Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Reason - a walk down memory lane

This is Jazz, Reason's mother. She and I had a long night back in 1996. I got settled on the couch in the living room so I could keep a close eye on her as she was starting to go into labour. As you can well imagine, I was so excited that I got to whelp out her litter by myself. My Mom, Heather Logan, had to leave for a conference. She certainly got a much better night's sleep than I did! I know that the office manager, Tracy, of the vet clinic I worked at doesn't remember May 11 as one that was extraordinary but it was for me.

It wasn't until about five in the morning that I climbed into the whelping box with her to have a talk. I really needed her to start having pups. Well, as I settled down beside her, she leaned against me and started to push. It was a long day but what a beautiful litter of puppies.

You have no idea how hard I had to work to get Reason. My Mom thoroughly put me through the hoops to make sure I wanted her for the right reasons. That is actually how she got named. I was telling one of my coworkers all the reasons I told Mom why I wanted a pup from this litter. Tonya smiled and said that was the puppy's name, Reason.

This is the first time she got up on the bed by herself. I had been in the kitchen and when I couldn't hear anything, I went looking. She didn't move when she saw me. It was like, if she didn't move, I wouldn't see her. So adorable! The three of us had a blast in that apartment.

Reason absolutely adored Magic (who was her aunt). I have so many pictures of her laying, sitting, playing, sleeping in the same way that Magic would. At times, it looked like Magic simply had a smaller shadow.

I have this picture on my wall. Magic was so patient with this little monkey.

Reason sure made Magic feel like a pup. The stuff they would get into in my bedroom at vet school was incredible. I'm just going to let you imagine the picture I have of them laying in the remains of two toys that had been stuffed and a newspaper that I had been planning on reading. All I could do was giggle at how happy they were.

Magic (right) and Reason loved to pose for the camera. So proud of my baby girls.

Her loss has left a huge hole in my heart. Not only was she an amazing dog, she was also the last dog from my mother's breeding program. My sister and I will never forget being woken up in the middle of the night when we were kids by the smell of a puppy being held by my Mom.

I will miss her but I know she is waiting at Rainbow Bridge with Magic and my other babies. I also like to think of them as greeting all of my patients, making them feel more comfortable.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Power tools? Uh oh...........

I want to start this blog by saying no animals or people were harmed in this story. As for the wall......I'm so sorry wall! I will back up a bit so this story makes a bit of sense. I have an amazing client who was not only taking care of her pets, she was doing her best to take care of a family member's two cats. Long story short, I insisted the two cats come stay at the hospital until I could find them a home. Whenever I would attempt to make introductions to a potential new family, Willow would hiss. Three months later, they are still with me.

What is a girl to do but revamp the home office into a forever cat room? Hit the internet and found some "easy to install" wall cat shelves. Not so much! I ended up buying out most of Home Depot's wall brackets. I wasn't taking a chance on the girls getting hurt. It was both frustrating yet very fun to get it done.

My supervisors did not seem to think I could do it without their help!

Pretty sure Cardinal was wondering if I had lost my mind. It may have been what I was muttering......

Woohoo!! Finally finished.

Hoping they think their new digs are pretty cool!

So today was the day, I brought them home. I had food out in a variety of places and some well placed pinches of catnip.

The shelves are holding!!!! Huge relief! : )

Willow is certainly more confident in my carpentry skills than Sadie!

It could also be because she was having a blast with the catnip!!!

I think they are happy and I am absolutely thrilled!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Now I'm barking mad

So I'm sitting here watching "Barking Mad" on Marketplace. Well, here are some of my issues: 1. What was the context of the examination? 2. Why are they asking Dr. Jean Dodds who has not published any papers in recognized journals in over 10 years for information? 3.Why do they have to paint all veterinarians in Canada based on ten vets in one city?

