Posted by: animalshelterveterinarian | November 26, 2011

Reflections on using the word “NO”

It is hard for me to say ‘no’ when someone makes a request of me.

However, I’ve had some recent experience using the word ‘no’ at the shelter and at home over the last week and it’s been interesting to me.

At the shelter, we currently have a kennel cough outbreak in full swing. To stop the public from spreading the disease, we’ve roped off the kennel fronts so that people can no longer touch dogs, but only look at them from a distance of about 4 feet.  This strategy minimizes human hand to snotty dog nose to healthy dog nose transmission of the plethora of viruses, bacteria and mycoplasma that cause this disease.

However effective this is in reducing disease transmission, this strategy also drives down adoptions, because people apparently want to be licked through the kennel bars many times by many dogs before they interact with a dog.

I had the chance to use the word NO when a woman asked me if she could go under the ropes to pet the dogs.   I felt startled by the obviousness of her question and abruptly responded, NO.  She was stunned into silence;  the palpable sting of disappointment and a pregnant pause filled with questions was what I felt coming off her.   I explained why the ropes were up and about how the disease spreads, while her daughter whined and pointed at the dog she wanted to pet.

A similar moment happened at home. My stepson was foraging for food and asked (bless his heart for asking) if he could have some of the loaf of french bread I had just bought.  I said NO without looking up from my computer and felt the palpable wave of shock rolling in the silence.  Again, I explained my reasons for refusing him bread and felt amused by the simple power of NO.

In contrast to my succinct No’s, I watched my boyfriend achieve the result of NO without actually saying it, which I admired.  My stepson asked to go on a trip and my boyfriend didn’t say no, even though I would’ve.  He said, YES, you can go if you get your two homework papers done by tomorrow morning.  Come morning, neither paper was finished, so the trip never happened.

Would that I could develop his strange power of saying no, without saying it, as effectively and as elegantly as he used it.

When have you said NO, and been amused or encouraged by the results?

Posted by: animalshelterveterinarian | September 26, 2011

My 47th birthday

What I did for my 47 th birthday. Well, I was informed I needed to be up and about by 6:15 am to receive my presents since Brendan would be leaving for work by 6:30.  Got a cup of coffee, and received one of Jim’s shirts from Jim.  Oops, he wrapped the wrong present.

Received a wonderful card from Brendan and Liam and the entire cast of the “Big Bang Theory”, my favorite TV show, and a 7 cup capacity Cuisinart food processor. WOW! I really wanted a food processor, no, I really did.

From Jim I received a butter yellow summer dress (I hope it fits) from J. Peterman, a FLIP video camera, and an extra hard drive for my computer.  And dinner from San Sei restaurant, which was very thoughtful and sweet. Love their spicy pork, brown rice and vegetable kabob.

I worked all day  which included spaying a very sweet little dachshund, neutering a cat and removing an ear polyp, and diagnosing and treating 1/2 a dozen kittens for  ear mites.

After work I went to see Amielle for acupuncture and Healing Touch therapy.   Since I haven’t seen her since before I left for Cabo San Lucas, we had a wonderful time catching up.  While she was working on me, I had a significant insight about my chronic sinus pressure and pain, which had been building throughout the day today.


Image via Wikipedia

I found it very difficult to break up the congestion in my right maxillary and ethmoid sinuses, even though I was holding that intention while Amielle concentrated there.  Finally, as the sinuses opened, I had a vision of a large moth fluttering free from my face.  I saw it coated in snot.

The moth was from my memory, a sad memory about which I felt helpless.   A member of my family took a  large, beautiful, exotic moth I had found and  pinned it to a post in our backyard, which was not what I had intended at all.  The extraordinary moth was probably migrating through the Midwest, because she was definitely not a native.  She was unlike anything I had ever seen before, but now trapped and physically damaged by the pin.  When that family member left, I removed the pin, but she could no longer fly.   I tried to feed her, but she couldn’t coordinate eating or drinking either.  So she layed her eggs on the ground in Illinois and died.  I felt ultimately responsible for her senseless death.

I believe that vision means my sadness and sense of responsibility was mired in my facial energy.  I told her, the moth,  how sorry I was and let her go and wished her well.  I hope and believe my sinuses will be more open from now on.  Time will tell.

Posted by: animalshelterveterinarian | September 21, 2011

What I do all day

Dog with demodectic mange

Image via Wikipedia

Ever wonder what a shelter veterinarian does all day, besides talk on the phone to friends and eat bon bons? Here is a log I kept of one of my days this month, and it’s typical.

Task 1 – I checked all the dermatophyte cultures (growing ringworm fungus) for growth and color change and recorded the results in a book and on the computer.

