Heart Disease

Muffy, the thirteen year old Russian Blue cat was laying on the exam table visibly struggling to breathe.  Clearly this was a cat in trouble.  An x-ray of her chest showed fluid in her lungs, but the source of the problem was not entirely clear.  We needed to figure out whether she was having a lung problem like asthma or a heart problem because choosing the wrong treatment would make the other condition worse.

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If This Was My Mouth...

February is national dental health month for both people and pets. We are all pretty used to thinking about our own dental health, after all most of us started learning the importance of daily tooth brushing even before we learned to tie our shoes. For some strange reason, however, it surprises a lot of people that their pets have teeth too and they need the same kind of care our teeth do or serious dental disease results.

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International Health Certificates

Sometime during my first year of practice one of our receptionists came to the back of the clinic and announced that she had a family that was moving to Australia on the phone and they wanted to know if anyone could do the health certificate for them.  All of the doctors froze like frightened bunny rabbits hoping  that if they stayed motionless nobody would notice they were there.  I sauntered up, took one puzzled look around, and said "Sure, I’ll do it."  There was a collective sigh of relief from everyone else, and from that day on I have been cursed with the burden of being the doctor who does all the international health certificates. 

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Intestinal Obstructions

Surgically retrieving non-food items that have become lodged in the digestive tract of family pets is a fairly common activity in veterinary medicine.  I am no longer surprised at the astounding variety of things that animals ingest for no logical reason.   Dogs are by far the worst offenders.  I frequently remove socks, underwear, used  feminine hygiene products, rocks, toys, corn cobs, and miscellaneous odds and ends that have accumulated in the stomach and gotten tangled together to create a ball big enough to plug up some guts.  Sometimes we get more exotic souvenirs like part of  the handlebars from  the neighbor kid’s bike that ended up mysteriously destroyed 5 months ago or an heirloom engagement ring nestled next to the pawn that had been missing from the chess set for the past 2 weeks.

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Look at Lumps

I am one of those people that makes car mechanics cringe when they hear how I deal with automotive problems.  Even though I know something is not right with the car, I don’t usually have the knowledge and expertise to tell what it is, whether it is serious, and how it can be fixed.  Responsible people take their cars in to the mechanic when they get the "something ain’t right" feeling and get the problem resolved.  I, however will drive my car on I-25, feverishly hoping the problem will just go away so I won’t have to deal with it,  that is until the car spontaneously combusts in rush hour traffic.  Then, while everyone is honking, cursing and waving their fists at me I am forced to dial up the mechanic to see what can be done about the problem.  I see this approach taken by some people in the veterinary arena in regards to lumps and bumps on their pets, and although I can sympathize with the sentiment, I hope I can inspire some of my fellow ostriches to try a more proactive approach instead.

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