Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

I am in the midst of my small animal emergency overnights. Basically, I spend 12 hours a day, from 8pm to 8am taking care of ICU patients, hospital patients with treatments and whatever emergencies might come in for a week straight. I also field phone calls from worried owners who are trying to decide if it is worth the $160 to come in and have their pet checked out. You might think that someone worried enough to be calling at 4am probably has a valid concern, but you’d be surprised. Most people that call at odd hours do in fact have a valid concern, but some people… well, some people are still just crayzee to steal some of my favorite human med blog term.

Word to human med folks: PLEASE DO NOT give your animals tylenol/acetominophen. Great for humans and human babies, deadly to cats, and pretty darn bad for dogs too. And yes, if you are a human medical provider who brings your pet into us after you’ve poisoned them through your ignorance of species differences, we will judge you. In the back room, amongst ourselves, after doing our best to save your pet, of course.

We spent some time Sunday night (Monday morning, really) rounding on CPCR and the new guidelines on the human front, which were in part based on animal and specifically dog studies, so they’re useful for us too. What to do in what situation, best drugs, which things are useless, that kinda thing. Wouldn’t you know we get an older dog come in last night for a history of GI symptoms that just wasn’t looking so good? She went from not looking so hot, to us putting in an IV cath to v-tach within about 5 minutes.

Lidocaine didn’t do squat, procainamide kinda made the ECG look a little different for about 0.2 seconds and then she went into fibrillation. She was a DNR, so we just kinda stood and watched her go for a bit. But then the actual real doc in charge decided to go ask please if we could shock her, and about a million years later we got permission to shock her once. It didn’t do anything, unfortunately but not unexpectedly.

On the plus side, necropsy showed a giant tumor, so she probably had a good reason for deciding to die on us and cement in my head the CPCR review I had just read. Teaching cases are valuable, even if her poor parents were completely shocked and devastated. No one expects to take their dog in for inappentance, vomiting, and lethargy and have her drop dead just like that. Especially if they’d been in somewhere else earlier and told that she probably just has an upset stomach.


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Horseback 1

I think my riding instructor is trying to give me a swollen head. Too many compliments, which I don’t know how to take well to begin with, and I get a bit suspicious. He’s the expert though, and I love gold stars, so no complaints here. Sitting the trot is going well, very well even according to a random observer a couple of weeks ago, and even better today. I do like hearing that I pick up faster than some people do. Posting is still a work in progress, mostly because I do not have the muscle strength to do it like I WANT to be doing it. Only off on the wrong diagonal once, and I knew it and was in the process of confirming and correcting it even before I was prodded to do so.

No wibblywobblyspooky bits today, which is fine by me. I also remembered to look where I was going, which sounds obvious, but is in fact harder to do than you’d think when you’re also trying to remember to tell 42 different body parts to do certain things in certain ways that they’re unfamiliar with and don’t really know how to do. Got the gas pedal working a bit better as well, which is a bit of a relief since I know it’s (in part) a confidence thing in that yes, I’m asking properly, but just need a little more emphasis rather than that I am not asking in an understandable way.

How does Dressage competition stuff work? What is “A” level? Apparently I could get there? I think that’s good, it was said in a ‘good thing’ tone anyhow. Hmmm.

The only bad thing is that I’m out of ibuprofen.

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Thinking aloud

Or at least in print. Dyslexic genes notwithstanding, talking things out, or in lieu of that, writing them out, seems to help me. My boy dog has an appointment with a local dog training facility for an evaluation this week with potential private lessons down the road. I need to figure out how best to tell them what the issues are, and what I would like to get from them and work on with said dog.

His history: I got him at 2.5 years old, when he was nearly on the kill list for his behavior. He was a wreck. Barked at everyone, was terrified of everything and completely undisciplined. He had no reliable trained behaviors and would run away and hide and growl if you told him no or moved towards him quickly. He also had some pretty severe separation anxiety, which we seemed to have resolved and was an inveterate counter surfer, which he is mostly fixed. He is finally off clomipramine and his medical issues are under control.

