veterinarian

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.

“How should we market these scalpel blades?”
“You can’t go wrong with a giant floating, glowing blade of doom.”
“True. How’s this look?”
“Fantastic. But people need to know they’re for veterinarians. These ain’t no human blades.”
“So we’d better put animals on the box, too.”
“Should they be screaming? I really think they should be screaming.”
“Of course. Perfect.”

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Why you should never use flea and tick medication for #dogs on #cats #poisoning #veterinarian #vetmed #vettech #vetschool #veterinary. When in doubt, please call @aspca_apcc for life saving advice! #repost @doctor.sagen

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Marijuana Toxicity in Pets.

This shouldn’t be a contentious issue, but in my newbie days blogging as a vet student, I once plainly stated that marijuana is considered toxic to dogs, and you shouldn’t give it to your pets. 

Surprisingly, I was promptly inundated with comments and messages from various cannabis enthusiasts calling me all sorts of things along a conservative right wing agenda (ha!) for daring to say that nobody should be deliberately trying to get their dog or cat stoned. These people also accused me of having a bias against cannabis for calling it ‘toxic’. Though it is the dose that makes the poison, marijuana is considered toxic to dogs and cats. So is chocolate, and panadol (acetaminophen) is highly toxic to cats, but nobody accused me of being politically opposed to those substances. 

Marijuana is toxic to dogs and cats. The veterinarian treating your pet, however, doesn’t give a damn how the animal became exposed to it, and only wants to treat your pet. That includes inducing vomiting if the drug was eaten. Yes, despite marijuana’s touted anti-nausea effects we can still make intoxicated pets vomit, it only renders apomorphine less effective. We have other ways. 

We’re also very interested in whether the pet ingested any chocolate to go along with that mull. As a profession with have no interest in your personal liberties, only the welfare and treatment of that pet. It may be that whatever your pet has eaten alongside or subsequent to the marijuana toxicity could be a bigger problem than the marijuana itself, because frankly they will eat lots of stupid things. Don’t lie to your vets. 

Animals progressing to tremors and seizures from marijuana will require hospitalization and sedation. This is potentially as serious as chocolate toxicity. 

“But wait!” you may cry. “Isn’t cannabis good for seizures?”

Well, that’s complicated. Marijuana is what pharmacologists may refer to as a ‘dirty drug’. That means it contains lots of different compounds which all do different things. Cannabidiol compounds appear to be responsible for the anti-seizure effect, and there are more than a hundred variants of those. The combination of cannabidiols and THC in the particular strain that the pet accidentally got into will vary, because there’s no labeling or really any quality control. It varies from plant to plant, from strain to strain, and even the conditions the plant was grown in. This makes marijuana plants currently useless in veterinary medicine, as we can’t prescribe accurate doses, and it’s still firmly on the toxic list, next to chocolate. 

Affected animals, in addition to tremors, seizures, urinary incontinence and vomiting, often display behavior changes which could be attributed to paranoia, anxiety or possibly even hallucination. 

Herein we find my primary problem with people that deliberately try to get their pets stoned. Some do it because it’s funny. Some do it because they think the pet ‘likes it’ when really the pet probably just likes being near people. Animals do not have a concept of ‘future’ like we do, and they attribute consequences to only very recent actions. It takes a fair amount of thinking to realize that what you’ve just eaten, or inhaled, it causing all these strange sensations in your brain. Pets don’t understand this, and become distressed. They also can’t consent to this. 

Think of dogs and cats as having approximately the same mental capacity as a 2 year old child. You wouldn’t deliberately attempt to get the child stoned, nor should you inflict it upon a pet. If for no other reason, you simply cannot explain to the pet what’s going on, or why you’ve done it to them. 

There is no good reason to give your pets marijuana. Whether you think it’s funny, whether you think the pet wants it, or whether you read on some forum that it’s good for treating ‘X’, the effects are to unpredictable. The side effects are too risky, and the distress you can cause your pet who doesn’t understand what’s going on is simply going to be cruel. 

There are a whole bunch of things in this world that are fine for humans, but not our pets: alcohol, chocolate, coffee, onions and certain medications. Add marijuana to that list. 

Online Vet Student Resources

Here are some great resources I have used throughout vet school: 

Imaging: 

Clinical Pathology:

  • eClinPath: by Cornell, wonderful site that has explanations for findings on ClinPath results, lists differentials, as well as describes that pathophysiology basis of some processes. 
  • Serum Chemistry: You will need VIN access to open this, but another great Clin Path resource to refresh your memory on what each profile tests for and various differentials for the fluxes. 

