Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Halloween Trick..

Having today off, I had tons of errands to run so I can celebrate All Hallow's Eve. Hubs was off too, and decided to take care of some stuff . One thing required going up into the attic. It's a crawl space really,  you can't really stand up and walk around. Hubs left the ladder by the entry hole in the ceiling. Nobody dreamed the cat would climb up the ladder into the attic.
Hubs had caught the cat on the ladder earlier, and had locked him in a room until he was done. One of the kids let him out. A bit later we couldn't find the cat, and found cat tracks in the insulation in the attic. So a search ensued, with swear words a flyin'. And true to his nature, the cat didn't want to be caught. I sent the dog's leash up there with the kid, figuring it would be easier to loop around the cat and pull him out since they couldn't touch him.
It was a warm day today, with the attic being even hotter. They were sweating up there, and I was sweating down below-not just worried about the cat, but afraid of one of them entering a room through the ceiling.
They finally got him down. He was covered in insulation, overheated and shocky.
We immediately took him to the sink, and ran tepid water over him. He wasn't interested in drinking so I started syringing water into his mouth. After about 10 minutes, he started protesting his bath, which was quite a relief. He got shampooed to get the insulation off of him. We put him back into a room to destress and rest, and checked on him periodically. He's now terrorizing the dog like nothing ever happened.
This is the cat we saved from being coyote bait.
I'm sure as I celebrate tonight I'll hear coyotes. And they'll be laughing at me.
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

My first dog as an adult was a puppy hubs brought home when he had to haul some cattle. I had my sights set on a purebred Bassett Hound and he brings me home this thing of unknown origin that stunk of cow manure. She was underfed and wormy. Think a solid colored Wile E. Coyote (even with the quirky bent ear) and that's what this dog looked like.
I named her Gilda, after Gilda Radner, because she never failed to make me laugh. I adored her.
Getting my darling spayed was on my to do list, but not a top priority. The first few times she came into heat were no big deal, so it got put off.
One day I get home from work to find what must have been every intact ugly ass male dog within a 2 mile radius inside my back yard. Obviously, my fence wasn't as secure as I thought. And the star of this gang bang was Gilda. My darling was a big ho bag!
Rather than spring even more funky looking dogs on the world, I had her spayed the next day. Crisis averted. But it should have never happened, I should have taken care of it long before that.
I have nothing against mixed breed dogs. I always have at least one of unknown origin. Still, I don't think they should be bred unless you have something that's a pretty spectacular example of the breed. And as most professional breeders will tell you, even two spectacular parents don't necessarily guarantee that you'll get anything spectacular in the litter.

Having an AKC registered dog is not a guarantee of quality; it simply means that both parents were AKC registered. Unlike some animal registries, the AKC doesn't require any genetic testing for breed purity. Sure, papers are nice, but it's not a guarantee that your dog is a shining example of its breed standards. Breeding dogs and selling puppies doesn't guarantee every buyer will give that dog a forever home. Not all dogs in kill shelters are mutts; there's a high percentage of purebreds who have papers somewhere.
"If you can't feed them, don't breed them."

How About A Puppy To Go With Those Groceries!

I had to stop by the grocery store on Saturday, and as I walked through the parking lot there was a man with a German Shepherd puppy in his truck. He shouts out "Last One, has papers, $250." As I walk away, he keeps shouting after me, lowering the price each time.
The last place I'm going to look for a puppy is in a grocery store parking lot. Especially a purebred. I see them everywhere, people parking their vehicles in busy parking lots, parks, anywhere where there's a crowd, selling "purebred" puppies.
Not so long ago, people whose dogs met a traveling salesman would wait until the puppies were weaned then give them away for free in front of a grocery store. Now, they make up some designer dog name and sell them.
I sort of get it. Free pets can end up in science labs or as bait dogs in fighting rings.
Reputable breeders or even those who just breed as a hobby, do not sell puppies in a parking lot. They will tell you about the breed, alert you to potential problems with the breed (and hopefully be able to show you that they breed to avoid the particular disease), let you see the parents, and instruct you about the care of your puppy. Reputable breeders are willing to take back dogs that don't work out for whatever reason, and will guarantee the puppy is healthy when sold. Reputable breeders have given the puppies they sell their first vaccinations and dewormings.
Love a breed but can't afford to pay a premium price for a puppy? If you're willing to have a pet quality version, you're in luck. Contact breeders and let them know you're interested. Not every puppy out of the chute is a pick of the litter. Consider if you can afford a pet quality instead of a show quality. Consider an older puppy that for what ever reason the breeder couldn't sell. Contact rescue groups and let them know you are looking. They network, and you may be able to get the breed you want for a price you can afford.
If you see a puppy for sale in a parking lot, keep walking. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


...Is up with all these damned flies in my house? It looks like a Hitchcock movie in here. This is the main thing I hate about fall.