Yes, I still recommend vaccinating many of our pets on a yearly basis and I will explain why. The research that has been done has, on average, 20 to 50 dogs. On the human side, you would need thousands upon thousands of people for the research to be valid. Another important thing is that, except for Rabies, we do not know what titres are actually protective. Simple reason, the research that would be required would never be approved. Hypothetically, if we could actually do the research, a group of say 2000 dogs would be used. 1000 would be unvaccinated and the other half vaccinated. Then all the dogs would be exposed to the virus........yes, possibly upwards of 80% to 90% of the unvaccinated dogs would become sick or die. It would depend on the virus used in the study. We all know how devastating the parvo virus is to our dogs. This is not a humane research project.

Another point from my soapbox. The prevalence of heartworm determines the testing done. In the areas of the States where there is heartworm everywhere, they recommend testing yearly even when the dogs/cats are on heartworm prevention. This is because some of the medications are not completely protective. Undetected, this is a life threatening disease. Typically, I recommend the dog be tested once every four years if the owners are regularly taking them to heartworm endemic areas and will keep them on medication during the mosquito season. If the person is taking the dog to the an endemic area but are only staying a few weeks or couple months, we only dispense the amount of medication required after doing a test. Here's something to think about. If the dog does come down with the heartworm disease and has been properly tested, the drug company will help pay for the treatment.

The food, omg, are you kidding me? The metabolic diet by Hill's is an excellent diet for obese dogs. OBESE!!! There is no way on earth this dog was obese. Sure, it could loose a few pounds but, wow!!! I was embarrassed during that section.

Okay, the medication prices. Yes, they are cheaper down in the States. We have no control over our cost price in any way shape or form - the distributing companies control that. Our mark up depends on many things such as rent, staff salaries, supplies we order from our distributing companies, equipment and the list goes on. Plus, the majority of our clients appreciate the convenience of picking up the medications at the time of their appointment. I also think the animal's prefer the animal flavoured medications as well!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Student again!!!

I have always been fascinated by animal behaviour. It is my true passion in veterinary medicine. This spring I found a board certified veterinary behaviourist, Dr. Diane Frank, who is going to mentor me through my non-conforming residency. Yup, I am going to be a student again!!!!

For those of you who don't know what a non-conforming residency is, I will try to give you the short form of how I plan on accomplishing this. (The proposed program I sent to the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists was 26 pages long!) I will still be practicing general practice veterinary medicine at my hospital; however, Dr. Frank will be coming out once a month for three or four days at a time to oversee my initial cases.

Here's how my caseload works. She will be present for the first 25 cases and then she will be present for 25 of the next 50 cases. There will be varying amounts of supervision as we progress through my minimum of 400 cases. Not only will I be seeing dogs and cats, but horses, birds and zoo animals. This is going to take me about five years. If I were to go to a university with a behaviour residency program it would take about 2 to 3 years. The thought of leaving my patients, clients, work family and, of course, my patient husband, just doesn't work. As well, I will be writing a paper based on research I will be doing that will be published in a peer reviewed journal. I also will find the time to write three peer-reviewed case reports. Once I have completed my program, I will be apply to sit for the boards. This is a two day test (not stressful at all!). Upon passing, I will be board certified in animal behaviour.
Now, during this process, I will still be practicing veterinary medicine as usual. I would likely go absolutely mad if I couldn't. I will also continue to do general medicine once I am a specialist. Being able to help my patients to have a great experience at the hospital is so fulfilling as is helping my scaredy cats and dogs learn to relax.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

PEI generosity

It is has been a bit of a roller coaster week and a half. I absolutely love being a veterinarian but I always feel so helpless when there is something going on with one of my Mom's animals.

Last Thursday my Mom had to take her assistance dog, Tag, to the Atlantic Veterinary College for neurological signs (one eye had started to sink into its socket and a tilt to her head). She ended up getting there later in the day and we knew that being able to find her a hotel room was going to be a challenge. It was Old Home Week on the Island and almost all the hotels were fully booked. On her way to my old vet school, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, my amazing office manager, PJ, did some calling around and found her a room at the Garden Gate Inn.

