August 2014

18 – MD – The chance to serve and old friend

Unlike my wife, the Veterinarian, I did not spend any time growing up in San Antonio. I started living here for the first time in my life on July 7th. So, I don't have dozens of friends from elementary, junior, and senior high school thatall still live here and may pop in on occasion, or long-time family friends who I've known since I was born. Dr. Davis has; not I.So, I was quite thrilled this past Friday when one of my best buddies from college stopped by, as she was also from San Antonio and moved back here after college. She brought in a newly acquired cat from the Humane Society (highly recommended btw - go go rescue cat owners!!) to get him checked out. Now the animal stuff Dr. D can tell you all about, but for me I was so thrilled to get to hang out with my old friend, if only for the span of a few minutes, while they checked the cat for worms and ran blood work (standard new cat stuff). This was a first for me - the opportunity to provide commercial services for an old friend. I know she was concerned about her cat, but secretly I think she was glad to see myself and Dr. D as well. We had the chance to hang out last this past March when we were in town for Spring Break, but lately, with the previous distance, it was years between visits (thank you Facebook for keeping us updating on her favorite lunch places and other items she commonly posts). She signed our standard photographic authorization so I took a few extra photos for both our internal records and of course for my own interests.Well, as I was putting things together I remembered we had an advertising credit for Facebook through GoDaddy so I decided it was time to put that into use. I got a stock photo of Dr. D we have been using in promotional items that Dr. Goodman helped us take while still at NEVC, add to that the photo from the albino corn snake that came in the day before, my father-in-law's best buddy who came in with his chihuahua a few weeks ago and my college buddy and whipped out a Facebook ad campaign to promote use of our website. It took a few tries to get the cropping right, but I finally got it to crop and keep the animal's face in the photo along with the human owner. Except the snake. She signed the release but then said verbally she didn't mind the snake's photo but didn't want her picture, so a little extra careful trimming was needed.Prop for Facebook -- hullo but wasn't creating that ad campaign super easy? Yes. Even Taylor (4 staff members under the age of 30 and she's the only staff member on Facebook - go figure) said she saw the ad over the weekend. So it worked and everything. Yay.So, thank you to my good friend, Mrs. Symank for coming in. I know it was a bit out of your way, but it was so super good to see you. Also, thank you to our good family friend, Mr. Rivera for coming in as well. It was great to get the chance to serve you as well a few weeks ago. And of course, Ms. Anonymous Snake Owner. Thanks so much for coming in as well and letting us take a few extra photos. And for all three, thanks for being such a big part of my first ad campaign for the clinic website.
Until next time . . .

15 – AD – Snakes

Yesterday we had our first snake come in to the clinic! It had me thinking that maybe I should talk a little bit about snakes as well. While I understand that some people are afraid of snakes, the reality is snakes actually make good pets. However most people don't realize that snakes are actually much harder to keep than they look. Snakes, like other reptiles, are cold blooded, which means that they can not maintain their own body temperature. They get their heat from the environment. Therefore you need to keep their temperature warm. Most snakes need a temperature gradient from 85-77 with a hot spot in the 90's however each species is specific so you need to do your homework and look it up. They also required certain humidities as well (some like it dry while others like it humid). Like with birds it is important to mimic their normal environment to help prevent disease. (PS - heat rocks VERY BAD and should never be used) Also be careful about their bedding. I like something that is easy to clean like artificial turf or paper. I have had a few pets develop impactions due to sand or bark. Also you need to learn about their dietary requirements. Most snakes eat mice or rats or rabbits depending on their size. In general you will find that most vets do not recommend feeding live prey because sometimes the live prey bite back. Snakes should be examined yearly and fecals performed to check for parasites. If you have further questions feel free to call the clinic to make an appointment.

12 – AD – Grieving Process

With so many peoples minds on the loss of such a beloved and famous actor, Robin Williams, I feel it is fitting to talk about grief. Everyone understands grief in relation to the loss of a family member or friend, but some people may not know that the 5 stages of grief [Stage 1) Denial and Isolation, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression, and 5) Acceptance] also translates to animals. I also find that with pets these stages can occur even before the pet passes away (particularly for an older or sick pet) . These stages of grief are normal. Don't try to fight them. It is also common for people to float in between the stages and they usually do not occur in order. You also may not know that pets can also experience grief, though it is less understood. Please check out the websites to learn more about handing the loss of a pet and/or how to help your pets morn as well. 
Grieving the loss of your dog
Understanding when your dog grieves a fellow

