Thursday, December 22, 2011

Deadly but beautiful lilies


I received a phone call today from a concerned owner. Her cats have been with her for three years now and have never bothered her lily plants. Today though, a leaf was on the floor with multiple tooth marks. Neither of her cats fessed up to who had been the culprit.

The scary part about lilies (ie Stargazer lily, Easter lily, Tiger lily and Asiatic hybrid lily and daylily [not a true lily]) is their ability to cause nephrotoxicity in cats. Basically the cats develop acute renal failure and if not treated have a 50-100% chance of dying! If we can treat them by making them vomit if pieces of the lily have been eaten, administering activated charcoal and started diuresis (IV fluids at two times maintenance) before hitting the 18 hour mark after eating the lily, they generally have an excellent prognosis.

All parts of these beautiful flowers are toxic. This includes the pollen. So, minor exposure such as a small amount of pollen getting on their coat or whiskers can have deadly consequences.

An excellent source of information on lilies and cats is at website started by two veterinarians. The name is www.noliliesforcats.com (I apologize for not being able to make the link work cause it is a very well done website.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Surprise!



I have learned to expect the unexpected when doing dentals on my patients. The past few dentals I have done, have proven that beyond a reasonable doubt.

Duffy was one of my dental surgery patients. When I saw the small area of gingivitis on the premolar tooth (307), I took a dental radiograph. I was surprised at the extensive loss of bone around the roots of the teeth. I was expecting a little loss around the one tooth, not all three teeth. The two yellow lines represent where the bone is supposed to be holding the teeth in place.

Before I had dental rads, I would likely have only known to remove that one tooth. The red lines show the fused roots of 304 and 305. (Luckily I watched Sesame Street as a kid and learned how to count. All the teeth have assigned numbers.) Knowing that important piece of information allowed me to adjust how I drilled to expose the these roots and remove them easily.

Due to the extent of Duffy's dental disease, he went home with about eight teeth. Now don't worry. If our pet's can eat with that kind of dental disease, just think how well they do when they have healthy gums!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teeth - A dog's communication tool



Dog body language is such an interesting language. Our dogs are so much better at reading us than we are them. Context is so incredibly important. Now, the context in which I see a lot of behaviour is the visit to the hospital. So many dogs have not had the best time at their vets.

My goal, as the white smock, is to make THE room a more enjoyable experience. I am constantly watching the dog’s body language and try to change my body/facial expressions accordingly. Since most owners watch their dogs as I enter, they may not see me giving the dog subtle side body language, softening of my facial features (making sure I am not frowning, smile without being too teethy) and using a ridiculously silly voice to change the emotional feeling of the situation. If we can change the emotional feeling of the dog in this context, everyone will feel better. This should also make the next visit and the ones after even easier. This is also where puppy “crack” aka Pill Pockets come in very handy as treats.

Once in a while, I run into a dog that is so scared that it can’t help but show aggressive behaviours. The behaviour I will focus on here is the agonistic pucker or the lip curl. No matter what you call it, you know you are on thin ice when you see it. When a dog bares its teeth, it is saying “back off” in no uncertain terms. If you try to punish this piece of communication you will likely get bit.

In the upper picture, the dog is trying to tell me it is scared, wants to get away but will bite if provoked. Got it!!! Since it will not take treats, it is hard to change the emotional context of the situation. The compromise is for the owner to hold the dog while I quietly and gently touch from the shoulders back.

Now, I want this on the record. This dog is NOT trying to dominate me! He is trying to back away, has dilated whale eyes, ears back and kinked. The list of stress behaviours goes on. He does not want me to come near him because he is scared!

The lower picture shows Reason (black Lab) telling Kodak (ECS puppy) to stop chewing at her feet. Her look and teeth were all that were needed for him to get up and walk away. A few minutes later, he brought her a toy so they played tug-of-war for a while. A much more appropriate behaviour.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Freaky feet



When I say this dog has freaky feet, I'm not kidding. It progressed over a couple of months from an area on one of the pads of the feet "not being right" to hard horny growths. We ended up having to anesthetize him to remove the thick horny growths as he was very painful just walking on that particular foot.

The picture on the left is the growth that I removed using both a dremel and scalpel. The picture on the right is how all the pads of the feet look on a regular basis.

So, you ask, what in the world is this condition? It has a nice long name - idiopathic nasodigital hyperkeratosis. Idiopathic (we have no idea), nasodigital (can affect both the nose and feet), hyperkeratosis (overgrowth of the keratin layer of the skin).

When dealing with a mild case (if the feet just looked like the picture on the right) then we would just need to monitor. When dealing with moderate to severe cases such as this one, the feet need to be trimmed back (easiest with a dremel), soaked and finally a softening agent like vaseline.

The positive aspect of this incurable disease is that it does not affect any other area of the body and it can usually be easily controlled.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Heroes



I did something yesterday after my appointments that was fun but scary. I was interviewed by Pet Heroes. They wanted to get my opinion on some stories. I never have a problem giving an opinion but I have never had a camera focused on me while giving them.

The episode is about two dogs that did some pretty cool things. Both dogs had disabilities. One was deaf and one was an amputee. The prep questions really got me thinking. For me, the really cool thing about about a dog who has lost a leg is that they do not have any idea they are disabled. They have no psychological hangups about their looks. Once they have recovered from surgery, adjustments are made to their gait and off they go. They seem to have an easier time going quickly rather than slowly walking.

The other dog in the episode had lost her hearing due to old age. The other most common reason for deafness is congenital (born that way). One of the questions related to teaching dogs sign language. I have personally found it very easy to teach deaf dogs using operant conditioning. Rather than a clicker, a flash of light is paired with the treat. Plus, most of us unconsciously use our hands and body to signal different tasks to our dogs. If there is a toy on the ground, I can point to it and one of the dogs will get it. I have a certain hand signal to ask the dogs to come to me (at a joyful run).

A dog's sense of smell is their dominant sense so being deaf really isn't a big deal. Dogs can smell about 100,000 times better than humans. Let's put it in perspective, a dog can smell one bad apple in a billion bushels of apples. They can detect odours 40 feet down in the ground. Little wonder they are being trained to monitor underground pipelines, ovulation timing in cows, drug detection and detecting certain cancers. Some studies have shown the accuracy of cancer detection of hospital scanners is between 85-90%. Dogs trained for the same cancers have a success rate of 88-97%!

