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Facts, Fiction and Help Me Do My Homework for Me

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

The New Angle On Help Me Do My Homework for Me Just Released

We are considered one of the homework sites and are recognized by plenty of experts due to skills and their wisdom our team give (more…)

Some Online Pharmacies are Awesome. Some are not.

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Near the end of March 2011, I was happily researching for my April heartworm post, Happy Heartworm-Free April! when I came across this website:  heartworm-medicine.info.  I e-mailed the site administrator to let him know that dispensing prescription medication without a prescription is illegal.  (Ever the optimist, I was hoping he just did not know…)  His return e-mail (basically) said, no, it isn’t.

My formal complaint to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and copied to AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) (basically) said:  He’s not playing fair and someone is going to get hurt!

From the Heartworm Medicine website:  “Can I get non prescription heartworm medicine?  Absolutely. All the heartworm medicines available from here are prescription free. This should make the ordering process much easier for you.”

From the website of the “pharmacy” they use:

  • Choose items and place them in your shopping cart.
  • When you checkout you will be asked to create an account and fill out a brief patient profile.
  • Follow the steps to complete your purchase.
  • Fax or mail the prescription from your Veterinarian to us.
  • Your Veterinarian’s prescription will be reviewed and re-written by a Canadian Veterinarian or Doctor and dispensed by an Independent Pharmacy.

I am usually extremely easygoing.  I can find good and the upside to about anything and anyone.  I can count on both hands my non-negotiables.  Among them,

(1)  the welfare of pets

(2)  the well-being of people

(3)  high ethical standards.

OK, I don’t have many non-negotiables, but I admit, the ones I have are kind of big.

And not that this matters in the least, as far as grand sweeping ideals go, but the heartworm preventatative medications carried in house (which is probably true of many veterinary hospitals) are cheaper than those being offered on this “prescription-free” website.

Veterinary teams really do try to keep costs reasonable for pet owners.  We have pets too!  We know what little money-sucks they can be!

This situation made me so angry!  We have the medical protocols in place that we do for very good reasons.

Here is the basic heartworm prevention program of most veterinary hospitals, and most clients are just fine with it, knowing we are trying really hard to keep their pets safe and to keep costs manageable…

  • Establish a veterinary-owner-pet relationship.
  • Have a wellness examination of the pet done.
  • Have an annual heartworm test done.
  • Choose a safe, effective, pet-specific and weight-specific heartworm preventative medication from a reliable source.
  • Obtain it legally right from the veterinary hospital or an excellent veterinary pharmacy trusted by both the client and the veterinary team.

Pharmacies are NOT the bad guys here…Rule breakers are.  Most pharmacies (including Wedgewood Pharmacy online) do an excellent job partnering with veterinarians to keep pets healthy and safe and provide a much broader range of medical options than we can in-house.

It just made me mad enough to write a strongly worded letter!

Dear Rule Breaker,

Pets, and by association, owners, could be seriously hurt by what you are doing.  It is also unethical.  That’s three strikes.  Do not mess with what is important to me.

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Weird Stuff Pets Eat

Monday, April 18th, 2011

I have some pretty major issues surrounding the story “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.”  It is worse than “Rock-a-Bye Baby!”  Saying that is a kids’ story is like saying The Grimms Brothers’ Fairy Tales are for kids.  Who screens these things??

Recently, two seemingly unrelated and pretty routine (as far as my life goes) events occurred.  One of my Very Favorite Kids asked me to read him a story in Sunday School.  Later in the week, I did a pretty cool surgery.

Anyways, after my very small friend jumped off of my lap and ran to play with his Hot Wheels in the Super Cool Preschool Sunday School Room Fort, with a good thirty years before the horrors of the story we just shared really occur to him, I put my head down on the very small table and thought “Why?  Why did she swallow a horse?”  (She died, of course.)

So, to deal with the flood of childhood memories, I have come up with a happier version of the story.  Also, it is true, and based on the aforementioned pretty cool surgery I did later in the week.

I know a young cat who swallowed a dime.

We removed it in time

When she swallowed that dime.

She’ll be fine.

The End

Even in Real Life, foreign body* ingestion can be very dangerous and even fatal.  Five possible outcomes to foreign body ingestion may occur:

 

  1. It will pass.
  2. It will be barfed.
  3. It will cause a partial obstruction that can cause sickness and may progress to a complete obstruction.
  4. It will get stuck and cause death.
  5. It will get stuck and be removed – usually by surgery or endoscopy.

(*foreign body = veterinary speak for “stuff that ought not be eaten” that may cause a blockage in the stomach or intestine.  Toxins are another catagory of “stuff that ought not be eaten” and deserve their own post as they are also very dangerous.)