9 – AD – Birds

Today's topic is birds. Birds are beautiful, entertaining and can make great pets, however there are some really important things you should know about birds. First - by the time your bird shows you that he/she is sick, it is REALLY sick. Birds are masters at hiding disease and can be on the verge of death before they start to look sick, so if you suspect your bird MAYBE sick bring it in! Second - birds should not be on a pure seed diet. It is not a normal diet for a bird. I like pelleted diets with added fruits/veggies and some HEALTHY table foods. NO AVOCADO, or CHOCOLATE to name a few. Third - Birds need enrichment - toys, entertainment, etc. Most species of birds have a toddler intelligence level or higher. They need interaction to thrive and stay healthy. Fourth - environmental temperature matter. If you like it hot or cold your bird may not. Do some research in to your birds normal environment and then try to mimic it. Ie - if your bird comes from the tropics, they like it warm, and humid with a little drizzle. Fifth - Veterinary bird care is not cheap. As I mentioned above most birds come in trying to die. Be prepared to do testing, start on medications, hospitalize, etc. Not all veterinarians see birds and those of us who do tend to spend a lot of time caring for that pet when it comes into the hospital. Sixth - Find a bird veterinarian before your pet gets sick. Do routine exams, fecals, bloodwork. Several disease we can catch early or discuss methods of prevention. I can not claim to be an avian specialist but I do see birds and have been trained by some of the best avian specialist in the Texas area.

8 – AD – Arrhythmia

With my dad in the hospital for observation due to an arrhythmia of the heart I figured Arrhythmia's maybe a good topic for today. The word Arrhythmia is derived from the latin - A (for not) and greek - rhythm (movement or procedure with uniform or patterned recurrence of a beat) = not in rhythm. Hearts can lose their rhythem for various reasons. Some can be due to non-heart reasons like fear, pain, electrolyte abnormalities or hormone imbalances (to name a few). These usually have a better prognosis, because as you stabilize the disease the heart also stabilizes. But for the rest, the the heart is cause. These are usually caused by a miscommuncation between one part of the heart to another. Signals are not going through or not going through correctly. All arrhythmias can become life threatening after time as they put added pressure on the heart and the cardiovascular system. Blood pressure can be come affected then organs can become damaged. While sometimes we may wait and see if they resolve on their own, usually (after time) we need to resort to medications or pacemaker to stabilize the heart rhythm. Some pets are prone to heart disease [Boxers and other large breed dogs come to mine for DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) and most small breed dogs are prone to develop mitral valve disease, cats can develop HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)]. If you pet has been diagnosed with heart disease or an illness that can affect the heart (like kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, etc) it is important to have your pet checked regularly including blood work, blood pressure, ECG and/or Echo. Love you dad!

7 – AD – Megaesophogus

Okay so Robert Cash requested to talk a little about megaesophagus. This is not a simple discussion. Simply put Megaesophagus is a large esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach becomes dilated). This can happen due to many reasons, but most commonly in young pets it is due to congenital abnormalities and in, usually older pets, nerve/muscle problems. How do we start to suspect megaesphagus? - well at first it looks like your pet is vomiting a lot so you bring your pet in to see the vet. Your vet should then start to ask you about the vomit and also about what your pet looks like when he/she vomits, how often and when it occurs, etc. These questions are not just to gross you out, but they actually provide us with a lot of information. We are trying to figure out if your pet is truly vomiting or if it is regurgitating. This at times can be difficult to distinguish between. Pets that are truly vomiting are treated differently then those that are regurgitating. If we can't tell the difference, we usually take an x-ray and/or run blood work. We may even do a special x-ray called a contrast radiograph, after feeding your pet a special milk (barium) that will show up on x-rays so we can outline gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes we may even need to use a camera (endoscopy) to take a look (diagnose). Once a pet is considered to have megaesophagus we try to figure out if the cause is treatable/reversible or permanent. Sadly often it is a permanent condition. In the end it means your pet is prone to vomiting (really regurgitation) which also makes it prone to aspirating (inhaling the vomit/food). As you can imagine breathing in vomit is bad. If no cause can be found or if it is found untreatable we generally treat them by elevating their food (similar to what Robert Cash posted under the suggestions link), by feeding them small wet diets several times per day and keeping them upright for 30-60 minutes after feeding. These pets are usually underweight and sickly due to this problem and also typically have a shorter than normal life span. So that is megaesophagus in a nut shell. MUCH MUCH More can be said but I think this is enough to swallow for today. :)

6 – AD – Turtles

While you all are thinking about topics I will talk a little about turtles. My husband and I got a turtle when we were still in college. Actually we got 2. We were young and didn't really know much about these two quarter sized turtles we just got. We did what the pet store told us but as you can imaging they got sick. We took them to the vet and he educated us about turtles. They need special diets, heating, lighting, etc. unfortunately we lost one but we took all we learned and applied it to the other surviving turtle. He is still doing great even 18 years later and he now lives at the clinic. Come in any time to see him. His name is Fiesta and he is our oldest "child". Please feel free to ask me about turtles anytime.

6 – AD – Intro

Thank you all for liking my page! We are super excited about the response. So now the question I have for you non-vet people is what do you want me to talk about on the page. For example I am real passionate about exotic medicine but does anyone have anything/topics that they would like me to discuss? Please comment below. Thanks!