Posts Tagged ‘Fuzzy Rat’

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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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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Let Blogathon 2010 Begin!

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Dr. V, who has one of my FAVORITE veterinary websites ever (Pawcurious, of course!), invited other bloggers to join her on her second annual Blogathon.  So several other highly-caffinated pet lovers and I will be blogging once an hour for the next twenty-four hours in order to raise money to train a service dog for Bradyn.  Read more about Bradyn on his Mom’s website here.You know how random I can be, so when I spin completely off topic in this next twenty-four hours, remember that the purpose of this Blogathon is to raise money to train a service dog for Bradyn!

Click here to donate!

So please donate, tell your friends, follow along and comment on all the participating blogs, write a guest post so we can go grab another coffee…whatever you would like to do to participate!

Here is a list of participating Blogathon blogs:

AboutVetMed

BZTAT

Fetching Tags

My Tail Hurts from Wagging So Much

Pawcurious

Riley and James

Two Little Cavaliers

VetLIVE

And pay attention to these participating Awesomes:

 

Adelaide

♥ Amanda Finch ♥

Biscuits by Lambchops

Pastor Scott Christiansen

♥ Russ Finch ♥

Speaking for Spot

Su Smith

Thank you to Omaha.net for spreading the word!

Music on Riley and James for the next twenty-four hours is provided by the awesome Omaha band, Adelaide.  All of the songs are from their YET-TO-BE-RELEASED album, Find Me Love.  When Adam Trabold and I were planning this he said, “You don’t need us to perform live do you?”  Ha!  Hey Adam!  Russ and I figured out how to get recordings to play on the site!  You are welcome! :)

Donations in Memory or Honor of Pets

 

 

If you would like to make a donation in memory or honor of a special pet, please tell me in the comment section of any of these posts or e-mail me at finch@rileyandjames.com.  Send me a paragraph or a page about your pet (It’s not like I will run out of paper!) and a picture of him or her.  When you do, I will feature them in a post within the next couple hours.

(Bradyn’s donation website is completely seperate from this one, so your memorial won’t be automatically linked to your donation and I will not have any way to know who donated what unless you tell me!  So please tell me if you have donated in honor or memory of a pet!)

Our Fuzzy Rat recently passed away.  She was an amazing little creature and best friend to Wuzzy Rat.  She made many friends at camps, schools, churches and daycares, and among all our friends and family, many of whom STOPPED saying “I’m just not a rat person.”  We love you Fuzzy Rat.  We miss you very much.  We have made a donation in honor of you…I think you would have liked that.

Please excuse the close up if you are not (yet) a rat person!  And to everyone else…Wasn’t she gorgeous??

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. ♥

Fuzzy Rat

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Our Fuzzy Rat died today.  I guess I am not ready to say it outloud, so I will hold onto this post for a while.  She was a great little goofy rat.

Rest in Peace little girl.  I love you.

Fuzzy Rat

February 14, 2008 – October 14, 2010

I suspected she had something more serious than an ear infection or even idiopathic vestibular disease several weeks ago when I was unable to wean her off of anti-inflammatories (prednisone).  Most likely, she had a pituitary adenoma, which is a benign brain tumor, but in rats it can grow so much, it puts pressure on the brain and causes vestibular signs (wobbliness, like in Fuzzy) or other signs and eventually is incompatible with life.  Being neurotic and being me (which are of course overlapping, and in my opinion not such horrible things!) I searched for “records” and found a rat who had lived ten months with a probable pituitary adenoma.  I needed the hope then but I don’t need the heartache now.

The night before Fuzzy passed away, she was not eating well, but she was playing and nosing my hand to be pet.  I think she was happy right to the end.  I tried to talk with Wuzzy Rat about it, but she just wanted to know if I had peanut butter.

My twelve-year-old nephew put it best.  He hugged me and said “I’m sorry about Fuzzy.  She was a nice little rat.”

Pet Loss

Monday, September 27th, 2010

My newest article at Omaha.net deals with pet loss and grieving.  We have had eight healthy pets for almost two years now, so I decided it was well past time to write this one that has been wandering around in my head and heart for a very long time.

When I started writing it, my Fuzzy Rat became very sick, and I wrote the article while holding her on my lap and hand feeding her.  If you know me, you know that was a bit difficult.  Ha!  I was a wreck!  I feared at times that I was writing the article for myself, for here and now…

Dealing With Pet Loss:  On Loving Pets…and Losing Them

Fuzzy rallied and is doing wonderfully.  I suspect she had a severe inner ear infection.  She will be on medication for at least five more weeks, but should do great.

However, in the time it took me to write the article, I lost three dear patients, two of whom were family (the rats).  I dedicate this article to YOU and your wonderful pets and also to…

Kiki the Cockatiel♥

Miss Molly Rat♥

Molly, Rest in Peace

Miss Clarence♥

 

You were well loved by your wonderful families.  Your company was crucial and your absence is acutely felt.  You will be missed, friends.  I was blessed to have known you.

What I am Doing This Week, Dwelling on Construction Jobs and the Inner Ear of My Rat

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

This week I am working much more than usual!  The kids are back in school full swing and starting fall activities.  Russ’ company (J.T. Builder’s, where he is a carpenter) is closing tomorrow, but he already has some leads on new career opportunities.  God always takes care of us.  I don’t suppose He will drop us now.  I love my crazy, busy life, but it is taking all of my writing time!

Also, I have been providing supportive care for Fuzzy Rat, who has been very sick.  Last week, she was so wobbly she could not walk or even hold food.  I have been bugging all of my poor veterinarian friends to help me come up with a differential diagnosis list that does not include “brain” or “cancer!”

She is on antibiotics and antiinflammatories, and responding well.  She even started walking yesterday!

Still could be bad, but I am hoping she is either dealing with a severe inner ear infection or idiopathic vestibular disease.  Idiopathic means “unknown cause” (same base word as “idiot” – ha!)  The vestibular system deals with balance.  Idiopathic Vestibular Disease is fairly common in dogs, so it would not be unheard of to occur in rats, though I have never dealt with it before.  It is basically a diagnosis of exclusion – if it is not something else, it may be Idiopathic Vestibular Disease.  In dogs, it has a good chance of resolution, so here’s hoping for Old Ratty Vestibular Disease!  I would never wish an ear infection on anyone, but I would be ok with that diagnosis too!

Get Well Really Soon Small Rat!