Tag Archives: vets

Keeping a Positive Attitude When the Day Gets “Veterinary Clinic” Rough

From: http://www.catwisdom101.com

There are days at the vet clinic that never seem to end. You’re missing veins, nobody is cooperating for their exams, owners are being difficult or non-compliant and euthanasias are abundant. How does one keep a positive attitude and bring a smile to each and every client when faced with a day like this? Here are a few ways that seem to work for me:

1. Make light of any situation
I am one of those people who uses humour, or attempts at humour, in any situation that makes me uncomfortable, sad, angry, frustrated. You name it, and I’m trying to be funny. This not only makes my coworkers laugh (sometimes), but laughing and/or smiling allows me to release some of that emotion and to make an otherwise terrible situation seem a little more bearable.

For example, we had euthanized a very large dog that day and had some trouble getting it in the freezer because there were things in there that didn’t need to be. Once I had solved the problem of getting that stuff out and the big dog in, I sent out a clinic-wide email asking people to please remove what they could from the freezer because I wasn’t really into playing “Jenga” in there for long periods of time. It made a few people chuckle after an otherwise crazy day and if I can help to boost morale with cheesy things, then I am gonna lay it on.

2. Allowing someone to “let it out”

The first eleven seconds of this video is what plays in my head all the time.

Every single time I read or hear the words “let it out”, I am reminded of the above scene voiced by the late Robin Williams. It makes me smile a little inside, but I also do this in the literal sense. Whether they need to cry, vent, or they just can’t bear to be present in another euthanasia that day, I like to be that person who listens or fills in whenever needed and I know that my teammates would do the same for me.  Think of your coworkers like you’re all part of the Amigos.

I think voicing your frustrations can be a very good strategy for getting through the day with your sanity intact.  There are certain people I work with who know that when I need to vent, it’s not that I am mad at them or I am being too negative.  They know that I just need to voice my opinion or voice my frustrations and then it’s over and I feel better.  Then I can continue on with my day.  Often you can’t voice what you really think in an appointment because staying professional and courteous is so crucial, so being able to do so can help with getting rid of some frustration.

3. Cut yourself some slack

From: http://redsight890.blogspot.ca/

 

Yes, I get it. You’ve done this job for “x “years and you are more than capable of hitting that vein, or powering through that tough appointment. The sooner someone realizes that perfection is an impossible goal, the sooner they will be less hard on themselves when they’re having a bad day.

Even being as relatively new as I am, I know that there are going to be days when I’m not at my best. Those days are getting fewer and further apart, and that is what I strive for. You’re going to make mistakes, but as long as you make each one a “teachable moment”, you’re on your way to becoming an even better technician (or whatever your title may be).

Being perfect one hundred percent of the time isn’t going to happen because the industry is constantly going to evolve and change.  You can either learn and adapt, or get left behind thinking you’ve seen it all.  Chances are, you haven’t.  Even some of the technicians I respect the most, who really have “seen it all” know that there is always more to be learned, and staying humble really goes a long way.

4. Give yourself a minute

Sometimes you just need a sec.  Take a few minutes to allow your brain to rest, to recharge, and to deal with the craziness.  I realize that there are some days where time is short and there doesn’t seem to be enough of it to go around.

From: http://www.workingnurse.com

I think it is incredibly important to at least have a few moments where you can just sit and release some of that tension.  I recently did some CE on compassion fatigue which I felt was really useful.  Since we are in a field which requires a compassionate and empathetic person, sometimes this can put some strain on us mentally. I intend to write further on the topic, not as an expert by any stretch of the imagination but just put out the information I have gathered so far and possibly inject some of my own experiences in.

Just think, you could have to work with people.

From: http://www.media-cache-cd0.pinimg.com

Don’t get discouraged.  Just know that at the end of the day, you really are doing all you can and you are making a difference in the lives of your patients.  Any client or employer with sense will know that you are only human, and that you deserve respect for the work that you do.

If all else fails, I watch cat videos until I feel better.  This one, for example, had me laughing until I cried.

 

As always, feel free to leave me a comment.  Any positive feedback or constructive criticism to become a better blogger or a better tech would be great!

Advertisements

Common Pet Myths: Busted – Part 2

One can probably write as many parts on this as there are parts to the Fast and Furious movies, but I think it’s time to touch on a few more.

1. The term “neuter” applies only to male animals.

This is a fairly harmless one in my eyes but nevertheless it is misused by both professionals and clients. By definition, it can apply to the sterilization of both males and females but often it is only used to describe the castration of male animals, while we use the term “spay” for females. Or “spaded” as some folk who are one sandwich short of a picnic call it.  Often I am tempted to reply, “No, we don’t take them out back and beat them with shovels” but I fear it would be lost on some and slightly unprofessional.