After the interview I was surprised at how emotional I felt. My own pet hero was Magic. I lost her about five years ago. I was finally able to put her picture up in the hospital this year without crying. The picture was taken on her thirteenth birthday. I had a flower collar made to look like the collar she wore as my flower girl at my wedding.

Magic was only nine months old when she protected me. We were out for a walk in Victoria Park (Truro, NS). I was in an area of the park that one shouldn't really be walking in by themselves. I also should have turned back when I saw the guy trying to hide behind some bushes just off the path. I started feeling pretty nervous. When we got within 10 feet of him, Magic hit the end of the leash, jumping and growling. She didn't try to get close to him, she simply stayed between him and me until I got past him. As we continued to walk (somewhat quicker) she trailed behind me and kept looking back. I hit the first path that went down to the main safe) part of the park and started running. I'm pretty sure I outran her the whole way!!!

I never again heard her growl like that yet I always knew I was safe when she was around.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

She's gonna blow!



This is the week of things that look like they want to blow up. Earlier this week, I had to do a lumpectomy on a dog. The owner and I had decided to monitor the mass instead of removing due to the dog’s age. Well, the mass looked like it had a mind of its own when I saw it. I know it’s a gross picture but I also think it is very cool. You can actually see the mass outgrowing the skin.

This morning we had a cat dropped off because she had white discharge on her vulva. These owners had been told their cat was too old to have an ovariohysterectomy (spay) two years ago. Well, the thing is that the cat (now seven years old) wasn’t told and now she had pyometra. I’ve previously blogged about this condition but I got a bit of a surprise when I started to bring out the uterus. There was a very large area on the left side of the uterus. If the owners had waited 24 hours, I would have been doing a much different (sadder) procedure.

I wonder what's going to walk in my door tomorrow!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stumped but learning!


Periodically I get requests to answer questions from students. I always try to be accommodating as it is fun to share my passion for veterinary medicine. Well, I got completely stumped on Thursday by a young man in grade six. I couldn’t answer either of his questions!!

Question number one: how heavy is the human’s brain compared to a dog’s brain? Question number two: if human’s only use 10% of their brain, how much of their brain would a dog use? Holy cow!!!

Here is what I have learned:

The average brain size of a human is 3lbs or 1,400 grams. Dolphins have roughly the same size while elephants’ brains are five times larger. On average, the dogs’ brain is 72 grams in size. There is a large range on this as Chihuahuas certainly have a different brain size compared to Great Danes.

The concept that humans only use 10% of their brain is a myth. There has been significant research using brain imaging techniques such as PET (positron emission tomography) scans and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) showing we use 100% of our brain. So, dogs do too!!

Let’s compare our brain function to our muscles function. While typing on my computer I am only actively using my fingers and arms to type. When trying to do yoga, I use many different muscle groups during the hour (and feel many others the next day!). We use a variety of areas of our brain for different behaviours. Not a lot of brain power is required for watching TV but when learning a new language many areas of the brain are used.

I also learned that if you were to lay out all the neurons in your brain out end to end it would cover 600 miles.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Parvovirus


I would like to start by saying that we are not in the middle of a parvovirus epidemic. In Calgary, the puppies who were euthanized at the Calgary Humane Society were all from one "breeder". In Okotoks, it was one family who lost two puppies. It is sad that twelve lives were lost to this disease.

Canine parvovirus is a highly infectious virus that attackes the intestines of puppies and adolescent dogs. Once an unprotected puppy is exposed to high enough levels of the virus, there is a 3 to 7 day incubation period before getting sick. If you have a puppy with vomiting and diarrhea, you must go to your local veterinarian as soon as possible. The virus attacks the intestines (vomiting, diarrha) and this also allows bacteria to leak out of the intestines into the blood stream (septic shock).

Infected dogs shed the virus in their stool for two weeks after exposure. In general, they shed 35 million viral particles per ounce of stool!

Diagnosis:
Sometimes, when we as veterinarians enter a room, our suspicion of parvo is easily set off. Picture this: you walk into the appointment and the puppy is laying lethargically in the corner. Your first question needs to be "has your puppy had any vaccination?" The answer of "No" will cause you to quickly leave the room to get your handy ELISA test. In less than 15 minutes after swabbing the rectum of the puppy, you will have an answer.

Treatment:
There are no antivirals for the parvovirus. This means we must admit the puppies into a quarantined ICU and give supportive treatment. This can include IV fluids, IV antibiotics, anti-nauseants, anti-emetics and plasma transfusions. Bloodwork, specifically CBC is also used to see how well the body is producing the white blood cells needed to fight the infection. It can take anywhere between 3 to 7 days of hospitalization to get the puppy back on its feet. The sad part is that we cannot save them all. One out of every four puppies will not make it out of the hospital.

Decontamination:
Indoors, the virus takes approximately one month to lose its ability to infect. Shaded areas will be contaminated for 7 months while areas having good sunlight will be contaminated for 5 months. Freezing will completely protect the virus so one must wait for the appropriate times after thawing before introducing a puppy to the area.

The best disinfectant is bleach as it kills the parvovirus. You dilute one part bleach to 30 parts water and leave on for ten minutes. Do not do what I have done in the past which is to wash in undiluted bleach. Your arms will feel "soapy" - this is not a good thing!!!

Attempting to protect a puppy from exposure to the virus is completely futile. The virus is literally everywhere (yards, parks, sidewalks, houses and stores). Don't let this fact cause you to think you must keep your puppy cooped up indoors until (s)he is fully vaccinated; more dogs will die due to behavioural issues than will die of parvovirus. So socialize your puppy, and don't forget one of the safest places to do so is your local veterinary hospital!

That odd picture is a real parvovirus particle.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Not a chance!!!


So, we get a call today from someone looking to euthanize their pet. As always, if it is a new client, we need to know the pet's age and medical issues. When I overheard the conversation (the staff accuse me of having freakishly good hearing), I got a sense that all was not as it should be.

This is where I started listening to what my receptionist was saying. So,the dog is only six years old. Hmmm, okay, what kind of medical issue does it have?

There are no medical issues, we've been getting complaints from the neighbours.

Okay, so has he bitten anyone? (It is illegal to euthanize a dog within ten days of having bit someone - Rabies could be a possible issue)

No, he hasn't. I just need to euthanize him.
I'm sorry, our doctor has a policy of not euthanizing otherwise healthy animals.

Look, I don't have time for this dog so I need it euthanized.

Sir, we will not be able to euthanize your dog.

*&^%&$$ and the line went dead.

