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


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”. 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.