The good: He gets along great with my cats and my other dog (who is very pushy), he is cuddly, is easy going in the house but playful when appropriate. He helped me raise a litter of bottle baby kittens and is trustworthy around my birds (budgies). He is even great with my current roommate’s three kids. He also lets me do anything I want to him, including brushing, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and even brushing his teeth. He is great with anyone he knows well and just wants to be loved on.

The bad: He goes nuts on leash when he sees strange dogs (whining, barking, lunging). He barks and growls at strangers and has even nipped their sleeves. He thinks he hears noises and will get all anxious and bark and pace. He will act like Cujo (barking, growling, jumping) if he is in a kennel, crate, or behind a fence and anyone comes near from the other side be it man or dog.

What I want: For him to walk past other dogs on the sidewalk with quiet interest. For him not to be Cujo if he’s on the other side of a barrier. For him to ignore strangers or meet them without barking/growling.

What I would LOVE (I’m talking dreams here): For him to be able to meet strange dogs politely and be off leash, for him to greet or just avoid strangers. For him to be just interested on who/whatever is on the other side of a barrier.

Other notes: He doesn’t have much initiative. He is scared to make mistakes and will just stare at me rather than trying something new if he’s not sure exactly what he is supposed to do. He’s not normally hard-headed, but when he gets into one of his freakout modes (strange people/dogs/barrier) I can NOT get his attention with anything I have tried (any treat/chicken/cheese or corrections). His little brain just goes out the window. He has done training classes (beginning and advanced obedience, intro and beginning agility), and even there, had a very difficult time focusing on me and whined and paid attention to the other dogs constantly (mostly ignored the other handlers). He was like a horrible case of ADHD. ┬áBelieve it or not, he did pass a CGC test because the other dog was very good at ignoring him, so he was able to control himself better and stay sitting long enough for me to greet the other handler.


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Why are barking dogs worse than screaming children?

If my dogs bark and annoy the neighbors, they have the recourse of calling animal control. How effective animal control is at a) caring and b) imposing any sanctions that will cause me to want to change my dogs’ behavior varies hugely from location to location, but still, they can call them, and if they and enough others complain often or loudly enough, chances are good that I’ll get a talking to by the man. Better than that would, of course, be to talk to me directly and let me know there’s a problem and my dogs are barking. You know, because if I’m not there it’s kind of hard to know that my dogs are barking and irritating folks. I don’t have magical ears that hear my dogs from across town. Neither, I wager, do most dog owners.

A big difference though, is that children are not left home alone. More and more they are never even left unattended (which is a tragedy in its own right, but a topic for another post) to wander about and actually learn stuff. So when children are screaming and carrying on enough to irritate other nearby humans, chances are that no magical ear is necessary. Just the normal, human, paying any sort of attention at all variety. Because really folks, I get that you find my barking dog annoying as all get out, why do you NOT get that I find your screaming, tantrum throwing spawn just as irritating? As in, I want to call some sort of authority just to please make it stop. Laughing children? Fine. No problem. Occasional outbursts are expected, it happens. But the child screaming non-stop because it knows it will get what it wants if it holds out long enough (I’m looking at you, tank-top wal*mart shopping mom #8) is just not okay. Take your child elsewhere, teach it some manners, or don’t bring it in the first place.

I get that my dogs are not welcome everywhere, and I am okay with that. I especially understand that while my pets may be the center of my universe and I think they’re perfectly behaved angels, not everyone else feels that way, so I try to be a polite member of society and the human race and respect that. Not all pet owners are that way. I’ve seen poorly behaved pets too. But you can ask their owners to remove them. Try asking a parent of an out of control 4 year old that is dragging everything off the counter between bouts of whining and screaming to do the same. See how well that works out for you and the business. Lawsuit anyone?

I’m pretty sure it’s illegal somehow to have no-kid housing or other events anyhow. I know jack about law, so I could be wrong, but I thought I heard that somewhere. No-pet housing is painfully common, but I’ll bet you a nice dinner out that the average household with multiple children causes more property damage and general stress than my pets put together. I have yet to see one of my pets color on the walls or break a window. It seems to me that if I can expect other species to abide by polite rules of society, it should be allowable to expect the so called future of our race to do the same, at least most of the time. Maybe that’s just me though. And I don’t even hate kids.

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