Posts Tagged ‘veterinarian’

Congratulations Dr. McIlnay!

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Dr. Tonya McIlnay, Omaha’s wonderful veterinary ophthalmologist and her equally wonderful team, moved into a new building recently and had their Open House tonight.

Remember when I went to the Farmers’ Market and I saw a dog and Vernon said (paraphrase) “It is going to be alright” and then it was? I again walked into a crowd On Purpose tonight and again it turned out just fine.

In fact, it was a very fun evening.  A hug from Dr. McIlnay right as I walked in the door and a tour from Jen and Shelly (MY coworkers, who were just being nice because they know how much I unlove crowds) is equally comforting as seeing a dog and having Vernon say everything will be okay.

Jen and Shelly - Thank you both! I think you are great.

Anyways, I am a grown up now.  I join crowds.  Because so many of my Favorites were there.  And I like Dr. McIlnay so much.  And her new hospital is really nice.  I would not have wanted to miss THAT.

So here are some pictures.  I forgot to get a picture of Dr. McIlnay’s vet tech, Susie, and my coworker Dr. Kanne, who are also my Favorites.  The pictures also do not do the beautiful building justice.  I bet if you called ahead and were super nice, they would give you a tour sometime.  It really is great.

Whitney, Trey and Becky, more awesome Gentle Doctor coworkers

Allison and Rhea, MORE awesome Gentle Doctor coworkers

Angie and Erin, still MORE awesome Gentle Doctor coworkers

Amanda, yet another awesome Gentle Doctor coworker

Pastor Mark and Pastor Wenda - They stayed after the Open House to offer a blessing for the new location and pray for Dr. McIlnay and her team. How cool is that?? I know! Very!

Pastor Wenda and Shawn McIlnay, Dr. McIlnay's husband who is AS NICE as his wife!

Dr. McIlnay and Dr. Backlund, another very nice Omaha veterinarian

May your pets never have problems with their eyeballs.  But if they do, may they be blessed with Dr. McIlnay as their doctor.



 

Communication

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

A veterinarian friend recently mentioned that she was interested in attending the Pfizer FRANK Communication Course offered by the Argus Institute of Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Sometimes I get an idea in my head and obsess over it until I have explored every possible angle of the idea that I can manage or have driven everyone close to me crazy.  It is one of my most <endearing> qualities.  Ha!  My kick since my friend’s comment (well, one of them) has been communication.

Soon after I heard about the CSU course, I read my now second favorite book in the world, Skills for Communicating with Patients, an in depth review of the human medical side of doctor-patient communication.

And this week I found out that I get to attend a FRANK Communication Course through my work this fall!  Woo!  Can you believe it??

In case you want to see this obsession through with me…or learn more about communication like a normal person…here are some fun veterinary communication information links…

Dr. Nancy Kay’s FRANK Post

The Learning Vet’s Communication Post

“A Vet’s Guide to Life” Communication Post

CSU FRANK Course Link

FRANK Website

“Frank Communication” on Web MD

Argus Institute at CSU

Denver Post Article on Argus Institute

I can almost be all inclusive in my list of resources, because “Veterinary Communication” is just recently being formally researched and taught.

And thank goodness!  Who cares how much I know about <heartworm disease> if I can’t communicate to Baby Shar Pei’s owner WHY heartworm prophylaxis is so vital?  Five Year Old Future Shar Pei with fulminant heartworm disease does not care how much I know!  He is counting on me now to get this communication stuff right, as are all of my dear patients and dear clients.

I would LOVE your input…on how vet teams (including ours) can communicate better…on how it applies to YOUR career…stories of successful or failed communication…

I am SO looking forward to this FRANK course, and I will let you know what I learn as I learn it!

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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.

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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Veterinary Pen Holder

Monday, June 6th, 2011

I was helping take out trash at work the other day, when, for the first time ever, I noticed that empty blood vial containers look really cool.  Instead of recycling the one I found (I mean, like normal people recycle!) I took it home and wrapped it in wrapping paper, and now I hold my Sharpies in it.  It is my favorite pen holder ever.

It is super easy to make a veterinary pen holder…

1.  If you work in a veterinary hospital, go dumpster diving in your recycling container and find a test tube or blood vial holder.  Note:  The dividers in the boxes that hold purple top tubes will be too narrow to hold Sharpies or big highlighters, but will be fine for regular pens.  The one in the picture held red top tubes.

Also, if you dumpster dive in front of your boss, she may assume you are doing so out of necessity, not to make a Super Awesome Veterinary Pen Holder, and may give you a Pity Raise.  This is not as cool as a Merit Raise, but hey, it is something!

If you do NOT work in a veterinary hospital or other medical facility, ask your pets’ veterinary team to set aside a blood vial box or test tube box for you.  They may not have one to give you right away, but probably will not mind saving one for you!

2.  Gather your favorite wrapping paper, stickers (Secret Penguin stickers are the best!), clear wrapping tape (narrow), clear packing tape (wide) and scissors.