Yes, there are certain situations where we do need to euthanize younger animals and there has to be a very good reason for it. I have always and will always refuse to do convenience euthanasias.

The picture is of my second oldest, Kodak, who has four different kinds of aggression that are under very good control. His aggression is not convenient but I have taken the time to help relieve his anxiety.

Monday, October 3, 2011

No pain like back pain


I have a very lucky Dachshund as a patient. A short time ago, Maggie was brought in by her parents because she was having difficulty moving her hind end. She had deep pain (could feel me pinching her hind toes) but no proprioception. Testing the proprioception is easy. You simply turn the foot over so the top of the foot is on the ground. If they can feel their foot, they put it back in the proper position. Maggie had very little control over her hind end.

After the physical exam we did a radiograph. The arrow is pointing at a normal intervertebral space. If you look between the vertebrae of L6 and L7 plus L7 and S1 you will see white spots. These are actually calcified discs that have moved upward and are pressing on the spinal cord. Since the signals are not getting through this area, Maggie couldn’t move her legs.

At this point, we have two options. One is to refer to a specialist for back surgery or medical support. Since she is ten years old, we decided to try aggressive medical support. This was possible as her owners are retired and could be at her beck and paw. They were to keep her quiet, make sure she got her anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants. They were very interested in alternative therapy and asked about chiropractic adjustments. As one wrong move would have our prognosis go from poor to none, they went to a veterinarian who does laser therapy and hydrotherapy.

Guess what, Maggie is doing fantastic! This is what it is all about!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

End of the trend



One of my patients, Maple, is a four year old spayed female. She has a history of chronic urinary tract infections. When they started up again a few months ago, we did multiple urinalysis, urine cultures and extended antibiotic trials. It seemed that no matter what we did, we couldn’t get it resolved. Maple kept licking herself through it all.

Finally, I decided on plan e. The e stands for episioplasty. Maple had an excessive amount of skin folding over her vulva. This created a warm, wet environment resulting in her reoccurring urinary tract infections. This surgery removes the excess skin and fatty tissue from around the vulva.

Basically, the surgery involves making two crescent-shaped incisions around the vulva. As this is a very vascular (many vessels) area, one must take the time to ligate all bleeders. I am now looking into getting an electrocautery unit. Rather than having to ligate the bleeders by suturing them, I could just bloody zap them all! The subcutaneous tissue is sutured back together and finally a simple interrupted pattern is used to close the skin.

After the surgery, Maple's owners had to make sure she wore an Elizabethan collar at all times. She was given NSAIDs to control the pain and they also hot packed the incision to make her feel more comfortable. Apparently, she soon learned those sessions were very soothing.

The top picture is the pre-surgical view. You can’t even see the vulva for all the extra skin. The lower picture was just taken last night. We are about 3 weeks post-op.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh boy! Here's a new one


Last week, someone brought in a bird that had flown into their window. When it did not get up and fly away, this person picked it up, put it in a carrier and in they came.

When I looked at the bird, it did look a little odd. One of those I’m looking at you but not really seeing you moments. I picked him up to check for broken bones and he tried to bite but he couldn’t succeed. His beak and eye coordination were off by a half inch. As I’m thinking “if I didn’t know better I’d say he was drunk”, Lindsay walked up. She took one look and said “that’s a Cedar waxwing and he is as drunk as a skunk”.

After we sent him home with directions to keep him in the carrier for a couple of hours (to sleep it off), I started to look into these little guys. Cedar waxwings eat a primarily fruit diet and some insects. They eat the fruit whole (so when the berries are overripe and have started to ferment…..). Another cute thing I found out is that during courtship the males will often pass the female a small gift such as a fruit, insect or flower petal. They will pass it back and forth until the female decides to eat it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Something so small


A patient was brought in who had a mass on his lower left lip. It had occurred after spending a weekend at the cabin. The swelling had become the size of two large grapes. They had not seen any change in size in a week.

It was fairly easy to see the mass from the outside of the mouth but when the lip was pulled back, you could see the mass and the “weak” spot. He wasn’t thrilled with me doing the examination so we elected to sedate.

When I incised the weak spot, out came some purulent material leaving a pocket. The next step was to flush the area. That’s when it came out. As you can see from the smaller picture it was a grass awn. He was sent home with some antibiotics and within a week, you couldn’t tell he’d had anything there.

The Day I Needed Caller ID


I get some very interesting phone calls. I was reminded of one today when I made myself a peanut butter sandwich (with some great jam thanks to Carol’s mom).

On a daily basis, we see animals who are stressed simply by coming to the hospital. We use treats and toys as a way to make them feel more comfortable. Our goal is to change their emotional response to the situation. No matter what kind of day I’m having, I always have to grin when a dog gets excited when I stand by the cupboard with the treats. Rather than being scared by the procedures they are looking forward to the treat.

Now, back to this phone call. This woman called because her dog was scared of her baby. In my mind I was picturing a toddler running, squealing and falling around the dog. It turned out that the baby was only 3 months old. For a dog to be running away scared from a baby of this age is a very dangerous situation. She told me that she “had done everything” to make the dog like the baby but was very concerned about what would happen when her baby started to move and crawl.

The woman proudly told me that she had tried to make the dog associate the baby with its favorite treat, peanut butter. I was pleased that she was using something which could elicit a positive emotional response until she told me how she went about this. My staff can attest to the fact that my response to the woman telling me that she slathered the baby in peanut butter and had the dog lick it off was not one of my better professional moments! Unfortunately, she had not given me any personal information so I was unable to contact the authorities. Wish I’d had caller ID……..

Friday, August 26, 2011

Head shaking - mine!


I'm feeling a little frustrated at the moment. In the past month, I've had a few of my clients get angry at a common policy Alberta veterinarians need to abide by. In order to prescribe a medication, there must be a current veterinary-client-patient-relationship. Current means that we have seen your pet in the past year.

These clients say that I am just being a money grabber. (If I wanted a more comfy lifestyle I would have become an orthodontist!!!) I simply want to practice high quality veterinary medicine and keep my license to practice. No license = no jobs for me and my staff. Plus, I am not going to give up my life's dream to practice veterinary medicine for anybody!!!

Put yourself in my shoes. A dog, let's call her Daisy, comes in for her yearly physical and medication refill for her arthritis. On the physical exam, I discover that her liver is enlarged. Bloodwork is done and we find that her liver enzymes are elevated due to the medication. We can change the medication to one that has minimal interference with the liver. Success!

