draggonlaady: (Teddy)
There is a question I get on a fairly regular basis, which kind of kills me a little every time I hear it. Because I am a sadist, I will share my slow pain with you.

The question comes in several variations, but all of them can be condensed down to: "what would my pet eat in the wild/naturally?"

Despite intention, this is not, for many reasons, the same question as "what is the best thing to feed my pet?"
Here are some of those reasons:
1: Your pet, unless you have some random non-domestic exotic pet, would not exist in the wild/is not a creation of nature. Yes, chihuahuas are genetically very similar to wolves. Well, humans are just as genetically similar to chimpanzees, but very few folks think we should all eat termites and leaves; where's the consistency there? In related news - some of the biggest genetic differences between wild dogs/wolves and domestic dogs is in their ability to digest starches.
2: Nature is a cruel bitch, and the lives of animals in the wild are typically short and brutal, with a lot of time spent on the verge of starvation. Yes, it is rare (though hardly unheard of!) to see age-related diseases such as as diabetes or cancer in wild animals. There are a couple of factors to that - most individuals die before they are old enough to develop those disease, or die very early in the development of them because chronic disease debilitates them enough to lead to death.
3: What most people who ask this question are wanting from me is permission/validation for feeding a raw meat diet. That usually means some combination of chicken and beef muscle meat, maybe with some egg shells or bone in. So turn that back around and logic it out - supposing your cat WAS wild, do you really think it'd be eating cow? How exactly would it be coming by that? You wanna feed a natural diet? feed live whole mice and chicks.
4: Myth: dogs and/or cats are predators, they don't need plant matter/can't digest plant matter. Really? Then why is it that intestine is the first thing many predators go for (assuming they don't just eat their prey whole)? To get the partially digested plant matter and all the nutrients therein, that's why. Commercial diets replace that by 'digesting' the plant ingredients through cooking.
5: Related myth: corn (or wheat, or brewers yeast, or bi-products, or gluten, or whey, or other evil-food-ingredient-of-the-week) is indigestible and will cause all manner of problems. This is only true inasmuch as allergies are a thing that happens. Allergies are a product of an over-reactive immune system, and that over-reactive tendency will be triggered by proteins commonly seen. Since corn, wheat, beef, and chicken are the most common protein sources in commercial pet foods, they are not-coincidentally associated with most of the food allergies we see. That's not the fault of the proteins, it's the fault of the immune systems being exposed to them. Guess what? When people started using lamb and rice more to try moving away from chicken and corn, we started seeing increasing incidence of allergies to rice and lamb.
6: In the wild, animals eat raw things all the time, so my dog/cat is naturally immune to salmonella/e coli/campylobacter, so food borne illness isn't a concern with raw pet diets. Sorry, no. A healthy adult animal does have a much lower likelihood of becoming seriously ill than a puppy/kitten, old, or otherwise debilitated animal exposed to pathogens. So does a healthy adult human - that's why so many food borne illness outbreaks disproportionately affect children and the elderly. And even if your dog doesn't appear ill, that doesn't mean you can't get sick from handling the food/contaminating your kitchen, or that the apparently healthy animal isn't shedding bacteria to contaminate your yard and get your kids sick.
7: It is EXTREMELY difficult to formulate a balanced homemade diet, and even more difficult if you want 'meat only'. Yes, it can be done, but it's generally expensive and time-consuming, and reliably formulated recipes are hard to come by. 'Meat only' is a particular problem because so often that means 'muscle meat only'; there are very few minerals or vitamins in muscle meat - unless that 'meat only' diet includes internal organs, nervous tissue, and bone, you are asking for huge nutritional deficiencies, especially in growing animals.

So the short answer to the question people ask: In the wild, your pet would most likely eat whatever scraps of anything it could find in the few days it had before being eaten by an owl or coyote.

The short answer to the question people should ask: You should feed a formulated, balanced diet from a reputable brand, intended for the species of your pet. That usually means middle-price-range commercial kibble or cans. Not the cheapest thing you can get (usually packed with unnecessary food coloring and low-quality ingredients), nor the most expensive 'designer' or 'premium' options (often overpriced with no related increase in quality, boasting semi-meaningless marketing terms like 'human/food-grade', 'all natural', or 'whole ingredient').
draggonlaady: (Default)
Anybody know? In the past few months, I've spoken to a bunch of people who have various similar misconceptions about antibiotics--is there some weird source out there telling people that antibiotics cause immune suppression? and/or that people become "immune" to antibiotics with use? People have even been asked me if antibiotics "gave" their dog infections.
draggonlaady: (Default)
I have issues with it. And sometimes I know it's my fault, but sometimes I wonder if it's the other people. Especially when it seems that people do not answer the question I ask. Am I not being clear? or what? Cuz this happens with people that I know are not just too stupid to figure it out. Feel free to chip in, since many of you have actually spoken to me. Am I just not good at this whole "getting my point across" thing?

