Friday, May 25, 2012

We Can't Make This Stuff Up!

It’s the last few days of May and I am finishing up the May 2012 Reader’s Digest article, “50 Secret’s Your Vet Won’t Tell You.”

This is my last installment, (I promise I am happier than you guys are). This is also my favorite section.

This section is entitled; “We Couldn’t Make This Up.”

Every veterinary staff member has a bunch of funny tales to tell about some of the cases that they have participated in. The weird cases with utterly unimaginable cascading series of events that somehow landed you and your pet in our office. We have seen and heard almost everything. I have to admit in many cases that I skip the story and just go right to the pet. (It's sometimes hard to focus if I dwell on your superfluous sequence of events. For example, what's the relevance of what you bought at the grocery store on your way home when you found your pet..etc..) For a good laugh, the next time you are at a party with anyone in the veterinary field ask them about their funniest stories, I promise they will have some.

These are the stories that were shared with Reader’s Digest. I will share some of mine here, and sprinkle some through my blog sporadically. The old saying “real-life is stranger than fiction,” is true.
“I once had a dog responsible for a divorce. The dog came in and had eaten something unusual. When we went to surgery, it turned out it was a pair of women’s underwear. The owner insisted she wanted the underwear back. We washed them and sent them home, and it turned out they didn’t belong to the lady. They belonged to her husband’s mistress.” Bernadine Cruz, DVM

I can’t tell you how many times we have surgically extracted “unmentionables” from the stomach and intestines of pets. Actually I should say dogs. I have seen some cats eat odd things, like hair elastics, pencil erasers, plants (fake ones), etc., but not underwear. Those dogs will eat some grotesque stuff. Poop, (cat in particular), must be the yummiest stuff on the planet? Yuck! We have removed tampons. Oh, yes, more than 1, I removed four the last time. The logistics of that boggle me a bit. Were their 4 women in that house? Or did that dog just stalk the waste bin for them? I have removed men’s and women’s underwear, socks, toys, tennis balls, rugs, towels, Nyla-bones, rawhides, hair, grass, gravel, stones, plastic, and coins. I think that dogs eat underwear, tampons, and other “smelly” stuff because they are very driven by their noses. So if it smells particularly aromatic my suggestion would be that you treat it they way all of us dog owners treat rotting food in our trash cans. Place these items in a very solid, safe, secure receptacle and make sure your pet can’t get access to it. What you and I think is gross to the point of being beyond palatable, your dog thinks is irresistible. But I also think many dogs ingest items because their chewing need/frustration turns into obsession. I really believe that these dogs are bored. So, if your pet has an "ingestion problem" think about getting them more active. My honest best piece of advice is to get another dog. Nothing distracts them like a puppy chewing on their ear, biting their tale, and jumping all over them.

 “A client came in with her poodle and warned us that the dog would bite. She said that it would often corner her in a room at home, too, and snarl and sometimes bite. I asked how she handled it, and she said, “Well, I started throwing food to get him away from me, and it worked. So now I keep snacks in every room just in case.’ ‘So…,’ I asked incredulously, ‘whenever he tries to attack you, you give him a treat?’ ‘Yes,’ she answered, ‘and it works everytime!’” Dennis Leon, DVM

I have discussed many times how important it is to get help if you even think that you have any small tiny behavioral problem. I am always perplexed how clients mis-understand what they are doing, and how they are training their pets to be "bad." That’s one of the biggest obstacles. Getting the clients to understand and recognize that their tactics to control the situation are often just re-enforcing the bad behavior. Get some help, from a respected, knowledgeable, trained, recommended trainer, (finding them on-line, and them getting their degree on-line should be a red flag). Then, if you still aren’t able to modify their behavior, or understand how you got your dog to where they are now, take a good long hard honest look in the mirror. Almost EVERY pet can be re-trained to be your perfect companion, but it takes work, patience, and admitting you are also a part of the problem.

“I had one client who got upset because her dog’s ear infection wasn’t getting better. It turned out she was putting the oral tablets in the ear canal. They were all stuffed in there. I wish I were making this up.” Rob Nathan DVM, a vet at Sharon Center Veterinary Hospital in medina Ohio.

I was once at a party with a human doctor and we were sharing our favorite stories. He told me that while he was in his residency at a state healthcare clinic in a very small coal-mining town in rural Kentucky that he had a patient who kept getting “accidentally pregnant.” After the second child was born, he sat the couple down to try to figure out why their prescription prophylactics weren’t working. Turns out the anti-spermicidal foam they were given was being orally taken by the husband.

I am a stickler for writing a very long, verbose, simply stated, clearly legible (computer only), label on ALL medications. I know from firsthand experience that if a medication can get screwed up, it probably will. I also know that people don’t use all the meds we give them; they ferret them away for the next illness, and then can’t remember if that ointment was for the ear or the eye? So every label says how to give it, how often to give it, how long to give it, where to give it, and what it is for. I also tell my clients when to stop using, what to watch out for, and what the product is. Too much information is better than too little.

And then when the medication seems to have failed we all get together and I have them demonstrate to me how, where, and when they used it.

I would say that the biggest mis-use of a product is the monthly flea and tick spot-ons. Many of these products need the natural oils in the skin to disperse the product over the entire body of the animal after they are applied to the skin, (NOT to the hair). Many of my clients will come in complaining that the product I sold them isn’t working because they see fleas or ticks on their pet’s days to weeks after they apply it. When we sit down to discuss it I find they are applying it right after they bathe their dog. When you bathe your dog you strip their skins natural oils, so I remind them that these products "like a dirty dog."

I welcome you sharing your favorite funny tales. Please share.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Pit Bull Problem & Prospectus at The Preakness

We were invited to the 137th running of the Preakness on Saturday May 19th, 2012.

It was an incredibly perfect summer day. Warm and sunny with just a slight passing breeze to keep you cool enough to stay out in the mid-day sun, (even for those of us under our big hats). We had (almost) the best seats in the house, (we were only outdone by a sheikh in a private glass sided container surrounded by very well-dressed Arabs who were no doubt packing some serious automatic weapons).

Our air-conditioned fully stocked buffet of crab cakes, steak, fennel salad, shrimp, and snack bar tent was right next to the winners circle. We had a view of the start, the finish, the big hats, the horses, and the winners ceremony. You can't ask for more. We also had a wait staff to help keep our gluttonous table clutter-free from the piles of glasses we accumulated from the open bar. It was a day of feeling like we were important citizens in the State of Maryland. (A big "Thanks!"m to our good friends John and Amy for inviting us).

