Archive for November, 2010

Blogathon 2010 – The Ninth Blogger Shows Up and Says Things Wise Beyond Her Years

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Hi! I’m Amanda, and here are the reasons I think Bradyn should get a dog:

  • Dogs are the best animals around. Everyone deserves to have one.
  • Dogs really help people when they need it. Sometimes (sadly) people are too busy mistreating their own dogs to even notice.
  • Everyone pitched in to post every hour for 24 hours, or donate money, or just help.

I hope you’ll help, too. 8)

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – The Ninth Blogger

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

I know in two or three decades, both daughters are going to be in therapy, and all of their woes will be able to be traced directly back to this – for every one hundred pet pictures – dogs, cat, rats, guinea pig and even gerbil – that I post online, I post MAYBE one of them.

I have a very good reason!  I do not love our pets one hundred times more than our daughters!  There, now it is in print.  Future problems solved!  I, like most parents, am super neurotically protective of our kids and especially of our kids online.

So when our oldest asked to start a blog “like Mom” I said “NO!”  When Russ figured out how to set it up with ten passwords, extra locks and an invisibility cloak, I said “maybe…

“When I saw that she could safely blog with only the admiring eyes of her parents, grandparents and cousin watching, I relaxed…a little.

Then she asked to stay up with me and blog for Blogathon 2010.  By then I saw that it could be done safely, and was pretty much ok with the idea.  Well, I am glad I set my many neuroses aside for this day…it has been such a fun experience to blog together!  We fell asleep briefly and posted late at four am…or five am…or something.  Anyway, we are back on track.  For me, that’s pretty impressive, but for a kid too young to have stay-up-all-night sleepovers and much too young to have stay-up-all-night study fests, that is VERY impressive!

I will have Amanda post some of her wisdom here next hour.  Mostly she has posted cute puppy pictures.  But, hey!  Isn’t that what most of us do?  Those are some of my favorite posts!

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – We Made It! (So Far…)

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Woo!  We made it!  It is 5:00 am Central time which is when my Dad (THE official morning person) gets up which means it is morning, which means we made it all night!  Yay.  Now we just have to make it all morning too.

Good Morning Dad!!  First time I’ve said that first!  Ever.

Thank you Mom and Dad for loaning us the second computer and for supporting us and for supporting Bradyn!!

I was always the good kid in school.  I stayed in my seat.  I minded my own business.  I never talked out of turn.  (I rarely talked at all!)  Now I am going to be the kid who gets out of her seat and wanders around to all the other blogs while the bloggers are trying to concentrate.

This is where I would put all the pictures of hamsters in costume if I had thought through the idea better and borrowed my nephews’ hamsters like I intended.  (Why stop at Ham-Rabbit?  How cute would Ham-Lion be??)  Even though it IS officially morning, I doubt their Mama wants me knocking on their door right now, Sharpie in hand, asking to photograph their pets.  So I will come see what you other bloggers are doing.

K see you in a minute…

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Hamster Tips (and Costumes)

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Talking about turtles was fun!  Yes, I am loopy-tired.  Maybe that is a good state to be in when I need fun topics to post!

cheapest generic levitra

 On that note…

MORE STRANGE PATIENTS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM

When a hamster comes in with a crying kid, it can throw your whole day off.  Well, no more!

How to weigh a hamster, gerbil, mouse, rat, budgie or anole (I am sure I forgot someone, but one of these two ways should work with almost all of the small guys.)

(1)  If the patient may dart off or fly away, weigh them in a small paper bag with the top folded over.

(2)  If the patient promises to behave and stay put, weigh them in a doggy dish.

How to handle a hamster:

Do not wake him up!  Hamsters are not morning people!  If he is awake, quickly pick him up by his scruff.  You will need to grab a much larger amount of skin than you would expect.  You will not hurt him, but you may anger him!  So make sure to apologize and give him a treat when you are done.

How to make a bunny costume for a hamster without angering him: Draw bunny ears and whiskers on your hand with a Sharpie.  Pick the hamster up in a loose fist.  Take a picture because he will look even cuter than he does when he is NOT in costume.  I love this “tip” almost more than I love the turtle weighing tip.  *Safety note:  This works best with happy hamsters.

How to handle a gerbil: Stop or steady him by grabbing the base of his tail (but do not pick him up by the tail).  Place a hand under him and scoop him up.

How to handle a rat: Pick him up under the armpits and then steady his bottom (exactly like you would pick up a very small, very strange looking baby)  Rats do not need excess restraint, as they are usually quite agreeable to whatever you need to do.  I have only ever met one crabby rat, and I suspect he was actually just feeling sick, not actually crabby in Real Life.

Baby Fuzzy and Baby Wuzzy playing in the Lincon Log house my daughters made for them – they loved it!

How to handle a mousie: Pick him up by the base of the tail (This is one of the few little guys whose weight can be supported this way-but just for the few seconds it takes to nab him.)  Place him on your sleeve for the examination while continuing to hold the base of the tail.