Now, let's say that Petunia is brought in for her yearly exam. I also discover an enlarged liver but in this case, Petunia's owner can't afford the bloodwork at the moment due to a family emergency. I can go over a number of options so her owner can make an informed decision. A bloodwork refusal form is signed and medication can be dispensed. Success, I have an informed client who knows what to look for in case it becomes obvious that Petunia is getting sick.

Scary scenario. I've decided that I don't need to abide by the rules and just dispense the medication to Daisy and Petunia. I don't know there is anything wrong because there is no physical done. Guess who gets in trouble when either one gets sick and/or dies? Since I was negligent, that would be me!

Our animals age much more quickly than we do so at minimum, we need to be doing yearly physicals. A number of my seniors see me twice a year for physical exams.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Captain's First Down


A few years ago I took a dog in for training. This is something I rarely do anymore due to my hectic schedule. Captain was an 11 month old Whippet and a cousin to my Whippet, Jazzy. When they started to run around the house, all you could do was flatten yourself against the wall or jump for a piece of furniture so you wouldn’t get run over.

I feel it is always a good idea for the owners to train their own dogs. It strengthens the bond and should be a lot of fun. In this case, he was a young teenage dog with a busy owner who I knew quite well. So, in he came for his sixty days of training. Of course, operant conditioning behaviour analysis (clicker training) was the only method of choice. That should be of no surprise to anyone who knows me even a little bit.

I started with conditioning the clicker (pairing the sound with something he loved – his kibble). The next step was to teach him to offer behaviour on his own. I almost always go with a head turn because you can never just tell them what to do, you have to be patient and wait for them to turn their head. As that happens, you click and treat. We got that in one short session. Target training went off without a hitch as well.

I was thrilled to have such a motivated dog to work with. My only concern was his down. I tried a variety of ways to get him to offer the down but the light bulb just never went off in his brain. By day five, I still didn’t have him offering a down. That may not sound like a big deal unless you only have sixty days to get all the desired behaviours fluent, on cue and can occur in any situation regardless of the distractions. Remember this is also a sight hound. They can get distracted by a piece of fluff flying in air and if they see a small, fur bearing animal in the shape of a rabbit…well…good luck!

I took him to the basement so I could video myself. I wanted to see if and what I was doing wrong as the trainer that he was not picking up this behaviour. As I was setting up the camera, I decided to try pure shaping. I was just going to stand there and wait for him to start offering anything that even remotely could be tied to the down.

As you will see, it only took four minutes to get the desired behaviour, there was a minute and a half of celebration then he had the down behaviour on lock down! When he comes to visit, that is always one of the first behaviours he offers just in case he can get me to click and treat him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_3bh0NgPBs&feature=player_profilepage

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oh Rocky! Really?


About a month ago, I had a client bring in a barn cat because he’d become non-weightbearing lame on his right hind leg. Rocky sauntered around the exam room but was quite uncomfortable when I palpated his hip. We took a radiograph of his pelvis and there was a pathological fracture of the femoral neck.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is usually found in small breed dogs between the ages of 5 to 8 months. It is considered an inherited disease where the femoral head doesn’t develop normally. The bone becomes fragile and breaks easily. Now, this is where I know Rocky did not read the correct textbook. He is a two year old cat.

The picture shows the fracture outlined in red on the right hip. The blue line shows where the surgical excision needs to be performed. The green lines show what a femoral neck should look like. I will get to the yellow arrow in short order.

The only treatment is a femoral head and neck ostectomy which is surgery to remove the head and neck of the femur. The patient does well after surgery because the major supporting muscles are not involved and a pain free false joint is created with the scar tissue. I was up front with the owner as to the number of these surgeries I’d done – three. I prefer my surgeries to involve soft tissue not bone. We went forward with surgery. I have included a link to a really great video on this procedure. I would have loved the electro-cautery unit (it instantly zaps bleeders) and the drill. Since the neck was already broken, I had to use bone rongeurs (type of bone cutter) to remove and smooth the bone.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J9VzqVCWwE&feature=related (Sorry but I couldn't get the link to work so feel free to cut and paste to see the surgery)

The surgery was routine and recovery was going well until he got startled one day in the house (yup, he batted his cute eyes and landed himself in the house). He jumped up, twisted then fell on his left hip. The yellow arrow is pointing at what I'd warned the owner about. He had this disease in both hips and it was a matter of time until the second hip became a problem. I never dreamed my fourth AND fifth femoral head and neck excision would be on the same animal in the same month!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cryptorchid Deception


Sometimes our cryptorchid neuters can be a bit on the frustrating side. We had a dog in for a pre-surgical exam and he was unilaterally cryptorchid. This means that only one testicle is in the scrotum. Interesting fact, the right testicle is usually the one that is retained (just like it was in this case).

There are two kinds of cryptorchid testicles, those that are retained in the abdomen and the other in the inguinal canal. In this case it felt as though it was in the inguinal canal and I would be able to bring it over to the incision. Well, that mass turned out to be a whole bunch of fat with no testicle in sight. Agh! Into the abdomen I went and there it was just waiting for me. Success!!

In the picture, the testicle on the left is the one that was retained. Retained testicles have a much higher incidence of cancer and torsion. We always want to remove both testicles as we do not want to breed an animal with this heritable defect. My sister, Melissa, who is a geneticist would also want me to add that it is an X linked autosomal recessive trait.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dog versus Horse


This week, I had a dog come in on emergency. It had darted in with the horses and had accidently been kicked. She was a little trooper during the exam; however, watching her walk was not pretty. It actually caused me to pick her up after three steps and get some strong pain medication for her.

Once it had kicked in, we did some radiographs. As you can see from the arrows, there are two fractures causing significant instability of the pelvis. I emailed the radiographs to a board certified surgeon in Calgary for their opinion. I was thrilled when I was told that surgery would not be required.

Given she is a very small dog and can easily be kept confined, her prognosis for recovery is good. She will be on pain medication for as long as she needs and will have to have restricted exercise for 8 weeks.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Alien!!!


I had a patient brought in for a debulking surgery. This geriatric dog had a mass growing on its elbow and it started to stretch the skin. This led to skin ulcers and discomfort. We would not be able to remove all the abnormal tissue but by decreasing the size, she would be much more comfortable. Due to her age, we had decided not to go forward with more aggressive treatment than the debulking.

Not going to lie, this was a pretty cool mass! I asked (yelled in excitement) for the camera. Rather than one solid mass, it kind of unfolded like a book. You can see in the picture that there are a lot of vessels bringing nourishment to the mass. That is why it started to grow so fast.

