broke. Continue reading

“Will (not) work for (dog) food”

The internet is a wonderful place, full of kittens and kindness and humor and uplifting stories and hard news and legitimate science, baby. It’s also full of grifters, misinformation, calumny, distortion, prevarication, obfuscation, falsification, misrepresentation, sophistry, lies, damn lies, and statistics. You all know this.

But I also know that you all have big hearts. You see stories about animals in need and feel moved to help. I understand this compulsion. It’s the same for me when I see stories about animals that are abused or in distress or pain, especially when accompanied by a photo of a very sad-looking dog or cat. Or cow; I love cows.
Continue reading

Reality check

A high school student came to my office the other day to discuss a job shadowing opportunity. In North America students take at least 2 years of undergrad study before being able to apply for the 4 year veterinary program, and most successful applicants have a 3 or 4 year Bachelor’s degree. The screening committees like to know that they aren’t admitting students with unrealistic expectations of what the job involves, so they like to see practical experience on an application as well as the relevant education.

I’ve had many students shadow over the years. They come in and hang out at the hospital mainly to have something to put on their application forms. I don’t think the experience sways them much; if they really want to be a vet, it’s what they want. And at that age it’s difficult for them to realize that this isn’t just “what are you going to do after high school”, it’s about an entire 40 year career. Continue reading