...Makes retractable leashes so popular? And why are they always attached to an uncontrollable dog?  If I get whacked with another one of these while the dog flies all over the office, I'm going to flip my shit. Do people ever read the packaging with all the warnings on these things? Why would you buy a product to use that carries the warning: "May Cause Amputation?" These things are the biggest POS in the industry, and the product clearly states that they should only be used on well trained dogs.Most owners of well trained dogs won't use them. I've had dogs come in with leashes made from baling twine, bungee cords, truck tie downs, or anything they find in their car when they show up without a leash, and none of these are as much trouble as a retractable leash.
...Is up with these tiny women with huge uncontrollable dogs, and why the hell are they wearing either heels or sandals to take these dogs to the vet's office? If something is seriously yanking you out of your shoes, it may occur to you that you need to have both feet flat on the floor to give it some resistance. Leaving the push up bra at home is a good idea too, since guess what else falls out while you're wrestling? I really don't need to see it.
....Is up with people who call and ask detailed meticulous questions about services and pricing but then get irritated about needing an appointment?
...Is up with people who call ahead, are clearly told the cost, then show up for their appointment and try to talk the price down?
...Am I doing still sitting here in my scrubs?

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Got Bit

Today a woman brought in her little Chihuahua to be neutered. Thankfully, she did warn us he's a biter. Unfortunately his nose isn't very long, making muzzling next to impossible, so I had to wear the thick gloves usually reserved for handling pissed off cats. The little shit still managed to bite me through them although he was loaded up with tranquilizer. He was one tough customer, all 3 pounds of him.
When I was researching dog bites for my post on Pit Bulls, the information said that Chihuahuas are responsible for the majority of dog bites, but because they're small enough not to do real damage, the bites are rarely reported.
I'm not a small dog fan. HellCat would kill a small dog, he does enough damage to the big ones. And I do realize that dogs who might not normally bite in every day life may do things under the stress of a vet visit they normally wouldn't. Still, I can't imagine assuming the liability of a dog who is a known biter.
I try to treat all animals that I'm caring for as I'd like mine to be treated, but there are days, and this one was one of them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Advice Please? Part Two

This one was so strange today that I almost thought it was an early Halloween prank. I'm still shaking my head at this one. Mainly because it was so surreal.
A man walks into the office, with no animal. I didn't see a car parked but we do get a bit of foot traffic because of where we're located.
"Hi, how can I help you?"
"I need to talk to the vet about my dog."
"Do you have your dog with you?"
"Has your dog seen our vet before?"
"I'm sorry, Doctor doesn't consult without having seen the animal before, maybe I can help you some."
"I need him to tell me what's wrong with my dog."
"What's going on with your dog?"
"She's a German Shepherd. She hasn't eaten in a month, and now she can't walk."
"She's eaten nothing in a whole month? No food for 30 days?"
"No she hasn't. I was walking her every day but now her legs won't work."
"When did she stop eating?"
"I had another vet take some tumors off her chest about 2 months ago. She was fine, then a month ago, she stopped eating and I want someone to tell me what it could be."
"Were the tumors cancerous?"
"I don't know, I didn't pay for the biopsies, only for the removal. What could it be?"
"There's a lot of possibilities, but it would be impossible to tell without her being seen by a vet and some diagnostics. Not eating for a month is very serious, and she should be seen."
"But she's drinking water!"
"Yes, sir, but if she hasn't been eating for a month, she's slowly starving to death. She needs to be seen by a vet. Really it's best to have a vet see a pet if it hasn't eaten for two days, and this is much longer than that."
"Okay, thanks"
Then he leaves.

During this conversation this man had a totally flat affect, no emotion at all. I've never seen him before. We do get people who wander in, and they ask a question about pet care.  Many of them are lonely. I'm really hoping that this is the case and there is no dog in this condition.

Advice, Please?

"Hi Dr, J, this is Lucy, and Dobbin isn't eating and is just laying there looking miserable. His temp is 99,  and I don't hear gut sounds and there's no fresh poop. I think it's colic"
"Give him X amount of Y drug, take his food away and I'll get there when I can, I'm on the other side of the county."
Which means, in an hour, a day or when Hell Freezes Over.
This is a typical call with a horse vet, and most horse/livestock owners are well versed in home treatment, because even after the vet comes, administering shots and doing basic care is on them. Other than hospitals, which you load up the animal and go for an emergency, an equine or livestock vet is out in the truck doing their calls. Most owners have a stock of a few drugs on hand ready to be administered on the advice of their vet, and they've gotten them from a previous visit. It's a band aid of sorts until the vet can get out, examine and treat.
Unfortunately, this is not the way it works with small animal vets in the office. The vet has to see the animal. If the animal has recently been treated and the owner needs more advice, we can consult over the phone. Likewise, with a chronic problem. If we haven't seen the pet in several months, or never, we can't just give treatment advice or prescribe something.
Back in the day when I first started in the industry, we could give general advice, a band aid type thing until the pet could be brought in. But with the newer state licensing laws, we have to be careful of what we say, or the Boss Man's license could be in jeopardy.
The town I work in used to be mostly dairies and horse ranches. Now it's all tract housing. There's still quite a few leftover people from those days,  plus those from other cultures who don't believe in taking animals to a vet, combined with the high unemployment rate. We're getting a ton of calls for people wanting advice without being seen. Boss Man won't deal with them, it's my job. And I have to watch what I say, because I can get in trouble for practicing medicine without a license. So I tell them the pet needs to be seen, which pisses them off.
I spend more time making disclaimers on the phone, which is why I'm always behind on my office work. It's a constant catch 22.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Euthanasia Controversy