Mom finally gets there and over the next few hours, in between other emergencies being brought in to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Tag was examined, admitted and a game plan was determined. At nine her time, I received a call from the owner of the Garden Gate Inn. Joan Cumming was wondering if I knew when Mom was going to be arriving as she had to step out. Since I hadn't heard from Mom at that time, she instantly said it wouldn't be a problem. She was going to leave a note for Mom on the door telling her to look in the mailbox for the key to her room!! This is an example of the famous Island hospitality. Mom was at the hospital until 1 am and all she had to do was drive up the street and go to bed.

Through a few emails with Joan, we figured out that I'd worked with her daughter, Karen, when I was a student in Truro, Nova Scotia. Karen is an awesome AHT and taught me many things that I still use today. Joan is also the woman who directed me to the dress maker who made my wedding dress. Such a small world!!!

After six long days, Tag was finally able to come home. Mom will be taking her back to the AVC Monday (tomorrow) for the final test. The moment I found out that Tag was going to be going back for an MRI, I contacted Joan. With that kind of personal service, I knew Mom would be well taken care of during this trying time.

If anyone is ever going to be visiting beautiful Prince Edward Island, I would highly recommend staying at the Garden Gate Inn. I know you will be thoroughly impressed with the service. Thanks again Joan, you are an angel!

Yes, there is a Tim Horton's right beside the Inn! Yet another plus for this Tim's addict!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Yes, I can turn you away

Today was an interesting Monday to say the least. I know that people's tempers are a bit frayed from the continued state of emergency in High River. Here's the thing, it does not give you the right to be rude to my staff. They are my work family and I tend to be very protective of my family.

A lady called and made an appointment for her dog because it had a cut on its leg. Not a problem, the staff "made" an appointment (aka, we were fully booked and needed to find a place to squish her in). The fun started when she arrived. My receptionist, Belle, told her that she would take them into a room and I would be in shortly to do an exam to see what needed to be done. This person told her (in no uncertain terms) that the dog was not going to have an exam because the dog just needed to have some stitches put in. Oh yeah, she didn't want antibiotics either cause vets just like to over medicate the animals. Belle tried to explain that unless I saw the dog, I wouldn't know how to treat the dog appropriately. The person informed her that she should just get the vet.

So Belle came and got me. I came out and asked what the issue was. I sure got an earful!!!! Can I tell you how much I love being told how to do my job? Here's the thing, without examining the dog and coming up with a treatment plan, how do I know what needs to be done? Does it have a small cut that can just heal on its own? Is it a large laceration needing a general anesthetic? The person flipped out when I mentioned a general anesthetic as her vet never used an anesthetic and would just take the dog out back and throw in some stitches. I finally figured that no matter what I said, it would start another argument.

I took a deep breath and told the owner that we had obviously gotten off on the wrong foot. She nodded her head in agreement. "So, with that in mind, Belle, would you mind calling X veterinary clinic to see if they have any room to deal with this patient?" After picking her jaw off the floor, she stormed out with the poor dog in tow.

This is my dear Reason who is now 14 years old. Just added her picture as a reward for reading my little rant.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Things I learned today

Well, I have learned a number of things about myself today. I can still run in my heels. I can almost get myself stuck under a car. I can climb around the engine block to get a scared cat. Yes, I learned this during business hours!!!

Let's start at the beginning. I was having an informal meeting with another vet, Dr. Leicht, when one of the staff said they needed help catching a cat in the parking lot. Out we all went to find the cat which was now hiding in the engine block of someone's Mazda. Easy to find the car as there were a number of people surrounding the cat. Luckily, the vehicle owner was found so she popped the hood. Before the two of us on top could move, it darted down, dove past everyone stretched out around the car and took off. I went running to the sidewalk in hopes of keeping it from going on the road.

