Please, stop.

“Hey! How are you going? I just have a quick question regarding [insert pets name here].”

“Long time no speak. My dog hasn’t eaten in 6 days and has had vomiting and diarrhoea for 5 of those days. What should I do?”

“Hey, just a quick one but I really want to let my cat have kittens just once so she can experience motherhood, is 8 months too young to let her mate?”,

Please, stop. 

Please, if you have a friend you rarely chat to, a friend of a friend of a friend or an extremely distant acquaintance who is a vet/student/nurse/tech etc, it is really not okay to ask for free advice. It is actually disrespectful.  

Most of us (including myself) are obliging and willing to help because that is the nature of our profession. Though I tell you, if you haven’t bothered to say hey prior to Mitten’s getting into a cat fight at 2am or if you haven’t cared to check in and see how life is going before Charlie started coughing 2 days ago, it is not okay to ask for that free advice.

You usually message us in the middle of a busy day or you message late at night when we are settling in, trying to unwind from a 15 hour hectic day of sick animals and devastated/angry clients. A Facebook message or text pops up from someone we haven’t spoken to in 5-10 years. I get it, you are desperate. Most want to know if they should take their pet to a vet or not. My honest answer is, if you are desperate enough to ask someone you rarely know or haven’t spoken to in a while if you should seek medical attention for your pet, then you more than likely need to. If you are unsure, it is best to call an emergency clinic and ask for advice.

Be mindful. Veterinary medicine already consumes our lives. It bombards us in all aspects of life. I will reply and help as much as I can without physically seeing your animal, but keep in mind that I am most likely replying to you when I am shoveling food into my mouth in the 2 minutes I have spare to eat during a shift or I am in the middle of spending some rare, free time with my loved ones. I will always advise to seek veterinary attention because if you are that concerned to message me, best bet is that your pet requires it.

All we ask is to please be mindful. 
Dear pre-vet

Hi there. I am approaching the start of my final year of vet school and I want to help you. Throughout my vet school journey I’ve learned a lot and I would like to tell you what I wish someone told me when I was in your situation. As those who follow me may already know, I like lists so:

1. You will get into vet school. Period.
When you know what you want and you are willing to work for it, you will get it. Hard road? Yes. Will you fail? Most likely. Should you give up? Fuck no. Anyone who tells you otherwise are telling you the same lies they tell themselves to validate not going after their own dreams.

2. Enjoy the journey.
You are allowed to be happy and enjoy life before reaching your goals. It’s the getting there that makes the end goal all the more sweeter. So while you’re doing that extra subject to boost your marks to get into vet school try to enjoy it!

3. There is no real ‘right way’.
People have their own baggage as I alluded to in point 1, so asking for advice on how to get into vet school is great and all but everyone’s situation is different. It’s important to learn from other peoples experiences but don’t let that hold you back from making your own. Just because it may not be ‘conventional’ doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

4. Work on yourself and your own mental health.
Do not fall into the trap of, ‘oh well once I get into vet school then I won’t have to worry about grades anymore and everything will be fine’. No, there will be other things to stress about. Stress is a part of life so start learning to manage it now because as a vet you’ll also have to manage other peoples stress on top of your own.

5. Only compare yourself to the you of yesterday.
Getting stressed over class averages is a waste of time because at the end of the day all you can do is your best. People can also bullshit about how much they ‘didn’t study’ for the test but still got a good mark. Everyone’s study techniques are different and what constitutes as a lot of study if relative. Just do you. You’re great!

6. When you are not coping well with something, tell someone.
Even if you think it might be silly relative to all the other problems in the world, they are still your problems so they’re important. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t have your best interests at heart and are not worth your time. So when you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with study or panicking that you may not get into vet school this year, talk to someone about it.

If you are procrastinating a lot, you probably need a break. Take some time off and do something you enjoy. Afterwards your study will be far more efficient.

