Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

How to handle dogs

In Veterinary Quotes on March 25, 2011 at 2:51 am

“Just go get him!”

Said the burly client, back when I was in vet school. He was referring to his dog, a big menacing Rottweiller (Rock Welder) that somehow had wedged itself under the relatively miniscule chair he was sitting on and was growling malevolently. I did not take him up on his suggestion.

As a follow up to prove that he was an authority, the client told this tale:

Apparently he was in security. The kind that proved you needed some by breaking into a building and then giving you plans on how to improve your system. One day while plying his trade he found himself in the vicinity of a large strong Doberman Pinscher which jumped on him.

This guy was big, huge even. His arms were larger than my legs and I’m a pretty good size myself. So the dog is on him standing up and biting at his face so he just takes the dog in a bear hug and squeezes until the dog passes out! When the dog came to the fellow had his tongue in his hand and after that they were perfectly good friends. This is how the story went.

The tip of the day was to grab the tongue of any dog who wants to bite me and I’ll be fine. Pass.


Brains over brawn anytime when dealing with an unruly pet




In Veterinary Best Of on March 23, 2011 at 3:12 am

Emesis is the medical term for vomiting. One of the more common reasons I see a patient. Dogs that vomit are unusual. Often they are sick. Because they ate something or their food disagrees with them or something internally has caught up with them. For many dogs even missing a meal is a cause for alarm.

Cats on the other hand are self cleansing. They are born to vomit, as the last lecturer opened his talk with that I went to about gastrointestinal disease in cats. The question with them is when is the vomiting too much? Are they sick, is it a problem?

The other reason emesis comes up in a veterinary setting is making a pet vomit. Because of exposure to a poison or ingestion of an expensive object, for example. We veterinarians have chemical means to make an animal lose their lunch, so to speak. I always found it somewhat paradoxical that we make pets vomit to keep them from vomiting (from the eaten bad thing).

When asked my most memorable emesis story it comes easily and immediately to mind. I was presented by an Animal Control Officer (ACO) a friendly appearing Pit Bull on the end of a rabies pole. A request was made to retrieve the dogs owners nose. It was not made apparent how said appendage ended up in said Pit Bull. Seemingly, the ACO was expecting me to cut open the dog right there and then, anesthetics optional.

I elected to make the dog vomit which was effective. Mixed in with kibble and stomach juices was the end of a nose. I wouldn’t have known it was a nose without being told, but I could tell you its owners nationality. The nose was cleaned up, packed away in ice and flown to LA for a successful re-unification I later found out.


Biting off ones nose does spite ones face


Bad Reputation Breed

In Veterinary Myths on March 22, 2011 at 3:32 am

No, not going to talk about Pit Bulls this time. Though I also believe strongly that for the most part they have also been unfairly maligned. Today we discuss the Rottweiler. A large stocky black muscular dog with a thick head bred for protection and has a fierce appearance. On first glance many people are scared of this breed, understandably so.

I have certainly known some tough ones, but that goes for all breeds of all species that I interact with. Like any sentient being we all have our personalities, you know? But if I had to pick my favorite patients when I was a senior in veterinary school, they were all Rottweilers. Tremendously loyal, stoic, intelligent and remarkably loving – including towards me who was involved in some less than pleasant things with these wonderful dogs.

Which brings me to their name. And how they are misnamed quite frequently. Per Google search: people often misspell Rottweiler as Rotweiler, Rotwiler or Rottwiler. Some of my favorites that I have come across are Rotten Wilder, Rock Welder and the common abbreviation at my local shelter “Wrott.”

Ultimately a poor misunderstood breed who would surely be better off if people would just appreciate them for what they really are and not judge them based on their looks or the spelling of their name.

WIHCTU (What I Have Come To Understand)

It certainly is wrotten when any being is wrought (made) to be worse than they are.


Eeek, a mouse!

In Veterinary PSA on March 22, 2011 at 3:30 am

I was in line at the hardware store with some mouse traps in hand and the guy behind me taps me on the arm. It surprised me a little, considering that I was a “trap” waiting to happen.

“You know they have the sticky ones” he said. I told him that I found those cruel. “Yeah, but they work.”

