Can't afford the vet, can't afford the pet.

When we in the veterinary industry defiantly cry “If you can’t afford the vet then you can’t afford the pet,” please try to understand what we’re talking about.

We’re not talking about people that have a pet for years, fall on hard times and can’t find the $3000 it needs for surgery or intensive care. Life happens. Goodness knows most of us don’t have that kind of money lying around either.

We’re talking about people who spend $1000’s on a new puppy… But can’t afford vaccines, desexing or heartworm preventative.

We’re talking about people who ‘rescue’ an animal but fail to provide it with basic care.

Or 'rescues’ that aren’t treating the issues of animals they acquire, especially if they delay treatment to beg for donations online.

And the people that haven’t wanted to spend money on preventative care for their senior pet for the last three years because “she’s old and will die soon.”

Or the ones that spend hundreds of dollars on doggy fashion accessories but accuse you of price gouging on antibiotics.

Who can’t borrow $50 from all the people they know, but want a payment plan from you. And a discount because they 'rescued’ it as a puppy.

For whom $20 of take home pain relief is 'just too much’.

Who keep acquiring more and more animals with problems that need extensive treatment that they can’t pay for.

Look, we don’t want to see anything suffer and will help out when we can, and try to tailor things to your budget…

But if you can’t afford BASIC veterinary care, then you cannot afford the pet. Don’t get it.

Are We feeding Snakes to Death?

In the world of herpetoculture there are as many opinions on how to properly keep species as there are species themselves. Some of it is backed by science and facts while much of it is baseless and is just done that way because that’s how it always has been. One of the major spheres of influence comes from breeders of reptiles. The goal of reptile breeders is to produce reptiles for sale, which is their job. Therefore many breeders keep lots of animals in rack systems to conserve space and feed their animals frequently to encourage rapid growth and sexual maturation. Whether or not rack systems are wrong is the subject of a different post. What I would like to concentrate on is how we sometimes over feed reptiles, especially snakes, and what the side effects are.

It is well known that after snakes eat their metabolisms are kicked into high gear to help digest the meal. Studies in Burmese pythons show that their hearts actually grow larger in size after a meal to accommodate the increase need for oxygenation of the tissues and to supply more blood to the GI tract. I never really paid much attention to this as a clinician until I had a client who breeds several species of python tell me that his snakes just aren’t living as long as they did when he first got into the business. After spending several days pouring over all of his data (he keeps meticulous records on each snake) and running diagnostics on a few snakes and necropsies on those that had died, I only really found one main issue- he was feeding larger prey items more often starting about a decade ago. I looked into the literature and spoke with some other herp vets and found that animals that are fed more often age faster than those that eat less.

Who cares right? The difference seems only to be a few years in longevity. For breeders whose main goal is producing young to sell, it probably is insignificant. But for people that own snakes just for their own enjoyment or those in zoological institutions those extra years may really matter, especially for endangered species. I see a lot more obesity in reptiles than I used to due to over feeding so not only are we making reptiles fat which causes health problems, we are shortening their lives just be speeding up their metabolisms.

Below are a few of the articles if you would like to read them and form your own conclusion.

Eating increases oxidative damage in a reptile.
J Exp Biol. July 2016;219(Pt 13):1969-73.
Michael W Butler 1, Thomas J Lutz 2, H Bobby Fokidis 3, Zachary R Stahlschmidt 4

Effects of meal size on postprandial responses in juvenile Burmese pythons (Python molurus)
Am J Physiol. March 1997;272(3 Pt 2):R902-12.
S M Secor 1, J Diamond

The effects of fasting duration on the metabolic response to feeding in Python molurus: an evaluation of the energetic costs associated with gastrointestinal growth and upregulation
Physiol Biochem Zool. 2002 Jul-Aug;75(4):360-8.
Johannes Overgaard 1, Johnnie B Andersen, Tobias Wang

Physiology: postprandial cardiac hypertrophy in pythons
Nature. March 2005;434(7029):37-8.
Johnnie B Andersen 1, Bryan C Rourke, Vincent J Caiozzo, Albert F Bennett, James W Hicks

Respiratory consequences of feeding in the snake Python molorus
Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. November 1999;124(3):359-65.
J Overgaard 1, M Busk, J W Hicks, F B Jensen, T Wang

One year ago, on this day, I started working as a vet. I realised:
- it’s okay to not know everything
- books are your best friends ( all hail Cote’s Clinical Veterinary Advisor)
- more often than not, clients are disrespectful morons
- others are very cooperative and kind
- you need some time to get used to being called doctor
- never trust owners who claim that their dog has never bitten anyone
- no matter how hard you try, you lose patients; we’re trying to heal living beings, not fixing washing machines
- there will be days when you insert an IV canulla at first try into a kitten, and days when you fail to insert a pink canulla into a Staffordshire terrier
- euthanasia is one of the hardest parts of our job, but we have to learn to accept it; sometimes it’s the most humane option
- intact female dog showing vague symptoms- always check for pyometra
- atopic dermatitis is No.1 in my Top 5 of frustrating diseases
- owners entering with a rabbit sends chills down my spine
- I die a little inside when I see pugs, french bulldogs and chihuahuas
- I strongly dislike breeders/reproducers
- how difficult it is for young doctors to be taken seriously
- how many times I have been mistaken for an assistant, because God forbid only men can be doctors
- it’s really entertaining to see old ladies swoon over one of my handsome colleagues
- clients use the most surprising methaphors when they talk about animal genitalia
- it’s difficult to hold back a chuckle when owner comes in for tablets against distemper
The list can go on forever I think, but the most important thing I realised is that, despite the difficulties, I immensely love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Old cattle vets

One of my favourite lecturers at vet school was an old cattle vet. Retired from practice long ago, his demeanour was best described as “jolly but practical” and he had seen many years of students pass before him.