Patient 1. Recheck exam on a Feline – a 2 year old spayed female domestic short hair (DSH) who was losing weight after spay surgery.  On recheck she is regaining weight but is still too thin.  To increase her appetite and kill circulating roundworms and other gastrointestinal parasites, she was given a vitamin B complex and ivermectin injections and I prescribed oral ponazuril and entered everything in the computer.

Patient 2. Approximately 2 year old intact male chihuahua who has neurologic symptoms of torticollis and circling as well as weakness in his rear limbs.  He also has symptoms of severe flea allergy dermatitis. This pet was sedated, x-rays were taken of his pelvis and lumbosacral spine, subcutaneous fluids and injectable steroids were given and a DTM (ringworm culture) was started.  Radiographs (x-rays) revealed a fractured pubis  which would likely heal with cage rest.  (Over the next several days his neurologic symptoms improved dramatically on oral prednisone ).

Patient 3. Recheck exam on a spayed female DSH with upper respiratory infection (URI).  Heart and lung sounds were normal and no ocular or nasal discharge or oral ulceration so cat was released to the general population.

Patient 4. Kitten, 2.5months old spayed female was rechecked for diarrhea, which had resolved. Today the kitten has oral ulceration and nasal discharge, which are symptoms of URI.  Kitten was isolated in URI treatment room and protocol of doxycycline, nebulization, subcutaneous fluids and oral biotene was started for 14 days.

Patient 5. Recheck exam on a cat with URI. Instead of improvement, the cat now has oral ulceration.  Treatments adjusted for ulceration.

Patient 6. 8 year old neutered male Chihuahua mix with symptoms of pancreatitis or dietary indiscretion.  Examined and treated with SQ fluids, pain meds, anti-emetics, antacids, cortico-steroids and bland diet.

Patient 7.  1.5 year old female poodle.  Cherry eye discovered during preparation for spay surgery, so I did the cherry eye repair after Dr. Terry Paik performed the spay.

Patient 8.  Examined an intact male Chihuahua with a mildly prolapsed penis, flea allergy dermatitis and dental disease requiring extractions.  Treatments instituted for FAD and dental cleaning scheduled.

Patient 9. Recheck exam on a spayed female DSH with URI and dental disease and flea allergy dermatitis. URI symptoms resolved, so additional flea control applied and pet moved to general population.

Patient 10. Recheck exam on neutered male DSH with chronic rhinitis and persistent URI not responding to over 4 weeks of treatment.  Pet was put to sleep.

Patient 11. Recheck exam of feline URI, treatments not entered correctly in computer so records and future treatments fixed.

Patient 12. Recheck exam of feline URI, MN kitten. URI is improving. Boostered vaccines and dewormed with anthelban and ponazuril.  Future vaccine boosters and dewormings and recheck exams entered in computer.

Patient 13. Recheck exam on underweight, 10 year old MN DSH with poor appetite. Followed up on bloodwork done by PIMA.  Interpretation of laboratory results suggests a significant bacterial infection and inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. Pet was put to sleep.

Patient 14. 3 year old intact female Pit Bull attacked by dog while being walked by a volunteer.  Sustained puncture wounds to the nose.  Treated with meloxicam and Cephalexin.

Patient 15. Recheck URI in a 2 year old spayed female DSH. URI not getting better, cat now has pneumonia.  Treatment protocol changed to address pneumonia.

Patient 16. Examined 3 12-day old kittens.  Deemed healthy and need a foster home for bottle-feeding.  Too young for feline leukemia testing or vaccination or deworming.  Applied Advantage for flea control.

Patient 17. 5 month old terrier diagnosed by exam and skin scraping with generalized Demodectic mange.  Treated with Promeris, antibiotics, antihistamines and fatty acids. Recheck exams every two weeks until resolved.

Patient 18. Examined a 5 month old male Chihuahua and found a ruptured right ear drum.  Middle ear infection treated with corticosteroids, oral Baytril and Baytril-Otic.

Patient 19.  Recheck exam of MN 4 year old poodle mix with chronic foxtail fragments in the left middle ear and history of large struvite urolith.  Prescribed additional medication and prescription diet for rescue group exiting the pet.

Patient 20. Health certificate exam for rescue exit to Massachusetts.  Found foxtail abcess in left rear foot. Pet was sedated, foxtail removed, and transfer post-poned until dog could be treated effectively.

Patient 21. Exam of intact male poodle mix matted to the skin with severely neglected haircoat.  Sedated for whole body shave.

Patient 22. Examined intact male 10month old Pit Bull for coughing.  Kennel cough diagnosed and treatment protocol instituted.

Patient 23. Health certificate exam for travel to Massachusetts for neutered male poodle.

