Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Not To Do In A Vet's Office

Even though a lot of his article refers to dogs and not cats, there is still a lot of wisdom in Scott Weese's post on this subject over at Worms and Germs.

#1 and #9 are probably the most important in our office. Confining ALL cats to secure carriers prior to entering the exam room is critical for the safety of your pet, other people's pets, you, and other people (including the veterinary hospital staff, whose job requirements do not include getting bitten or scratched). Leaving small children at home makes for a more relaxed cat - when frightened and in an unfamiliar environment, cats lose the ability to recognize familiar people and be comforted by them.

Tiger Smuggler Thwarted

Even though I don't ever work on exotic feline species, I just had to post this about the baby tiger in the suitcase that made the news recently.

There isn't much in the world more adorable than baby tigers in my opinion, so this story really fries me. Poor thing could have died in there. And it must have been so scared. People are stupid, greedy, and mean sometimes.

No, I Didn't Die

I just realized I hadn't posted since I was sick earlier in the month. I was fine after a couple of days.

Maybe it's a reflection of my huge blog viewership that nobody called the office to see if I was still alive. LOL.

(Kicking self to make me get back to posting)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's Been Quite A Day

This morning I went downtown to LA Veterinary Public Health to be interviewed by Dr. Emily Beeler for some educational podcasts/slide presentations about the rabid cat I reported back in 1987.

For background: there has been only one case of domestic animal rabies in Los Angeles County in the last, oh, at least 53 years or more. I know all about that case because I saw the cat in question, suspected rabies, reported it, and it was subsequently quarantined and confirmed. Sort of my 15 minutes of fame, if that. I guess now it's going into reruns or syndication!

Anyway, how I pulled off the trip downtown I will never know because I have been sick as a dog for a few days and really should be home in bed 24/7. But I made a commitment, and off I went.

But I am so very happy I was in the office this afternoon, because I was surprised by a phone call from my favorite professor in vet school, Dr. Simon Turner, to whom I had written a letter earlier this year when he was recovering from his SECOND traumatic brain injury received while riding his bicycle. We hadn't spoken to or seen each other in 28 years, but when he called it was such a pleasure, and I don't know who shed more tears or had more speechless moments. He is recovering at home, and his return to research and teaching is still uncertain, but he wanted to let me know he considered my letter particularly noteworthy.

I need to GO HOME. I still feel like c--p, but that phone call sure helped. In theory I will be at work tomorrow.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another Facepalm Moment

Alison just finished dealing with a phone call that went on for at least 10 minutes but ended without an appointment being scheduled - as previous calls from this same prospective client have ended, Alison informs me.

The woman repeatedly asked Alison (who is not a doctor, BTW) variations on the same questions along the lines of "My husband works and I don't drive - how close to closing time can I bring my two cats in?" and "How experienced is the doctor and are you sure she knows what she's doing?" and "What's wrong with my two old cats who have never been fixed or seen a veterinarian?".

The clincher was, "My cats aren't eating well. Have you ever heard of THAT???" To her credit, Alison merely informed her that she wasn't a doctor and couldn't answer medical questions.

In all honesty, it was actually a double facepalm moment.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Sad, Unnecessary Consequences Of Inadequate Public Health Systems

I was saddened to read today about the severe dog rabies problem in Bali reported in the San Francisco Chronicle. Bali, of course, is a trendy vacation hot spot of late, but you wouldn't catch me taking any children there, in large part because the country is utterly lacking in the physical resources to provide post-exposure prophylaxis to its own citizens, let along tourists who might get exposed to rabies.

In Third World countries like this, if you get bitten by an animal that cannot be proven to be free of rabies, your safest bet is to throw away your vacation money already spent and evacuate back to the US immediately for treatment. And how many people are going to do THAT?? So they put the blinders on, continue their vacation, and die a couple of months later.

Of course if it happened to me, I would worry less because I have been previously vaccinated for rabies and several years ago still had a protective titer. But if exposed, I would still fly home for the minimal treatment I would need. That's why I buy trip insurance.

Sadly, Bali was rabies-free until 18 months ago. So the local residents have no experience with it, and do not have reason to fear dog bites like those in areas with longstanding rabies problems.