Archive for the ‘Veterinary PSA’ Category


In Veterinary PSA on June 5, 2011 at 6:34 am

Pain is not a lot of fun for anyone, especially the animals. But they are adapted to live with pain, not show that they have pain, go about their day as if nothing is wrong. So here is the problem. The people who take care of pets don’t realize they are in pain in the first place so they don’t tell their veterinarians anything is wrong and as often as not we don’t necessarily appreciate that there is something ailing our patients either.

There are some unfortunate “rules” in veterinary medicine that are still passed on, and in fact I heard this one not too many years ago from one of my favored specialists I work with: “pain is a good thing, it makes the animal stay still until they heal.” Which I think is a terrible terrible way to look at this issue. Our pets should NOT be allowed to be in pain, pain is not a beneficial thing and it is definitely stressful, and we have many ways to alleviate pain and mitigate the factors that can worsen pain.

Preventing pain in the first place, using *carefully* multimodal analgesia techniques and having a team approach where the client and doctor understand the goals of therapy is the way to go. Veterinarians are afraid to treat pain because of the medicine they use MIGHT have side effects. In the face of a very real condition! The beauty of using many (multimodal) approaches to manage the pain is that you can use less of any one given drug – they work together/synergistically to be better than they would alone and treat the cause of pain by as many ways as possible from where it comes from in the first place.

As an example: ice can be used for local anesthesia and to decrease inflammation, a NSAID (aspirin class) drug can be used as an anti-inflammatory, a narcotic can effect the way the brain perceives pain, fish oil as a natural antioxidant can be used, physical therapy helps regain function of injured body parts … the list goes on. We should ASSUME pain is going to be there for certain procedures (surgery) and processes (arthritis) not necessarily wait for the pet to whimper or limp. And treat the condition aggressively – don’t our pet friends deserve at least that much?

The Point:

Ask (yourself and your veterinarian) if your pet might be in pain and DEMAND treatment for that condition




In Veterinary PSA on April 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Giving vaccines to patients is VERY important. One of the primary reasons people bring their animals to the veterinarian. Unfortunately, we vets have used this as the focus of our care, which is not the right thing to do in my mind. What is important is that I as a veterinarian put my hands on your pet. To determine if they are healthy and discuss their health needs. The vaccines are an important part of any health care plan, but not the primary part.

The industry has started to realize that maybe vaccines don’t have to be given as frequently. And that there are a LOT of vaccines out there and we don’t have to give them ALL to the pets ALL the time. Three year staggered schedules instead of annual shots are gaining acceptance as the industry standard. Side effects can occur, up to and including cancers directly caused by vaccines in cats and chronic stimulation of the immune system (which is what vaccines are formulated to do) may cause older age conditions.

So please take your pet to a veterinarian (NOT just the vaccine clinic, these are an unfortunate outgrowth industry that are not serving your pets’ needs, just falsely serving your pocketbook) and in thorough consultation determine EXACTLY what your pets needs are. Not just show up “for shots.”


No more “annual” vaccines for the pets


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.