This has been a long week. Conney was very sick when I came home last Friday. Took her to the vet Saturday morning. We were there a couple of hours while they ran a bunch of tests. Everything seemed fine except there was a 25% chance of Conney having Addison’s disease. So, they sent her sample to another lab to be tested, and he vet confirmed again. Wednesday, Conney had the Addison’s disease test which involves getting an injection of cortisol to stimulate hormone production. When I picked her up from the vet that afternoon, she seemed totally back to normal. And then we received the results stating she doesn’t have Addison’s. The cortisol injection was enough to stimulate her hormones back to normal levels. Feeling very relieved as if she had been diagnosed, she would have to have monthly injections for the rest of her life. Now everything seems to be back to normal 😀

Neutering at +12 months?

I’ve decided to not neuter Keith until he’s at least a year old (preferably 2). This is due to many health benefits of not neutering - mainly the reduced risk of osteosarcoma and other cancers. This is going to be tough partially due to the possible sexy behaviours and also for people’s reactions to an unneutered dog. Hopefully Keith doesn’t cause too much trouble and thinks with his head brain rather than the alternative…

8

A few days ago, we posted an emergency signal boost message about my snake Ivy (a.k.a. Bug/Buggy), who ate a 100% polyester hand towel/washcloth and we were desperately asking for any advice, especially if there was anyone who had ever experienced something similar.

We received an overwhelming response of over 500 notes in two days, and countless tips, suggestions, and ideas - good wishes and prayers, all for which we are very thankful.

However, it seems there were only about 2 or 3 similar cases ever recorded, so we had very little idea of what really was going to happen. Not a single veterinarian in Laredo, San Antonio, or College Station (Texas) had ever seen or had to treat a case like this - so everyone was pretty much clueless (though I received great help and support from some of these veterinarians). So I decided to post about Ivy’s case in case that (GOD FORBID) anyone’s snake ever has to go through this.

In a matter of 2 days, Ivy’s stomach acids had dissolved the towel (as it appears on the x-rays), but she still runs the risk of not being able to excrete the few undigested fibers that might still be inside her. Although she already excreted a couple along with her urine, as you can see on the photo I’ve attached (seen under the microscope at 40x magnification).

She is swimming in the bath tub every day (to increase metabolic rate) and has been drinking a lot of water (to avoid dehydration/towel sucking up gastric juices). BUT she might be able to manage just fine after this without the need of surgery (as it was initially suggested, but later retracted). She will be under observation for the next couple of weeks, but we’re hoping she will make a full recovery.

PLEASE if you’re a snake owner, or know someone who owns snakes, even veterinarians or vet techs, let our unfortunate event serve as a lesson that

1) Snakes CAN eat weird crap they’re not supposed to. I NEVER, in a million years, would have believed that Ivy would swallow a towel. So please, be careful with the objects you leave in your snake’s tank.

2) A snake’s stomach acids can break down just about anything. Except metals and perhaps hard plastics. This was a problem to me because no vets nor wild life experts really knew whether or not a snake could digest polyester because, well, THEY HAVE NEVER HAD TO FIND OUT. Now they know. Now we all know.

3) Surgery can cost over $1,000 - so if you ever experience something similar to this, don’t rush your snake into surgery. They also run a big risk of not surviving the surgery. Not many vets are experienced in operating on snakes, and the way their organs are laid out makes it a very delicate procedure, especially if your vet does not usually do these types of operations (they mostly only operate on cats and dogs). Opening the digestive tract is also very dangerous, and your snake is very prone to infections. And following up with antibiotics can prove to be extremely difficult.

4) And finally, less literal and more of a lesson learned, don’t take your snake for granted. These past few days were hell for my family, friends, and myself. I barely caught any sleep supervising her at night, and I broke down over thinking that could probably be the last time I held her. Ivy has been with us for 6 years, so we, as a family, are very attached to her. I don’t want for anyone else to have to experience what we did.