Withing a couple of hours, she was ready to go for a walk. She really didn't seem to care that she'd had major surgery.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Reminder of the season


We had our first tick infested dog in this past week. The poor thing had them on her neck, face and ears. As you can see from the picture, some of them were pretty engorged. I was happy to have my “de-ticker” so I didn’t have to touch the gross little bugs (that some of my kindergarden students identify as raisins).

All were sent away to the government lab and when I stopped in to feed the cats today, the report was waiting in my fax machine. All the ticks were adults, the majority were female and all but one was engorged. Most importantly the species for all the ticks was Dermacentor variabilis.

It is also known as the American Dog tick or Wood tick. It is important to remove the ticks as soon as possible since Canine tick paralysis can potentially occur. When a tick has been attached for five to six days, the animal can become paralyzed. Luckily, most patients respond to supportive treatment after removal of the tick. These ticks can also carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Tularemia. Another neat fact is this tick can lay 4,000 to 6,500 eggs!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Triage


Recently I had to cancel some regular appointments as my patient, Zoey, was brought in on emergency. Another dog had come onto the owner’s property and attacked Zoey right in front of her and the children.

This picture is of her hind leg just above the hock joint. The blue section is the piece of skin that needed to be removed as it was too badly damaged. The black line outlines the lateral saphenous vein. Zoey was very close to having a major problem. That is a rather important vein in the leg.

Zoey recovered well and has since had her sutures removed. My take home message is to make sure you have control of your pets at all times. It is not appropriate for your dogs to roam around the neighbourhood.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Young Man's Good Deed


On my way home from yoga on Monday, I got a call from my neighbours. My buddy, Branko, had found a bird with an injured wing. Branko was waiting for me outside and had the bird in a sturdy bag. I took it to the hospital to do my workup.

It turned out to be a starling with a hurt right wing. I was relieved not to feel any fractures. When I moved the feathers at the shoulder I was able to see some soft tissue bruising. Given the spunk this bird had, I was pretty sure he was going to be just fine.

I set up one of the dog kennels with water, food and a perch. Spotz (couldn’t resist naming it) marched around, I think to make sure I’d done it right and settled down for the night. When I got in the next morning, it looked like he’d thrown a party or tried to make a break for it. He was clearly feeling much better. I didn’t bother calling the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Spotz and I walked outside and off he went. A great start to the day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ear polyps


One of my feline patients has been having bad ear infections recently. It is pretty uncommon for a cat to have chronic ear infections so I advised her owners to have her anesthetized for a proper otoscopic examination (this cat had a very sore ear so there was no way to do it awake without significant pain).

Today we did the scheduled general anesthetic and I was in for a surprise. She actually had a polyp stuck in her tympanic membrane! These masses have three general causes: inflammatory polyps, nasopharyngeal polyps or cancer. Regardless, the obstruction causes secondary infections since normal wax migration is stopped.

The picture is one I found on the web as I wasn’t able to get one myself. Just like the one I dealt with today, it was attached to the tympanic membrane. There was a significant amount of purulent material around the mass.

It required a significant amount of suction, patience, swearing and manipulation to get it out. Flushing was done using saline as it is safe to cross a ruptured tympanic membrane and panalog ointment was placed as the topical antibiotic.

When a tympanic membrane is ruptured, some of the side effects can be a head tilt, pain and walking in circles. I had to wait until she was fully awake to find out if I had done the rupturing or if the membrane was already gone. It felt like a very long time before she raised her head, looked me straight in the eye and started to purr. One of the best sounds I’ve heard in a long time. It was amazing to see her so much more comfortable after the procedure.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Goodbye my friend


Jasper was a cat I rescued in February of 2009. The person who brought him in was upset because he had been eating her cats’ food for the past few months. He had also been having diarrhea all over the garage and he was covered in it. He was emaciated, had terrible dental disease but when I rubbed him on the forehead (one of the few places without feces) he started his thunderous purr. I was smitten. I asked to let him stay with me and was happy when I got to bundle him up in a towel and take him out back for a well needed bath. He purred during the entire half hour bath.

Over the next year and a half, we battled his chronic diarrhea with a variety of medications, foods and supplements. When we could no longer control his weight loss we had an ultrasound done by Dr Clarkson, an internal medicine specialist, at the Fish Creek Pet Hospital. She determined that he had a form pancreatitis, most likely exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. By following all of her recommendations (medications and supplements), he started to gain weight and continued to have a great quality of life.

I may be slightly biased but he was a wonderful cat. Whenever someone needed a hug and a purr he was always ready to step up to help. If we needed to train a client on how to give insulin injections, he made them feel at ease by purring as they learned. It got to a point where if you picked up an insulin syringe and took him to the cat exam room, his purr became deafening.

Jasper was also a very smart geriatric boy. He could sniff out people food in an instant and was known to try to crawl up your legs (pants or not) to get to it. Our food could not be left unguarded if he was on one of his walkabouts. Jasper also figured out how to get into the boarding cats’ food as well by sticking his little leg through the door and pulling the dish towards him. He always had such a proud look whenever he was successful.

Yesterday, we came in to a very sick boy. He had vomited up blood, had pale mucus membranes, was lethargic and not interested in food. All signs to make my heart sink. I performed a simple test called a pcv (packed cell volume) to see what his level of red blood cells were. I could barely look my staff in the eye when I read the result. He was at 16 while his normal was 35. Once you go down to 12, you need a blood transfusion. Due to his age, I knew that a blood transfusion would only be for us humans, not in his best interests. We made him as comfortable as we could and contacted the rest of his Foothills Animal Hospital family.

Letting him go was one of the hardest thing I have ever done but I was so honoured to have known him. Jasper was the definition of unconditional love.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shark mouth


Recently I had a dog in for a spay. During her pre-surgical exam, we discovered that she had retained baby teeth. Luckily my AHT, Kelly, was able to contact her owner to get permission to remove the teeth.

In this particular situation, the main issue is the canine teeth erupting to the inside of the baby teeth on the bottom jaw. In a normal mouth, the adult teeth come up under the baby teeth and they fall out. This dog apparently hadn’t read the book on what was supposed to happen. Hopefully the adult teeth will start to move sideways so they do not hit the hard palate when she eats. In some cases, the dogs need to be referred to a veterinary dental specialist for shortening of the tooth and root canals. Not an inexpensive option!

