A Normal Day – A Day in the Life – Dr. Katie #7

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7:20 amWoke up.  I rolled out of bed, let the dogs out, got dressed, and trudged down the hall.

 7:30 am – I started the day by eating a cup of yogurt and watching the local news.   I always check the weather.   During the hot days of summer, I always worry about animals getting too hot.  Remember to provide shelter and water for your animals.  Pets can over heat too!

7:50 am – Arrived at work. Before starting appointments at 8 am, I poured a cup of coffee and checked the schedule and files of patients coming in.   I perform physical exams on any patients here for surgery to make sure they are healthy enough for anesthesia.  Usually I don’t get to sit and finish my coffee and end up gulping down the last bit when it’s already cold!

 

8-8:45 – Spayed a cat.  The most common surgeries we perform here are castrations and spays.  Interestingly, the term neuter refers not just to males but also to spaying a female animal as well.  We blogged about neutering pets in an earlier blog post (http://www.myzooanimalhospital.com/ruby-speaks-out-on-neutering-pets).

9:00- about noon – During this time I saw appointments.  Today, I gave an 8 week old puppy her first set of vaccinations and started her on heartworm prevention.  Puppies can still get infected from heartworms even though they are young, so it’s important to start them on prevention around 8 weeks of age!  During this first visit, I also dewormed for common intestinal worms.   I also saw a sick 17 yr old cat.  We performed blood work on the cat and found out that this cat’s kidneys aren’t functioning as well as they should.  This is a really common problem in older cats, and one that can be managed with a special diet and keeping the pet appropriately hydrated.   During the afternoon appointments, I also saw a dog with low thyroid, a cat with flea allergies, and a family of 3 healthy cats for routine vaccinations. I also cleaned up a wound on a dog’s paw, and applied a medicated bandage.

Gus is sleeping with his nub hanging of the shelf

Gus is sleeping with his nub hanging of the shelf

12:30 – Lunch.  I went home to let out my geriatric greyhound.  While our technicians were caring for lodging animals, I headed home to take care of my dogs.  I have an old greyhound who depends on a regular bathroom schedule.   Gary has written quite a few blog posts about caring for older dogs (Care of the Older Dog , and Avoiding Heat Stroke).   During lunch I also checked on my 3 chinchillas who are usually sleeping at that time.  They are just so cute when they sleep!  My 3 legged chinchilla (Gus) was sleeping with his nub hanging off the ledge today!

 

1:30 – Closing – During the afternoon, I continued to see appointments.   During this afternoon, I performed examinations and gave vaccinations to 3 more dogs and 2 cats.   3 of these animals were overweight so I discussed weight loss plans and took measurements that help me calculate a healthy weight.  Overweight pets are more inclined to have arthritis, diabetes, pancreatitis, and other issues.   Overweight pets have a shortened life expectancy and a decreased quality of life!  Around 3:00pm, I saw a 19 year old cat who no longer was enjoying life.  After discussing numerous options, the owners decided that it was time to say goodbye.  I performed euthanasia to ease this pet’s suffering and let her rest.  As a veterinarian, this is the hardest part of my job, but I know that it’s one of the most important tasks.   Guiding a suffering pet to a peaceful rest is the final act of service I can perform to help an animal.  I gave the owners a great big hug as they headed out the door.   Around 4:00pm we performed x-rays on a patient we diagnosed with cancer a couple of months ago.  The lungs were still free of visible metastases!  Hooray!  I saw a couple more appointments before closing: 2 more puppies, a constipated cat, a limping Yorkie, and a beagle with ear issues.

 

6:00pm – Around 6:00pm I headed home for the evening.  I took my dogs on a walk while I warmed up for a jog.  My dogs are old so they don’t like running, but they do enjoy the warm-up walk!  Then I met a neighbor and we ran together for 3 miles.   We’re preparing for a 5K in July to benefit orphans in Haiti.   I watered my flowers, and cleaned up after the run.  Last night, my husband cooked a stir-fry dinner that was ready around 9:00pm.  After dinner, I get ready for bed and the next day!

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How many pets does a veterinarian have? – Day in the Life – Dr. Katie #6

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In response to a question asked on Twitter, today I’m going to blog about my pets and how I got them.   I have 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 chinchillas, 1 betta fish, and a 10 gallon tank of tropical fish.  How did I come by all these animals?

 

The day Dr. Katie met Gary for the first time.

The day Dr. Katie met Gary for the first time.

Gary the Greyhound – When I was finishing up my last year of college, I started researching what type of dog would be a good companion while I went to vet school.  I was looking for a low energy, low maintenance dog with a good temperament. It was also important to me that I rescued an older dog instead of purchasing a puppy.  Greyhounds, contrary to what you might think, are actually couch potatoes at heart.  During vet school, I took Gary on 3 small walks per day (he preferred to walk less than ½ mile per walk).   Occasionally, we’d go to a dog park so he could run.   A run lasts for all of about 30 seconds before he’s ready to go back to the couch!  Gary is now 11 years old, and he’s in great health for an old dog (other than being skinny!).  I feed him 6 to 9 cups of prescription b/d (for healthy brain and aging). He’s on a special food to help him with “cognitive dysfunction.”

Here's a picture of Ruby just after Dr. Katie found her.

Here’s a picture of Ruby just after Dr. Katie found her.

 

Here's Ruby after Dr. Katie dewormed, spayed, and fed her a high quality food for a couple of months.

Here’s Ruby after Dr. Katie dewormed, spayed, and fed her a high quality food for a couple of months.

