Here’s a reply to a post that I couldn’t possibly have written as well as Amusing Nonsense has. Thanks for a great read, and expressing my sentiments exactly!
by: Queanbeyan Veterinary Hospital Blog
This is a topic that I’m also passionate about and I found this list to be wonderfully concise and factual. It challenges and disproves many of the myths surrounding raw diets.
Understand this: Veterinary professionals have a unique “outside looking in” view on how your animal behaves while at the clinic. Often we can see exactly what is lacking in the dynamic between you and your dog, or read your cat in order to see when they’ve had enough of us.
Having said that, we use this knowledge to help us decide on the best possible course of action to keep you, your pet, and us, safe. Some dogs are fearful, some are dominant, some couldn’t care less. Then there are those dogs that do things in the most unexpected of ways. These are the dogs you don’t see coming, and the ones that veterinary professionals have to be on guard for at all times.
I commonly experience owners who become offended or even get angry when we need to restrain their animal. What people need to understand is that no matter what, everyone’s safety is more important than your belief that Fluffy is going to be mad at you. Many people say, “Oh, Fluffy would never bite” or “Fluffy doesn’t need a muzzle”. Here’s a tip – if we are suggesting it, then yes, Fluffy does need what we call a “party hat”. The picture below depicts a tech or vet holding a dog in what we call “lateral”. We hold the down leg to prevent the dog from getting up. He can breathe and he is not in pain, he is just laying on his side and is being stopped from getting up. Mean? No. Useful? Yes.
Maybe your pet wouldn’t normally be one to bite, but now we have taken them out of their normal environment with their familiar people and schedule, and brought them to a stress-filled place with other animals and people they don’t know. Believe it or not, this changes things for your pet. Their normal behaviour doesn’t apply. By putting them in an exam room, we’ve taken the flight option away from them, and that leaves fight. In some cases I have even watched owners who refused a muzzle get bitten by their animal and think it’s completely normal and OK. Please understand me when I say this – your animal biting someone is NOT OK. Our job is to keep your animal healthy, not to scar up our bodies even more than they already are.
Just over three years into practice and I already have countless scars that will likely never fade. Some are there because we were not given permission to muzzle an animal. As an owner, do you think it’s alright for another person to have wounds and scars just because you find it offensive to put a painless muzzle on your animal? If your answer is yes, I suspect you may be a sociopath and you need to seek help.
Another point that I must be clear on is aimed at small breed dogs. Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Daschunds, Shih Tzus, and other dogs of this type. Often owners don’t treat these guys like dogs, they more treat them like small children. This means that they don’t always have the same grasp on basic obedience or “manners”. This can also mean that we can have a very angry dog once we start to do things like examine ears and teeth or trim nails. Now this dog, who is not accustomed to doing things it doesn’t want to, is being told to stand still and allow us to do what we need to do. As you can probably guess, there is probably going to be some attempts to bite, tantrums, and some high-pitched squealing, making it sound like we’re torturing the dog.
Here’s a newsflash to all of the owners who would be offended by us restraining your little dog at this point – pipe down. We are not torturing your dog. Fluffy has this all figured out since, at home, if he lets out that shrill scream you probably let go and Fluffy gets away scot-free. Here at the clinic, we don’t fall for this trick and that makes Fluffy miffed. THAT is why he’s making those sounds, not because we are hurting him. Either teach your dog that nail trims and exams are not a bad thing at an early age, or accept the fact that we don’t want to get bitten so we’re going to throw a muzzle on your landshark. Savvy?
Cats are a whole different ball game. One must read the body language carefully to try to anticipate aggression. Sometimes cats give you fair warning, sometimes they must think it hilarious to keep you guessing. One strategy commonly used with cats is scruffing. This seems to quiet many cats, and is a way to restrain them without causing them physical discomfort. Many revert back to kitten behaviour and go very still. This is not meant to make the cat in any way uncomfortable, it is merely done to make sure we have control over the bitey end. Whether we need to give a pill, an injection, or just inspect an issue more closely, the scruff allows us to do so safely. Pet owners should realize this is a very useful tool and in no way means we’re being mean to fluffy.