Example 1: Conversation with the receptionist the other day.
"When will they be here?"
"They said they were leaving right away."
"That's nice. But I have no idea where they're coming from or what their trip time is. For that matter, I have no idea when you talked to them and they said they were leaving. When will they be here?"

Example 2: Conversation with bossdoc this morning.
"You need to sign this thing so we can keep matching funds in the retirement."
"Alright. Its been doing 3%, right?"
"I think you're putting $100/month in."
"Uh huh. But what percentage is that?"
"I can check, but I'm pretty sure it's about $100."
"Right.... but that changes if my salary changes. What's the percentage...3?"

Example 3: Used before, but just happened again this morning.
"How large is the dog?"
"Well, he's about 6 months old."
"Yes, but we charge based on size, not age. How big is he?"
"Oh, not very big, he's still a puppy."
draggonlaady: (Nice Girl)
"Hi. Can you neuter my dog today?"
"Not today, our surgery schedule is already full. I can get you in tomorrow, though."
"But we were told you do surgery every morning."
"We do, but we try to have things scheduled a couple days ahead, so we aren't just wondering what will show up. And today's schedule is full, but I can get you in tomorrow."
"Well, I'll just call back."
"Alright, but chances are we won't be able to get you in on the day you call, because we do schedule things ahead of time."
"Uh huh." *click*

Because apparently we should just be a walk-in surgery, with no warning and no preparation (and she's probably already fed the dog a nice, big breakfast to vomit up all over after we sedate him).

Silly

Sep. 11th, 2009 08:47 am
draggonlaady: (Grinding Bones)
Receptionist was admitting a dog for a dental cleaning. Owner asks if she's who will be doing the dental. What? Do you expect the receptionist at you dentist or doctor's office to perform any procedures on you? conversely, do you expect your RN or hygenist to be doing admission paperwork at the front desk?

READ!

Nov. 12th, 2008 08:51 am
draggonlaady: (Default)
Apparently, reading is beyond the scope of expected activity in this area. We have a sign, you see, next to the front door, which very clearly lists our hours. The ansaphone also lists hours if people bother to listen.
And yet, this morning, I get to work at 5 til 8, and there is a truck parked RIGHT IN FRONT of the hours sign, (we open at 8:30, it says). Guy gets out of the truck, walks over to me as I'm gathering my stuff, and asks when we open!

What?

Jul. 14th, 2008 10:43 am
draggonlaady: (Default)
"My 5 month old dog has one ear that stands up and one the flops down, can you tape that ear so it'll stay up?"
"Well, that's older than we usually do anything with ears, we can try but it probably won't do much good."
"Too old?! I was told to start taping them when her first teeth came in."
"And that would have been when she was about 4 weeks old."
"Really? So if she's 15, 16 weeks old now, it's too late?"
(uhm... 15 weeks is not 5 months. Still too old, but not 5 months) Woman then tangents abruptly to saying that the receptionist is always so skinny and how does she do it? genetics? diet? exercise?


As a side note, when I spoke to this person about this dog and her ear problem a week ago, the dog was purportedly 3 months.
draggonlaady: (Filtered)
Sometimes I hear new ones. This one I didn't expect:

"You diagnosed my dog with a lung tumor, and the other day, she spit up this big chunk of something with a black thing in the center. I don't know what it was, but it was really hard, like asphalt. Could that have been the tumor?"

Er. No, that's pretty bloody unlikely, right there. And since you didn't actually bring it in, I can't tell you what it might be; unless your dog was chewing on asphalt.
draggonlaady: (Default)
Again, I am attempting to be helpful and educational, rather than just ranting vehemently about the stupidity of the masses. Today's lecture is on the giving of a medical history.

When you take your pet (or child, or self) to the doctor, please do your best to give a complete, relevant, and accurate history, with note of changes/progression and frequency of problems. Do not tell the doctor what you think the diagnosis is or what you think the doctor should do to treat it--diagnosis and prescriptions are the doctor's job, not yours. But the full history is necessary to get an accurate diagnosis.

Example: Patient presented today because "urine smells strong". It was not until after collecting urine, discussing infection, palpating the bladder, and deciding we needed to x-ray because it feels like the bladder is full of gravel, that the owner chips in "oh, well, I know she's got bladder stones; the groomer found some in her urine a month ago."
This is decidedly not providing the doctor with the full and relevant history.

Useful things the doctor wants to know:
When did the problem start? Is this the first time the patient has had this problem? How has it changed? What have you done at home to attempt to treat it? Is the patient on ANY medication or supplement or nutriceutical no matter how apparently unrelated to the current problem? Besides the obvious problem, how is the patient's general attitude? Has appetite or thirst changed (decrease OR increase)?

