Archive for July, 2011

On Becoming a Small Animal Vet, Two Short Stories

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

1

I decided to be a small animal veterinarian when I was nine years old because I liked pets.

2

My friend Jerry started his veterinary career as a large animal vet.  One spring, he preg checked a herd of his friend’s cattle.  Not one of them was pregnant.  The next day, his friend killed himself.  Jerry has practiced only small animal medicine ever since.

Camp Kindness 2011

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Cat Expo

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Saturday’s Cat Expo at Nebraska Humane Society was very fun!  I neither tripped nor drooled, but I did speed talk.  More time for questions!  And there were great questions, many about diets for fat cats, so we should talk more about that here soon.

Kitty Dybdall did a great presentation on cats and litterboxes.  I took notes like crazy – I really think more cats are rehomed because of litterbox issues than anything else.  One of my Life Goals is for every cat owner to get to have their cats for twenty plus years, and their (unintentional) pee antics and their peoples’ (understandable) frustrations are interfering with my Life Goal!

The Nebraska Humane Society team did a great presentation on cat grooming.  They have a handout on nail trimming that I am sure you could get if you need.

The Cat Agility Demonstration was SUPER CUTE!  Two kittens, Oreo and Twizzlers, who have been working (playing) very hard on their skills showed what they had learned on the screened in agility course.  You are very talented, Baby Cats!

My talk was on Common Medical Issues at Different Life Stages.  Even though the audience was composed of very engaged, intelligent cat people with decades of experience, I am pretty sure at one point I said “Cats are super cute.”  Wow.  Cutting edge information.  Oh well.  Very nice group of people, and they had great questions.  Here are links to the articles I gave out after.  If you want printed copies, I have more…Pretty sure I did not lose my train of thought or say “um” in any of the articles :)

Choose Your Own Adventure, Litterbox Edition, Introduction

and

Choose Your Own Adventure, Litterbox Edition

on Riley and James

Forty Things

on Riley and James

Max the Cat

Wuzzy Chronicles, Omaha.net

Thank you for including me in your awesome Cat Expo Nebraska Humane Society!  I hope tons of cats and kittens were adopted!

What’s New?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Hi!  What’s new?

I feel as though my poor website has taken a back seat of late and I have not gotten to interact with you all here much.  I did not mean to show up here so infrequently!  Here are some highlights from my past few weeks!

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I attended a Beth Moore event with my Mom-in-law, Karen, which was wonderful.  One of the absolute highlights of the weekend was this cat painted on the parking garage near Pershing Auditorium in downtown Lincoln:

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My girls attended Camp Kindness at Nebraska Humane Society, which was, as always, awesome.

While we were there, we accidently met a baby Chinese Crested puppy and her two equally adorable brothers.  She was throwing toys at her brothers’ heads and dancing around in a happy I-am-just-the-greatest dance.  Her mini dress says “Major Attitude.”  My friend called this the Princess and the Pea picture.  :)  That is her equally cute, more furry brother to the left of her.  HE has been adopted.  I do not know if she or her other brother or their Mama have yet.

Must. Resist. Puppy.

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The awesome Jana Rade of Dawg Business published this post I wrote on xylitol toxicity:

Xylitol and the Basset Hound

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener present in many products, most notably some sugar-free gums.  After the scare with this poor dog, we do not even allow xylitol into our house anymore!

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My weekly articles at Life With Dogs are up and running…

Life with Dogs

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The CareFRESH Blog is up and running too…

CareFRESH Blog

Any small pet health topics you would like to see covered?

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Veterinary Economics published my story about Joy the Puppy missing her Ebony Dog, which is neat to see in print, but brings up all of my (still pretty raw) sadness over Eb.

Do Pets Mourn?

Joy’s eyes are still intermittantly baldy-bald, and we are still all moping around, but we are doing ok!

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Next month, Veterinary Economics is publishing my post on how to make a Veterinary Pen Holder!

That will be lighter, and a fun article.  Pretty silly!

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Tomorrow, I am speaking at the Nebraska Humane Society Cat Expo at noon.  When I do public speaking, I tend to drool and stammer and mumble and talk so fast I am done in ten seconds instead of one hour and trip over my own feet standing still (or at least I feel like I do).  So that should be fun for everyone.

Nebraska Humane Society Cat Expo

If you are in Omaha, come if you can!  A cat behaviorist, Kitty Dybdall,  is speaking at 10 am, which I am very excited about, and a CAT AGILITY TRAINER, Jill Archibald, is doing demonstrations!  I am SO excited to see that!

Hope you are having a wonderful summer!

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Happy Heartworm Free July!

Friday, July 1st, 2011

January

February

March

April

May

June

July!

Heartworm Disease in Cats

The Good…

Cats are not a natural host for heartworms. They are infected roughly a tenth as often as dogs.

Cats on heartworm preventative medication are completely protected from heartworm disease.

The Bad…

Heartworm disease is difficult to diagnose in cats.

  • Before an infection is fulminant, sometimes there are no signs.
  • When signs appear, they are often non-specific.
  • The ELISA test detects antigens from mature female worms.  Cats usually have a low adult worm burden (typically one to three worms), so the odds of all male heartworms is pretty high.  If that occurs, the test will read as negative.
  • An antibody test is available, but can also yield false negatives.  (Back to the good for a second:  The two tests together may increase accuracy.)
  • A cardiac ultrasound can detect adult worms in or near the heart, but is much more expensive than a blood test.

I am convinced that because of all of these hurdles to diagnosis, feline heartworm disease is underdiagnosed.

At this point in time, heartworm disease in cats is untreatable. We manage secondary signs and inflammation while we wait for the adult heartworms to die, which can take several years.

The Ugly…

Cats become sick with a very low worm burden.

A common sign is difficulty breathing, which can be mistaken for asthma.

The most common sign of heartworm disease in cats is sudden death.

The End of Feline Heartworm Disease…

Every cat should be on a monthly heartworm preventative medication, even an indoor cat in Nebraska.  That the risk is relatively low would not make one bit of difference to me if Max the Cat were the one to contract heartworm disease and I could have prevented it.

Great information at American Heartworm Society’s website:

Feline Heartworm Disease

Today’s Checklist for the Finch Household:

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Max the Cat – topical Revolution

Give treats to the fish and Joy the Puppy, who is on ProHeart6

Hope you have a happy, healthy, minimal-mosquito heartworm-free summer!

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