As much as I bitch about my job, there is one thing that is close to my heart that keeps me at this office and that's our policy on euthanasia. We perform this service for anyone who needs to put their animal to sleep for whatever reason. They have to come in, sign the forms, pay the fee, and we take care of the rest. They can be present or not, whichever they choose, at no extra charge.
There are many vets who won't perform this service without extensive testing and diagnoses, putting the pet (and owner) through more unnecessary grief and draining the financial resources of the owner.
I'm sure my view may piss some people off. Unfortunately, pets get sick when the owner is already financially stretched, and the owner has to make a decision based on finances. It sucks, but we've all been there at one time or another.
I've yet to see an owner put a pet to sleep make the decision lightly. It is the last option we have, and it is our responsibility as good pet owners to let them have a peaceful end, a final salute to the joy they've brought into our lives. Sometimes we have to decide this to end suffering, and sometimes to prevent suffering. This is such an emotionally draining decision that having some third party step in and tell someone they can't do it until they've tried harder is a huge crock of shit. I find it morally and ethically wrong for anyone to do something like that. Anyone who thinks it's okay to harshly judge someone who chooses a peaceful end for their pet should spend a day working in a kill shelter.
It's the toughest decision a pet owner has to make. Once the decision is made, it should be respected, and the owner and the pet treated with the dignity they deserve. I hope I've been able to do that for the clients I've helped.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dear Dog

There's an old saying that a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's. I've seen what you eat, and I don't think so.

There's plenty of horse poop for everyone. I don't see why you are fighting over one single turd. The other ones are the same, and there will be fresh ones 3 minutes after I've left the clean stall. No, I don't need your kiss of gratitude.

The farrier and horse vet can do their job by themselves and don't need your help. They can clean their own ears. Really.
I know you love chestnuts and ergots. I'll toss them to you. You don't need to stand within kicking range.

Thanks for bringing me sticks, logs, dead rats and chickens. I was worried I'd run out.

You eat poop. Why are you being picky about what's in your food bowl?

The horse grabbing a bite of your food is no reason to go ballistic. You eat his poop, it's a trade off.

You break out of the yard to get in the swimming pool. Why, then, are you so offended by baths and rain?

Sniff your own butt, leave mine alone.

It's a kitty litter box, not a doggy box lunch. Kitty Roca is not on the menu. Ever.

Love, Mom

Dear Cat

Dear Cat,

Thank you for holding down the floor/couch/chair. I was worried it might go somewhere while I was at work.

There is obviously a clean weenie contest I'm unaware of. I'm sure every human in the house is aware of it too. And I can assure you that no human is going to be judging this contest for which you are a contender, so please stop doing it during dinner time or when I have a houseful of guests. They're called privates for a reason.

Some people think that waking up to a cat on their face means their kitty loves them. I know you're wiping your ass on my hair. So don't go there.

I appreciate your letting me know when you're low on food or water or if the litter box is not up to your standards. When I'm sitting down in the bathroom with my pants around my ankles means you will need to wait a while. Likewise, when you've shredded the toilet paper into confetti means you have to wait longer for your demand request. I don't interrupt you when you're in your litter box, leave me alone in mine.

It is physically not possible for you to eat your food portions plus the other cat's. This means you will yak. There's a ton of tile in this house, please yak there. Yakking on carpet or furniture means hauling out loud machinery that scares you.

I'd appreciate if you'd pick a fight with the other cats or the dog, anything that makes fur fly, before I've used the vacuum.

The two minutes twice a year I spend shaving your butt is not murder in progress. Chasing you around the house because you're trying to outrun the turd stuck in your hair then having to shampoo it out, rinse and dry is less fun as you've made obvious. Deal with the few minutes out of your year. You're the only cat in the neighborhood with a Brazilian. Brag about it to your kitty friends.

Leaving an unburied turd in the litter box as a symbol of your victory in the latest cat fight is not cool to anyone with a sense of smell. Find a new way to celebrate.

