Monday, January 28, 2008

Strange Tastes

I was on call this past weekend, and it seemed that everyone decided to eat strange things. For the record, all of the following are doing just fine, except for the expected diarrhea. Why they would eat these things is a bit beyond me. Unsurprisingly, all were labs + 1 beagle, the "hungriest" breeds that have a very broad definition of edible :

1. 55 lbs lab ate a Hershey bar (wrapper and all. Owners should be seeing that about now)
2. 30 lbs beagle at a jar of silver sulfadiazine (and managed to open the screw-top lid. Who needs opposable thumbs, anyway?)
3. 65 lbs lab ate "half a soup bowl" of milk chocolate
4. 50 lbs lab ate the oatmeal + excrement from the litter box of house cat (one recommendation for cats that go home after being declawed is to use oatmeal as a litter material for a week or so since regular cat litter may cause problems with the incisions. Yeah, he was feeling a bit sick after that meal)
5. 60 lbs lab drank a few sips of Draino (maybe the oatmeal dog would have benefited from this)

Friday, January 25, 2008

How Do You Chart That?

If I have learned nothing in my few short months out "in the real world" of practicing veterinary medicine, it is that there is something new around every corner. The vets I work with have seen a lot of strange things in their years of practice, but this was a new one for all of them.

I walked into the office the other day to see one of my colleagues sitting slightly baffled as she looked over a chart. I asked her what she had going on, and she replied that she honestly didn't know.

A dog had been dropped off for a work-up at the clinic. The complaint: the dog growls and snarls at night. Yep, that was it. When the dog was in bed with the owners, every once in awhile it would look up at the bedroom door and growl.

So, we doggedly proceeded with a physical examination that, naturally, came up with nothing out of the ordinary. The dog was a mixed breed, scruffy terrier-type dog with a sweet personality.

Well, my colleague wasn't able to get a hold of the owner via the phone to get a more detailed history, so we eagerly awaited for them to arrive at the afternoon pick-up time they had set up when they had dropped the dog off.

Fortunately, the owners had discovered what the problem was....they had done some research and found that someone had died in the house several decades ago. Clearly the dog was reacting to the ghost of that person who was apparently prowling the halls at night.

Well, problem solved, I suppose. Now the problem becomes how to write that up in the chart. I was just disappointed the dog's name wasn't "Buster."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

World Bird Sanctuary

On January 19, the World Bird Sanctuary from St. Louis came to town with several amazing birds of prey. The people from the sanctuary gave a fantastic presentation highlighting these birds at the Bald Eagle Watch put on by the Dubuque Audubon Society. They had a Harris Hawk, a Swainson's Hawk, an American Kestrel, a Barn Owl, an Eurasian Eagle Owl, a Screech Owl, a Vulture and a Bald Eagle. Here are some pictures and video from the event:

American Kestrel, a beautiful falcon:
Barn Owl, America's most endangered owl:
Eurasian Eagle Owl, the world's largest owl:
Screech Owl, one of the smallest species of owl (with the vulture in the background):Vulture:

Monday, January 21, 2008

I've always liked this quote:

"We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."

~ Henry Beston (1888-1968), "The Outermost House"

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Shadowfax in Commercial

The fabulous Andalusion stallion who starred in the Lord of the Rings movies as Shadowfax was recently in a commercial for Cosequin, a commonly used joint supplement. What a gorgeous horse!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

The turn of a new year is a time of change for many people. Here are some critter pics that illustrate that change!

Three years ago, a Thoroughbred mare that had been a family member for many years tragically died soon after giving birth to a foal. We had sold her to our trainers when I went off to vet school. I took Yoshi with me, but wouldn't have been able to handle two horses given the time constraints of school. It had always been my intention to buy her back when I finished school and was able to, but apparently that was not to be.

The little colt, named "Tigger," was hand-raised as an orphan our trainers. I first visited him in the winter at about six months of age and took the following picture of him. (He is the chestnut fellow in the middle of the picture).

Well, times certainly change and horses grow up! Now that I am back home, I have moved Yoshi back to the same barn and have become reacquainted with that little colt...and, my, has he changed! Here is a current picture of him, taken almost exactly 2 years after the above picture: (I need to get a picture of him outside so you can get a full sense of his size) As you can see, he has greyed out to something of a strawberry roan. His sire is a large, grey Irish Draught stallion and chestnut (which his dam was) is a recessive color in horses, so it is not surprising his color has changed so much. Actually, you can see that he is already starting to grey out in the first picture of him. He easily stands close to 17 hh (68 inches or 5' 8") at the shoulder which is pretty large. And he has the heavier build of an Irish Draught, though he still does have some of the lighter Thoroughbred features in his conformation.

Regardless of color and size changes, fortunately, he is a gentle and intelligent horse, certainly the most important aspects in any equine!

So, the year has changed as has Tigger. I wish you all the best in the new year!