This may be shocking to you as an owner, but the vast majority of people who work on your pets for a living actually love animals. We probably have some of our own. Believe me, the last thing we want to do is cause your beloved animal pain. In fact, the whole reason you brought him to us was probably to relieve it, no? We aren’t mean, we are just trying to help without getting hurt in the process ourselves. Cut us some slack.
If you aren’t sure how to properly prepare your pet for their future vet visits, please contact your veterinarian for information or tips on how to help make the process as smooth as possible. There are many things you can do, like visit the clinic just to give Fluffy a treat and meet everyone, without anything invasive being done. Helping them to associate your clinic visit with positive things like treats and affection can go a long way. Another thing you can do is handle your puppy from a young age. Lift the lips and earls, handle the paws, even trim little pieces off just so they get used to the sensation. These things will only take a few minutes out of your day, but can really go a long way to making veterinary visits much easier.
As always, feel free to shoot me a message with any questions or comments!
Recently, in the busyness that is my life, I have come across an experience completely new to me. It was one that I had hoped would never come to pass and that I had been dreading for months.
On Monday, September the 8th, I euthanized my family dog. My first puppy. My playmate as a kid and comforting presence as a teenager. She used to make sure I was up in time for work in the morning, although I don’t think her motives were entirely pure. I still believe that she only did it to get me out of my warm, cozy bed so that she could climb in and bask in the comfiness.
She was born sometime in November, 1997. For a dog of her size, she was well into her geriatric years. There were many things that influenced our decision to finally lay her to rest, but one big one was her inability to do the things she loved. Chasing balls, chasing really anything that moved including one rabbit in particular who she never did catch… This would leave her stiff and sore and probably regretting her brief lapse into puppy-hood.
I still vividly remember the day she came home with my dad, an early Christmas present. His timed reveal was thrown off because just as he was lecturing us on having to be good for the next twenty years, she popped out of his jacket and surveyed her new surroundings. Her name was Smooch, after running up to my dad and kissing him thoroughly when he went to pick her out as a puppy.
As she got older and sorer, she no longer beat me up the stairs as she always did. I would often slow down and let her get by me as she hurried slower and slower with each passing year, just because I knew it made her day. She always had to be in view or with her family, and scouting the upstairs first was at the top of her priority list.
I will miss the way she would do laps around the ground floor, so rambunctious in her excitement that someone had come home. Even though she would still do this from time to time as she aged, the laps got slower and the corners eventually too tight for her to make in time without making a little bobble here and there.
The decision is so final that I had a hard time coming to terms with making it. Even though I knew, in both my professional mind and my emotional one, that I was making the right decision, I still felt like second-guessing myself. When my family finally came to me and inquired about the process, I knew that there was no more avoiding it. As my first dog, I had a hard time letting go.
Now, I have grieved and I have even felt a glimmer of relief that her life will no longer be uncomfortable or painful. She will no longer wander as if she were lost, or groan as she got up from a nap. I will no longer lose sleep thinking about whether or not she is in pain, or lonely, or confused. I know that she lived a happy life full of memories, loving people, snacks she wasn’t supposed to have and tennis balls. One full of bonfires where she would herd the guests and their vehicles into their parking spaces, and mooch food from the gullible ones. She was so good at that, and rightfully earned her nickname, “Mooch”.
While in college for veterinary technology, I came across a poem that I knew immediately would one day be the one I used to console myself following Smooch’s inevitable passing. Let me first say that I am not one for poetry, nor have I ever been, but this was a piece that was undeniably suitable and has brought me some small consolation following this loss. It still brings a little tear to my eye to read it.
Smooch was a good dog, the best really, and I will miss her as long as I have the capacity to feel loss. Sometimes the most appropriate decisions are the hardest, but she did her job being an admirable, wonderful pet and I believe I owed it to her to do the right thing.
