I was a newbie when I became Scout's vet 10 years ago. Her mom was a cool single lady who I always liked and Scout was a crazy young Golden. At some point through the years, she started bringing her boyfriend in and eventually, we added him to the chart when they married. She was so happy for me when I was pregnant during the visit when Scout ate a sock, and shared that she too was trying. At the visit when Scout got into some Aleve I noticed she started to have acne and looked bloated as she shared the "trying" wasn't working and they had started fertility drugs. After a few years, they began looking in to adoption. They would call for me to submit letters to adoption agencies that the dog was well behaved, Rabies vaccinated and they were responsible pet owners. They followed me to various hospitals when I switched jobs or became a relief vet as Scout became an old arthritic Golden. When I opened my own hospital, her husband (a commercial landscaper) insisted on doing the new hospital's landscaping at cost (free labor). Over the years I stopped asking how the adoption process was going as they had many false hopes that never panned out. Until last year, when their dreams came true and they adopted the little cutie in this picture. The baby started coming to their visits too and I got to watch her grow over the year (she calls me "Auntie Monica"). Tonight I was there for Scout and her family as they said goodbye and we let her go. I got to tell them it was the right thing to do (it was) and I saw the guilt leave their eyes. I got to be there for Scout, an old friend, who was so comfortable in my office she was snoring before she passed away. This is not a sad story. This is what I love about my job. I watched this entire family come together and be a little part of their lives for a decade. I got to be an old friend to a dog who was ready to go and didn't need to be scared or around a stranger in her time of need. And an old friend to her family who needed someone they trusted to give them permission to let her go. I love my job. RIP Scout.
This is a cautionary tale about trusting Dr. Google instead of calling your trusted vet. Once upon a time there was a lovely lady who owned a lovely cat. As they sat on their lovely sofa watching what I can only guess was an episode of Lawrence Welk or the Golden Girls, the lovely lady was horrified to find a less than lovely parasite affixed to her precious cat. A tick. A big fat tick! Well after screaming and running around the sofa a few times, the lovely lady calmed down enough to get in front of her computer and type her predicament into a search engine. Lo and behold, the solution appeared before her. She read what seemed like sound advice "Apply Vaseline to smother the tick and it will suffocate and die". So she grabbed the longest cotton swab she could find and applied a glob of wonder jelly and waited. And waited. And waited. Now that little tick was feeling extra moisturized and slippery in all that Vaseline, but he certainly wasn't smothered. In fact he was wiggling his little legs even more now as if to taunt her. Back to the computer to find a better solution. "Aha!" she thought, this site is much more reliable. "Apply a match tip to burn the tick dead". Feeling rather clever, the lovely lady lit a match, blew it out, and applied the burning embers to the tick. Well it's a funny thing about vaseline. Seeing as how it's made out of petroleum, it's actually quite flammable. Just one touch of a just lit match tip and FLOOM! that lovely cat was now engulfed in flames!!!! The lovely lady was a quick thinker. She grabbed her flaming cat, ran out her back door, and threw the cat into the pool to put out the fire. When she finally brought the cat into the vet, she was treated for severe dermal burns, near drowning (fluid in her lungs), and guess what else? Yup- tick removal. It turns out ticks are fire proof and can also swim. Thankfully the cat survived. But in her honor, I provide the following advice: If you want to remove a tick, it's very easy. You can buy a tick removal devise (www.ticktwister.com) for a few bucks. Your vet probably has one and can remove the tick for you if you are having an urgent tick-mergency. You can even use tweezers. The reason they say to remove from the head is because if you pinch the body it will pop (and it's filled with blood so that's extra gross). There is no truth to the urban legend that if you don't get the head it will burrow in further and grow another body. They are not zombies or geckos. They are just gross bugs. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I will add that most ticks in our area do not carry diseases (Lymes Disease, Ehrlickia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc.) so other than [...]
This Cat is Toast This is the story of what started out as a euthanasia. A Good Samaritan brought in a cat she found dragging both rear legs down her street. "Dr. Revel, you've got an ER in Room 2. Looks like an HBC." That's medical slang for "hit by car." Oh no! I walked in the room and introduced myself the client. I looked at my patient. A tiny little four pound gray tabby cat. One of the first things we vets do is to peel up the lip and look at the color of their gums...pale means blood loss, blue means can't breathe, pink means good. I was a little shocked to see perfectly clean teeth. It was a baby, maybe a year old, but a very young cat. Her gums were a little pale, but not alarmingly so. She was so sweet. She looked at me with these knowing and innocent yellow eyes. Now just for perspective here, most HBC feral (wild) cats would be hissing at me and trying to claw my face off. Not this one. I put my stethoscope to her chest to listen to her heart and lungs. What on earth? She's purring?! I looked at her spine and back legs. She had no sensation. Zero. They were both paralyzed. Ugh. There's a reflex called "deep pain." It's where we pinch in-between the toes really hard and they draw their leg away. Well, they are supposed to. She didn't. No deep pain. That's bad. That means permanent paralysis. At least she couldn't feel any pain. I talked it over with the good Sam. She requested that we humanely euthanize this poor paralyzed kitty. It was a reasonable request. I took the cat to the treatment room to put an IV catheter in her that would deliver the drug that would allow her to peacefully pass away. I pet her as the nursed placed her catheter. Wait! The muscles in her back legs were atrophied. That's a vet word for wasted away. Atrophied! That doesn't happen over night. She's been this way for...well...probably a month. She survived outside, stray, for a month with paralyzed back legs! This was not a cat I could euthanize. This was a cat who wanted to live!!! I went back into the exam room to talk to the Good Sam. I tearfully asked her if she would sign the cat over to me so I could find her a home. She kindly agreed and very generously donated money towards the cat's care. I will forever be grateful to this woman. I took some X-rays of the cats pelvis and abdomen (belly) and saw that her hip bones had been completely crushed. Three of her backbones were luxated (out of place) but no broken spine. On the X-ray I could see digested bone meal in her colon. By some miracle, this cat had hunted on two legs. Though severely emaciated, she was able to eat just enough to stay alive. [...]