How to handle a bird: When you are learning how to restrain a bird, start with the smaller birds who cannot chomp you as hard.  The technique is the same for all of them though!  Once you are comfortable with budgies, move on to macaws!

Examining and working with birds is ALWAYS a two person job!  Have the bird on a finger or your arm, with your thumb gently holding their four front toes down.  With a light towel in your hand, gently place your thumb and forefinger of your other hand in a ring around his neck from the dorsal side.  The palm of the same hand will be over his back.  Close your hand around his back and wings, being careful not to compress the chest.  Slowly turn him upside down.  Everyone is now in a position to safely examine and work with the bird.

Easy for me to say!  Actually the best way to learn how to restrain a bird is to make sure one of the two people involved is experienced at avian restraint.  Restraining birds has been like a skill chain through Omaha veterinary teams until all of us who want to work with birds are now able to safely hold them!  I even have trained teams at Montessori Children’s Room and Lakeside Retirement VIllage, so whenever I go see their cockatiels, I have plenty of helpers!  (Thanks Mom and Mom-Karen!)

Pedro, The Lakeside Village Cockatiel

 

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Turtle Tips!

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

How’s everyone doing?  I assume all rational people have gone to bed hours ago.  Everyone that is here now is probably the bloggers who agreed to this in the first place.  And since half of us are veterinarians (Hi awesome women!  Hi Dr. Jed!) I have decided to dedicate this post to US!  And the other half of you crazy (equally awesome) bloggers and anyone else still awake…you may like this too…watching me weigh a turtle always makes my whole staff giggle.

So, to keep us going One More Hour, here is:

A LIST OF THINGS THAT MAY HELP IF A KID WALKS INTO YOUR HOSPITAL WITH A TURTLE AND YOU ARE USED TO SEEING CATS AND DOGS

that is to say…

TURTLE TIPS

*Turtles like having the examination explained to them as you go.

*Turtles like to hear their name as much as dogs do.  They are just not as effusive in showing their joy.

*Turtles can often right themselves when they are upside down.  They do not want to do it just for your amusement though.  If you ask them to, it may hurt their feelings.

*To get a turtle to open his mouth for an oral exam, gently use a paperclip as a speculum at the very rostral tip of his mouth.

*To convince a turtle to pull his head or front legs out, gently pull on his back leg.

*There is no way you will ever successfully auscultate a turtle.  To assess the heart and lungs you are going to need radiographs.  The downside-client cost.  The upside-turtle xrays look really cool.

*Most turtles are very sweet.  If your patient is having a bad day (which he may be if he is there for illness or injury), hold him by the top and bottom of his shell or the very lateral left and right sides to avoid the snappy part and the clawing parts.

*To weigh a turtle, center him or her on a full preweighed pop can on a gram scale.

Myrtle the Turtle demonstrates how to weigh a turtle-my favorite turtle tip ever.  We were tired of having turtles dart off the scale and weighing them ten times, and did not want to scare them by weighing them on their backs.  Contrary to the fable, not all turtles are slow!  Even sickie-sick turtles can be speedy!  We tried this and it seems to work best for the turtles and the turtle weighers.  And it is fun.

And finally, not a tip, but a super cute picture of my kid saying “Look, Mom!  I’m a box turtle!”

Haha, my kid is hilarious! :D

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Wuzzy Rat

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

I know it’s a sunny picture for 2 am – I wasn’t going to stay up till all hours just to be up when a clock struck two!  You know, until now.

Last week I was obsessively preparing for Blogathon.  I was getting more and more excited…and then I saw it.  Wuzzy Rat had a HUGE mass on her lower left jaw.  Suddenly, all of my energy was gone.

Dr. Merkley (a veterinary surgeon) was one of my very favorite teachers in vet school.  He is now a surgical specialist in Omaha and I get to work together with him on surgical cases every once in a while.  (I love some of life’s full circles!)  Dr. Merkley told me once that if I ever needed a surgical specialist for an exotic pet, he would do the surgery if I would do the anesthesia.

So I prepared to call Dr. Merkley and inform him of a probable impending hemimandibulectomy (removal of part of the jaw) to control what I assumed was mandibular osteosarcoma.  (Had I done ANY diagnostics at this point?  NO!)  I agonized over whether this would be more helpful or painful for Wuzzy, and would it buy her any time?  But I needed to at least know what she was struggling with, if at all possible.

First Wuzzy would need a thorough examination and skull and chest radiographs.  Even this would not definitively confirm my presumptive diagnosis.  But skull radiographs would show a distinctive bone destruction pattern if cancer were present, and we would be able to check her lungs for metastasis (spread of the cancer).

Over the next few days, Wuzzy declined rapidly, becoming more lethargic, more painful, and even eating less than normal (That is as alarming in a rat as it would be in a Golden Retriever!)  If she did not improve, major orthopedic surgery would not even be a safe option.

