Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Veterinary Medicine: It's a people business Part 2

Today I want to talk about another group of people who make coming to work fun every single day of the week. That would be the staff of The Country Doctor. I have worked at three different veterinary clinics over my 23 year career in veterinary medicine and 14 of those years have been at Country Doctor. I have worked with many excellent people over the years, but I can honestly say that the group of people I work with right now are the best! Dr. Curie has assembled what I commonly refer to as the "dream team". From the receptionists to the veterinary assistants/technicians to the office manager, every single person here is caring, dedicated and hard working. I have so much respect for every person and the job they do. It is very cool to have so many intelligent, smart women all working together. I love how everyone wants to learn more. That is a great personality trait for anyone. I love coming to work knowing that I have highly skilled veterinary assistants and techicians to help me care for my patients. Because I have worked at other clinics, I know the high quality of care that patients receive at Country Doctor. It just knocks my socks off.

Recently we got to enjoy each other's company away from the office at a cookout at Dr. Curie's farm. Have you ever seen a better looking group of people? We enjoyed fried perch and homegrown chicken and about 10 different side dishes. Then there was bocce ball and cornhole and a walk to Dr. C's lake. Ok, that last part ended in getting soaked by a little rain shower, but it was still fun! What a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. A big thank you to my "other" family for making my life better! (left to right: Leanne, Kate, Carly, Ashley, Amber, Christine, Amy, Dr.V. / In front: Sue)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Veterinary Medicine: It's a people business Part 1

Hope everyone had a great week last week. As you can see, I took a week off blogging and instead spent time hanging out at the Ashtabula County Fair. I love fair week. I love checking out all the 4-H animals and talking with all the people I know. Of course there is the manditory visit to the DairyBooth for ice cream and spending the entire day on Sunday at the tractor and truck pull. Although I didn't buy a ticket, Keith Anderson sounded great Saturday night and by the sounds of all the girls screaming, he must have put on a heck of a show.

Now back to the happenings at Country Doctor. I want to steer away from medical topics for a bit and take some time to thank some very special people who make working at Country Doctor an awesome job. This will be part 1 so stayed tuned for more.

About a week or two ago, I was hanging out in the X-ray room when Doc Curie came walking in. He stopped and said "You know, we have the best clients in the world". Well, he is absolutely right on. Country Doctor does have the best clients. I talk about this all the time with people I know. There is a misconception out there that veterinary medicine is an animal business. Surely animals are part of the job, but I've never known one animal that came walking through the front door without a human attached to it. Students who aspire to work with animals because they love the animals, but don't like working with people are bound to be extremely disappointed if they choose veterinary medicine as a career. But for someone who loves animals AND loves people, veterinary medicine is perfect.

The people who walk through our front door are not just any people. They are special. They are animal lovers. They care. I don't care if it's the owner of a dog or cat that sleeps in bed with them or the farmer that raises livestock or the hunter that owns a working dog to help chase that coon or that rabbit or retrieve a duck. Every single one of these people has a deep seated respect for life and it shows in the way they care for their animals. Being able to come to work every day and meet people who really care about their animals is a true blessing.

So thank you to all the clients that come to Country Doctor. You make coming to work fun!

Thanks to everyone who sends me pictures of their pets. Here's a couple I particularily thought were classic dog. Timex, a normally very shiny black dog, comes home after a day out mud wrestling. Then a picture of Timex all cleaned up and taking a snooze. I love it!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Puppy Love!

Lookie what I got to play with at work the past 2 days............

I love my job!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Deadly summer bugs

August may be the month for graphic photos in my blog so beware as you read this post. (Could this be a warning about a future blog too????) What better way to get a point across than show it in a picture, eh?

Some of you (me included) are really starting to wonder if summer is really here in northeastern Ohio. Well, we may not have had hot weather yet, but the creepy crawly critters that we don't have to deal with in the dead of winter are surely out and about anyway. Today I would like to send out a warning about fly strike.

Fly strike or myiasis is when fly larvae or maggots infest tissue. In my small animal practice, I most often see this in heavy coated breeds of dogs and in rabbits although any animal can be affected. (Do you remember "Pumpkin" the cat found with the arrow through is front leg? His wound was packed full of maggots.) All it takes to get started is a wound or moist infected area of skin to get started. Flies are attracted to the wound area and lay their eggs near the wound. Then the eggs hatch to maggots and the maggots start feeding on the wound. Most of the fly strike I have seen occurs on top of the rump or around the anal or genital area probably because the pet is less likely to notice flies buzzing around its backend vs buzzing around the head area. In heavy coated animals, the maggots will burrow under the hair coat to the skin. It takes several days of maggots feasting on an animal's skin before the pet starts to show signs of being sick. By this time, the damage can be extensive and the consequences deadly.

This picture is of a rabbit I treated for fly strike last month. We had shaved all the fur off the top
of the rabbit's back and had removed the maggots. The pink areas are exposed muscle where the maggots had eaten all the skin away. For a point of reference, I am holding the rabbit's tail. This rabbit had even more extensive maggot created holes in the skin on the underside. Unfortunately this rabbit died as many of them do.

So how do you prevent this? If you have a heavy coated dog, consider shaving the fur short for the summer especially if the dog is housed outside. Make sure the backend is kept free and clean from pieces of poop that might get stuck back there. We all know that poop attracts flies. Well at least, I hope we all know this. Keep dogs and cats on good quality flea control. Fleas can cause scratching. Scratching can cause a moist skin infection called a "hot spot". And hot spots are the perfect starting ground for maggot invasion. If rabbits are housed outdoors (or even in a garage), you really need to pick them up every day in the summer and check around their back end. Be especially aware of any strange rotting type odor that you all of a sudden notice on your dog or rabbit. If you notice fly eggs on your pet's fur (they look like small white or yellow-white clusters on the fur), now is the time to take action. Comb them out with a fine tooth comb like a flea comb. If the skin is already infested with maggots, please get your pet to the vet as soon as possible.