Task 24.  Created templates in computer program, Chameleon, for in-house CBC and Chemistry panel results.

Posted by: animalshelterveterinarian | September 7, 2011

My perfect day in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Got up at 8 am, drank fresh brewed Mexican coffee, which is excellent, on my patio listening to the ocean waves boom. This is my favorite palm tree and it’s about 10 feet from my patio. The beach and pacific ocean are beyond it.

While enjoying my coffee, I studied my HTA® book and updated flashcards for myself, then walked to the lobby to sign up for the shuttle to the airport.  Along the way I took pictures of my favorite fountain, favorite colors of vinca flower, peach-colored oleander and view from the lobby. From there, I went to the chapel and meditated to visualize my chakras.  I had a significant spiritual experience meditating on a beautiful golden vessel displayed on the altar.  After meditating, I took some pictures in the chapel.  I didn’t even see the bright bands of blue and orange on the ceiling beams as I was taking this picture of the stained glass window but I gasped in surprise when I looked at the image on the camera.  What does that pattern mean?

I ate an English muffin for breakfast with avocado slices, then took a  walk down the beach to the black rocks, admiring the raw power in the waves, the color of the water, and listening to my iPod and making plans for the future.

After that I went to the Main Pool.  I floated face down and watched the wave patterns around my body.  I played bingo at the pool and won the ‘blackout’ round and a free drink!  After that I took the free cooking class and learned how to make Pueblo Bonito Flank Steak with Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli at La Nao restaurant.  Our chef, Gary, is clearly a fantastic cook and Israel, our activity guide, was a terrific and funny host.

After that I Skype’d Jim.  He got some terrific news on a phone call today.  That balanced out his annoyance at the damage Mitsy has done at home, breaking a sprinkler by chasing rabbits and chewing up one of the new leather ottomans.  A few hours later, I went back to La Nao for dinner after having my free Corona poolside.  I saw my new friends from Ireland, and their luggage had finally caught up to them.  It was steak night, Gary was cooking, and all the food was sublime.

The memory of the mashed potatoes now makes my mouth water and the steak melted in my mouth.  Except for the butterscotch gelatin and the chocolate mousse cake, both of which were rubbery, it was the best meal I’ve had in Cabo this trip, although our dinners at Missiones de Keno and Romeo e’ Juliet were also fantastic.

Walked back to my room, here is one of my favorite views of the ocean, and packed up my stuff. I’m leaving tomorrow!  Tonight I watched not-so riveting episodes of NCIS and Criminal Minds and wrote my blog text.  I’m so sleepy and full of food I won’t be making it back to the Manila Bar, which is the free Wi-Fi area, to make good night phone calls to Jim and Sean.

I’m so grateful that I had a perfect day today consisting of the spiritual experience meditating in the mosquito-free chapel, a walk on the beach, time to relax and play at the pool, connecting with Jim via Skype, and a memorable dinner.


Posted by: animalshelterveterinarian | September 5, 2011

Loving being in Mexico

Day 10 in Cabo San Lucas and I had a wonderful morning volunteering again with the Los Cabos Humane Society staff.  My day started at 5:30 am with me brewing Mexican coffee and staring into the darkness that obscured the booming Pacific ocean.  I got up early enough to take this picture of the sunrise as I walked through the resort to meet Evaristo with the humane society van at 7 AM.  Here are a few pictures of the receiving kennels and the outdoor cat display rooms and cat isolation and the dog play yard.  The over-riding physical sensation of being in Cabo San Lucas in late August is HOT and HUMID.  I sweat just sitting outside.  Imagine how the dogs and cats feel sitting in a cage with no way to get away from the flies, fleas and heat!

  There is alot the local millionaires (for example, timeshare developers) could do to make the lives of these animals better.  Installing overhead misters to cool the kennels and communal rooms could lower the temperatures in the cages by 10 degrees immediately.  Providing the shelter with the resources to buy enough flea and tick control for every animal would make a huge difference in their comfort level. Examples of effective flea and tick control products include Promeris and Advantix.

We went to San Jose del Cabo to a private home to spay and neuter some pets, but there weren’t enough animals available.  What we ended up doing instead was picking up some stray cats and a stray puppy (severely infested with ticks, infected with Ehrlichia and severely anemic) from various locations and going to see the port at  San Jose del Cabo.

A major medical problem here is tick-infestation of dogs and attendant tick-borne parasites, like Ehrlichia.  So many ticks are present on these dogs that after examining only 8 dogs today (at home I typically examine from 24-30 animals per day) I washed 3 ticks off myself tonight at 10:30 PM!  Thank goodness the ticks were dead.  Hopefully they’ve been dead for several hours since I went swimming twice this afternoon.

