Tag Archives: pet blog

National Vet Tech Week

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Regardless of my current level of satisfaction at my job, I have to say the pride I feel in being an RVT never fades. I love the industry I work in, the camaraderie felt with the other techs as well as support staff and doctors, and the constant challenge that each day brings.

Some of the jobs that fall under my job description aren’t pretty, aren’t desirable, and quite often don’t smell very good. However, no matter what, I know that all the little things that I do will contribute to the betterment of the pet’s life. It does become tedious when you are trying to teach someone how to help their pet and they’re clearly going to dismiss everything you’ve said as soon as they walk out the door, provided they actually listened in the first place. I’ve written previously about the things that irk me as a veterinary professional and those things continue to happen day in and day out. What keeps me in this field is the group of like-minded individuals I get to work with on a daily basis.

Even though many of us are in different stages of lives, we have a common goal of helping animals that bring us together at work.  Through thick and thin we keep a positive attitude, which is so essential in avoiding burnout and compassion fatigue.  Lately in the veterinary world, the number of people succumbing to these things is on the rise and thankfully our clinic has taken this quite seriously.  We are all attending a workshop on mental health next week, and I can’t be more proud that our clinic’s partners are taking such a proactive role in addressing the issue of mental health.  It’s not something a lot of people think of when it comes to our job, but it is very real and it does affect people in a big way.

As much as I may complain about the job of a vet tech sometimes, we do find time to have fun and see the humour in everyday situations.  We can laugh about the tough things from yesterday or about an entertaining animal or client who is booked in today.  We can compare stories or “battle wounds” and make light of the fact that our job can really suck.  Despite that we love it because we are doing what we love, and we should count ourselves lucky as there are many people out there who either don’t love their job or have no idea what they even want to do.  We’ve found what makes us happy.

I certainly feel appreciated during National Vet Tech Week as our clinic owners took the time to show us their appreciation with sweet tweets, and even a little gift.  This really shows us that we are valued members of the team and that our work doesn’t go unnoticed.

From: blogs.oregonstate.edu

From this tech to all the others: KEEP IT UP!  Your efforts and hard work are what keep your clinic functioning, and just know that what you do matters.  Every day you contribute so much to the betterment of the lives of animals and their people, and you should be proud.

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Loss

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dog Behaviour – Where I Stand

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.

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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.

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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.

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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