You will forever be loved and deeply missed.
Goodbye, my friend.
We all want to save money, but when it comes to our pets, we strive to give them the best of everything. Here are five tips to help you save money on your pet’s medical expenses and still provide your favorite fur baby with top-notch treatment.
Be an educated pet owner.
Start by visiting your local library for a basic book on pet care. Check with your neighborhood veterinarian or animal rescue group to see if they offer classes in pet care. Familiarize yourself with the common signs of illness in your pet. For example, review this slide show about the 10 warning signs of cancer in pets and consider subscribing to our Fur the Love of Pets blog to have pet health information delivered to your inbox weekly.
Don’t skimp on preventive care.
An annual visit to your pet’s veterinarian is worth its weight in gold. During a routine physical examination, your…
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The progressive deterioration of many breeds of dogs by breeders is a subject which infuriates me on a regular basis. I’m not talking about breeds who tend to be landsharks (ahem Chihuahuas) or the ones that seem to think that nail trims will result in their deaths (most small dogs and many big ones). Those things aren’t the dogs’ fault, they’re the owners’.
It is the fault of breeders that brachycephalic dogs exist. These are dogs whose noses have been progressively shortened to the point where every breath is a struggle. Where every walk outside is a risk for overheating. Where any surgery becomes that much more unsafe because it is so hard to keep their oxygen at an appropriate level. As a side note, oxygen is slightly crucial to living.
By the way, if you think snorting or gasping noises on a constant basis are adorable, just know that it’s not a noise they make to be cute. It is a noise they make because they can’t breathe. Stop calling it cute. It’s not.
These short noses and terrible airways serve no practical purpose. In fact, it seems to be around only because some idiots think it’s cute so they buy the snorting little puppies. Add obesity in and you have yourself a recipe for a rather substandard life. Those people have contributed to the decline of the breed, and should be ashamed of themselves. If nobody bought these dogs, breeders and “breeders” wouldn’t have any reason to continue breeding for that attribute.
In case you are wondering which breeds fall under this category, brachycephalics would be pugs, English bulldogs, and the like. If you look at pictures of English bulldogs from years ago, they weren’t the sickly creatures they are today. The majority percentage of them must be born by c-section due to the size of their head and shoulders. Darwin would have a field day with that.
When you buy one of these puppies, ask yourself if you think it’s OK that the mother would have needed surgery to have that pup, and quite possibly could have needed surgery in order to be impregnated. Imagine that process for every single litter, and how many surgeries that dog has to undergo so the breeder can make a couple thousand dollars for each one. Remember when I mentioned it’s hard to keep a brachycephalic’s oxygen up? Add the weight of a pregnant belly and you have yourself one risky surgery. Totally worth it though, right? Oh, and expect to do multiple dental cleanings throughout their life since they dentition is so terrible, they are incredibly prone to dental disease.
Another thing breeders and jerks do is crop their dog’s ears. I wish I could meet whoever started this trend so I can punch them in the throat. Don’t try to tell me this is a breed standard. Why is it OK to make it a breed standard to mutilate a dog’s ears so that they stand up in an esthetically pleasing way? Who was the moron who first decided that this was esthetically pleasing anyway? Again, another stupid thing people do to their dogs for no practical reason. Europe had it right when they made this illegal, and I hope that Canada soon follows suit. If there were a hell, there would be a special place in it for people who crop dogs’ ears.
I’m not a fan of declawing either. If you don’t want an animal that will scratch things, get a fucking hamster. Most people don’t actually know the process of removing a cat’s claws. Let me give you a quick overview. Have a look at the first digit on each of your fingers. Now imagine having them removed. This is exactly what happens when you have your cat declawed. It is an amputation. If you get a cat, and it begins scratching things, just remember that you got a cat and they scratch things. Trim their nails, give them other things to scratch, or do yourself and the cats of the world a favour and pick a different animal to subject to your stupidity.