So just a request, if you own a snake, or know someone that does, please share this with them. I want for this to be out there because one of the worst feelings in the world is being in crisis and not being able to find any useful information anywhere. Not google, yahoo answers, pet owners, wildlife experts, nor vets. If something good can come out of this, I hope that it can help someone else some day.

Thank you everyone for your advice, love, support, kind thoughts and prayers, commissions and donations on mayucva‘s account. The money from those funds helped us pay for the consultation and X-Rays. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and will forever be grateful to you all.

Best,

-Grey

vine
Dear budding vet student,

I know you look at us as these incredibly intelligent humans who use a lot of medical lingo, wear stethoscopes and treat all sorts of creatures and you think/know that you want to be one too. I know you think this because I was one of these awestruck, starry-eyed budding vet students once too. With a year and a half left of my Veterinary Medicine and Surgery degree, I thought I would pose some questions to those looking at entering the weird and wonderful world of vet school.

1. Do you actually want to be a veterinarian?

Now, I know this seems like a pretty blatantly obvious question and you are probably saying “well duh, of course I do, I have since I was 7”, but really think about this. Are you perhaps in love with the concept of being a veterinarian i.e. the title, the surgery and medicine and the patients? If your only experience within a clinic is taking your pet in for routine vaccinations, then I strongly suggest you go and get yourself some work experience. In my opinion, I think it is extremely important to see what goes on behind the scenes. Exposure to the good, the bad and the ugly side of veterinary medicine can either solidify your love of it or make you realise that this career is not for you. 

2. Can you study?

Yes, you can be smart and have coasted by on your ability to just “know” things, but vet school actually requires you to be able to study, no matter how smart you are. You need to be able to have the skills to learn material and remember it. The content load is large and complex and requires time and dedication to know it, and know it well. If you are one of these lucky humans who have incredible brains, and who wants to be a vet, make sure you develop some good study skills to enable you to be successful in the course. 

If, like me, you don’t possess one of these mythical brains, then you need to know how to study and study smart at that. Like I said above, the content is huge and there are  only so many hours in the day. You need to develop study skills that are efficient and effective for you. 

3. Do you like humans?

If your answer to why you want to be a vet is “because I hate people”, then you do not pass go and you do not collect $200 (even if you did pass go, you wouldn’t get the $200 because vets don’t make money). If that is your first and final answer then veterinary medicine is most definitely, most certainly, 100% not for you! Being a veterinarian is about humans just as much as it is about animals. We have not quite worked out how to verbally communicate with our patients yet (meowing at them won’t make them tell you where it hurts), so they have these things called owners that communicate to us on their behalf. As vets, we therefore have to like the humans who own our patients. I got into this profession because I want to help people help their animals. I love people just as much as I love animals and I think that is an important trait to have as a vet.

4. Do you like money?

If you think vets are absolutely rolling in then you my friend are very, very wrong indeed. Yes, vet bills are expensive but they are for a reason (not to pay massive wages). To run a vet clinic is expensive in itself. Medications, diagnostic machinery, oxygen, staffing, maintenance of the clinic, etc etc all cost a lot of money. This misconception that vets earn a lot can lead people into wanting to enter the field. Yes you can earn a very decent wage if you own your own clinic or are a specialist, but for your average GP vet, the wage is less than desirable. 

5. Can you deal with stressful situations?

Stress is apart of nearly all professions but veterinary medicine can be especially stressful. Stress in vet school comes at you left, right and centre. Whether it be the daunting task of learning anatomy inside out and back to front (literally), your upcoming pathology exam, your first celiotomy or looking for your first job as a new grad, stress is inevitable. You need to develop coping mechanisms and ways to help deal with stress to help you make it through mentally in once piece.  

Not only is vet school a stress bomb in itself, but being an actual veterinarian is also incredibly stressful. Difficult clients, challenging cases and emotionally draining days aren’t easy and can send your cortisol levels through the roof. You will learn how to deal with situations like these and cope with the stress associated with them all through experience, but it is apart of the job. 