We should know over the summer whether the bottom canine teeth will be an issue for her or not.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stains aren't all bad


I am not the biggest fan of eye appointments. I have had a few where I entered the room, took one look at the animal’s face, turned around and called the specialist. Don’t worry, I have never and will never be taking the time to take pictures of those cases.

One kind of eye appointment that I tend to enjoy is corneal ulcers. The majority of ones caused by trauma (hanging their heads out of a vehicle, playing with unhappy cats, sticking their faces into areas they have no place doing so) respond fairly easily to treatment. Before deciding on what kind of medication, I almost always do an eye stain. Under a black light, an ulcer will show up as an apple green color. One very important thing when it comes to ulcers, never use a medication containing a steroid. A perforating corneal ulcer is not a pretty thing.

One thing I do insist upon is a recheck eye stain appointment in 7 to 10 days. If it has not cleared up, we either need a change in medication or a referral to the specialist.

This picture is a dog that is under anesthetic for another procedure and also happened to have a sore eye. The stain was rather obvious.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Leave it alone!!!


There are a couple of cardinal rules when dealing with the wildlife babies. Number one: leave them alone! Number two: mothers will accept their young even if they have been touched by dogs or humans, so if they have been moved, put them back! Number three: if you find an injured baby, take it to your veterinarian for assessment.

Here are some fun facts about our wild rabbits:
- rabbits make their nests in the darndest places such as brush piles, your front yard or long grass.
- rabbit mothers (does) spend very little time with their young. Generally, they check on their young twice daily.
- babies only need to nurse for 5 minutes per day as the milk is very rich.

If you find a nest and are suspicious that the mother has been killed and the babies abandoned, please contact your local veterinarian or wildlife center for help. There are a few tricks to see determine if the mother has returned or not to the nest.

You can see the picture of inspiration for this blog. This is a unique situation in that the owner’s cat had brought this baby home. Since there was no way they could find the nest, the baby was brought into us. It seemed to be otherwise healthy so we sent it to the rehabilitation centre. We will be keeping our fingers crossed for this little one. The mortality rate of orphaned babies can be as high as 90%.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A What?!?


So, I am out of the hospital for a brief time on my lunch break when I get a call from work. Would I be willing to take a look at a porcupine? Okaaay.

The good Samaritans brought this porcupine in and I am pretty sure my eyes likely bugged a bit. He was slightly larger than I thought he’d be; 26lbs to be exact. We gently tipped the plastic bin over onto the rubber mat so we could safely wrap him up. I wore my raptor gloves to do the exam. Unfortunately I quickly learned the future of this animal. All four of the incisors were broken off. Without these teeth, they cannot survive even if we were to send him to the rehabilitation center.

The staff immediately brought the anesthetic machine over so we could mask him under and humanely euthanize him. Other injuries were found once he was pronounced.

I did take my time looking him over because I have never been this close to a porcupine before. The pads of his feet weren’t as tough as I thought they would be and his belly was so soft. I did a double take when I saw some of the quills start to glisten. I wish you could have seen the look on everyone’s faces when I told them that the lice were abandoning ship.

On behalf of the porcupine, I am grateful to the good Samaritans for bringing him in so he didn’t have to suffer any further.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Body language of my special needs dog


One of my passions in veterinary medicine is behaviour. I have always enjoyed helping owners learn to live with their anxious, aggressive and/or compulsive animals. Well, almost eight years ago I got a graduation gift, an English Cocker Spaniel puppy.

Within two weeks, I knew I had my hands full. Kodak was showing signs of four different aggressions – impulse control aggression (aggression to two legged family members), fear aggression (aggression to men and young children), territory aggression (no one was allowed to take anything from him) and interdog aggression (to all dogs). My poor boy had to endure so much anxiety based on his genetically induced abnormal neurochemistry. You can imagine how heavy my heart was as dogs do not fully emotionally mature until they are three years of age. He was 11 weeks old!

There is nothing like living with a special needs dog and monitoring his body language. Over the years I have taken many pictures. The one I am showing here has many pieces of information.

Parents, this is very important body language that Kodak is showing. If you see your dog exhibiting this look, do NOT let your children of any age near him/her!

He is showing the whites of his eyes (whale eye) and his pupils are dilated (his fight or flight system is activated). His paw is on top of the roll. There is a slight wrinkle of his upper lips spreading out his whiskers. As well, there are wrinkles between the eyes. At this angle you cannot see how tense the rest of his body is. If approached, there is a very good chance he would bite since he is so anxious.

This is where I have two choices, take a picture and leave him to chew one of his favorite things, cardboard, or try to take it from him. Obviously, I chose to back away; thereby respecting his body language. The adorable tail wag was more than worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The joys of lunch loss


As much as I love my lunch breaks, sometimes part of the job description is to just fantasize about them.

A dog that had a laceration on its right hind leg came in late one morning. We were not expecting the severity when she was dropped off. It was long and wide. When I enquired as to the activity level of this dog, I was told that it is impossible to keep her quiet. Not going to lie, I was excited that I was going to be able to use my cool stapler!

The edges were freshened and we were lucky enough that no flaps were required to close the defect. I closed it in two layers to make sure the incision was as strong as possible. The stapler is a pretty neat tool. It significantly decreases closure time (this incision only took 30 seconds to close). As well, it is the strongest suture so in an active dog it is a huge help.

Now, if only she could tell us how she did this to herself!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Case number three


Although I know it is a coincidence, it always feels like cases come to me in threes. I wasn’t even expecting it when I initially entered the room to yet another goofy retriever on Friday. (Bailey’s owners are going to need to enter my support group as well.) He bounced around as usual during the physical.

I had a radiograph taken because I was concerned about his esophagus. How his owner described his retching sounded like I needed to rule out megaesophagus (big and floppy esophagus). What none of us expected was to see a stone in his stomach. I asked for a lateral view to be taken of the abdomen. Feel free to count the stones.

Luckily the stones were small enough to induce vomiting. We figured they would “fly” out. The amount of hay was unexpected! There were a few almonds and quite a few leaves. After a while it started to smell like silage in the treatment room. I kind of felt like a CSI agent when the yellow thing came out and discovered it was a fourth place ribbon.

After the third application of apo-morphine (this is not the fun kind of morphine – we only use it to cause vomiting), four stones plunked on the blanket. The repeat radiograph showed the stomach was much less distended and the stones would be able to pass on their own.

Some days all I can do is shake my head!