Our tent was also adjacent to the Under Armor tent, which was brimming full of the "real" important Marylanders. I saw more famous people that day then I have seen cummulatively in my last 40. I am pretty sure every Ravens and Orioles  player was in that Under Armor tent.

Beside their tent was every single personality of the Baltimore news and radio. Every weatherman, newscaster, radio jockey was in that tent. It was pretty cool..I certainly felt like was a tiny little minnow in a big sea of important sharks. Aninimity is so much easier with a glass of wine, a party dress, and a big hat. Thank goodness for big hats)..

But true to my blue-blood roots I was happiest in the infield with what our table called, "the commoners" watching Maroon 5 tear up the "other-side of the race track".

At some point in the late afternoon Governor O'Malley walked through our tent, (I am guessing he just mistook ours for the Under Armor's? He obviously meant to be with them rubbing their affluent elbows vs ours). Once the 3 vets in the tent got their eyes on him he had no chance of escaping our queries. We collected ourselves, smoothed out our dresses, straightened our hats and hand-in-hand marched over to the Governor to try to influence the upcoming special session and ask for his consideration in over turning the Pit Bull discrimination law.

As we approached the other 2 looked at me and in 5 seconds from our point of impact with him unanimously elected me as "vet spokesperson." (In all honesty I was the natural choice, I am the only Democrat, the loudest, most opinionated, and I was the most sober).

One of them grabbed the Governors arm and got his attention, (this wasn't my suggestion, I am pretty sure that they don't like tugging?). He turned his attention to us, and I introduced us all as "3 veterinarians in the great State of Maryland."

I then very politely asked him to "please help overturn the pit bull discrimination law as we felt it was unfair to discriminate based on appearance."

He quickly replied with a smile, "like racial profiling?"

"Yes," I said, "exactly." A glimmer of hope flashed through my heart.

He followed up by saying, "But don't a lot of pit bulls maul children?"

OMG, my flash flickered, extinguished, and hope was lost.

I took one last stab at trying to enlighten another mis-informed person. (The governor deserves some educating, don't you think?)

I was met by a spouting on unrecognizable poetry. And a few paragraphs of it at that.

It was his way of shutting us up and reminding us that dogs are waaay down low on the list of politically important issues.

Five minutes into his recital we returned to our free drinks.

Every once in a while that fire in my soul is reminded just how far we have to go. I guess I'll stick to my devoted group of friends and family who know how much I value our collective pets, regardless of their creed, color, or roots.

And as far as our politics go I guess i will  just keep my politcal contributions in my own clinics yard.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My First MD Pit Bull Euthanasia

It has been about three weeks since we learned of the new law affecting Marylanders who now must consider all pit bulls, or any dog who resembles a pit bull, as "inherently dangerous." This law is called Tracey v. Solesky.

This law has wide reaching impacts to everyone who loves dogs, works with dogs, rents homes to people with dogs, or has any business or interactions with dogs. It places responsibility into the hands of the land owners, citizens, and takes it off of the dog owners.

For the law as it was written please see the link below;

Today I euthanized Toby. Toby was a white male neutered middle-aged pit bull mix. He was shuffled around from shelters and foster homes. Toby was a timid, shy, and very mis-understood dog. He had no chance after MD law re-assigned him from "dog," to "dangerous." Because he has bitten twice (I would more accurately classify it as "snapped at") and because the rescue who had placed him in the foster home is unable to bear the responsibility and liability that he "inherently" (as labeled by the State of Maryland) possesses, he was euthanized.

Toby came to me in the back of a pick up truck, leash secured around his neck and dangling behind him. When we opened the door to get him he lowered his head and tentatively waited to be called. I am sure he was scared. Scared from a truck ride by himself and scared to be going to a new place once again. I tried my best to greet him as if he is still a citizen worthy of a compassionate death, but I am still not cold enough to condemn a pet without feeling as if my species is far more responsible for his fate than he ever could have been.

He willingly jumped out of the truck, was placed in a muzzle, and quickly given a very large dose of a sedative. We walked him to the back of the clinic and let him fall asleep quietly and without fear.

He died peacefully and unknowingly, muzzle still in place, to my apologies.

I think my primary objection to this law is that we are racially profiling. It isn't fair, it isn't right, and it will cost a lot more Toby's their lives.

Why aren't we holding the parents responsible? Why are these dogs so mis-understood and treated so badly?

I have a pit bull mix, Charleston. He is far gentler than my old cranky Beagle-mix, Savannah. Actually, my old Beagle-mix was always cranky, and age has nothing to do with it. (It's probably my fault, lol). But for three out of my three dogs, if you provoked them enough they would all bite. (OK, let me clarify, if you took Jekyl's chew toy away and Charleston was standing near he would snarl. He hates to think he has to share with Charleston). If you pinch Jekyl on his butt he snaps, (that's Joe's fault, he torments him). But Savannah, my old Beagle-mix is just snobby, and she just never did like everyone, (don't take it personally). With all of that said, my dogs are never out of my sight, and never mis-treated, (save Joe's teasing, which I do reprimand him for). I take full and complete responsibility for them. I don't ever put them in a situation where I have to worry about them being aggressive. They cower to every human being and they know they are outranked by any person who stands up right. My dogs are normal dogs. There aren't many, if any, dogs that will not be pushed to being self-protective. We all possess some ability to protect ourselves. Every living thing has some defense. To train a pet, or mis-treat a pet, so that this behavior comes to the surface rapidly and without provocation is truly the fault of the human that is responsible for that pet. Whether it is intentional neglect, cruelty, abandonment, being raised in a household with fear, abuse, and not being socialized, these are all the faults of the human owner. I say the quote often, "there is no such thing as a bad dog, only a bad owner."

As I have said before I understand that there are too many pets for the homes available, and I understand and genuinely believe that the rescues, shelters, and volunteers who dedicate their time to these animals are overwhelmed, but to just write off a breed, or a dog who resembles a breed, has far reaching devastating consequences.

I was unable to show much kindness to Toby, and I took his life today because he had no options left. But I feel terribly wrong and saddened about it.

I won't continue to practice medicine if the law tells me to profile and terminate. It isn't what I signed up for, and I can't live with my burdened soul.

May god have mercy on Toby's soul, and may he run with the wind, and snap at the stars, and wag his way to a place that understands and loves him, unconditionally.