At the port of San Jose del Cabo, which is tiny but gorgeous, is an enormous palapa hut furnished with granite topped tables, state of the art pull-down faucets and marble flooring dedicated to cleaning fish.  Who built this fish-cleaning palace? The answer rhymes with lexican hovern tent. LOL. 







Here is a photo (listed from left to right) of the Mexican government veterinarians Cristobal and Erikkson with Rebeca Serano and her friend, Carla, at the port.  Tomorrow’s post will be about MY perfect day in Cabo.

Posted by: animalshelterveterinarian | September 5, 2011

Trimming George and Ollie’s (cat) nails

Just sitting here at the dining room table doing cat maintenance

Posted by: animalshelterveterinarian | August 27, 2011

visited shelter in mexico

Animal shelter veterinarian

Blog post 8/26/11

While on vacation in Mexico:

Today I volunteered at the local humane society, which serves to shelter stray dogs and cats for this large city in Mexico.  Although they, the staff, welcomed me with some hesitation, they let me join them in doing dog and cat spays and neuter surgeries out in the community at a local park.  I neutered a few dogs and spayed a few, too!  These free spay/neuter clinics, also called campaigns in Spanish, help combat pet overpopulation, neglect, and starvation.  You may already know that these surgeries prevent certain serious medical problems for pets as they age. In particular, spaying prevents pyometra, which means pus in the uterus, in older female dogs.

 I can understand their hesitation in allowing me to visit them, because who volunteers at a tiny, poor animal shelter on their vacation instead of drinking margaritas and lying on the beach?  As their director said, it must be a woman, because men don’t volunteer on vacation. 

The team that I had the pleasure of meeting consisted of the supervising veterinarian,  a wonderful veterinarian, Rebeca Serano, who is a native of Tijuana, Mexico, the director of the shelter, Evaristo Castro, who kindly gave me a ride to the shelter in the battered official truck with no working seat belts or air-conditioning (I’m not complaining, really, just trying to draw attention to their limited funds), their technician, who confided to me she used to be in the restaurant business, and a number of local volunteers, including a human nurse who worked all night in a nearby emergency room and a generous American woman from Illinois who provided all of us with snacks of cherries, apple slices and peanut butter.  What dedicated volunteers. I was and am so impressed.  On a side note, I grew up on a small farm in Illinois, so it was funny to me to meet someone from there so far from home.  I also met two goofy and handsome Mexican government veterinarians (both young men) and observed the surgical techniques they use out in the field.

The thing I was most struck by was the fact that the humane society provided virtually everything needed to spay and neuter these pets, and they did it for free. That includes anesthetic drugs, all the surgical packs and instruments, disinfectant, water to dilute the disinfectant, all the stuff needed to prep the pets for surgery (clippers, vacuum cleaner, injectable antibiotics, gauze) and to recover them, crates, leashes, our transportation to the park.  And the humane society provided this service to the community with a budget of donations only!  Meanwhile, the local city government provided 2 tents in a graffiti-adorned park, electricity, and 2 veterinarians.  Although I’m scoffing at how little the government contributes, I really can’t scoff at the tents because at 8:30 am it was 100 degrees and muggy.  Without the tents we couldn’t have done surgery with the son beating down on us.  Thank goodness for the tents!  Even so, it was difficult for me to see in the shadow of the tent without a surgery light (see how spoiled I am as an American).

A poignant and memorable moment for me was when I was spaying a little black and white dog and the owner, obviously a kind and caring woman from the sweet expression on her face, was standing about 1.5 feet away watching me spay her beloved pet.  She was standing on the other side of the ‘CSI /POLICE LINE/DO NOT CROSS’ tape.  I admire her restraint in not freaking out at me while I worked. 

A second moment that was memorable for me was in helping a pug to wake up and breathe.  Because he’s brachycephalic (that means he has a smooshed-in face and lots of floppy tissue in the back of his throat), he has trouble breathing under perfect conditions.  After being anesthetized and neutered, he wasn’t breathing well and so he wasn’t eliminating the anesthetic from his body.  I placed him in sternal position, which means I propped him up on his chest, and pulled his tongue out of his mouth and he started to breathe and then shake his head. : )  At that point, I really wanted to do an energy technique to help him further, but since I just met these people, I didn’t want them to think I was a weirdo.  I’ll wait till tomorrow for that revelation. LOL.

I meditated later and it came through to me ( I give credit to my spirit guides) that I should’ve done the energetic techniques to speed his recovery.  Well, tomorrow is another day and I won’t be so timid. My spirit guides will encourage me not only to be myself but also to do my higher power’s will in the ways that I can.

Signing off (from left to right, that’s me, Evaristo, and Cece),