I brought Wuzzy into work with me three days ago.  When Angela (one of the awesome pet nurses) and I got her out for her examination, Angela said, “…Dr. Finch?  Didn’t you say this mass was bigger yesterday?  Osteosarcoma does not typically behave that way does it?”  We both smiled.

In case you are still recovering from Dr. V eating cat litter, I will not gross you out further.  I will skip the next ten minutes of Wuzzy’s case and jump right to the part where I called Russ and yelled “Abscess!” and he cheered louder than he does when the Huskers score.

Wuzzy is sitting next to me now.  She is still pretty congested and on some pretty strong medication.  (She had two affected areas, and I still do not know what caused the infection.)  But here she is in all her goofiness and feeling so much better.

♥♥♥♥♥

I honestly did not know how I was going to participate in Blogathon 2010 if I had to let go of Wuzzy right before we started.  I could not have been in an upbeat mood and probably would have stepped down from participating in the Blogathon, as much as I love it.

I have been told many times in the course of my career, even by other veterinarians, that I would get used to death, and that euthanasia and losing pets would become easier and less painful with time.  I am so very glad that that has not been the case.  The day it is is the day I will step down from practicing veterinary medicine, as much as I love it.

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Fuzzy Wuzzy was (originally) a Bear

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Time for a poem.  Time for THE poem!  All together now!

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.

Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.

Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?

One more time!

was a

had no hair.

wasn’t

,?

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Random Things Over Which I Tend to Obsess

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

taking care not to dangle participles, to the point of creating awkward blog titles in order to avoid it

Movies…

While You Were Sleeping

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

August Rush

Juno

Shows…

Scrubs (Season 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and back to 1…)

Projects…

Articles – Not being able to obsess about each posting for a few weeks before I write it and at least a week afterwards has been VERY hard for me tonight!  But it is probably good for me.  Even so, I will probably monkey with all of my Blogathon posts this next week…

Lists

My vision board – a bulletin board above my art table where I keep goals on index cards (written in Sharpie-I love Sharpies!)

current obsessive kick – finishing the Veterinary Economics Recommended Reading List

Health

of my husband

and kids

and pets

and patients

Surgical Procedures – Every Step from Start to Finish

spays (I’ve done hundreds)

gastric dilatation-volvulus surgery (I’ve yet to do one)

“Other”

toe nail polish

Music

“God of This City” by Bluetree

“Sometimes by Step” by Rich Mullins

 

 

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Izzie Rat

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

My Smallest Epileptic Patient Ever…Also One of The Very Cutest…

OK, she doesn’t look like my smallest epileptic patient ever in this picture.  I didn’t want you to miss her cuteness in a Very Small Picture.  This is Izzie Rat.  She belonged to Leda Frost and Jeremy Coffey.  She was my rat-in-law, thrice removed, and one of my favorite rats ever.

She developed a seizure disorder after a course of antibiotics that I prescribed.  She most likely did not have true idiopathic epilepsy, as I strongly suspect it was secondary to the medication.  She did very well for several months on very (very) small doses of anti-seizure medication.

Thank you for letting me share her with everyone Leda and Jeremy.  And thank you for trusting me with your wonderful little rats.  I love them all very much.

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥

Blogathon 2010 – Seizures in Pets

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Seizures are scary, no matter how many times you have seen them, or if you know your friend is going to be ok, or even if you have the medical knowledge to understand exactly what is going on and that it will end.

When Ernie Dog (Mom and Dad’s tiny Poodle) was one year old, he had a general seizure secondary to carbon monoxide poisoning.  (SO scary – Mom was there too, and they are both fine nine years later!)

All Four Pounds of Ernie Dog!

Some dogs will develop a seizure disorder secondary to liver disease or a brain tumor or something equally ominous.

Usually the pets I have treated for seizures have a disease called Idiopathic Epilepsy.  This is a disease of exclusion – if we can rule out the scary stuff with examination (a general physical exam and a neurological exam, where the veterinarian focuses in on the nervous system) and testing (blood tests, sometimes imaging, even including CAT scans or MRI’s at speciality hospitals), we diagnose Idiopathic Epilepsy.  Remember what idiopathic means?  ha!  No, though it has the same base as idiot!  It means unknown cause!  And once we get to that diagnosis, seizures are much less scary and can be handled with medication, regular check-ups and bloodwork.

Our first dog, Benji, had idiopathic epilepsy.  He was well-managed on oral phenobarbital twice a day.  He had a few “breakthrough” seizures (seizures that occur even when epilepsy is well-controlled).  And like I said, seizures are scary no matter how used to them you are.  I always hated seeing Benji seize, but it did not phase him a bit.  Pets vary quite a bit in their pre-ictal (before the seizure) signs and post-ictal (after the seizure) signs.  Benji’s pre-ictal and post-ictal phases (that I saw) were always pretty subtle.  Some dogs will become agitated before seizures and very sleepy afterwards.

Have you dealt with seizures in your own pets?  Or patients, veterinary types?  Next up…the smallest epileptic patient I have ever had!  WAY smaller than Ernie Dog himself!

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