8. The hard work doesn’t stop when you get into vet school. I doubt it stops when you’re a vet.
This is what I want to leave you with because this also ties back to points 2 and 4. As I am sure you are aware with going into this industry, mental health is a big issue. As the new generation of vet students and vets coming through let’s try to lower these statistics. Do not try to ignore what you’re feeling because ‘once I get into vet school it’ll all be fine’ or try to ‘tough it out’, if you need help, seek help, there is no shame in that. 

Good luck with your studies, be gentle with yourself, be kind to others and always give it your all. The world is your oyster and may your journey of life be a long one.




Avian Medical Case of the Day: Do you know what these are? I saw something I had never seen in 28.5 years of avian veterinary practice the other day! A poor little sick budgie had SIX OF THESE CONTAINERS OF POISON ON HIS CAGE, AND THE CAGE WAS KEPT MOSTLY COVERED SO HE WAS TRAPPED WITH THESE FUMES!!!
“Bird Protectors” are a completely outdated waste of money that are supposed to get rid of parasites, but can actually put your bird in danger! They contain 50% Paradichlorobenzene. Mothballs in the U.S. contain very high concentrations of either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene as active ingredients. They are meant to be used in closed, airtight containers so that the fumes they produce are trapped to kill moths. Mothballs can harm people, pets, or wildlife that may touch or eat the mothballs, or breathe their vapors.
We aren’t sure, but this may be why the poor little bird was sick. The “Bird Protectors” were removed from the cage, and other tests and treatments were performed to see if we can save the poor little fluffed up baby.
Save your money and your bird, do not purchase these, or the Mite and Lice Sprays sold at pet stores or on Amazon or other sites, because parasites are very rare on birds that don’t go outside.
In fact, if you have some spare time, please go to the websites for the big pet stores and Amazon and leave negative reviews, as these products contain great ratings from people who don’t know any better! 

- Julie Burge, DVM

“Why are they still selling them?” 

Just as they still sell sand perches even though they’re awful for birds.
I had someone relinquish cockatiels and inside their cage, every single perch had sand perch paper rolls over them. 

I asked a spokes person from a bird supply company (I forget which one) about discontinuing them. She said they were selling, and unless they had a product to replace them with, the will continue to sell them.
She herself actually fought to get rid of them and hit a brick wall. This is where consumers need to speak with their dollar and online reviews.

Rotation 12 : Pathological anatomy/autopsies (1 week)

I kinda liked it! First, it felt good to do something else after 2 endless weeks in the large animals hospitals. Also the technicians were really helpful and nice, and very knowledgeable. 
The first case (that I have to do a report on) was a 2 months-old puppy presented in the ICU for convulsions non responsive to Valium. Sadly we didn’t find anything in the autopsy.
On the same day, we had a 12 yo Westie who died from intestinal occlusion.
On Tuesday, WE GOT THE BABY GIRAFFE. It was cool to see and a lot of people from the school heard the news and came back to take a look at it. The annoying thing is that noone really knew what was normal and what was pathological on a giraffe?? If anyone knows if partial patent ductus arteriosus is physiological on newborn giraffes, let me know!
While some people from my group were working on the giraffe, I worked on a dog, but we didn’t find anything very conclusive on his death.
On Wednesday, we had our first cat! A 19 yo cat, who was actually in quite a good shape for her age! We concluded that she probably had a pituitary condition, we were thinking something to do with hyperthyroidism, but since it was not explored while she was alive it’s quite complicated.
On Thursday and Friday we had no cases and worked on pictures.

What I learned : 
- cats kidneys are really pale, almost white
- euthanasia induced by barbiturates can create small crystals in the atria
- there is a very noticeable difference between organs when there is hypostasis (even noticeable on the brain hemispheres!)
- osseous metaplasia is very common on the lungs of old animals
- relearned about the spleen anatomy
- having a dog dying from eating literally a piece of tree bark is shit
- lymphoma in cats creates big white masses on the digestive tract