For a good description of this law please see the next link;

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Readers's Digest May 2012, Vet Secret's

This is part 8 of the May 2012 article from the Reader's Digest, titled, "50 Secret's Your Vet Won't Tell You" by Michelle Crouch.

This section is called "What You Can Do."

Secret 44

"Yes, dog whisperer Cesar Millan has turned some aggressive dogs around, but-please-don't train your dog that way. Using aggressive tactics can cause serious behavior problems and may not be effective." A vet in Cal.

OK, here I go again being completely honest and knowing that some people, (my staff in particular), are not going to agree, or like, what I am about to say.

On the subject of Cesar Millan, he is viewed as a god-like entity at our practice. We actually have pictures of Cesar, I call them "little Cesar's," posted all over the place with hearts and sticky notes that read things like, "Tracy, you are my reason....," or "Cesar loves Micheley." He is our heart-throb poster pin-up boy. My staff has watched every episode, emulates every action, and I often find them huddled together swapping notes on a behavior case and using words like, "Well, I think Cesar would..." I have no place to supersede him, and his popularity has allowed many dogs to be seen as salvageable, and given many a four-legged (pit bull especially) a second, or third, or even fourth chance. I have seen his magic happen on his TV series and in my own clinic. BUT, I do think that the best way to train a dog is with kindness, respect, and patience. I don't necessarily adhere to the whole"pack mentality" behavior modification treatment plan. I think that overwhelmingly many of these dogs are mis-understood and we as humans are not trying to comprehend what they are trying to tell us. So if I have to pick a trainer to follow I would say I am a Victoria Stilwell follower, more than A Cesar follower. (Sorry guys).

My best advice is to get help for your dog if you even remotely think there might be a problem. I have found that many people disregard my advice when I tell them that I think their dog needs some behavior modification training. I think it is partly defensive on their part, and partly they excuse bad behavior by dismissing the vet staffs opinion because they think being afraid (or aggressive) at the vets is understandable.

I expect pets to be somewhat tentative in our office, but full blown snarling, and needing a muzzle is a big red flag in your face that your pet has some obedience issues.

Dismissing our recommendation because your pet is "never away from your home," and/or "never acts this way at home," is setting you both up for disaster down the road. Behavior problems, fears, anxieties, and aggression of any kind ALWAYS gets worse with time. So please address and deal with it the first moment you think there might be an issue.

Secret 45

"A lot of pet medications are available at human pharmacies  for lower prices than we charge. Walgreens even has a list of veterinary medicines for $4 per one-month dose. These are medicines that you would pay $20 to $30 for at your vet." Mei Mei Welker, DVM

This is true. We cannot compete with Wal-Mart, Walgreens, etc. We cannot in many cases even buy the product as cheaply as these big guys sell them for. But, that being said, you must understand that your veterinarian is trying to make their own businesses ends meet. And we are a business. If we reduced our prices for pharmacy items to match Walgreens (not that I even think this is possible without severely undercutting what we pay for them), we will have to increase prices elsewhere. I am not proposing that you do not inquire about your options, and we all understand that we are all on a budget, but please try not to be upset when you hear or see of a price difference. There is simply no way we could ever compete with these global super stores.

Secret 46

"Want to exercise your cat without getting off the couch? Get one of those little laser beams." Albert Ahn, DVM, a vet in Short Hills New Jersey

Cats love to chase a laser beam. They are widely available, cheap to buy, and will get your cat up, running, and stalking/hunting that ever elusive red light for hours. I fear that someday we will need psychotherapy for laser beam obsession?

Secret 47

"I know you mean well when you vigorously lather your dog with shampoo and then vigorously rub him dry with the towel, but that can jam hairs under the skin like little splinters and cause horrible infections that are very painful. It's especially a problem for short-coated dogs like Weimaraners, Boston terriers, pugs, Labs, and boxers." Nadine Znajda, DVM, a vet with BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, Fla

I have not seen this happen, but it certainly can, and I bet it does. Please treat your pet the way you would like to be treated. If you think rubbing a towel hard enough to drive hair into your skin would be painful for you, it is painful for your pup.

Secret 48

"If the plaque sprays and dental water additives actually worked, none of us would be telling you to brush your pet's teeth." Dennis Leon, DVM

OK, think of it this way. Do you think that drinking mouthwash, or spraying mouthwash on your teeth would make your teeth feel as fresh and clean as a good brushing? Nope, it won't. Nothing even comes close (not even a tiny bit) to being as effective as brushing those teeth. And, just so we are all clear they need to be done at least 4 times a week.

I had a client last night who told me that she used to brush her dogs teeth, but gave it up a year ago, because she had replaced the daily brushing with daily Denta-Stixs. Unfortunately, the teeth were horrible and her dogs are now obese. So she only got a fat dog with still bad teeth. Not to mention how much money she sank into Denta-Stix?

Secret 49

"Take your cat to the vet in a plastic cat carrier with a removable top, and have your vet remove the lid for the exam. Your pet will feel more secure and be less likely to fight or flee." Mei Mei Welker, DVM

In the last ten years pet carriers have evolved significantly to be safer and easier to load an unload
your pets. For cats, I like the plastic clam shell carriers with the metal grate top that allows you to lower your pet into it, and also for us to open the hatch, and lift them out of it. Nothing is worse than having to stick your arm into a carrier where the cat is hiding and crouched into the tiniest ball in the deepest bowels of its carrier, giving you that low humm-growl that seems to crescendo as your arm plunges deeper. I usually opt out of the extracting unknown angry feline from said dark and safe carrier and opt for the try to dump now hissing and spitting cat onto the exam table instead. But in most cases these guys are also able to use their spideyman claws to cling to a seemingly ungrippable surface and hang upside down from inside of their carrier.

Worst of all are the owners (no doubt trying to instill "calm" (but we all know this ain't gonna happen, your upset cat will NEVER listen to reason)) tries to remove their cat from its' carrier and gets mauled. It has happened to us all. We really don't want you to get hurt in our hospital, and we really do believe you when you protest "that Fluffy is an absolutely delight fully affectionate cat outside of our office."

Your cat will be happiest with a crate you can lower them into, close them securely inside of, and then place a sheet or towel on top of. The carrier should only be about twice the size of your pet and no more. They actually feel safer in dark, quiet, claustrophobic places. That's why they run and hide in a tiny corner of your closet when they get scared. The quieter and darker that carrier; is the calmer they are.