The above 5 questions aren’t there to scare you off becoming a vet, but are there as a more realistic approach in figuring out if this is something that you want to do. The degree is 6+ years of your life and requires a lot of time, dedication and determination. For me, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else but vet school is most certainly not for everyone. 

Sincerely, 

An honest vet student 

Second most important thing for a veterinarian to remember about the species they are treating

I’m surprised and thrilled that my previous post, Single most important thing for a veterinarian to remember about the species they are treating, has achieved so many notes. I didn’t expect so many people to find this helpful or amusing, but you did.

But it’s been a while. You all work or study hard, so you must be ready for the next lesson.

Here it comes!

If you can find room in your busy brains to remember two factoids about the species you are treating, make room for these.

Dog: Mast Cell Tumors can look like anything. Do your Fine Needle Aspirates!

Cat: Cats are nature’s jigsaw puzzles. Put the pieces close enough together and they will heal.

Horse: Do not trust a pony to tell you it is in pain. They rarely show pain to the same degree as a horse.

Cattle: You cannot push around 500kg worth of opinionated beef. I don’t care how much you work out at the gym, you will not out muscle a cow. Don’t try, sedatives are wonderful things.

Sheep: One day you may have to euthanise somebody’s pet sheep, and a bullet won’t be appropriate. They have a reasonable cephalic vein where wool changes to fur. Actually, all animals have a cephalic vein.

Goats: Goats can be sensitive to sedatives and anaesthesia, but it’s hard to go wrong with valium.

Deer: Why haven’t you shot it yet? They are wild, you can’t medicate them regularly, can barely handle them and fawns raised as orphans will see you as a rival come mating season…

Birds: There are only minor differences between the beak of a large macaw and a flesh eating eagle. Mind fingers.

Raptors(eg Eagles): They are actually easy to poison, they will eat baited meat and poisoned prey.

Chickens: It is not as difficult as you think to give tablets to a chicken.

Water birds: They get fungal pneumonias very easily. Keep all your expired antifungals, you just might need it for a duck on a budget one day.

Rabbits: Don’t fast them very long before surgery. Half an hour to ensure they haven’t got any food in their mouths is adequate, you need them up and eating again fast.

Guinea Pigs: Don’t assume the owner knows what sex they are. Big honking testicles are not as much of a clue as you might think.

Rats & Mice: Caesarians never (to my knowledge) end well. If you have to, treat it like a spey and forget about the young.

Snakes: Remember how I said above every animal has a cephalic vein? There is one notable exception.

Lizards: Some species have a ventral midline vein. If you enter the body cavity like you would speying a mammal, they will bleed to death. Check your anatomy.

Aussie Mammals: A sick joey is probably coccidia.

Fish: If they need antibiotics, be prepared to use large animal drugs with tiny insulin needles and lots of fractions.

Ferrets: Being on heat endlessly will eventually kill a non-speyed female.

Pigs: They investigate with their mouths and will eat just about anything.

3

Guys and girl, pet owners with an open heart please help if you’re able! Last night my pet 9 year old shih tzu Orphey was attacked by a coyote and was severely injured. He has 4 fractured ribs, two deep puncture wounds and multiple lacerations and blunt trauma down his sides. we’ve had him in emergency care all night from critical condition the vet said we would need to get him stable on an iv drip and oxygen chamber antibiotics painkillers and other medication. His blood pressure dropped to 35 from a 150 norm after 6 and a half hours we had him transfered to a specialty vet that said surgery would be necessary to see if there was internal bleeding and to suture the torn muscle. In addition to the near $1700 we’ve spent in emergency care we had to pay for an oxygen transport to the new vet at near $450 that lands us at over $2000 out of pocket with no pet insurance and we’re unable to pay for his surgery let alone his current continued care. We took him home unable to continue treatment and he’s still in unstable condition to whether out the storm on his own and I’m so worried he won’t make it through the night. He needs to be cared for but we are unable to keep up financially. Please if you are able to help I would be eternally grateful, any amount helps and if you’re unable to donate please spread this around! I don’t want my little guy to pass because I am unable to pay for medical services :( you can donate on paypal at coconerucannon@gmail.com the estimated cost for the care he needs is inbetween $5000 and $6000 T-T