 Ruby the Mutt – In the summer of 2009, just before Chase and I got married we found a dog and 3 puppies in the woods.  We were looking for the Red Cockaded Woodpecker (an endangered bird in Southern Arkansas), but we found a litter of puppies instead!  We didn’t plan on keeping any of them, but no one wanted the little momma dog.  Her fur coat was rough, her eyes were dull, she was very skinny, and her mammary tissue was saggy from nursing puppies.   We gave her a silly name R.C.W.  (named after the bird we were looking for) since we weren’t keeping her.   Well it’s been 4 years, and you can guess that Ruby isn’t going anywhere!  Chase fell in love with her and decided we could keep her.  The funny part about all of this is…Chase does not consider himself a dog person, and I warned him that since he was marrying a veterinarian dogs would just find me!

Home Boy

Home Boy the CatChase and I bought our first house in June of 2012.  Unexpectedly, our house came with an asthmatic, indoor/outdoor cat named “H.B” (short for Home Boy).  The name seemed appropriate so we didn’t rename him.  The first week I had him, I decided he needed to have some vaccines boostered.   He’s a good cat, and he’s now  well adjusted to his new owners!

 

Dr. Katie and her chinchilla (Bert).

Dr. Katie and her chinchilla (Bert).

The Chinchillas – I got my first chinchilla (Chimi) shortly after graduating vet school.   He was given to me from a family who didn’t really have enough time for him, and they wanted to find him a new home.  We loved Chimi from the start, and what could be more cute than a chinchilla?   We decided that we wanted to get him a buddy so I posted on Facebook that I was looking.  One of my colleagues quickly responded that she had a customer who was looking to rehome a chinchilla.  So that’s how we acquired Bert.  Now my third chinchilla (Gus), I’ll have to confess…I got him off Craigslist!   Gus is a 3 legged fellow and we just couldn’t resist.  We’re up to 3 chinchillas, and that’s probably the number we’ll stick with.

 

Merlin the Betta – Merlin the betta lives in a 5 gallon tank on my desk at My Zoo.  When I have spare time, I work on trick training.  So far my betta will go through a hoop on command for a treat.  I’ll try to write a blog with picture proof in the future!  I got the betta to prove that even a betta fish could be taught tricks!

 

The Fish – we have a 10 gallon tank with 1 swordtail and 6-ish platys.  The platys are constantly reproducing, but only 1 or 2 babies survive each time.  Why do we have fish? Well, my husband and I bought a Betta (named Iroh) 4 years ago.  We bought our betta a 10 gallon tank with some bottom dwelling fish (corydoras).  Well the corydora fish harassed Iroh endlessly, so we moved our poor old betta back to a smaller tank.  Then we purchased more fish for the 10 gallon tank.

 

Question? or idea for a blog post?  Just leave a comment here, tweet us, or post on facebook!

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Dreams of a Veterinarian – Episode 1

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As some of you may know, I love chinchillas.  My husband and I currently have 3 male chinchillas.  Last night before I retired for the night, we let the chinchillas play out of their cages for about 3 hours.  We love watching them run, jump, and chase each other around our “pet room.”  After the chinchillas were safely back in their cage, I crawled into bed and fell asleep.  In my dreams, I dreamed about a house with 23 chinchillas.   I have no idea why I was in the house in my dream, but I was there when the police were arresting the owner.  The police (in the dream) decided to shoot all the chinchillas.  I was so horrified; I volunteered to save them all!  So I spent the rest of the dream moving the 23 chinchillas into my house.  In this dream, my husband and I decided we would save the 23 chinchillas and work to find them new homes.

-Dr. Katie

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Charmin the Chinchilla

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Charmin the Chinchilla

Hello everybody!  My name is Charmin, and I am a chinchilla.  As you might guess from my name, I am very, very soft – some might even say ultra soft!  Wild chinchillas live in the Andes Mountains of South America.  Unfortunately, my wild brethren have been heavily hunted for their fur coats and are now quite rare in the wild.  Domesticated chinchillas (like me) probably came from the species Chinchilla lanigera.  There’s another species of chinchilla called Chinchilla chinchilla that has a shorter tail, but they are nearly extinct because of illegal hunting!

I live at My Zoo Animal Hospital as one of the clinic pets.   I have a fabric tent that I love sleeping in, an exercise wheel, and a marble tile called a “chin-chiller.”  The marble tile provides a cool surface to rest on.  I eat Mazuri chinchilla pellets (Oxbow pellets are also good) and timothy hay, and I love getting the occasional raisin as a treat.   I get a dust bath a couple times of week, because in the mountains we dust in volcanic ash.  Dusting keeps our skin in good condition.

Chinchillas are rodents, but we have a lot of unique features.  Here are some interesting facts about chinchillas:

  • We have a dense fur coat that is very soft.  Since our coat is so thick, we don’t bathe in water since we don’t air dry well.  Instead we take a bath in dust made of pumice (basically finely ground volcanic rock).
  • Since we are from a mountainous region, we don’t handle heat very well.  Our preferred temperature range is 65F to 70F, and we can become seriously ill or die if the temperature gets too hot.
  • As rodents, our teeth grow continuously so we need access to appropriate things to chew on such as pumice stones, wood chews (but not conifers or cedar woods), and lots and lots of pet quality hay.
  • Unlike many other types of rodents, we give birth to fully haired and open-eyed offspring (called kits).  Chinchilla kits are very, very cute!
  • We can live 12 to 20 years.  So if you’re thinking about getting a chinchilla, remember how long of a commitment that is to take care of one!

If you have a chinchilla or are interested in finding out more about chinchillas, feel free to call and ask the vet questions.  The vets at My Zoo Animal Hospital are available for any questions or concerns you may have regarding your pet.   Call us at 573-875-3647 (573-875-DOGS).

Charmin the Chinchilla

Charmin the Chinchilla

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