And during that car ride to our office I would suggest that you keep the radio off, don't talk to them, and for god sakes NEVER EVER open the carrier. Your cat can flee to under your brake pedal after thrashing your face to bits in the frenzy to find cover and then neither one of you is going to arrive safely.

Lastly, if your pet has made hamburger meat out of some veterinary staffs arm already in the past, please give us a little heads up before we approach your pet. I always say "thanks for the advance notice," when an owner confesses to me that their pet isn't their usual collected self in our office.

On the subject of willing patients; I have a few patients who are much easier to examine when their owners are not present. I have a few German Shepherd's, Rotties, and Dobermans who are so protective of their owners that I always ask them to leave examination room after passing the leash to me on the way out. It seems once their owners step out of the room they don't feel that they have to protect anyone so they settle down. Either that, or these guys think that they can get away with bad manners in front of their owners and quickly realize we won't allow the rude snarling here. We are never ever mean or harsh, but we are always
stern, direct, and very observant. We have been trained to recognize fear, insecurity, anxiety, etc, and we know that these are likely to turn into aggression, so we are prepared at all times for it.

Secret 50

"If you live in a one-bedroom apartment with no patio and minimal space, and you're gone ten hours a day at your job, a 100-pound Great Dane may not be the best choice for you? Maybe start with a goldfish?" Amber Anderson, DVM

OK, a very big dog, does need more room than a very small dog, granted. BUT, a Great Dane is actually a pretty calm laid back breed of dog. I think it is crazy to get a border collie unless you live on a farm, or run 4 miles, or more, a day. I also think that a Lab, or anything with an -oodle on the end of their name has a very high energy need. So apartment dwellers out there try a cat, a small (mute) bird, turtle, reptile, etc. For those of you with yards and the ability to play for hours with your dog something middle sized is better.

As a good rule when you visit to adopt your pet; pay attention to how fast their tail is wagging. The slow waggers are often the quietest, the tails that you cannot identify other then as a flash of fur need a farm a job, and you will be expected to keep them exercised to the point of them being worn out, (so they sleep) when they get home. If you are finding that your walk or play time ends with him still in the house jumping, barking, chewing, chasing, tugging, etc, head back outside because your work isn't done yet. A quiet, tired puppy is a happy puppy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reader's Digest, May 2012, Secret's 36-43, Part 7

Reader's Digest May 2012, "Secret's Your Vet Won't Tell You," by Michelle Crouch.

Secret's 36 through 43.  Under the section "What You Can Do."

Secret 36
"When you're looking for a new vet, always check out the staff. A lot of times they'll be listed online. Look for technicians who are certified or licensed (they'll have RVT, LVT or CVT after their names)." Mei Mei Welker, DM, Outreach vet at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland Oregon

This was one of the questions that I was asked when I was being interviewed by the new client who was had booked an "interview appointment with me" because she was searching for a new vet. She came in to the exam room with a thick 3-ringed binder and started her inquiry of Jarrettsville Vet with a few other questions, and then came to this one.

She said to me, "I was on your website and I noticed that you only had four technicians who were licensed."

I was  a little shocked, and a little impressed, that she even knew about technicians being licensed.

She then confessed that this question had come from the Reader's Digest article.

I told her that "I was immensely proud to have four." I also told her that it was "likely to be impossible to find a general veterinary practice where every technician is licensed, short of a referral center, or a veterinary teaching hospital."

At JVC we encourage all of our technicians to become licensed and we even help to pay for their training. But for some this is not possible due to time, family, or financial concerns.

I am a huge advocate of education and I have been very impressed by the breadth of knowledge the licensed techs have been trained in, but I also have some incredibly talented technicians who are not licensed. The practices that have a predominant number of licensed technicians often have higher prices for their goods and services because having a licensed technician on staff usually costs the practice more in personnel salaries.

Secret 37
"Giving food is not giving love. Obesity will hurt their health and decrease their lifespan. Instead, give affection. Pet them,brush them, love them, and walk them." Bernadine Cruz, DVM

I wholeheartedly agree! Read all of my obesity blogs. Your dog wants to be with you because you are affectionate, food is not affection. If they beg it is because you have trained them to do so. I think that many people will pass a morsel because it provides a temporary satiation. It is more effort to get up and play, but that's exactly what your dog wants AND needs.

Many clients will willingly offer to me in the exam room, "I never feed table food," or "we can't not give him some of the table scraps, it's his favorite part of the day." I am not ever really concerned about a few pieces of table scraps in most cases, (as long as it is not dangerous to them, or highly fattening and predisposing them to pancreas issue), but I am concerned that once you train and reward begging you have it forever. I am also concerned about the amount of calories your pet is ingesting. If your pet is overweight, (which is becoming an epidemic in our house pets just like it is in ourselves), then we need to talk openly and honestly about what is best for your pet. Over-feeding your pet will often hurt them and cost them time with you.

My Biggest Loseer blogs;, The fat lab contestenant,, The dachshund,, fat Tuesday blog

Secret 38
"Homecooking for your pet is harder than you think. I once saw a dog who was fed a home-cooked diet of chicken breast and vegetables for a year, and his bones became so weak that his jaw broke. If you would like to cook for your pet, find a veterinary nutritionist who can help guide you, or check out" Monica Revel, DVM, a vet in West Hollywood, Cal.

Every vet has seen or heard of health issues stemming from an inappropriate diet, even when owners are trying to give what they think is an "ideal diet."

My best friends, and even my parents, are guilty of this. They add chicken breast (deficient in just about every mineral and vitamin) to their dogs food. This is usually given ontop of a good dog food. The problem arises when they give a the chicken and then their dogs don't want any of the (boring, but nutritionally complete) dog food sitting under the chicken breast. So, what do they do? Well, they feed more chicken breast, of course!  Because, "He doesn't like his dog food."

I have to remind them of the analogy I often give about thinking of your dogs like you trained your kids. If you let your kids eat only what they wanted they would have only eaten the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms. Turns out the marshmallows aren't the nutrition in their cereal, (and Lucky Charms isn't the best cereal either).