Update: so far we’ve raised $500 thank you for the help so far everyone I deeply appreciate it and I think orphey will too!
Honestly
  • Client:so, my dog had a rash a few weeks ago. Now my other dog has one, and the first dog's rash is back. I started giving her the leftover antibiotics from last time, but I was wondering if I could get some more.
  • Me:antibiotics are prescription medications so by law we have to see the animal to dispense them. Also, you shouldn't have 'left over' antibiotics.
  • Client:I know, I know. I guess it's my silly fault the rash came back for not finishing the course.
  • Me (before thinking):yeah, probably.
  • Client:... You're not supposed to say that!
  • Me:what am I supposed to say, sir?
  • Client:you're supposed to assure me it's not my fault.
  • Me:it's not my job to lie to you sir. It's my job to treat your dog and ensure proper use of antibiotics.
2

Generalized demodicosis, or red mange, in a puppy. Most mammals have some species of Demodex mites living without problem on their skin, but in animals with malfunctioning immune systems, Demodex can overgrow and cause the following appearance. In more localized cases topicals can help to remove the overgrowth while the animal’s immune system improves, but in cases this severe, ivermectin treatments or heavily toxic dips are necessary.

This puppy is being treated with ivermectin and has made significant improvement, though treatment will take 2-3 months at minimum.

List of Tips for Staying Organized ( and also studying I guess).

1. Keep all materials from the same class in the same area.

- Its a lot easier to start studying when you don’t have to go searching for all your materials.

2. Make sure you take stock of all your supplies (pens paper etc) before you buy new stuff. 

- Having 20 mechanical pencils and no notebook paper is kind of annoying.

3. Have a whiteboard or notebook to write down assignments and tasks for the day. 

- You will forget stuff. It does not matter how good of a memory you have. 

4. Make sure you mark where you are in your textbook,notebook, etc 

- so you don’t have to shuffle through pages to get to the chapter you need.

5. Keep water in your study area

-Not only are you being a hydration master but its also a nice little mental break to stop and take a sip of water. 

6. When you’re done studying, put everything back in its place.

-Leaving all your materials all over your house or study area can cause you to loose things. 

7. Clean out your drawers after every semester (or at least after every school year)

-Donate the clothes you don’t wear anymore and organize any notes and materials you saved from your classes. And make sure to reorganize both your clothes in your closet AND drawers in the process!

8. Take a break!

- When I feel overwhelmed from studying, I try and take a break by doing a task thats going to take me some time. Like laundry, the dishes, cleaning the litter box or cleaning out my purse. Its a good mental break. For short breaks, I get up to stretch my legs and go to the bathroom. I also try and get myself a small snack. 

9. Change your study area. 

-Sometimes being in the same place for a long time can become boring and uninviting, so move somewhere thats going to inspire you to focus. 

10. Wear comfy clothes, take a shower, take out your contacts, pull your hair back, and find some place comfortable. 

- You focus best when you’re comfortable and relaxed. 

11. Treat yourself to the spa

-After a long day of studying I try and give myself a little relaxation time by doing a facemask, harimask, blackhead strip. Whatever! Sometimes I even shave my legs and its calming. 

12. Light a candle

- Pick a scent thats calming, but will also keep you mentally alert. 

13. Set out your clothes the night before

- That way you have more time in the morning to wake up slowly and not have to think. 

14. Stock up on health and beauty supplies before the semester. 

- That way you don’t run out at the most inconvenient time during the semester. 

15. Map out where your going ahead of time. 

-That way you have an idea of the direction you should be heading, and aren’t scrambling to find your way. 


Believe me. I’m no organization study expert, but these are the few things I do to keep myself at least partially in line.