First, I want to say that in most cases a Veterinary Hospital is a for-profit business. There are some not-for-profit agencies that provide veterinary medical care but by and large, the majority of practices are there to make a profit. This post is written from my experience in the for-profit industry. I spent nearly 10 years in a managerial role in Veterinary Medicine and by far, this is the most frequent complaint that I received. It’s all over the internet reviews, the comment cards, the phone calls and emails. Clients feel that Veterinarians are gouging them and recommending unnecessary tests to pad the bill. There are literally thousands of articles about Veterinarians being heartless and money-hungry. Seriously, just google “Money Hungry Veterinarians” and you will have hours and hours of reading material. As the person who had to field these complaints in various hospitals, I can tell you that 90% of…
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I used to think PETA was great for the animal world, but the more I read the more I realize how much of a hypocritical joke they really are. Having “The Situation” as your spokesman says it all really. He’s not exactly someone who commands a ton of respect or influence and I’m not sure who chose him but the idiot should be sacked.
PETA just seem to be unnecessary extremists who put their resources into ridiculous ads instead of finding homes for or housing the thousands of animals euthanized on their orders. No thank you. Hard pass.
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Lately I’ve observed many different dogs with many different owners who exhibit all variations of behaviour while at the vet clinic. After seeing this and polling owners about the dogs’ daily routines, feeding, etc, I have found that there seems to be a pattern between dogs who aren’t regularly stimulated, exercised, and taught “manners” and dogs who get all of these things. One side tends to exhibit more bad behaviours than the other, and I think you can guess which is which.
This has prompted me to want to learn more, to expand the small amount of knowledge I gained while in tech school and really understand more about how to help the dogs and, just as importantly, the owners.
I’ve been looking into ways to specialize through different organizations for technicians. There aren’t as many options in Canada but hopefully there is an avenue I can explore in order to find the information I’m searching for.
There is one driving force behind this epiphany: The desire to help these dogs as well as their owners. To be able to give sound, sensible advice to owners who are at their wits’ end as well as have that advice be backed up by training in the area of behaviour.
There are so many people that I see, mostly through the clinic but some just through random meetings, that have issues with their dogs. Many, at least from first glance, can be attributed to things like lack of exercise or things to keep their brains busy. I don’t feel like this is fair to the dogs.
Like I’ve said before, these animals depend on you for every aspect of their health and this includes daily exercise and mental stimulation. This could include things as simple as spending some time teaching a trick, fetching a ball, or going for a nice, long/walk to learning to do agility courses or tricks with discs.
I feel strongly that dogs who are not couch potatoes require this sort of thing in order to be mentally and physically healthy. Without adequate stimulation, dogs tend to become hyperactive or destructive. They need an outlet for the energy they’re taking in, or behavioural issues can develop.
We can’t exclude physical issues when it comes to the combination of lack of exercise and overeating. Obesity is rampant among the pet population. This page has some insight on the statistics regarding pets in America.
Many people will pass on their bad eating habits to their dogs, resulting in a huge number of overweight and obese pets. I can’t stress enough the toll that this takes on a dog’s body. They can develop diabetes later in life, just like we can, and I am sure that injecting your dog with insulin every day isn’t really your idea of a good time. Joint disease is also exacerbated by extra weight putting excess stress on those joints. Many larger breed dogs are already prone to this, but every extra pound goes a long way to crippling them later in life.
According to the CVMA, obesity can also put your dog at risk for things like Gastrointestinal problems, increased cancer rate, reduced liver function, high blood pressure, and impaired hormone release. See more here. If you aren’t sure how to help keep your pet at a healthy weight, need ideas for stimulation, or if you aren’t sure if you’re doing the right things, your vet is a great resource for information to keep you informed.
If your dog is one who gives you trouble at home or you can’t seem to get them to lose weight, there are ways to help and your vet can help you with that. Also keep in mind, and I can’t stress this enough, that plenty of exercise and play time can go an incredibly long way in helping with many behavioural issues.