My blog on raw food diets,

Secret 39
"One way to make sure your vet is up on the latest stuff? Ask how he puts your pet to sleep. If he says he uses ketamine or halothane gas, that's not good. That's like 1970s medicine. Isoflurane and seoflurane are a lot safer." Rachel Simpson

OK, who is Rachel Simpson? Why doesn't she have some sort of title after her name? I am pretty sure she isn't a vet because I don't know any vet who would say "put your pet to sleep." "Put your pet to sleep" for us equals euthanasia. IF, (I am assuming that this is what she means), she means "ask how he anesthetizes your pet?" then isoflurane and sevoflurane are the correct answer. Your pet is much safer and our ability to control the plane of anesthesia is much finer tuned, with these human grade equivalent anesthesia gases.

I actually think that this is otherwise a very good question to ask your vet, and I would absolutely tell you to not let your pet be anesthetized without using one of these two gases as the anesthesia agent.

Secret 40
"You can go to an online pharmacy and get the same exact drugs you would get from your vet for 10 to 20 percent off. But check first to make sure it's certified as a Veterinary Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS certified). Some vets will also match online prices-you just have to know to ask." Patty Khuly, VMD

This was another question my interviewer asked me. Unfortunately the answer from me isn't so simple. For me it really depends on what product we are talking about. If we are talking about an over the counter medication (OTC) like pepcid, than you can certainly get it cheaper at Wal-Mart, and often we send you there to get it.

If we are talking about Frontline, then I have to say that often we are giving you free doses from the manufacturer, and after you add this into your equation the Frontline from us is often a better value (i.e. cheaper per dose than the online pharmacies), and often the manufacturer will not stand by their product if you do not buy it from a veterinarian. For instance Frontline offers a $500 guarantee with their product if you buy it through your veterinarian and you have a flea problem, or problem with the product that requires veterinary intervention.

Secret 41
"Just because a food is premium priced doesn't mean it's good stuff. That's especially true with many foods that come in those little gourmet pouches or cans. You pay $3 a package, and it's basically just junk food with little nutritional value. Do some research, and have your vet read he ingredients list with you." A vet in California

I agree! I often tell my clients that unless you are at a very high end specialty grocery store you cannot buy good food for your pet at the grocery store, I don't care what the package says, or what it looks like.

I wish more people would come in with their pets food, or the ingredient list from the bag. I ask at every appointment, "what do you feed your pet?" In most cases my clients don't even know. If your vet isn't asking you, then please tell them. If they don't have an opinion go to a gourmet pet store and ask for help."You are what you eat, and you (in general) get what you pay for."

Secret 42

"Some veterinary drugs have a generic version that's made for humans, and if your vet believes it's a safe and effective alternative, you can get it from a human pharmacy and pay ten times less than you'd pay for the animal version. But recognize that there are legitimate reasons why the generic version might not be appropriate for your pet." Patty Khuly, VMD

A great secret. An open honest, inquisitive approach to all aspects of health care is best for everyone. There are usually options available to you, you just need to inquire.

Secret 43

"Don't ever share your medications with your pets unless your vet says it's OK. One Tylenol will likely kill your cat." Amber Anderson, DVM

This is also great advice! I can't believe how many people still give human medications to their pets, or use old wives tales to treat their pets ailments. DON'T DO IT! call and ask your vet first. I have seen pets die from Tylenol, putting dog medicine on their cats, feeding onions, constipation medicines, laxatives, the list goes on and on.

The last section to follow tomorrow.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reader's Digest May 2012, Secret's 29 - 35

This is part 6 of the May 2012, Reader's Digest article, "50 Secret's Your Vet Won't Tell You," by Michelle Crouch

Secret number 29 through 35, entitled, “What you should know.”

Secret 29
"The biggest mistake pet owners make is calling the vet too late. Pets rarely get colds or the flu, and they almost never get food poisoning. So if they're sick for more than a day, call us." Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM
I feel so strongly about this particular secret that I am building a business around this exact problem. I guess that because animals can't talk and vocalize to their owners just what they are feeling and what their symptoms are that people under estimate the severity of their disease. I also think that many owners don't closely monitor the very basics enough. Like how much and when they last ate?, what their urine and feces look like?, how many times they have vomited, or had diarrhea?, etc..

The owners in most cases just don't understand what their pet is trying to tell them. I often don't charge for the really quick appointments. My rule is sort of "if it takes less then 3 minutes and we don't leave the waiting room, then I don't charge for it." Now I understand that this is not what everyone is going to do, and when my clients look at me quizzically and say, "What? you aren't going to charge me?" I say, "No, I would rather that you came in and we decided together that it wasn't something to worry about together, then you waited and it becomes a very big serious problem. because too many times people are afraid to come in, or post pone coming in, and it ends up a far more serious problem than it might have been." A quick "in and out" is always better than a "we waited and now we have a disaster on our hands," appointment. So the rule of thumb is to go as soon as you think there might be a problem. And have a good working relationship with your vet. They can help you understand what your pet is trying to tell you.

Secret 30
“If your animal is really sick, it’s better to bring him in during the morning. A vet I once worked with would do a huge workup when a sick animal came in early. But if the sick animal came in late in the day, the vet would actually encourage the owner to euthanize. But I would add that this is not common.” A vet in South Carolina

I don’t even know where to start with this one. I am as shocked and appalled as ever other reader out there is. I don’t know what to say. I can’t even begin to try to defend, explain, or even reason what kind of ridiculous train of thought or defense or unimaginable lack of common decency this represents.

I don’t know, I guess just don’t go to a vet in SC after 3 pm?

I have never seen anything like this, or heard anything like this. I hope I never do.

Number 31
“Unfortunatley, I've had to work in low cost clinics, and many of them are cutting corners to make a profit, some places give half doses of vaccines instead of full doses, which is totally illegal and ineffective.” A vet in Cal.

There is the old saying, “you get what you pay for.” But if you are paying for a vaccine, low cost or not, you get the whole vaccine. I don’t understand why people aren’t blowing the whistle on these places? How do you live with yourself if you work in a place that cheats and deceives people?

At our clinic we pull up the vaccines in front of our clients. I want them to see that we use the whole amount, we keep it refrigerated, and we check the labels before we give anything. It means there is a  degree of transparency, and a double checking procedure on place all to insure that your pet gets the right vaccine and the right amount.

Number 32
“The vets who work for most corporate-owned vet hospitals are paid a monthly bonus checks based on how much they bring in from clients. So if it seems like you are paying more at one of those hospitals, you likely are.” Jessica Stout-Harris

I frequently get clients from the corporate hospital that is about 20 minutes away from us because the client is given an estimate for a service that they cannot afford. Many corporate vet hospitals refer almost all of their surgeries, and most of their more complex and complicated cases, to a specialist. These specialists are very well trained and have a higher degree of skill level than a general practitioner possesses. But their cost is usually twice, (or more), than what a general practitioners is. For some clients it is the difference between being able to treat their pet at all.