Case number two


My patient, Mack is a goofy teenage dog whose owners are getting a little frustrated. Sometimes I feel like I should run a support group for those of us who own teenage dogs. They do the darndest things.

Since Sunday, he just hadn’t been himself. As he liked to chew, we decided to do a radiograph. The gas pattern we found indicated a stuck foreign body. So, for a second day in a row, we performed emergency surgery.

What I didn’t expect was to have to make three separate incisions. One into the stomach where I found plastic and “stuff” in the pyloric sphincter. One in the duodenum and the other in the jejunum. The ones in the small intestines looked like little aliens trying to break out.

When the owners came to visit Mack after surgery, they recognized the plastic as the bottle of ear medication he’d eaten recently. Who bloody eats ear medication?

It comes in threes - Case number one


Case number one was this past Monday. A female dog came in for a physical exam since she had been vomiting for the past couple of days. She appeared stable enough until I palpated her abdomen. Holly was incredibly painful because her bladder was the size of a baseball! I immediately had a radiograph taken which showed multiple stones in the bladder and one stuck in the urethra.

There are only two options when faced with a case like this and I only liked the first one which was surgery…..

The bladder looked like a water balloon about to burst. Getting all the stones out took some time. There were so many different sizes. The one stuck in the urethra has given me a number of new grey hairs. I may have done a happy dance when I finally got it out.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

This is part of the job description?


One of the perks of owning my own veterinary hospital is being able to make the protocols. One of them is to have an exam room dedicated to just cats. It sometimes looks like the cats think they’ve been abducted by aliens. I would like to help them change their minds about the visit.

The change can actually start at home. If the carriers are left out they can’t mean something scary will occur. When you periodically leave wonderful toys and treats in there, the cats will start to anticipate good things and seek out the carrier on a regular basis. The odd time they are placed in the carrier and taken somewhere, they will be more relaxed. A relaxed cat is much easier to examine.

The cat room has toys and a cat tree for them to hang out on. They are allowed to get used to the room by walking around. It is always best to let them go at their own pace when possible. A very important thing is to not shake them out of their carriers. Cats do not like to be treated like salt and pepper shakers. If they won’t come out on their own, taking the top off the carrier is easier.

Ideally, I like to do the physical exams on the exam table but some cats will have none of that. I have done exams on the floor, chair, cat tree, sink and counter. About three times a year I have to do the climb. I get up on the counter and do a complete physical and vaccinations while the cat is on top of the cupboard. They did not tell me about this maneuver in vet school!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lipomas


On a fairly regular basis owners bring their animals in for a physical because they have found a mass. I appreciate their concern. When one was found on our old cat, Jasper, we immediately aspirated it and were relieved to see fat on the slide. This great news meant he had a lipoma.

Lipomas are generally soft, usually round lumps of fatty tissue just under the skin. Often they are fairly moveable. Making the diagnosis usually involves taking an aspiration (using a needle and syringe) and placing the contents on a slide. The fat is glossy and starts to take on a round shape.

Periodically I see some rather large lipomas. These are the ones we generally need to discuss surgically removing. Some are in areas where it actually has an effect on how they move. The picture is of a case I had recently. We had been monitoring the mass for a while but when it started to how she walked, it was time for it to be removed. This mass was right in her left armpit. Once it was out, it took both hands to hold it. It was nice to see how much she enjoyed walking out of the hospital at the end of the day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Choosing a Breeder


Personally, I have two favorite places to get a dog. One is a humane society and the other is a responsible CKC registered breeder with a small kennel. I am prejudice towards purebred dogs as I appreciate knowing the line and what to expect from the adults. As the daughter of a breeder who had exceptionally high standards, I come by my prejudice honestly.


(The picture is of my late Magic and her niece, Reason who is now 12 years old)

Recently, I’ve had a client ask for advice in picking a breeder. He already had the breed chosen, a Bull Mastiff. I sent him to the Canadian Kennel Club’s website where he could find the “8 Golden Rules”. http://www.ckc.ca/en/portals/0/pdf/other/CKC.Rules.find.breeder.pdf This handout gives you excellent questions to ask the breeder.

He contacted a couple breeders and one of them brought about this blog. They have CKC registered dogs but didn’t want to register the litter to keep the price down. Are you kidding me? I don’t think that $43 per puppy is going to have a large impact on the price. This cost covers both registration with the CKC plus transfer of ownership. Plus, if the puppies are not registered, then they CANNOT be called purebred so you shouldn’t pay purebred prices!!!!

Neither of the parents had their championships – apparently they wanted to save money there too. How can you make absolute sure you are producing dogs that are as close to the breed standard as possible without evaluations by a variety of judges? Being in the show ring can be a great eye opener.

Oh yeah, the grandparents had their hips certified but the parents were never tested. If you don’t look, you won’t find it! They also bypassed the questions about eye and elbow certifications. Here’s another good one, there is absolutely no health guarantee.

Right before I get off my podium, I want to share why I have such high standards. Before getting on my Mom’s waiting list, you had to have an interview. I think the Spanish inquisition could have gotten inspiration from her! References were also required. All of our dogs were carefully chosen for temperament and conformation. Our breeding dogs all had their championships and many had their CD obedience titles. Eye certifications as well as elbow and hip OFA certifications were required. Now here is the icing on the cake, the health guarantee was for the lifetime of the dog. So, although Mom has not had a litter in 12 years, if a genetic issue were to develop she would still honor the health guarantee.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oral Papillomas


Recently I have been seeing more of these sea anemone looking things. Go ahead and google that sea creature. It is kind of creepy how alike they look.

These virally induced warts are usually seen in young dogs with immature immune systems. They are found around the mouth and sometimes the eyes. The infection does require direct contact with either an infected dog or infected environment. The incubation period can last anywhere between one to two months. Do not worry, it is not contagious to humans.

These warts are not dangerous. They usually go away on their own in one to five months as the dog’s immune system matures. It is not very often they stick around permanently.

As they will go away on their own, we really don’t need to do anything; however, they can be bothersome when the dog is eating and are bloody ugly. One of the simplest things to do is to crush the warts with a hemostat. This seems to stimulate the dog’s immune system to fend them off. Other options are available should this not be sufficient.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Be careful what you ask for : )


I was informed by one of my volunteers this week that I needed to be doing more blogging. Well, for such a hard working young lady who has her first paper route (starting in this weather!), I will do my best.

When people come to volunteer at our hospital, we have a list of tasks for them to do. The usual stuff includes cleaning kennels, cleaning exam rooms between appointments, cleaning the floors (there is always so much cleaning to do). There may also be envelopes to stamp, travel sheets to organize. There is always so much to do and it never seems to end!