Point your butt toward the sand in the box, not toward the floor.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Now I've Seen The Worst-Here It Is

I'm making a placeholder here. When my temper cools down, I'll post the details.
Every time I think I see something bad, some ass clown does something worse. For the most part the Ass Clowns I deal with do care for their animals, they're just difficult to deal with.
The inhuman piece of shit I dealt with today would have to redeem himself on many level to raise himself to Ass Clown status.
To quote another blogger in the service industry, I need to kick off my shoes and have a huge bottle of Fukitol.
** Warning, this gets graphic, don't be eating or drinking if you want to read further*****
This idiot calls first thing in the morning. His dog gave birth to puppies, and she's been straining to deliver another one for over an hour. He wants to know the cost of the cesarean section, stating "I can't afford that". I tell him that he should at least have the dog examined, give him the price, and he hems and haws. I ask him if he plans to let his dog die and he agrees to bring the dog in. Calls and asks if he should bring the puppies as well, and I tell him to.
So he gets to the office, driving up in a brand new sporty BMW. We can see a puppy hanging out of the dogs rear end, which is dripping green liquid. I go fill up the bucket and grab the mop. Boss Man tells him he needs an x ray, which he agrees to, and also the shot to see if we can get her to deliver the remaining puppies herself. The dog has delivered 8 puppies already.
So we do the x ray, he tells me that he is broke because he had to pay the stud fee of $2000, but he's sold 2 of the puppies at $2000 each already, so he's made his money back. X ray gets done, Boss Man tells him to let the dog nurse her puppies while it's developing. So we spread out a towel, and she gets down to business.
X ray reveals the stuck puppy, and one other puppy in the birth canal. Boss Man says we can try the shot, but it may be a C section after all. So I make room for mom and puppies in large kennel. Boss Man sends him and his girlfriend out, telling them to get a snack or something, it's going to be a wait.
Meanwhile, the phone is ringing off the hook, regular clients are in, and it's mass confusion with just me and Boss Man there. The phone calls aren't of the quick answer variety, and it takes much longer to check each client out, make their pet's prescriptions up, etc.
Just as Boss Man is about to give up, the shot kicks in and he's able to deliver the stuck puppy, which is dead, along with the live one behind it.
So there's 9 live puppies, a live mother, and thousands of dollars saved. The bill comes to $50 measly dollars over what he was originally quoted at the time of the x ray.
The bastard has the nerve to bitch about the bill. Threw a fit in front of me, Boss Man, and the clients in the waiting room, stating that he only wanted the shot. He refused any other treatment of his dog, who really needed it. Boss Man discounted it to get him the hell out of our office.
Even worse, he and his waste-of-air stick figure girlfriend with the off center Bumpit let that dog travel all over our reception area, surgery area, and kennel room, leaving smears of green liquid. They saw how crazy busy we were with other clients plus trying to save his dog and her puppies, and didn't even offer to help clean up the mess. There was nowhere you could step or touch that wasn't covered in green liquid. I had to wait on the people who were still in the office before I could mop it up. AND, he and stick figure left all their food and trash behind in the waiting room.
Boss Man has been in practice for 30 years, and he told me that was the worst person he'd ever dealt with. Not even a thank you for saving his dog. I feel for the dog, she's nothing but a money making commodity to him, proper care is not something that is in his vocabulary. He is an inhuman piece of shit that shouldn't have any animals. He give a bad name to dog breeding in general and pit bull breeders in particular. He'd best never cross my path again.
At the end of my shift, Boss Man and I have to do something rare: make a house call. A family dog needs to be put down, and the owners are too frail to load a large, ill dog in the car to go to the vet's office. The bill is more than what we charged the guy this morning. The family thank us for helping them out and tell us how grateful they are for our help.
What a day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Whizzin' Wall

The reception desk in our office is behind a wall that has an opening with a counter. The client comes to our counter to state what they need, then they are there to settle their bill on the way out. Often, they spend more time at the counter than they do in with the vet.
It's common for pets to be very nervous in the vet's office, in fact, we expect it. Most of them never get in the car unless they're going for a vet visit, so they're nervous going in. We do have shrubs and bushes outside the office and most clients take their dogs for a quick visit before coming in.
I don't think there's been an intact male dog that hasn't lifted a leg and peed on the wall at the reception desk. It's like a doggie version of gangland graffiti-the new guy in the 'hood has to leave his mark.
Occasionally, I'll take the sponge mop and scrub the wall to get the top layer off and get rid of the smell to the human nose at least.
I've cleaned up some seriously nasty messes in my time as a vet assistant. In the surgery room, the kennels, the waiting room, wherever a sick pet is. It's part of what I signed on to do when I took this job. I've had to change clothes more than once at work.
But the length of a mop is as close as I'll get to the Whizzin' Wall.

Saturday, October 2, 2010