Windows to the soul

Seen in a recent medical record from another clinic:Cat eye

“Unable to perform meaningful ophthalmic exam. Dog feels that the bright light is the tunnel to heaven, and emphatically doesn’t want to go there yet. Will not allow this to happen even with a muzzle on, not a battle we are going to win. Slightly more sanguine about allowing my gaze (without illumination) to rest on her eyes briefly, at least long enough to ascertain a lack of redness and clear corneas. The deeper mysteries of the eyes will have to remain unexplored.”

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” ~Charles Dickens

Roller coaster

FreeImages.com/James Williams

The morning started pretty routinely. I saw a few appointments and did some surgery, just the usual life-saving stuff that’s ho hum these days (kidding). Our local board-certified radiologist  stopped by on schedule to do ultrasound exams on a few patients that we’d lined up. Just another day in paradise. 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

More on pet food

I wanted to share this HuffPo article today. It is an insightful look at the pet food industry and pet food marketing.

Looking For The Safest, Healthiest Pet Food? Good Luck With That.

There are some stats in it that you should note – particularly the rate of contamination of both raw and commercially processed foods with organisms like Listeria and Salmonella. We are all familiar with Salmonella, but Listeria is more frightening. It causes meningitis in infants (it’s the reason obstetricians recommend pregnant women avoid soft cheeses) and has a very high fatality rate. Scary bug.

I was heartened to see this article in the section where it belongs – politics.

Mystery

Old houseGod, I hate a mystery.

I had two of them this week, which made the week both diagnostically interesting and somewhat frustrating. Today is Friday and one of the mysteries was solved (post-mortem, unfortunately) but I’m left with a lingering sense of having not done a good job.

It’s interesting that despite the “wins” this week (patients with complex issues that I was able to sort out, the rare disease I recognized at a glance, curative surgeries that went off without a hitch), I’m dwelling on the “losses”. I know I’m not alone in this habit. Most of my vet friends express the same pattern, where the great good they do and the many lives they save are relegated to the attic of the mind like the crazy old auntie, while the mysteries and failures occupy the main floors, making our heads into haunted houses. Continue reading

The Husbandry and Feeding of Veterinarians (for new owners)

Congratulations on your new relationship! Partnering with a veterinarian is not without its challenges, but with some care and effort you can make things work. Here are a few pointers to help you maximize the bond with your veterinarian.

1. Veterinarians are omnivores – unless they are vegetarians. You’ll have to figure out which type you have. Start out by offering a nice mid-rare steak. If your veterinarian looks ineffably sad and turns away, you have a vegetarian. Eat the steak yourself and turn on fans to vent the smell of cooked flesh, then offer your veterinarian a nice pasta or salad. Timbits Continue reading

She died peacefully at home

Paw print in snowHollywood has a lot to answer for. Movies and TV portray death as this noble, painless (other than a few dramatic twinges), peaceful event. Our hero is shot in the chest, and manages to gasp out his last profound words before slumping slowly over in the arms of his beloved (or his faithful sidekick). There’s blood, but not too much. Or the old person at home in front of the TV who just “slips away”. These things are not the norm, not the expected. Death is often the opposite of peaceful.

I can’t answer to what really happens with people, though my ER doctor clients can, and it sounds roughly the same as what happens with pets. Natural death (unassisted by any hospice-type medications) isn’t generally pretty, it isn’t sanitary, and it is generally not sentimental or peaceful. It’s profound sometimes, but mostly it’s just very real. Continue reading