If possible, we do try to include them in cases and/or appointments. If they have earned their way into observing appointments, they can join me for this. It is good for them to be able to see what happens in case they are interested in becoming an assistant, AHT or veterinarian in the future.

Shaelyn, who encouraged me to blog more, is in the picture making mouth gags for our dentals. These are placed at the back of the mouths to catch the excess water from our procedures. By having yarn attached, it makes it easy to remove when wet and reminds us it needs to be removed at the end of the dental work.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers for their hard work. You make ours much easier!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You ate what???


When I went to work this morning, I only had one surgery scheduled. That meant I would have time to do all the paperwork I’ve been putting off. I almost got myself two coffees at Tim’s to make sure I could stay awake. Turns out I wouldn’t need the one I had!

While PJ and Kelly (my AHTs) were prepping my neuter for surgery, I had a walk-in appointment. Juno had not been feeling well for a few days and was progressively getting worse. She might have eaten a hockey sock or two as she had vomited one up earlier. Entering the room showed a very different dog than I was used to handling. My happy monkey was now very depressed with a painful abdomen.

We did radiographs and in addition to the odd intestinal pattern there was also loss of detail in the cranial abdomen. The decision was to immediately go to surgery. I was so proud of my staff getting me in so quickly and efficiently. Kelly was monitoring and PJ scrubbed in to help.

The foreign body extended from the pylorus (stomach) through to the jejunum. As you can see from the picture, the intestines I’m holding are abnormal. They should look like the ones on the left of the picture. The problem area has the intestines plicated (squished together tightly). This caused a 12 inch section to die from lack of blood supply.

The foreign body was about 24 inches long. I had to wait until the surgery was done and Juno recovered before I could rinse the “thing”. It turned out to be a part of a dishcloth.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting old sucks!


A few weeks ago, I had a 7 year old female cat come in for a physical exam. She just wasn’t acting like herself. At that time there was a mild fever. We did bloodwork and the results just about floored me. Her neutrophils (white blood cells actively fighting an infection) were six times normal. When I called the owners with the results they told me that she was now licking herself more often. I was a bit confused until the owners reminded me that she was intact. That is when all the puzzle pieces came together.

Cats are induced ovulators. This means that once they go into heat at about 6 months of age, they stay in heat until they mate. If they don’t meet a male for a year, they will literally stay in heat the entire time. Ditto for 7 years. Unfortunately, as they age, the risk of neoplasia (cancer), pyometra (infection of the uterus) and endometritis (inflammation/infection of the uterine wall) goes up.

We scheduled surgery for the next day. As you can see from the picture, it was much larger than it should be. When I opened it up (you’ll have to come in to see that neat picture) I found that she had both endometritis and pyometra. Certainly one of those surgeries where “to cut is to cure”.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mr. Bynx


I have known Mr. Bynx for a number of years. Recently his Mom gave me permission to share his story so that others could see how well our animals can handle certain ordeals.

Last April, we received a phone call informing us that his left eye wasn’t looking quite right. During the physical exam, his left eye was enlarged and painful. He was sent into the CARE Centre for an examination with one of their eye specialists. It turned out that he had glaucoma (an inherited disorder causing increased pressure in the eye). There was significant damage to the optic nerve causing blindness in that eye.

Another issue was found as well. Both eyes had retinal degeneration (aka progressive retinal atrophy) and it was slowly causing blindness. Unfortunately there is no treatment for this disorder but it is non-painful.

At this point, the best option for Bynx was to have his left eye enucleated (removed) so he would not have to endure the pain associated with glaucoma. There are medications to control pain in the short term but it is difficult to control medically in the long term. His Mom called to ask my opinion on the surgery. I fully supported it and told her that once the hair has grown in, he would still look adorable.

She later told me that part of the problem with making the decision to have the surgery done was that she couldn’t picture how he could possible look normal. Well, as you can see from the picture, this is one cute, happy boy. He still has sight in his right eye and walks with his Mom all the time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sir Lancelot


For such a young boy, he could already have a movie made out of his life. We were first introduced March 2010. A good Samaritan brought him in to us during a cold snap. As Okotoks has no by-laws on cats, my staff took him in. I was walking from one appointment to another when the formal introduction of “here is Sir Lancelot, isn’t he adorable?” was made.

He soon worked his way into our hearts. A blood test was run to make sure he didn’t have feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus. Then we set about to make him a good adoption candidate – neutering, tattoo, vaccinating and socializing. The socialization part was fun. We had a metal kennel so he could interact with people up front; however, he quickly learned to climb up and through to go for his own visits.

He was adopted out shortly thereafter. We were so happy until December, when another good Samaritan brought in a grey tabby. We were surprised but happy to see Lance. He had been hanging out at the gentleman’s house for a week and when it turned cold, brought him into us.

The phone call to his family was odd. The family member who answered didn’t seem excited that he had been found. My staff were told he would be picked up the next day. I was also personally contacted by one of the family members saying their child was not paying enough attention to Lance and they had friends who really wanted him.

You can imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from the Calgary Humane Society the next day. The owners had left our hospital and had driven straight to them. The excuse was “our child is allergic to the cat”. I asked the CHS to keep him on the floor but to let me know when his time was up. Two weeks later I was given the call that he would be euthanized the next day unless I picked him up. I told them to hold him til Sunday (two days later) as I wanted him.

Sunday morning, I headed in to get Lance. I didn’t realize how emotional I was until he was brought out onced the paperwork was finished. The bail fee was $145. I couldn’t hold back the tears. He started howling when he saw me. It only stopped when we were in the car and I put my hand in the kennel. He either rested his head on my hand or rubbed his head on my palm.

You can imagine that I’m a little protective of him. He deserves to be in a home where he will get a lot of love and attention. As much as I would love for him to live in the cat condo with Thurber and Egan, they don’t agree. Yes, he does need a new home; however, the process to adopt him will be daunting. I have promised Lance that I will find him his forever home.

Interesting blog within a blog


When our pets aren’t feeling well, we all tend to feel a bit helpless. If only they could tell us what is wrong. Recently, my sister sent me a blog about a medical doctor who almost killed her dog with human medication. It is always a good idea to call your veterinarian when it comes to medicating your pet.

Here's your interesting read http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/how-the-doctor-almost-killed-her-dog/ Please cut and paste as I can't get the uplink to work.