Our group gathered around another ....... Mazda. If you want to see a well protected engine, go look at a Mazda. I tried to get under to have a peak and almost got stuck. So there we all are, standing around the vehicle. I joked that it would be a good idea to get the owner's attention by setting off the car alarm. I hit the car and son of a gun if it didn't go off! I may never be able to hear quite the same again. That didn't bring an owner so my girls and Dr. Leicht went to the different businesses to find an owner.

It took a bit, but finally the owner of the car came out. He popped the hood for what turned out to be the first time since he'd owned the car. The girls were ready underneath with the fishing net a kind young teenager had offered to the cause. The others were placed strategically around the car. As the hood opened, I jumped on top of the engine and almost grabbed the cat by the tail. The cat poked its head down under then aborted mission and hid on the other side of some part of the engine. Luckily my arm was just long enough to reach the scruff and I held on for dear life. My Mom would have been so proud. Dr. Leicht had the cat carrier ready and in she went.
So, this scared little cat is in our quiet cat room. We will look for identification once s/he has settled. If you know of anyone who lost a cat in the Walmart parking lot today in Okotoks, it is safe with us. Oh yeah, the current nickname is Mazda!!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Something so tiny........

I recently performed dental surgery on the cutest little cat. During her yearly physical, we found that Button (as in cute as a button), had fractured one of her incisors. Since the pulp was exposed we needed to extract it. It did turn out to be an eye opening procedure as we found something we weren't exactly expecting.

My RAHT, Kelly, took a great picture of the cavity on the canine tooth. The green arrow is pointing at the tiny little defect that was so painful that her mouth chattered when it was touched under the general anesthetic. If you've only read one of my dental blogs you know the next step was a radiograph.

This picture did not give me the warm fuzzies cause the root sucked! (Yes, that is a professional and medical term!) The picture on the right is from my dental book to show you what a normal root is supposed to look like. Needless to say, we extracted that tooth as well (after tracking Mom down at her dental appointment across town, LOL)!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dental surgery = use the bloody dental radiograph machine!

I have given myself a couple of weeks before sitting down to write this particular blog; however, from the title, you may sense that I am still pretty frustrated. This whole thing could have been avoided and the dog would not have been in pain.
So here is a picture of the poor dog. It doesn't take much imagination to see there is a swelling on the side of its face. As well, the dog had ALREADY had dental surgery to remove tooth 208 (the big carnaissal tooth) to help with the swelling. Hmmmmmmmm. The owner had taken the dog back to the original vet concerned because the swelling hadn't gotten any better post-surgery. This person said it would take time to go down so the owner came to see me for a second opinion.

I was able to get a copy of the medical records and no where did it say that the dental radiograph machine had been used or that bloodwork had been performed on this senior dog. Needless to say, we did bloodwork (normal) and radiographs to see what was waiting for us as this tooth has three roots. Gee, that looks like a root to me! Brought out my drill and got it (and some pretty gross abcess material) out in short order.

The next radiograph showed..... the blue arrow pointing at the second root that was left behind (that means the vet only took out one root of three). The red arrow shows a tooth root abcess starting in the tooth in front so it had to be extracted as well.

After taking a final radiograph to make absolute sure there was nothing left, we sutured her up and let her have a well deserved, pain free nap!

So folks, should your dog or cat need to have dental surgery, make sure the facility has the ability to take radiographs so this sort of thing does not happen. Thank you for putting up with my rant!!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Quality of Life

I was having a fairly routine afternoon of annual physical exams, vaccines, ear infections when I entered Toby's room. This sweet gentleman of a dog was a dream to work with. His Mom told me that he'd been having some issues with his hind end and his right hip tended to bother him the most. Toby was certainly uncomfortable when I palpated his right hip but all he did was give me a look of "well, if you have to". At that point I was simply thinking he had arthritis.