As with the old lady and the fly, I don’t know why Kitty swallowed the dime.  It was more a Retriever Puppy sort of thing to do than a Cat thing to do.  Cats tend to play with string and such and accidently swallow things that they are unable to spit out because of how their mouths and tongues work.

The dime became lodged in Kitty’s small intestine.  Food was unable to pass and the dime caused considerable pain and vomiting.  Without surgery, she would have died from lack of nutrition, or more likely, because the dime would have ulcerated through her intestinal wall, causing sepsis.

Such a cool surgery, but I hate foreign bodies because of the pain they cause and danger they pose.  (No, not really because of the story.  It is actually entertaining in a twisted sort of way.)  Kitty is home and well.  But how in the world does a person cat-proof an entire house, including making even spare change inaccessible, when cats can reach everything?? As complex as foreign body removal surgery and medication and aftercare can be…I think I had the easy end of that case.

Next up, an open and ongoing brainstorming list of every foreign body case we can collectively think of…Please add things your own pets have eaten and cases you have heard about or been involved with!  I hope that if you have had to deal with this with your own pets, your stories have ended as well as Kitty’s did.  And may you never (or never again) have to deal with a gastrointestinal foreign body with your own pet.

Stuff Pets Eat

golf balls

bouncy balls

rubber balls

pencil erasers

fishhooks

fishing line attached to fishhooks

buttons

leashes

rawhides

rope toys

chicken bones

glass

rocks

pantyhose

panties

socks

string

balloons

string attached to balloons

thread

needles

thread attached to needles

pacifiers

Gorilla Glue

Australian palm fruit

peach pits

fishing bait

possums

birds

rats

bunnies

budgies

poop

towels

stolen food scraps

fuzz from the bottom fabric under the couches

rubber bands

Nativity sheep

mulch

Nerf footballs

pins

condoms

shoes

tampons

pads

stuffed toys

the plastic eyes from stuffed toys

bags of pet food with the bag

bags of pet treats with the bag

bright pink leotards

action figures

dinosaurs

candy wrappers

flags

Polly Pocket shirts

dimes

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Adopting an Easter Bunny

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Learn as much as you can about <rabbits> before you adopt one.

Do not surprise the kids with a <holiday> <pet>.

Whenever possible, rescue your new pet!  You are saving two lives, that of your new pet, and the life of a pet who can use the resources that the rescue or shelter now has available.

I was going to go on and on about those three things, but you already know all of that!  And if you do not, you will after hopping around today’s awesome blog hops!  Instead, I will tell you about my favorite rescue organization, Nebraska Humane Society.

Sometimes the Nebraska Humane Society has super cute rabbits up for adoption.

OK, I didn’t have as much to say about that as I thought, either.  This is going to be a short post!

Happy Hopping!  Happy Easter!

Thank you Carrie for hosting today’s Easter Rabbit Adoptathon!  Visit Carrie’s awesome blog, All Things Dog to see some very cute bunnies up for adoption across the country as well as her own very cute bunny Robby.  Her Help Page has great rabbit information too!

Today I am hopping with the Always Awesome Saturday Pet Blogger’s Hop and the New-to-Me Easter Rabbit Adoptathon.  Feel free to join in both.  Thank you for stopping by!  And thank you Blog Hop Hosters!

Anesthesia for the Pet Practitioner

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Anesthesia for the Pet Practitioner, Third Edition

Five Stars!

✩✩✩✩✩

I love this book.

Anesthesia is the most important thing we do as veterinary teams.

Those are some pretty strong statements.  OK, not the first one.  I love almost every book I read.  I have no minimum standard.  Everyone’s in!  But I love this book on a whole deeper level than most.

Is anesthesia really the most important thing we do as veterinary teams?  I mean, we do a lot of things!  I asked my own team the other day, actually as we were all standing around a dog who was at the beginning of an anesthetic procedure.  Around the dog… “Yeah.”  “Yeah.”  “Yeah.”  “Yeah.”  “Really, guys?”  I said.  “We do a lot of things.”  They proceeded to tell me exactly why anesthesia is the most important thing we do much more articulately than I am about to do here, but I will try to share their wisdom…and my convictions…with you.

Anesthesia is the most important thing we do.

I realize that is a sweeping statement.  I realize that between all the team members and all the pets and all the clients and all the diseases and injuries and preventative care measures, there are countless things we do, and it is unfair to say ONE thing is the most important.  It is.  Nothing else we do carries the same risks, even to healthy pets, as anesthesia does. It is a powerful thing. This book reflects that well.