2. Cats urinate on things because they’re mad at you.

This idea infuriates me a little bit, even though I can understand why it may be a valid theory to some. Often cats will urinate inappropriately due to stressors like something significant changing in their daily routine. New people, new things, new pets – these can all contribute. Cats can also be prone to stress cystitis, which essentially means a stressed cat with an angry bladder which makes the cat’s life very uncomfortable in the urinary department and yours very frustrating when you find wee little bits of urine around the house.

Please cut the cats some slack. Sometimes the issue of stress can be solved as easily as cleaning the litter box more often, adding another, or changing the style (ie lid vs no lid). Obviously you aren’t going to remove your new crying, screaming, attention-hogging little human from the home, but hopefully your cat will eventually come to realize that life can still go on with the addition of a baby to the family dynamic. Stay strong, there are ways to work around this and avenues that may help.

3. It can be “normal” for your cat or dog (usually cats) to vomit on a regular basis.

Do YOU feel nauseated and/or vomit on a regular basis if you are healthy?  Would YOU think this is normal if it happened to you? What makes you think that vomiting every day is normal for your cat, then?  Yes, they do it all the time.  No, this does not mean it is “normal”, it means it is “frequent” and that sucks for your cat.  I don’t think you would enjoy it, and I bet your cat doesn’t either.  There are myriad reasons why your cat may throw up.  Excessive grooming, stress, kidney disease, liver disease, toxicity, plus many other things. I think it is worth a trip to your vet to see if one of these issues is happening and perhaps you’ll be able to halt something serious before it progresses.

4.  Lastly, but certainly not least,  is one that I have become quite passionate about this year especially with a local epidemic of parvo virus – VACCINATIONS.

I am quite passionate about my pro-vaccine stance and it’s Monday, so I have absolutely no patience for unfounded claims and other such silliness. Let me start by describing to you what a day in the life of a dog with CPV (canine parvo virus) is like.  They’re put in isolation due to the fact that CPV is incredibly contagious, they vomit and defecate bloody, liquid material which has a smell like a mixture of skunk, digested blood, and death.  Too often they die from dehydration or lack of nutrition.

The disease causes the villi of the intestine to become disabled, making it impossible for the dog to absorb any kind of nutrients.  It’s important to note that there is no cure, so just like a human cold, only supportive treatments are available to help the body fight off the virus and stay hydrated.  Antibiotics and fluids will do their part, but the animal’s immune system must fight it off in order for the pet to recover.  What’s particularly heartbreaking is that this disease targets primarily puppies, whose immune systems aren’t always quite developed enough to fight this disease properly.

This can be prevented as easily as a needle under the skin.  A vaccine.  Lately there are many people trying to tell us that vaccines are bad, they’re just moneymakers, they cause autism, etc.  Let me ask you this – when is the last time you saw an autistic dog? Right. Give it a rest.  CPV is a serious, deadly disease that can live in almost any environment (anywhere) for five months (see: http://ow.ly/Acrnn). Many disinfectants aren’t enough to kill CPV except bleach, therefore it is very difficult to get rid of.  Dogs pick it up by ingesting the virus from the environment, like where an infected dog has defecated.  Then they quite literally defecate and puke their life away.  Parvo poop is a smell you won’t soon forget.

I will stick to vaccines in pets because that is where most of my knowledge lies, but I am slowly learning about the human side of it.  From what I have read and what I can tell, preventing fatal disease epidemics will outweigh most other risks in my eyes.  When did Hollywood attention-seekers become a better source for scientific information than actual science?  Oh, and since when did a disability like autism become worse than death?

From: http://www.scienceblogs.com (Couldn’t help myself)

Vaccinating your pet regularly can help prevent disease not only in your one pet, but any pet that yours comes in contact with.  It doesn’t take much for a disease to spread, but if your pet is vaccinated that is one less that will carry it and pass it on.  Sometimes people will say to me, “We haven’t seen “x” disease in years, why are we still vaccinating for it?”.  The answer is simple.  We don’t see it because we vaccinate for it.  It still lives in the wildlife population, so if you were to stop vaccinating it would become a problem all over again.

I’ve seen this type of person many times.  It is when their pet dies from a preventable disease that all of a sudden the proverbial light bulb flashes on and they’re right in to get their next pet vaccinated.  It’s a shame that it often happens this way, but it is the reality of it.  Clinics in Ontario see multiple cases every year (don’t worry, I’ve asked many people in the veterinary field in Ontario).  Currently Cornwall, Ontario is in the midst of an outbreak. There are larger clinics in the US that have seen 5, 10, and in some clinics even upwards of 50 cases this year alone. It’s out there, and it is very real. Please get your puppy vaccinated.

Here is the CTV news video: http://ow.ly/AcDLZ

From: http://www.modularhomecoach.com/

I plan to write more extensively on vaccines at another time, once I have gathered more hard evidence to show you.  If there is a particular vaccine or disease you’d like me to touch on, by all means leave me a comment or send me an email with the form at the bottom of the page.