It wasn't until I checked his proprioception in his legs that I started to get quite concerned. When we check for proprioception, what we are actually doing is checking to see if the animal knows where their legs are in space. It is a very easy test in that all we have to do is turn the foot upside down and wait to see how long it takes them to right it. A dog with normal reflexes won't even want you to do that. Toby didn't move his right hind limb until I moved it back to normal for him.

In this picture, Cardinal is my foot model and he is demonstrating the upside look with his foot.

Now, it isn't common for our dogs to get proprioceptive deficits from hip dysplasia. I've only ever seen it twice in my past thirteen years of practice. Generally, there is something else going on. I proceeded to do a rectal exam. Its not the glamorous part of my job, but important. I was not expecting to feel a mass the size of a very large kiwi on the right side of the pelvis!!! The poor boy has cancer that is putting pressure on his nerves.

Our main goal is to make sure we can make him comfortable in the time he has left with his Mom. Quality of life is something that both his Mom and I agreed on immediately. Due to his age, he is not a good candidate for the invasive surgery and chemo that would be required to buy him some extra time.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Barking mad can be good!

I have gotten into the habit of leaving my patio door open at night for a couple of reasons. One is that my five year old yellow Lab, Cardinal, likes to go scope things out at odd times and won't hesitate to get me up to open the door. The other is that my 14 year old black Lab, Reason, is a senior who needs to go out on an irregular basis.

Last night, I got everyone settled in for the night and we all fell asleep. That is until I leaped out of bed because Cardinal was making such a ruckus outside. I was sure that someone had attempted to get in and he now had them cornered. I ran to the back door to find a very satisfied looking Cardinal standing beside Reason. Apparently she needed help getting up the patio stairs in the dark. The moment I got her back inside, he raced up and took my place on the bed.

Not going to lie, I was pretty proud of Cardinal getting me up to help Reason, but it did take some time for my heart rate to go back to normal so I could get back to sleep!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Other Side

I was recently on the other side of the exam table and I cannot say that I enjoyed it. I had gone home to do a seminar and visit with my mother, Heather Logan. I hadn't been home to visit in about five years so I was pretty excited. My husband, Troy, went on a photography trip with a friend of his to Trinidad. I had one of my girls staying at the house to take care of the dogs. I really didn't expect to have any problems.

I did get concerned when the housesitter texted me to say that Jazzy wasn't eating well. Normally, Jazzy eats with the enthusiasm of a Lab. As she still had a good attitude and was drinking, I advised her to keep a close eye on her. Well, by Sunday morning she still hadn't eaten so I told her to take Jazzy into the Fish Creek Pet Hospital.

It turns out that Jazzy was much sicker than she looked. The bloodwork showed that her kidney enzymes were elevated so she was put on IV fluids immediately. The radiographs did not show any areas of concern. As the day progressed, she was not improving. The next morning an ultrasound was performed and the kidneys were normal. At the end of the procedure, she had bloody jellylike feces. Not a good thing! I gave permission for the specialist, Dr. Clarkson, to go forward with endoscopy. Since she was stable and well hydrated it would still be safe for her to go under general anesthesia. Her esophagus and stomach appeared normal. Apparently, the large colon was a bit interesting. The analytical side of me enjoys interesting cases; however, I don't like being the owner of one!!! The lining of the colon looked a bit angry and she oozed blood more than normal from the biopsy sites.

The phone call to tell me that she was going to need at least two plasma transfusions did not give me the warm fuzzies. The plasma would provide her with the factors of the blood that would allow her to clot better. Three different antibiotics were also started. By the time I got home three days later, she was ready to come home. I got off the plane and the first stop was the hospital to get her.

Not going to lie, I could barely see her through the tears as they brought her up front. She crawled into my arms and I didn't let her go until I got home.
This is one of my favorite baby pictures.

We are still waiting for the biopsy results but it is looking as though she had an overgrowth of bacteria (most likely a nasty type of E.coli) and became toxic from it entering the blood stream. I really appreciate all the staff at the Fish Creek Pet Hospital for saving my baby girl's life!