The Cover: I would be remiss if I did not mention the cover of Anesthesia for the Pet Practitioner.  It has a sleepy (not sedated, just sleepy) Golden Retriever at the top!  What’s not to love?  SO cute!!  And the bottom half of the cover is a pretty blue with a bit of orange.  Still getting used to the orange, but it is nice.  So…

Five Stars on the Cover!

✩✩✩✩✩

The rest of this review is at:

The Wagging Tail Blog

I was going to put it all in one place, but The Wagging Tail is a professional site geared towards veterinarians, and I did not want to leave out the silly parts of my review, you know, like how cute the cover is!  Also, Banfield’s website was just updated, and it looks amazing.  I haven’t clicked through all the pages, but what I have seen looks really neat.

So that is here, and more is there, but if you really want to know if the book is all that…don’t take my word for it!  I think you will really like this one, vet teams.  I saw that it on Amazon for twenty-two dollars new – crazy inexpensive for a veterinary text!  I may buy a copy to have at home.  I also just saw that it is available online for free!  I am still not used to “turning pages” on the computer screen, but if you are not stuck in the last millinium and like things like Kindle and iBooks, you will like that cool feature!

And to all our other friends…Aren’t you glad we obsess about this stuff?  Do you agree that anesthesia is the most important thing that veterinary teams do?

(Easter) Bunny Trails

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Every once in a while, I post a list of posts (mine or other ones that I think are fun).  That way, you can click the ones that look interesting, then click links on those posts…until you are completely immersed in pet information and lost on the internet…you know, Bunny Trails.  Fun!  Today’s Bunny Trail is a list of posts on the veterinary website dvm360.

And speaking of bunnies, my Saturday’s Pet Blogger Hop post this week will be about rescue bunnies and whether it is a good idea to surprise kids with REAL bunnies on Easter and will be linked to a NEW blog hop on the All Things Dog Blog.  Thank you for the kind invite Carrie!  Click this super cute picture to learn more about All Things Dog Blog’s Easter Rabbit Adoptathon!

Along the bunny theme, here is a picture of one of my very favorite and cutest patients, Sophie Voss.  She is an English Angora Rabbit.  Her color pattern is called “broken.”  Isn’t she gorgeous?  And so soft!  She was the first bunny I ever spayed.  Thank you so much Stephanie for trusting me with that “first!”  What a trusting friend, huh??

I called my veterinary school classmate, Anne Belshan, DVM and Micah Kohles, DVM, Oxbow’s veterinarian and a small animal practitioner in Lincoln Nebraska, (who had both done more rabbit spays than zero) for words of wisdom, and they were both SO helpful and encouraging.  Sophie did wonderfully and everything went without a hitch!  As ovariohysterectomies go, rabbits are actually easier than dogs, cats, rats, hamsters and mice!

…and along the bunny trails theme, here is a list of posts on dvm360…

Twitter

Conflict Resolution

Season of Joy (the Puppy)

A Dramatic Wellness Exam

Do Pets Mourn?

And finally, along the Easter theme…Remember! You can have cats or Easter lilies, but not both! Lilies are very toxic to cats’ kidneys.

May you have a wonderful and blessed Easter season.  Send me pictures of your own gorgeous bunnies (and other pets!) and I will post them too!

Coming Soon on Riley and James…

Friday, April 8th, 2011

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Skills for Communicating with Patients – Five Stars! This may be the most helpful book I have read from the  Veterinary Economics 25 Books List.  It is an excellent communication book written for MD’s, though the authors have worked with veterinarians too, which I thought was cool.  It is a medical school textbook and is taking me FOREVER to read!  SO worth it though.  I will review it for you as soon as I finish it!

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Summary of my Favorites from the Veterinary Economics 25 Books List – Very fun project…I am finishing the last two books.

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Anesthesia for the Pet Practitioner – Five Stars! This will be a two part review, the first part here and the second part on Wagging Tail.  Anesthesia for the Pet Practitioner is a wonderful veterinary anesthesia book that I have used for years.  The third edition was recently published by Banfield Pet Hospital, and that is the one I am reviewing.  It is also the best one yet!

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The Complete Cat’s Meow by Darlene Arden – Five Stars! OK, I just started this book, but it has a gorgeous Max the Cat cat on the cover and is written by one of my Very Favorite People AND Darlene mentioned me in the acknowledgements.  (Thank you Darlene!!)  What’s not to love??  Even though I am only a few pages in, I can tell it is also an EXCELLENT resource for cat lovers.  See, I can be objective! : )

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Love Wins by Rob Bell – Just kidding!  Different blog!  I do love it though.  The topics covered in this book are ones I have been struggling with and studying Scripture about for the past few years.  Just reading the intro sitting with Abby in the bookstore allowed me to breathe a deep cosmic sigh of relief.  Not that Rob Bell is the end-all authority on truth, or even claims to be.  He IS, however, very good at making a person think, and tackling Ideas That Shall Not Be Mentioned head on.  At least one Christian leader has been fired over saying he liked the book.  But I am a vet.  I like the book.  And now…back to pets!