Many years. It used to be he would be teaching bovine obstetrics to a room full of strapping Aussie blokes, each more than capable of lugging a 40kg jersey calf around on their shoulders. Nowadays most of our class were women, and a fair chunk of those were petite international students, barely bigger than the aforementioned 40kg jersey calf themselves.

He knew very well that most of these smaller women were likely to end up in small animal practice, but that wasn’t going to stop him from trying to convert them to the joys of cattle medicine.

I remember him very clearly in the bovine obstetrics lectures,pulling a calf is a seriously physical task. Cattle are BIG and they are all muscle. When a cow decides she is going to push a 40kg calf at you the simple fact is that you cannot push against her. That uterus of hers is stronger than your forearms, and she’s prepared to push all day. Fortunately, there are drugs for that.

Our lecturer would merrily tell us some very colourful stories about pulling calves and the sorts of farmers he had encountered, including their unfortunate tendency to try to pull a calf first, using a tractor if need be.

Attaching a calf to a tractor and then driving away from the cow does not, in fact, make it any easier for her to give birth. If it’s stuck, it’s stuck, and no tractor is substitute for a lot of lube and some intra-uterine calf leg Tetris.

So what do you do, he specifically asked the international girls huddled down the front, when you show up at a farm, and the farmer, built like a brick house, and his son, also built like a brick house, have already tried and failed to pull this calf?

You walk up there, and you show them how it’s done.

You have a veterinary a science education and ten litres of lube. You can get the calf out. Use your brain, then give them the ropes to pull and use their muscles. Take control. Tell them what to do. Climb onto a box if you have to. If you’re particularly little, you can get both hands up there. You CAN pull that calf.

Up until that point, I don’t think those students actually expected to be able to really do it. But he expected them to.

And if all else fails, he continued, do a Caesarian. They won’t be judgemental if you didn’t pull a calf if they’re already tried anyway.

And you know, I personally know at least one of those petite little students ended up in cattle practice.

You can do it.

Things that sound cooler than 'veterinarian'

Let’s be honest, getting to say “I’m a veterinarian,” is pretty cool as is, but there are a couple of phrases that we could use to make our profession sound even cooler. Here are a handful.

“I remove testicles from unwilling carnivores for a living.”

“I’m perpetually in training for a zombie apocalypse survival scenario. My bite percentage this week is 0%.”

“I uninstall kitten factories.”

“I’m supposed to make sure your meat wont infect you. It’s a tough job.”

“My job is to not kill people, with the challenges gradually increasing through the week.”

“I treat patients who aren’t ashamed of their body hair.”

“I do everything except human. Unless it’s an emergency.”

“I save lives… And then clip their toenails.”

And my personal favourite…

“I’m a physician for non-human lifeforms. No, the company I work for is not nearly as well known as NASA or the FBI.”

Study Motivation for VET and MD Students


  1. You’ll be using a stethoscope everyday
  2. You’ll be wearing a white coat with your name on it
  3. You’ll be called “Doctor”
  4. You’ll be wearing pajamas for work
  5. You’ll be standing in a beautiful OR
  6. You’ll be able to use amazing instruments and machines
  7. You’ll be the bridge between life and death
  8. You’ll be solving puzzles for a living
  9. You’ll be saving lives
  10. You’ll make someone happy
  11. You’ll see lots of puppies and kittens and all sorts of animals
  12. You’ll be happy
  13. You’ll be conquering your dream
  14. You’ll be even more amazing
  15. For all you know you could be the future of medicine

Originally posted by gajanoncensure

Is Anyone Else-

Okay with bodily fluids but finds soggy dishes/food DISGUSTING? Plucking maggots out of a crusty wounds? No problem. Lancing a juicy pus-filled abscess? Sure! Cleaning up diarrhea or vomit with worms in it? I can do that. Getting splattered with blood during surgery? Not an issue. But touching soggy food in my kitchen sink? Noooooooooo no no no no. EWWWWWWWWW

Am I a complete weirdo or what?


Very simplified but still informative explanation of how anesthesia works in both people and animals.


So today I was changing a patient’s splint. Then a massive spider appears. I freaking bailed.. but I carried my 40lb patient with me. Gotta protect her, too, ya dig.

Her owner was standing at the front desk, so I had to tell them “she’s not done yet.. There was just a spider.. so we bailed…” at which the receptionist and owner both laughed at me for. BUT AT LEAST I SAVED THE DOG.

A cat was brought in for one episode of vomiting and rubbing at its eye.  The cat would not allow a thorough oral exam without hissing and trying to bite.

When examining the eye a small hard object was discovered embedded in the lid – not just firm, but HARD.  It could not be seen unless the eyelid was manually pulled down.  An attempt was made to remove it and it was STUCK SOLID, which was deeply concerning.

As it turned out, the tiny dark object seen in the lower lid?

A FULL-SIZED SEWING NEEDLE, thread still attached!  The cat had tried to swallow it, but instead it stabbed through the roof of the cat’s mouth all the way up into the interior of the eyelid, narrowly missing the globe of the eye.  No wonder the cat didn’t cooperate for an oral exam.

The cat exhibited no ill effects after treatment with pain relief and antibiotics, and avoided surgery for an intestinal string and needle foreign body.  Cats are truly ridiculous and amazing!