For those of you who are not familiar with “corporate veterinary practices” we are usually referring to a veterinary hospital that is owned by a corporation like Banfield, or VCA. (There are others but these two are the largest.) Their policies and practices are designed and created on a corporate level. This has been reported to be the primary complaint of some the corporate clients. They feel that their options are not flexible and that they are not between you and your veterinarian to make. There is a complaint of a lack of flexibility and options and higher expense(s) for services. Some people opt for a monthly service plan as a way to spread out costs. Most small privately owned practices do not offer this option due to cost and logistics to implement.

Number 33
“Some people worry that paying for pet insurance will be a waste if they don’t use it. But when you renew your fire insurance on your house, you don’t say, ‘Shoot, my house didn’t burn down last year-I wasted all of that money’?” Phil Zeltzmann, DVM

I get a lot of people asking me about pet insurance. It is a great discussion to have with your vet. The vet industry encourages veterinarians to encourage our clients to purchase pet insurance plans. They report that clients with pet insurance are more likely to pursue treatment options if they have pet insurance. But I have to also tell my clients that I have seen many clients be denied reimbursement for treatments, or denied the treatment option. I also tell my clients that these are insurance "companies." They are for profit. They will never pay out more than they collect. At our clinic it is very unusual for a treatment plan to exceed $1500. I would rather see you create an emergency fund for your pet and deposit the $30-75 a month that the pet insurance companies will charge you for their “basic” coverage. That and having descent credit so you can be approved for CareCredit, just in case an emergency comes up, are the best advice I can give you. Oh, and if you do get an estimate for services, (these should always be written down, itemized, and given to you), feel free to go comparison price shopping, or ask for another “option” if you cannot afford, or are uncomfortable with the options that have been presented to you. Sometimes they exist. But make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

Secret 34
“If we wanted to go into it for the money, we’d have become human doctors.” Oscar Chavez, DVM

I went into veterinary medicine because I love animals (like every other 12 year old girl). I have since realized that I also love getting to know the families of my patients, feeling like I am a part of my community, and that I bring a service of healing, alleviating suffering, and helping to them. I protect my sense of compassion and empathy fervently. I know how easy it is to lose them. I always take a moment to tell my patients that they are cared for, and that I am here to help. This career has always been, and for me will always stay, as a sense of duty, love, and kindness.
I also own my practice so I also feel a deep sense of responsibility to my staff and their families, so I cannot run a non-profit.
When I am faced with a hard decision based on economics I never decide based on what is best for our bank account, but rather what is best for my patient, my client, and what is the kind thing to do. Owning a small animal veterinary hospital is not a quick way to get rich, (if we are talking in dollars). It is 8 years of college, hard work, emotionally and physically grueling, and if you are  in it for the money you will burn out and be miserable.

Secret 35
“Most vets put themselves through 8 to 12 years of school and have huge student debts. We love animals and we want to help them. Most of us start our day early, finish late, and are available for emergencies.” Phil Zimmerman, DVM

Completely true, and, I think I just said all of that in number 34.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Pit Bull Story That Reminds Us How Wonderful These Dogs Really Are

After all of the bad press and ridiculous passage of new laws passed by people who don't understand how amazingly kind, sweet and gentle these dogs really are, I thought this story might remind us to keep our hearts open and remember a dangerous pet is much more likely to be the product of a bad owner than a bad breed.

Thanks to Captain Dowd for forwarding this story to me.

BOSTON, May 8, 2012 Just after midnight on May 3 the engineer of a westward-bound freight train witnessed an extraordinary scene as he barreled toward a railway crossing in Shirley, Mass.—a dog was frantically pulling an unconscious woman away from the tracks. The engineer made every attempt to stop the train but was unable to avoid striking 8-year-old Pit Bull Lilly before she could clear herself from the train’s wheels. Lilly’s human companion was unharmed but the dog was not nearly as fortunate. The train’s wheels sliced through her right foot, fractured her pelvis in multiple locations and caused other internal injuries. Critically wounded, Lilly lay down next to her companion, who remained unconscious until help arrived.
Lilly Stays Calm Throughout Calamitous Scene
The train’s engineer later told first responders that he witnessed the dog pulling the woman—Christine Spain of Shirley—off the tracks as the train drew near. The engineer immediately called emergency services, who arrived to find Lilly standing guard over Christine, who had collapsed alongside the train tracks while walking home from a friend’s house. Lilly’s calm and composed demeanor—despite the wail of sirens, flashing lights and frantic din from first responders struggling to make sense of the scene—is all the more remarkable given her life-threatening injuries, which by now were bleeding profusely. A Shirley animal control officer immediately drove Lilly to an emergency animal hospital in Acton where Boston Police Officer David Lanteigne, who adopted the once shy and anxious dog five years ago from an animal shelter, recovered her and rushed to Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. Said David of the bond between the dog and his mother: “Lilly means the world to my mother, who doted on the dog from the moment she came to live with her.
Upon arriving at Angell’s Emergency and Critical Care Unit, Dr. Alice D’Amore immediately took charge of Lilly’s care. The administration of sedatives and pain medicine calmed her enough to allow the veterinary team to determine the extent of her injuries, and plan for the emergency surgery and ongoing treatment she would require. Lilly’s right foot had been completely “de-gloved”—its skin, muscle and connective tissue torn clear away. Multiple fractures to her left pelvis were especially troubling because, should she survive surgery, she could be permanently unable to bear weight or walk without assistance.
The veterinary team concluded that Lilly’s right front leg could not be repaired and the only option would be to amputate the entire limb. Lilly braved this surgery on Saturday, May 5. After a short recovery she endured a second surgery to repair her pelvis and rear left leg—which is now supported with steel plates. Lilly’s life will never be the same as she will be unable to bear weight or walk without assistance for the first few months after her surgery. Still, the veterinary team at Angell is optimistic that the spirit she showed as she rescued Christine may be just the trait that sees her through this new phase of her life.
Said Dr. Meg Whalen, a staff criticalist at Angell’s Emergency and Critical Care unit: “As a 24/7 emergency care hospital it’s fair to say that we have ‘seen it all’ with respect to companion animal emergencies. However, Lilly’s selfless bravery has captured the hearts of our entire staff. Her injuries are very serious and her road to recovery will be long. But she’s got the character and spirit that sometimes trumps all of our medical advances when it comes to recovery. I think she’s got what it takes to get back to her former self.”

