In this edition you will find:
Doc, I can't do this again
There are so many wonderful foods, treats and people around during the Thanksgiving holiday. It can be such a fun time for us to visit with seldom seen family and friends and eat such wonderful foods.
Many of our pets also want in on the action. The smells can be so enticing that they just can not help themselves. They beg for food from Uncle Charlie and Aunt Rose. They steal a roll from Cousin Al. They jump up on the table or buffet and help themselves. That gravy in the garbage smells so good that knocking over the can to get to it and the other treats is just too tempting.
These things all add up to trouble for most pets. The richness and quantity of the food becomes too much for Schnauzer Tommy to resist. Or what about that washcloth that was thrown away covered in gravy that lab Bob swallowed whole. Or that pile of turkey bones that dachshund Dixie chewed and swallowed in large pieces. These all are likely severe problems that can ruin the holiday.
Tommy starts vomiting everything and having severe, bloody diarrhea. He quickly gets dehydrated and very depressed. He has what is called hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. He spends 2 days in the hospital for supportive care. Of the 3, he is the lucky one.
That washcloth tasted oh so good going down. But now it is sitting in Bob's stomach and trying to move into the intestines and not able to do so. Bob becomes lethargic, stops eating, and starts to vomit profusely. He needs surgery to remove the washcloth.
Dixie not only broke a tooth chewing on the bones, the sharp shards of brittle bones punctured her small intestine. She becomes extremely painful in her abdomen, stops eating, starts vomiting, and gets very sick in just a few hours due to the peritonitis. She needs emergency surgery, very aggressive critical care and has a poor prognosis.
These problems and many more are seen by veterinarians every year. Patients like Dixie often do not survive either because of the disease process or because of the high cost and poor prognosis.
Please keep your pets safe this Thanksgiving holiday. Advise your guests not to feed your pets. Keep your pets secure from the food and the door. Keep the food secure from the pets. What else can you do around your house to prevent pet problems?
Danger! Thin Ice
Living in St. Croix County, WI, area we all know that the weather is getting colder and that ice will soon be forming on the lakes, ponds, streams and rivers. In a few months people will be sitting in their ice houses and catching fish (among other things).
It seems like every winter we hear stories of people and animals going through the ice. Please remember that the ice is not safe when it first forms. While you may remember, your animals will not understand. They are unlikely to recognize that that new solid surface will break easily.
Dogs, cats and other animals have the same problems with hypothermia as people in cold water. Given that many are much smaller than people, they are likely to get colder much faster. If they go through the ice, you will not be able to safely rescue them. Doing so will only put you in danger also. Always Call For Help.
The best solution is to keep your animals away from thin ice. Keep in mind that even in extremely cold weather moving water does not freeze well. Rivers may look like the ice is thick, but 5 feet away the current is keeping it very thin.
Doc, I can’t do this again
“Doc, I can’t do this again. I will never get another dog (or cat). It’s too hard to lose them, to say goodbye for the last time.”
Veterinarians commonly hear this or very similar statements of grief when euthanizing a pet. The owner has formed a strong bond and the pain is almost too much to bear.
There is no doubt that grieving over a beloved pet’s death is normal and expected. Our pets can become members of our families and when they die there is a huge hole that remains. This hole can never be truly filled, just like the death of a human family member or close friend. The best we can hope for is to learn to live with the void.
The above client statement always bothers me. The person who says this can obviously love deeply and greatly benefits from the companionship of the pet. I think this person needs a pet’s unconditional love more than most. It helps to make them whole.
I try to help these people recognize the importance of that relationship. After all, if there were no bond with the pet and it was easy to say goodbye, why would you have the pet in the first place. It is exactly this strong relationship that makes welcoming a pet into our homes worthwhile.
The reality is that the average life expectancy of a human is around 7 times longer than for the average pet. So over a human lifetime, a person who owns one pet at a time can expect to have several pets. Death is as much a part of life as living. However, these facts do not make the loss of a loved one any easier.
Simply getting another pet will not heal the wound. Each of us grieves in our own manner. Some people find a new pet almost immediately, others in their own time and yet others will never get another pet.
The pain of loss is strongly related to the importance of the relationship. If I don't mourn when my pet passes away, there was no reason to have had the pet.
All of us here at Bobtown Pet Clinic continue to mourn the loss and celebrate our time with our pets. The memories of our time with our pets never leave and we share those memories frequently. Penny and Maggie are always with me, often in the exam room. Others here at the clinic include, Rizzo, Trapper, Mousey, Josie, Charlie, Sasha, Dibbles...
When disaster strikes
None of us likes to think about what we would do when a disaster hits. However, major problems arise from time to time that affect/change our lives.
In recent days I have been reminded of this several times. Some examples: House fire, sick pet, earthquake, flood, cancer, death of a parent or child, tornadoes...
Do you have enough insurance? Do you have a place to stay? Do you have an emergency fund? Do you have a friend who can help you out? What will happen to the kids? What will happen to your pets? Where will you be buried? If it takes a year to rebuild, where will you live and are your pets allowed there? If the power goes out, do you know how to get your car out of the garage?
Making a few arrangements and thinking about disaster responses can really help. Even thinking about who could transport your sick pet to the veterinary hospital while you go to work.
While we can never be prepared for everything, a small amount of preparation for bad situations can make a world of difference.