Things the doctor does not want to know:
Your medical history. Your financial problems. Your marital problems. Stories about dogs long-dead and gone which may or may not have had similar problems.

As a side note; it is wildly inappropriate to delay treatment for urinary stones for over a month.
draggonlaady: (Default)
A clue to some folks out there--walking into a clinic and demanding medication is NOT a good way to start a conversation if you actually expect to GET anything.

Having started this way, though, you may be tempted to continue by bragging to your own medical knowledge, while refusing to give any information to the clinic staff about the animal or condition which you are want to treat. Please refrain from this, as is it only impresses us with your obstinacy and stupidity.

When the staff refuses to dispense medication for a condition that you cannot describe to them, the most useful response is to make an appointment for the animal to be examined. Obscenities, stomping out of the clinic, and slamming the door will most certainly not win you favor or medications for your animal.

We can NOT dispense random medications for unknown conditions to semi-random people who want drugs for unidentified animals which are not even theirs! I, for one, am in the business of helping animals while staying out of jail.

Thank you for your attention to these matters.
draggonlaady: (Default)
Bring in an animal for an elective procedure, then ask if we can hold the check instead of cashing it today.
When the receptionist (probably reluctantly) agrees and asks when we should cash it, calmly say "Well, I dunno. 3, 4 months from now?"

Because nothing says you love your local vet more than expecting them to carry a debt over to the new year just because it's inconvenient for you to pay it now. You didn't HAVE to have your horse gelded today. He's been a stallion for 14 years now, 3 or 4 more months wouldn't have made any difference, so why not wait until you have the money?

EDIT:
previous ranting about same client may be found at:
http://draggonlaady.livejournal.com/57730.html
draggonlaady: (Default)
Someday, someone will, in all seriousness, say something so entirely wrong that the statement itself becomes a fatal poison to my brain.

Read more... )
draggonlaady: (Default)
#1:
A gent called the clinic today, and wanted to know when he could bring a cat in to be neutered. Not a problem, really... he can have the choice of friday this week, or any day next week. But when I ask him which day he prefers, he says he doesn't know, he doesn't get his work schedule for next week until tomorrow, so he'll have to call back then to make an appointment.

So, uhm. Why didn't he just call tomorrow?

#2:
I was cleaning up after other people at the recycle center today (again. still. some more.). One of the bags of assorted recyclables and trash that I sorted out was full of stuff from alternate health stuff (acupuncture, herbal stuff, that sort of thing), and global-warming-will-kill-us-all type letters.

So, if this person is so into saving the world, why can't they be bothered to bin their own trash, so that it actually gets to the recycle centers instead of just becoming more litter?

#3:
There are several easily accessed (and FREE!) drop bins for cardboard recycle around town. Yet people continually just dump cardboard at the one recycle drop that doesn't take it. Today, I picked up at least 5 boxes that I'm pretty sure came from the same person (because 3 of them were duck or goose decoy boxes, one was dog biscuits, and one came from Cabellas... suspicious combo!). All but one of these boxes had had the address label carefully removed.

So, if you're going to waste your time carefully cutting your address off most of your boxes (but not all?!?) why not spend the extra 30 seconds to drive them to a place that (gasp!) actually wants your cardboard?
draggonlaady: (Default)
"Shotted" is not, the best of my knowledge, a word in English. Your pet was not "shotted". It was vaccinated, immunized, or given it's shots.

"Spade" is a small tool for the moving of dirt. It is not, unless things go horribly wrong, used in the context of an ovariohysterectomy, or spay. The only way in which your cat was "spaded" is if you hit it with a shovel. I will not be hitting your pet with a shovel, so do not present her to me to be "spaded".
Also, since by definition a spay is the removal of ovaries and uterus, I will not be able to spay your male pet. I can probably, however, arrange a castration.

I most certainly will not be "spading" and "shotting" your tom cat.
draggonlaady: (Grinding Bones)
For instance: "Can you sell me tranquilizers for my (2 year old) horse for the next time the farrier comes out to do her feet?"

Answer the owner was hoping for: Sure, whatever. Have a whole bottle.

Answer I gave: No. Not only can I not dispense drugs to an animal I've never seen, that's just a really bad idea to get started all around. If you start drugging the horse so that someone can pick up her feet, you're going to end up having to do it EVERY time you have your horse's feet done. Every 2 months. For the next 20 years. I suggest that instead, you spend 15 minutes every day from now until the next farrier's visit training your horse to pick up her feet.
draggonlaady: (Default)
on exactly what constitutes an emergency.

Emergencies require immediate attention to save 1: life or 2: function of injured body part.

A dog which has been limping for more than 3 weeks is NOT an emergency.
A dog that has had ongoing ear problems for years and has now scratched an open sore on the ear flap is NOT an emergency.

I hope this helps clarify things.
draggonlaady: (Teddy)
on asking me to do things that are either illegal or highly bad for my continued employment? (or both!)