Parasitology:

  • CAPC Vet: Great site that list parasites, life cycles, prevalence, emerging patterns, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and public health concerns. 

Antimicrobials:

  • AMRLS: A wonderful website that provides information on antimicrobial pharmacology and provides information on resistance patterns.

Bacteriology:

  • VetBact: provides basic information on veterinary important bacteria. List current bacteria name changes, microbial tests, hosts, and a basic description of the clinical disease. 

Veterinary Search Engine: 

  • VETNEXT: Essentially a search engine like that on VIN. You can search by species or clinical sign. Provides decent information about diseases. 
  • WikiVet: Another decent search engine, I believe you will need to be a student to use this site (like VIN), I don’t use it often because it is extremely slow, but there is a lot of information on there. 
You can take your 'Natural' Flea Remedies...

… And shove them somewhere dark and anatomical.

You sit comfortably behind your computer screen, far from suffering, possibly never even seeing a flea, either because you never looked or because they were never there in the first place, and proudly tell people that vets are just in it for the money, so you should treat fleas with olive oil / garlic / diatomaceous earth / apple cider vinegar / wishful thinking instead.

You’re not here in the real world trying to comfort an old, desperate woman who took your advice and is paying the price. Her old cat is being put to sleep because of massive flea burden causing an iron deficiency anaemia, with a PCV of 11% (lost 70% of her blood cells to these parasites). She might have afforded a dose of real flea treatment that works, instead of wasting in on your ‘cheap alternatives’,  but she certainly can’t afford the blood transfusion, oxygen therapy and intensive care her cat requires.

You’re not here as I put her cat to sleep, resting on her tear soaked chest, coat greasy with olive oil, stinking of garlic and lavender.

 You don’t see the consequences of these unchecked parasites, which you probably only ever thought of as a dirty annoyance.

 But I am here.

I am here comforting this woman while bad internet advice killed her cat with a completely preventable condition.

So to those promoting ‘natural’ parasite control, whether it’s because you like to feel clever, or always wanted to be a vet but didn’t get to be one, I’d just like you to know one more thing.

Death by parasite is completely 'natural’ too.

Veterinarians aren’t greedy; they make less than most pharmacists, almost all human physicians and almost all dentists. Their hourly rate is lower than your plumber’s. They went to school for half their adult life not because they want to be rich, but because they care about your pets.
— 

Liane Ehrich, Vet Tech, for the examiner.com.

Source

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

As vets we have to retain an awful lot of knowledge about a bunch of different species in our brain, but I could only impart one factoid onto a new vet for each species, these would be it.

Dog: Everything that can go wrong will go wrong, in a German Shepherd

Cat: Species most likely to send you to the hospital.

Horse: Species most likely to send you to the morgue.

Cattle:  Hygiene and lube.

Sheep: Not little cows!

Goats: Not funny sheep!

Deer: Don’t. Just shoot them.

Birds: No diaphragm, if you squeeze them they will die.

Raptors(eg eagles) : Much easier to handle with a sock over their head.

Chickens: If it’s egg bound there is no such thing as too much lube.

Water birds: Projectile feces. Aim with care.

Rabbits:  Drug sensitivities

Guinea Pigs: Lethal penicillin

Rats & Mice: It’s going to be a tumor.

Snakes: Don’t leave them in a cage. They get out.

Lizards: 90% of the time it’s a husbandry problem

Aussie mammals: Don’t wrestle wombats, you can’t win.

Fish: You can MacGuyver an anesthetic rig from two buckets, some tubing, a straw, a clean cat litter tray and some alfaxan. Do not use electro-cautery on a wet fish.

Ferrets: Most of their problems are from the same area; the kidneys, adrenals and ovaries seem to be part of a club to cause havoc for this species.

Pigs: Wear ear muffs, because they scream like you wouldn’t believe, and remember that they’re bred for meat, which is muscle and they know how to use it.

This is not an attempt to condense veterinary medicine into a few dozen sentences. But if you can only remember one thing, make it a useful one.

Cow mandible with honeycomb network of abcesses from actinomycosis infection. Actinomyces bovis is a gram-positive bacteria that leads to granulomatous abcessing of infected areas of the head and neck in cattle which can destroy bone. A rel…ated bacterium A. israelii causes a simillar but more rare condition in humans. In cattle the condition is referred to as “lumpy jaw.” Untreated, the infection will produce copious amounts of pus whichs discharges from the skin. Actinomyces were one thought to be a fungus because of their branching filamentous structures.