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Why all the book reviews?

Life is still sad.  I miss Ebony Dog and Wuzzy Rat terribly.  I also miss Fuzzy Rat, Piggy Pig and Princess Gerbil.

Max the Cat is in the beginning stages of Chronic Kidney Disease.  Not always a big deal for an old cat, actually.  (You know, unless he or she is your cat, or…unless it is.)

But then, when Ebony first got sick, I was hoping that if and when we found the underlying cause of her Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia it would not be awful, but it was.  So I am still in a pretty rough season and having a sick cat is freaking me out a bit.  I am writing about all that, but trying hard to keep it upbeat here.

Even so, a Princess Gerbil Memorial is in the works.  She deserves one as much as the other four!  It is not her fault she passed away when I was too exhausted to write One More.  And she was super cute and kind of quirky, so I think you will like it!

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And finally…

Happy Heartworm-Free May!

And then…

I dunno!  A happier season maybe?  Just an idea…

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Hey, Thanks!

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Liz Marsh wrote a very nice article “Top 5 Veterinary Blogs” on dvm360 in February 2011 and included Riley and James! Woo!  Thank you so much!!

The other bloggers are Dr. Marty Becker (Pet Connection), Kyle Palmer, CVT (who blogs on dvm360), Brenda Tassava (Veterinary Manager Advisor) and Generation Vet (by Hillary Israeli, VMD and Phil Barnes)…all super awesome.  I am very complimented to be included in such a great group.

Thank you Liz for the nice things you said about Riley and James!  And thank you too Kyle and My Imaginary Best Friend (Dr. Amanda Brown) for saying such nice things!

UPDATE: Here is the print version of this article!  I did not realize it was going to be in print too – how fun!

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Happy Heartworm-Free April!

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Wouldn’t that be something?  If we went through this entire month and NOBODY was diagnosed with heartworm disease??  We just saw another case of heartworm disease very recently…So sad.  I know I have been on an “I hate cancer” kick lately, but as always, I am on my “I hate heartworm” kick too.  (I have quite a few kicks…)  Heartworm disease is 100% preventable, and though treatable (treatable in dogs – not so much cats and ferrets), prevention is so much less expensive and easier on the dogs’ systems.I promised to be more upbeat here at Riley and James as soon as possible!  So here goes…

Today’s monthly heartworm post is on how heartworm preventative medications work!

Science…medicine…the wonders of canine physiology…heartworm examined not as a pet stealer or dog damager, but more clinically, as a very cool (disgusting) mortal, intricate parasite.  How exciting is that??  Well, I think it is exciting…

The Medicine

All heartworm preventative medications currently on the market are a form of macrocyclic lactones, medications derived from bacteria in the Streptomyces genus.  They do not prevent heartworm infection in the strictest sense, they prevent heartworm disease – they kill the larvae (L3 and L4, “baby heartworms”) before they can mature into adult worms.(Interesting side note!  Until the late 1980’s, only daily medications were available because they were only powerful enough to kill the “L3” stage, which lasts only two or three days.)Macrocyclic lactones are neurotoxins to the heartworm larvae (L3 and L4), paralyzing their mouthparts and causing them to starve to death.  The medication needs to be repeated monthly because they kill all of the parasites that are in the pet’s system that have infected him or her in the last thirty days.  The picture that came to mind when I was trying to make it understandable was one of a rainstorm.  Bear with me…Heartworm preventatives are not umbrellas – they are windshield wipers.  Your dog is continually at risk of being bitten by a mosquito that is carrying heartworm larvae (L3) – the mosquito would be the cloud and the heartworm larvae would be the raindrop…if clouds were buzzy and annoying and raindrops were potentially fatal.

The Worm

We think of heartworm preventatives as protecting our pets against heartworm disease, and they do.  But they do it more as a windshield wiper (that sweeps every thirty days) than an umbrella that is a constant barrier to infection.  Our pets are at risk of being infected by heartworm larvae – but are protected from heartworm disease that is caused by adult heartworms in the pulmonary vessels and heart.

The Disease

I think the disease should be called subcutaneous-tissue-then-pulmonary-arteries-and-if-it-is-a-really-heavy-infestation-even-right-heart-and-vena-cava-worms, but it is not.  Heartworm is too cute of a name for such a horrid disease.