Well this is the saddest/happiest story I’ve ever read in my life. Like I literally got tears streaming down my dick right now and I can’t tell whether they are tears of joy or tears sadness. I think a little bit of both. Glad Lilly and her mom survived. Sad she got run over and lost her leg. Either way my favorite part of this ordeal was hearing how calm Lilly was still standing guard after this accident happened. Sirens blasting, lights flashing and Lilly was bleeding profusely. Still despite all the chaos the only thing Lilly cared about was making sure her mother was safe. That was her only concern. If that doesn’t sum up a dog’s loyalty than nothing does. It’s true what they say. A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. Dogs just doing it big as always.

For a link to this story see below;

Here are our own Pitties, they are all looking for their forever home, and they are equally likely to save your life, even if it is just in little doses of kisses!

Meet Lobo
He came to us after being surrendered at BARCS by his owners. He was severely underweight and malnourished. He is a boy who bonds very closely with anyone who will take the time to walk him and love him. He needs a break, he has been surrendered twice, neglected, starved and still all he wants to do is have a home of his own with someone who won't bail on him again.

This is how he was found at BARCS.

Meet Tink. She came to us because her time had run out at the Humane Society. We rescued her because she had no other chance and was going to be euthanized. She is a sweet girl who loves everyone.

Lobo is her VERY VERY best friend, and we are hoping that someone can take these two together. It would make a happy ending to two dogs lives that have been left to die too many times. Please help us find a great home for our friends.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Plea for Help!

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Maryland Votes For Animals

State-Wide Call-in for Dogs TODAY!

Please Help
Tens of thousands of dogs will die without your help!

Hi Krista,

On April 26, 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a decision which has serious and far-reaching consequences for everyone in Maryland who deals with dogs. In the case of Tracey v. Solesky. The court ruled that in a dog attack involving a pit bull or a pit bull cross, the owner or other persons (including a landlord) who have the right to control a pit bull’s presence on a premises, is liable for damages caused by the dog. Previous to this ruling a landlord could only be held liable if the landlord had a reason to believe that a dog was dangerous.
This ruling effects dog owners, residential and commercial landlords, veterinarians, groomers, and pet stores. Landlord associations are already advising landlords that they can’t afford the liability of having tenants with pit bulls and pit bull mixes, and dog owners are being pressured to give up well-tempered family dogs. The ruling sets a very dangerous precedent under which other dog breeds can be designated as inherently dangerous. It discourages landlords from renting to families with pit bulls, pit bull mixes, or anything that anyone thinks looks like a pit bull. Some landlords will decide it is easier and safer to ban all dogs from their residential and commercial properties.
Please call Governor Martin O’Malley on Tuesday, May 8 to urge him to support introduction of legislation during next week’s special session to provide a legislative remedy to the Court of Appeals ruling on pit bulls. Dangerous dog legislation should be based on a dog’s behavior, not the dog’s breed. We want to create an impression by overwhelming the phone lines at the Governor’s office on Tuesday but calls are needed any time this week. You can also e-mail the Governor. Be polite. The Governor and his staff did not create this problem, and we need their support to solve it.
Governor Martin O’Malley
410 974-3901
1 800 811-8336
Maryland Relay: 1 800 735-2258

Sample script/letter:

Dear Governor O'Malley:

Please put a legislative remedy to the pit-bull ruling on the agenda for the special session starting next week. The consequenses of this ruling are so dire that pit-bulls, their owners and landlords cannot wait until 2013. We ask for your intervention now.

Sincerely. ________________(your name and address)

Thank you for all you do for the animals!

Sincerely, Carolyn and the Board of Directors of MVFA: Valerie, Kim, Joe, Kathy, Lynn, Frank, Michelle, Darlene, Harriett and David

Want to make a difference but don't have the time? Just click here to help MVFA fight for better animal protection in Maryland.

Don't forget, our strength is in our numbers. Forward this email to your friends and ask them to join MVFA.


We want to change the law in Maryland. All it's going to take is voters. When you add your name to our membership, you're giving us the firepower necessary to influence legislators to pass humane legislation in Maryland. It's such a simple act, won't you help?
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Part 5, Reader's Digest May 2012, 22-28

Part 5 of the Reader's Digest May 2012 article, "50 Secrets Your Vet Won't Tell You."

For posterity I want to admit to the world that I would admit to almost all of these secrets. I absolutely believe in an open and honest approach, because we have a huge responsibility to our clients and patients. (Sometimes I just have to answer a little delicately).

Secrets number 22-28.

This section is entitled “What You Should Do”
Number 22
“I hate to break it to you, but your $2,000 for designer dog is a mutt. Puppy stores and and breeders have created these cute names like Morkipoos and Puggles, and now people are paying $2,000 for a dog they couldn't give away at the pound ten years ago. Whoever started the trend is a marketing genius.” Dennis Leon, DVM
How do I respond to this? Well, here’s the problem. I think the healthiest pets I see are the mutts. So if you ask me which pet has the fewest medical and behavioral problems I will tell you “go get the muttiest looking dog you can find.” As a side note, get a smaller vs. larger dog. (This is just because they live longer and they are easier to cart around with you, so you are more likely to bring them with you, which means you bond closer and have even fewer behavioral issues).
So it is hard for me to not recommend a mutt. But secretly the vet staff is rolling their eyes behind your back because we think the idea of $2,000 for a mutt is silly. Save that money for the ruptured cruciate ligament repair, or dog park fight, or spay, neuter, and random illness that lies ahead somewhere down the road. Or use it to buy a ridiculously fabulous dog bed and some adorable outfits.

Number 23
“I hate retractable leashes. The stopping mechanism pops open so easily, and suddenly the pet is flying to the end of it, and maybe into the the street or into the jaws of another dog. I’ve had people bring in a pet who got hit by a car because they were using a retractable leash and the stopping mechanism broke.” Bernadine Cruz, DVM, associate vet at Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in Laguna Woods, Cal.
I don’t have any personal experience with this because I live in the country. Out here we only use retractable leashes on the side roads (no traffic there anyway), parks, or the trails. But maybe by passing this pre-cautionary recommendation along we can save someone's pet.