3.  Take the cardboard divider out of the box.

4.  Wrap the box like a present, tucking the edges of the wrapping paper into the top of the box.  Tape all of the loose edges with the narrow tape.

5.  Tape the four top edges of the box with the wide tape to reinforce it.

6.  Decorate the box with stickers (or whatever!) and put the cardboard divider back into the box.

7.  Add pens.

8.  Take a picture and send me a link to it!

9.  Make a pen holder for your favorite veterinary team to say THANK YOU for letting you dumpster dive/humoring your odd request.  They will probably get a kick out of it!

Meeting Marty Becker

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Marty Becker, DVM is on his Big Bus Tour across the country to promote his newest book, Your Dog, The Owner’s Manual and also to promote veterinarians and veterinary care.  (Thanks Doctor!)

He will be at the PetCo in Council Bluffs from 12:30 – 2:00 pm on Tuesday, May 17, 2011.

Dr. Wittler and I have cancelled our Tuesday lunch meeting (Thanks Doctor!), which is one of my very favorite parts of the week, so that I can go meet Dr. Marty Becker with Joy the Puppy.

Come with us if you can!  This is a great opportunity.  Dr. Becker has done SO much to promote the human-animal bond and the veterinary profession.

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I do just fine meeting people in exam rooms, but in The Rest of the World, I am well-known among friends and family for my ability to flub even that simple cultural nicety, especially if it is someone I am excited to meet!

My brother Dave introduced me to his friend Stephen Baldwin, and I messed that up.  In my defense, Sara walked up with Riley (my Great Dane-niece of the “Riley and James” duo, who was a super-cute gangly adolescent pup at the time) at the exact moment I was shaking Stephen’s hand, and I got distracted.  When I looked up from petting Riley, he was gone.  (Sorry Mr. Baldwin!  Give me one more chance!)

A guy walked up to the reception desk of Banfield Pet Hospital of Oakview here in Omaha when I worked there several years ago and asked me a puppy question.  He was very nice and fun to talk with.  We chatted for a few minutes, and he wandered off.  That night, I told Russ I met someone who looked like Nick Nolte, and when I described him, he said, “No, you met him.”  When Russ showed me pictures, I realized he was right.  Oops.  *Putting this out into the universe*  It was nice to meet you, sir!

Before that, it was Rich Mullins about fifteen years ago.  (I did say “Nice to meet you” after I said “um…”!)  SO glad I had the opportunity to meet him.  He was one of my heroes.

I messed up meeting the members of the band Geoff Moore and the Distance during veterinary school in Ames because I was rushing to get out of the crowd and did not recognize them.   (Yup, even though we had just experienced their awesome music for the preceeding two hours.)  We found the same back exit the band was using, and I was in tunnel-vision get-me-out-of-this-crowd mode.  They said “Hi guys!” and, thinking they were other fans being friendly, we said “hi,” but did not stay to chat, which, in hindsight, was the chance of a lifetime.  *sigh*   (Sorry guys!  I really do think you are great!)

Oh!  I remember a success story!  The day I met Lorie A. Huston, DVM, we had pasta for lunch, and I did not even spill marinara sauce on myself…or Lorie.  Yay me!

Having a puppy with me this time will help me to not be flustered…though I may get distracted…

Wish me luck!  Dr. Becker, if I forget to say it…

“Nice to meet you!”

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Book Reading Project Summary

Friday, April 29th, 2011

In the July 2010 edition of Veterinary Economics, Tom McFerson wrote an AWESOME article called 25 Books for Your Summer Reading List. I have finished the list! Woo! What a fun project.

I decided to take the project one step further and review the books I loved. It is much easier to criticize a book than invest several months or years into actually writing one, so that is why I decided to only review the ones I loved and could give…

 

Five Stars!

✩✩✩✩✩

Here are links to the reviews of my favorites…

Freakonomics

Blink

Start-Up Nation

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Truman

Switch

Good to Great

Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic

Skills for Communicating with Patients, Second Edition

And some “update posts” about the project…

What I am Reading This Week: Veterinary Economics

What I am Reading This Week: Big Important Books

What I am Reading This Week: The Same Big Important Books

Coming Soon on Riley and James

And some other books my daughter Abby and I reviewed during the year of the book-reading-and-reviewing kick…

Houdini Was…

Speaking for Spot

Marvin the Golf Caddy Dog

Anesthesia for the Pet Practitioner, Third Edition

The Complete Cat’s Meow

 

And HERE is a super-cool book shelf graphic from Shelfari. I had seen it on friends’ websites, and NEEDED it for this post! How cool is this book shelf??

 

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

So now I need a new project!

I have been keeping track of the books YOU have recommended this year and plan on reading all of them! The ones you have recommended and I have read, I have loved. What other books would you recommend? I like almost everything!

Next Up on Riley and James…

Book Reading Project Bunny Trails

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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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?

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