The guy behind us is laughing. Obviously the fact that death is coming to said vermin is the overwhelming truth and he didn’t think it mattered how it came about and that we were debating it was just silly.

The back story is that some creature has been eating my dietetic rice cakes in the garage. I had thought it was my boy who breaks into my food all the time, something about it being just for Dad makes it irresistible. Somehow I had it make sense that the top and bottom of the package was open. Denial.

So I set out to catch the bandit. Starting with a rat trap that continued to have bait stolen (along with rice cake thievery) and not be triggered. Thus I realized the miscreant was much smaller. Poop size aided identification as well.

The experiment in place right now is to compare the two similar types of trap available – the classic “museum special” that has to be carefully set and risks finger bruising (nothing like the finger breaking potential of the rat version, though) versus the new fangled snappy looks like it is meant to hold a potato chip bag closed. Just pinch open and it snaps shut.

At issue is what is the right thing to do? Prevent rodents in the first place. Secure the premises. Patrolling cats. Remove grains and like materials. Sticky trap, poison, live trap, hormone sterilizing bait, kill  trap – the list goes on. Each seems to have its own argument against it. I will not poison a creature. Too much collateral damage potential. No drugs. Being stuck in place while starving to death is asking for karmic retribution. And while trap and release has a certain poetic appeal … how do I know I haven’t altered the ecosystem in some other way? I probably will just be feeding a feral cat who then will be supported to eat more wildlife and songbirds thereby inducing all the little old ladies to lobby Congress and distract from the real issues of the day. Like finding a drug to neutralize Charlie Sheen’s tiger blood.

No, a quick kill is the way to go, as far as I’m concerned. But clearly (or really not so) the obvious answer as to the right way to do so, not to mention simply finding an effective way is much more elusive. And the hunt continues.

What I have come to understand

Even the simplist tasks can take much deeper thinking to realize. Truth is rarely clear. Spending too much time differentiating these is distracting from the activity at hand.



In Veterinary Humor on March 22, 2011 at 3:28 am

“My dog would have had 6 puppies but I pulled on his balls and we only had 4″

I have started with our most recent *dramatic* statement by a client. She was attempting to explain, apologize and perhaps rationalize (it could have been worse!) that she allowed her two reproductively capable dogs to breed despite my pleas to have each spay/neutered. Something that they laugh about at her house, she said. Quite humorous in how she presented it.

It is an endless drone that we all repeat day after day to have the animals internal bits removed so more and more animals won’t have to keep being cared (or not) for. There is a shelter next door to us, an edifice of animal suffering and symbol of mankind’s neglect and perhaps lack of education about what a problem this is. An unfortunate example scientifically identified that I came across simultaneously with my misguided client’s observation:

….Overall, 127 of 169 (75%)
kittens died or disappeared before 6 months of age.
Trauma was the most common cause of death….
“Reproductive capacity of free-roaming domestic cats and kitten survival rate” Felicia B Nutter, DVM; Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.


What I Have Come To Understand

No matter what we do, it is IMPOSSIBLE to manipulate the primitive urges of our pet friends through superficial means.



In Veterinary on March 22, 2011 at 3:23 am

I’ve come here today now to share with the world some things I’ve been thinking about but never knew where to put them.

All things veterinary, great and miniscule. From a list of stories I’ve compiled in my email folder “Journal” – originally intended to house various interactions I’ve had in my life in veterinary medicine to share with those of my family to learn who come after me. To get to know a little something about me.

Also included would be the various humorous asides that come on a day to day basis. Spoken by our earnest clientele and employees. Sometimes the humor is obvious, other times one has to be there or take part in what we do to truly enjoy it.

But the expectation in sharing is to explain it as well, reflect on what is stated. Provide a moral without moralizing.

And perhaps also be able to educate which is our primary goal in veterinary medicine: clients about their pets, teaching all levels of people we come across and work with, as well as about ourselves in how we handle the daily trials and tribulations which working in health care brings.

This is what we are here to do.

One can also find us at Friends of Noble Vet on Facebook and @Noblevet on Twitter.


Carl Singer DVM