Number 24
“Even though you see vitamins on the shelves in pet stores, healthy pets don't need them. The pet food companies have spent billions of dollars to make sure their food is properly balanced with every vitamin and mineral a pet needs.” A vet in Cal. 
This is a true statement as long as you are buying a very high quality commercially available pet food. Also I would recommend that you buy from a company that has been in business for over 20 years. In the last ten years there has been a huge increase in the number of pet food companies. They all want to tell you that they are "the best because they either don't use by-products, or don't have grains, or corn," or whatever...(you can read my blog on raw foods for more information on this). I feel these diets are "fads." remember the grapefruit diet, the Adkins diet, the liquid juice diet? They were all fads to. The best diet is still a very high quality commercially available food made by a company who has been in business for a while. A long enough while to see how their food affects a population of pets. And a company big enough to be able to do internal testing for quality assurance. If your pet has some medical condition or special lifestyle or breed specific needs these should also be addressed.

For those of you out there feeding one of these "specialty 'fad' diets" I want to warn you that we are starting to see mineral abnormalities, abnormal urine pH's, and urinary bladder crystals and stones developing because pets aren't getting enough carbs and are getting too much protein. I so happy to see that people are paying attention to what they are feeding, but you are sometimes being fed biased half truths by companies who do not have veterinary nutritionists on staff and who do not even meet the standards set up by AAFCO. And I would challenge most of them if they "claim" they are meeting AAFCO standards when was the last time they had their diets independently tested by an outside lab to check? Most of them cannot afford to do this and their suppliers cannot afford to either.

Here is my blog on raw diets;
Number 25
“Some people are really into a raw-food diet for pets, but it's a huge public health hazard. Think about it: You have raw meat, you're touching it, your dog touches it, and then your dog goes and licks the baby. I've had two patients die and two patients get really sick from it .” Amber Anderson , DVM, a vet at Point Vincente Animal Hospital in Rancho Palos Verdes, Cal

I wrote a blog on raw diets. The concerns we vets and doctors have is that so much of the raw meat that is obtained to feed our pets is tainted. We are also concerned that our pets and homes are being exposed to these contaminants. The households with young children, elderly, or immune compromised people are also great concern because they are less able to fight off infection and are at greater risk of pathogen exposure. I have seen clients be so obstinate to change from a raw diet that they actually put their own life as risk. I have also seen clients risk their pets lives and even watched their pets die from massive infection that they refuse to attribute to a raw diet. I have no doubt that this type of diet has caused illness and death in our clinic. But what I don't understand is why people would risk their and their pets health to this?
Number 26

“The cheaper, over-the-counter spot-on flea and tick treatments are extremely dangerous. I've seen animals having violent seizures after using them; I've seen animals die. Ironically, most of these animals have live fleas crawling all over them.” A vet in Cal.
I am afraid that in an effort to buy a cheaper product people often buy a toxic and inferior (or worthless against fleas and ticks AND might kill your pet too, as the label should say) product.
Now, here's the REAL secret. The best selling flea and tick preventatives are now available as a generics and/or are available over the counter! So if your vet used to sell you Frontline or Advantage/Advantix and now sells you something else that is "prescription only AND only through a veterinarian," you have a very good option still available to you but now cheaper and over the counter. Veterinarians don't want to sell these products anymore because we cannot sell them as cheaply as Wal-Mart or Costco does. So instead they are selling you something else which works as well in most cases, (but I wouldn't say "better"), but not telling you that the generics exist.
I think that not saying something to a client is AS bad as lying to them.
Veterinarians are petrified that their in house pharmacy profits are going to evaporate because of the generics, the OTC's, and the on-line pharmacies. And yes, we probably need to start thinking about how we are going to evolve in the face of an ever increasing market squeeze from the big boys on the playground. But never deceive our clients. Never let them think they they can only get "good flea, tick, heartworm, etc." items from you.
Number 27
“After their kitten vaccinations, indoor cats don't really need to be vaccinated. They're not going to get rabies sitting inside the house. Vaccines have the potential to create alot of harm for cats, including possible tumors at the vaccine site.” Jill Elliot, DVM, owner of Holistic Vet in New York and New Jersey
I need to start this by saying "HOLY MOLY!" What the heck is this vet talking about? I cannot believe she has a license to practice medicine and that the state boards of both NY and NJ aren't going to request she take a little "first year medicine refresher course." You know like when you turn 90 and you go to renew your drivers license and they ask you if you can still read the eye chart on the wall?, and they request you re-take the drivers exam, and practice driving on the closed course, just to see if you being behind the wheel is putting the rest of society in harms way.

OK, the whole idea of "opting out" of a rabies vaccine is not the vets call it is the state and federal governments call. And yes, your cat can contract rabies inside. There are critters that get into your house and are possible exposures for your cat to get rabies. And the whole idea of protecting your pet against rabies is also to protect you. And rabies KILLS you, not a sniffle, sneeze and fever, but KILLS you.

As far as the possibility of getting a vaccine that could cause a tumor. I am guessing that she is talking about the vaccine for feline leukemia and fibrosarcoma? Here is where having a veterinarian that you trust and being present for your cats examination is so important. If your cat doesn't go outside that we do not vaccinate your cat for leukemia.

But I want to remind everyone out there that the most important part of your pets annual examination is the part where we talk to you about your pets history, lifestyle, environment, possible health risks, and then perform a thorough physical examination. Yes, the vaccines are important, especially for the very young, (see my upcoming blog on our recent parvo puppies), but after that the REAL value in bringing your pet to the vet is the part where your vet gets to talk to you about your pet and then perform an examination.

I have saved hundreds of pets lives just because they came in for their yearly exam and I found something that the owner was unaware of.

Oh, I am so disappointed and disturbed that a vet would give such terrible advice!

Number 28

"A cold, wet nose on  a dog does not neccessarily mean he's healthy. I've seen plenty of sick dogs with wet noses." Mark Howes, DVM

I remember when I was a new graduate and an owner brought her elderly dog in for an examination. She told me that she had waited four days because his nose was still wet. It took me about 5 minutes to understand what she was talking about.

I can honestly say that I have never used the condition of the nose to help guide me in my examination or diagnosis. I don't think that it holds much value to a veterinarian and I hope that the public forgets about this old wives tale too. Use a thermometer, (but not one with mercury. Do they even sell them anymore)? to decide whether or not your pet has a fever.

More “secrets” to follow…stay tuned.