I would not even begin to count the number of times I've been asked to prescribe medication to an animal I've never seen or haven't seen in years (and usually NOT for the current condition then).
So, in case anybody wonders--it is illegal to prescribe drugs to an animal I haven't seen for the condition in question within the last year. Puppy shots 5 years ago DOES NOT COUNT!
Nobody at the clinic will be sending out scripts for valium to be filled at an outside pharmacy, either. Thanks for playing, but not a winner.

And for fuck's sake don't try to guilt trip me into working for free! Whining that I "have no sympathy" or "don't care about animals at all" does not win you points. If I didn't care about animals, I wouldn't have put myself through four years of fucking hell in vet school and dug myself fifty THOUSAND dollars into debt just for the chance to do this job. It is not my problem that you've got no checking account and your credit is so fucked that you can't get a mastercard. Don't expect me to run the clinic bankrupt out of pity for you.
draggonlaady: (Teddy)
No, really, these things actually happen...

I had a phone call today from a couple wanting me to explain over the phone how to tell if their rabbit is male or female. We started with "flip the rabbit over on it's back" "how do I do that?" and went from there...

While trying to find the correct folder (filed by name last, first)... "What's your first name?" "We're the Smiths." Yeah, got that part. Trying to figure out which of the 2 dozen "Smith" folders to pull...

Irate client came back in complaining because when he gave us his debit card to pay his bill, he didn't expect the money to come out of his checking account.

And of course: "My rooster was acting funny, and I was just wondering if it might have the bird flu..."
draggonlaady: (Grinding Bones)
1: On Friday, I saw a 4 week old pomeranian puppy with a severely swollen head. X-rays revealed a possible fracture in the left eye socket, and a wide-open fontanelle (the "soft spot" that's supposed to close by birth or within a week after). I carefully explained to the people that hydrocephalus was a major concern given the pup's age and presentation, and the cause and possible treatments of hydrocephalus (referral, intensive imaging, shunting...expensive!). Started the pup on steroids to try to reduce swelling. On Saturday, the daughter of the people who brought the pup in calls, and I explain the whole thing again. Today, the daughter calls back and says the pup's head is more swollen, and he smells funny/foul now, he's not nursing well, won't stop crying and he's vomited up worms.
So what's her question, you say? "Can you give me the information on referral?" no. "Should we put him down, since he's getting worse and I don't want him to suffer? no. "Are the worms causing this?" YES! that was her question. Despite being specifically told that hydrocephalus is caused by improper growth and development which obstructs drainage of fluid from around the brain, THREE TIMES she asked if the worms were causing it. (She also, in a stunning display of not listening, thought that when I told her I had given the puppy an injectable steroid to try to take some of the swelling down, that I had vaccinated it. Apparently the only possible interpretation of "injection" or "shot" is "vaccine".)

2: I answered the phone today. I shouldn't do that. It's a woman who wants to bring a dog in because it's been coughing for about 2 months now. And do I think it's worms? NO! I can think of several causes for coughing in an elderly dog, but worms is NOT high on the list.

So someone please explain to me how it is that SO MANY people think that relatively innocuous intestinal stow-aways cause SO MANY things? Seriously--I have been asked now if I thought the problem was worms in cases of: limping; sudden severe weight loss in 17yr-old (or older) animals; eye trauma; fevers; severe, watery, foul-smelling diarrhea in unvaccinated puppies (Hell, I wish I had a buck for every time I get asked THAT! I could retire already); upper respiratory infections; urinary tract infections; skin infections; ear infections; abscesses; and now hydrocephalus and (probably) heart failure.
draggonlaady: (Default)
When did "big" become interchangable with "old"? I always thought "big" referred to size, not age.
And yet I have conversations like the one I had this morning..

Her: I'm calling to find out how much it'll cost to spay two dogs.
Me: Well, it depends on how big they are.
Her: One's just a stray that showed up, I don't know how old she is.
Me: That's ok, how much does she weigh?
Her: Well, I really don't know.
Me: Alright, our prices vary with weight, so it'll be somewhere around $100, more if she's over 50 pounds, and a little less if she's under 25 pounds.
Her: And what about the other one? I've got two, so how much will it cost to spay the other one too?
Me: It'll depend on how big she is.
Her: Well, she's only 5 or 6 months old
Me: That's fine, but some breeds get much bigger than others and as I've said, the price varies with weight...do you know how big she is?
Her: Well, not very, I mean she's only 5 or 6 months old.
Me: (Argh!) Yes, you said that. But age doesn't change the price. That's by weight.
Her: Oh, ok. So will she be less than the other dog? because she's younger.
Me: (Holy hell woman! would you fucking LISTEN TO WHAT I'M SAYING?!) It'll be around $100 for each dog, depending on how much they weigh.

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