It is never a bad idea to do baseline blood work to screen your dog for early signs of different diseases, or just have a visit to make sure you are doing what you can to make your dog’s life as happy and healthy as possible. After all, many dogs are a part of the family and they deserve to live happy, comfortable lives. The only person with the power to give that to them is you.
Feature photo from http://www.petattack.com
I was recently inspired by a discussion on Youtube by Dawkins and Krauss. I have to say that it was one of the most enlightening and moving discussions I have ever heard so far, and I admire them both for their courage to be up there talking with such conviction in front of thousands of people who may or may not agree with them. It was a discussion with so many wonderful points made and eye-opening facts that my brain didn’t quite know what to do with itself. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’ll put a link to it at the end of this post.
The discussion was titled “Something From Nothing”. I know the topic can create some heat, but the title is not the subject that I aim to write about today. Something else came up in their dialogue that I think is a wonderful, truthful point that I wish more people would understand and have the courage to do in their daily lives: utilizing their right to question beliefs. Any beliefs. I am not pointing the finger at Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism. I mean any beliefs on the face of our planet Earth. I strongly feel that if you are going around saying “I am a Christian” or “I follow ‘x’ set of beliefs” then it should be no problem for you to explain those beliefs and be able to back up why you believe those things.
I am sick of hearing people argue for their faith without actually answering direct questions about it. One question I pose often to Christians is whether or not they truly believe all of the “miraculous” stories in the bible. I want to know if they take that, like everything else in the bible, as fact. Infuriatingly, in most instances all that happens is huffing, puffing and avoiding the questions because they’re so offended by the asking of the question itself.
If you are going to label yourself as one thing or another, nobody has the right to feel offended just because someone is questioning the things you stand for. If you can answer in a rational and logical way, good for you. Perhaps the person asking will learn something or find a new perspective on the topic. If you can’t, I think you need to take a serious look at your beliefs and what exactly you stand for. To me, it is impossible for your beliefs or yourself to be taken seriously at that point. If you feel strongly about something, there must be a reason, and if that reason is simply “that’s your belief” – that’s just plain not good enough. Be an adult Just because it is your “personal belief” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be accountable for it.
For instance, I believe in animal welfare. I work every day to make the lives of the animals in my care better. Why do I believe this? Because it is fundamentally and morally wrong to neglect or abuse other creatures who depend on us for their basic needs. The Golden Rule is one to be followed, and I would challenge anyone to argue that.
Politicians will often use their religious beliefs in their political platform, and Krauss talked about this in the video. I believe he made a great point in saying that perhaps it is alright for that politician to have those personal beliefs, but the second he uses it on his political platform he is fair game for the media or whoever to question them. If you want to put those beliefs in the public eye and use them to your advantage, it is not wrong for someone to question them and being offended at that point is incredibly hypocritical.
Dawkins had a slightly different opinion. He was of the mind that any personal belief is open for discussion or questioning, regardless of it being in the public eye or not. I can see where he is coming from here as well because even on my little blog, I feel a strong need to defend or rationalize my thoughts to anyone who questions or argues against them. If I have a belief, I should be able to back it up and state why I think that way.
The beautiful part about the discussion between these two men is that even when they disagree, they can do so in such a civilized, respectful manner that it’s quite refreshing to watch. They both discuss why they believe each point, and can have a lively and engaging debate without the flinging of mud or bruised egos that so often come with debates on controversial topics. I think it’s disgusting that there a certain religions, and I won’t pick on one, that people are afraid to talk about for fear of physical or verbal retribution. Blindly following anything with no room for inquiry or advancement is not something I consider appealing and I have a hard time understanding why it’s desirable.
Always remember: just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.
A question posed by an audience member also really got me thinking and I am glad he was able to say this: if as many people watched this two hour video as watched the Super Bowl, the world would be a better place. If you watched the video, I think you would also agree. See for yourself by clicking here. I would love to hear what anyone reading this thinks of the video as well. Please feel free to comment or email with your thoughts!