That’s All I’ve Got.

If that helps you understand the pathogenesis of heartworm disease, awesome.  It helps me to be disciplined when giving heartworm preventative medication to my pets to think of it as a “windshield wiper” stopping heartworm larvae that may have already started their unholy travels to the very heart of my pets, rather than a barrier or “umbrella” that I can just put up when it is sunny and warm and just right for a heartworm attack.  If it just grosses you out, and you like being grossed out, that is good too, I suppose!

Coming Soon…More Awesome Heartworm Information of Some Sort

Let me know what other heartworm related topics you would like to cover.  Ideas…heartworm disease in cats and ferrets, treating heartworm disease, I would love a guest post from someone who has had a pet with heartworm disease, or worked in a rescue organization and dealt with heartworm disease, or any guest post with a heartworm-related story!  Let me know if you have topic ideas or would like to write a guest post here!

Today’s To Do List:
Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet
Max the Cat – topical Revolution
(Joy the Puppy is on injectable Proheart 6.)

Coming Next Month…

How do injectable sustained release heartworm prevenative medications (Proheart 6 and Proheart 12) work?

Previous Happy Heartworm Free Month Posts…

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

American Heartworm Society Website

Isn’t this FUN?

 

The more that you read,The more things you will know.The more that you learn,The more places you’ll go.

-Dr. Seuss

Do Pets Mourn?

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Yes, of course they do!

I tend to anthropomorphize, I am highly (not excessively, highly!) emotional, I love, love, love pets and I spend most of my time at home and at work with them.

I realize that I am not unbiased.

So instead of just saying “yes,” I wanted to share this sort-of-a-scientific-case-but-more-of-an-intriguing-story…

Joy the Puppy has a built-in stress barometer

localized juvenile demodicosis that manifests as periocular alopecia.

Look!  The scientist in me is coming out!  Let me explain that super-nerdy sentence and then move on to how it supports the theory that pets do indeed mourn.  I know that this is a case study of one subject.  Still, I would believe it with no proof, so it is more scientific than my usual carrying on here, wouldn’t you say?

localized – in one or a few areas.  Generalized demodicosis would typically be more serious and warrant a more aggressive search of an underlying cause and more aggressive treatment.

juvenile – puppy disease.  Again, adult-onset would typically be more serious and warrant a more aggressive search of an underlying cause and more aggressive treatment.

demodicosis – a form of “mange” – Many mammals have a species-specific mite, demodex, which is present in small numbers even in healthy individuals.  Since I am an animal doctor, not a human doctor, I will not say “human” or “eyebrows” to you.  Dogs have a species-specific demodex mite called Demodex canis.  It can become a clinical problem if there is an immune system issue or stress, though the underlying cause is not always known.

microscopic view of Demodex canis

periocular – around the eyes

alopecia – loss of hair

When Joy was a pup, she had a mild case of localized juvenile demodicosis that manifested as periocular alopecia.  It came and went pretty quickly and quietly, with no discomfort to Joy.  I treated it with “benign neglect” and she did great.  She had no symptoms for over a year.

When Ebony Dog passed away last month, the disease came back with a vengeance.  Joy moped around the house.  That is, she had decreased energy levels and was much less active than usual.  She circled on the bed that she and Ebony had shared, finally flopping down every night with a deep sigh and her chin on the floor at the edge of the bed.  She would come to a complete stop during walks with Noodle the Poodle and look around as if confused.  For her whole life, walks had always been the three of them:  Joy, Ebony and Noodle.  Most telling of all, the area around both of Joy’s eyes went completely baldy-bald…um, I mean alopecic, again.

Here is Joy in all her shiny gorgeousness…

Here is Joy at the worst of her recent bout of demodicosis…

And here, I believe, is the reason for the stress that has caused this most recent flare-up…

She and Ebony were so close…

In fact, Joy wanted to be Ebony when she grew up…

Joy the Puppy is mourning the loss of her friend Ebony Dog.

I saw it with Wuzzy Rat when Fuzzy Rat passed away…

(She had no hair to let fall out as an outward sign of her mourning – ha!)  I have seen it with other personal pets.  I have seen it with clients’ pets.  This is the first time I have seen it with such clear physical manifestations.  Have you seen this with pets you have known?  The mourning, I mean?

My Prescribed Treatment for Joy: Routine cleaning with a gentle cleanser and topical medication, extra attention, extra love, extra walks and extra empathy.*  Her stress levels are going down, her immune system is becoming strong again, her demodicosis is going back into remission and her hair is growing back.  That is to say…her heart is healing.

*I miss her too Joy.  We’re going to be ok though Puppy, I promise.

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