If you don’t mind, perhaps you can help me gauge the opinion of people reading this blog:

Here is a link with more information as well: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/lab-bio/res/psds-ftss/parvovirus-eng.php

 

 

 

My Journey for Charity in Northern Ontario: Day 2

This is technically day 3, but due to my lack of internet access here is Day 2. Today’s will hopefully come later.

Day 2

We were so busy today, I didn’t even have time to dwell on the fact that I had no cell service and therefore no connection to the world outside of the community in Round Lake.

We flew by 8-seater bush plane from Sioux Lookout to our temporary base in Round Lake. Of the four of our group on the plane, I had the good fortune to be the only one not to have a second look at my breakfast. The ride was a bit on the choppy side, but our pilot was great and the landing was smooth, so I think we had it pretty good.

The group had a minute or two to view our accommodations then off we went to the arena. There our equipment was that the first shift had set up. We started surgeries around 12:30pm and did the last one around 9:30pm.

All of us got thrown right in, as the surgery patients came pouring in almost as soon as we arrived. The routine was learned on the fly, which is sometimes a little hard for me. I usually need a bit of time to process and figure what I’m going to do and when. By the second or third surgery it started to become much easier, and we all started to get into a rhythm which ended with us finishing a mixture of 15 canine spays and neuters, then we flew through 8 feline neuters.

As I write this we are just waiting for the last of the cats to be able to go home. Now that the urgency has left our brains, I think we are all getting a bit sluggish and can’t wait to crawl into our beds to start bright and early again at 8:00am.

The people of this community have so far been very helpful and thankful for the work we are doing. Life is quite different here, to say the least, so we’ve had to adapt many of our protocols from what we do at home. Most of the dogs and cats live outside for most of their lives, but most were used to being handled and very sweet.

The vaccine clinic also seemed very popular, and it was nice to see how many people wanted to get their pets vaccinated and dewormed.

All in all a successful, satisfying day and I can’t wait to start again tomorrow. Then we’ll be continuing our journey to our namesake community, Cat Lake. I think the weirdest moment was when a little girl came up to me and bashfully asked, “did you cut off a dog’s paws?” Well no, not that I knew of. Luckily her companion was a little more on the ball and corrected her. We had cut the nails, not the paws. I’m glad we cleared that up.

Hopefully I will continue to find some sort of Wifi connection!

20140708-204738-74858850.jpg

20140708-204740-74860577.jpg

20140708-204739-74859707.jpg

 

If you have a comment or a question about how you can help the Friends of Animush, please feel free to shoot me an email!

My Journey for Charity in Northern Ontario: Day 1

I belong to this organization with other techs, vets, and volunteers is one that promotes the health and safety of dogs in the far reaches of Northern Ontario. We visit Native communities in hopes of controlling the population through spay/neuter clinics and education. This is my very first trip with them, and I am pumped!

As I write this I am on a plane from Toronto, ON to Thunder Bay, ON where we will rent a car and continue to Sioux Lookout. The final leg will be completed tomorrow as some of us head by bush plane to Round Lake, and I to Cat Lake.

Friends of Animush (Dogs) is a not-for-profit group of dog lovers out to make a difference. The driving force behind this organization is the constant threat of mass dog shoots due to over-population and the ensuing trouble caused by too many dogs and too few people to care for them. Veterinary care is scarce in these remote areas of Ontario, excepting the groups who travel there to do work like ours.

As a registered technician, my biggest motivation for doing this is the knowledge that I will be using the skills I’ve obtained for a cause that will make the difference to the lives of the dogs and the people of these communities. I can’t wait to start, and to experience what life is like in these remote communities. If I can use what I’ve learned to potentially save lives and create deeper bonds between man and dog, I am happy to brave the bugs, heat, and long hours to make that happen.

Hopefully we will leave a lasting good impression and be able to find homes for the dogs that we bring back with us. The neglected, the injured, and the sick are ones that we try to bring back to Southern Ontario to foster with volunteers until they can be found homes.

Conditions in these areas, I’ve heard, can sometimes be rough and the people living there have many of their own problems to deal with aside from those of their pets. While there are programs in place to help the people, we believe that the lives of the animals also deserve to be made better. I expect an eye-opening, educational experience that I’m unlikely to forget and I hope to be able to share my experiences with all of you!

As internet and time become available, I will try to document my journey over the next week. Tomorrow we arrive at our first community, and I will catch up with you then!

If you are in a position to foster, donate, or provide any services that could benefit the Friends of Animush or the animals we’re fighting to save, please contact me or send us a message on our Facebook page entitled “Cat Lake: Friends of Animush”.

20140706-201142-72702894.jpg

 

If you have a comment or a question about how you can help the Friends of Animush, please feel free to shoot me an email!