Thursday, September 29, 2016

How U.S. Military Veterinarians Are Helping Haiti’s Pets.

By Alan De Herrera
Dogster.com


"U.S. Army's Veterinary Corps and the NGO World Vets vaccinated hundreds of dogs and spay-neutered dozens of dogs during a recent trip to Haiti.

As dusk approached, the smell of dust and burning trash filled the air while we drove through the crowded streets of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince. We were traveling to a remote village an hour outside the city. Six years after the devastating earthquake in 2010, Haiti still remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

I tagged along with members of the U.S. Army's Veterinary Corps and the NGO World Vets. This was their last stop on an 11-country tour through Latin America as part of the U.S. Navy's 2015 Continuing Promise humanitarian mission. We were here to help Haiti's pets.

A member of the U.S. Army's Veterinary Corps and the NGO World Vets treats a puppy.

On arrival, the team immediately set up its makeshift M.A.S.H unit as curious villagers with pets eagerly waited. Syringes were filled, and foldout operating tables were assembled. A translator shouted, "Bring your pets forward for vaccinations." A large line formed as more villagers began pouring in with cats in small bags, puppies in wheelbarrows, and larger dogs wearing wire leashes.

"Haiti is a unique situation," explained Major Marc Knobbe, U.S. Army lead veterinarian in charge of the mission. "There is no veterinary infrastructure here, even though there is an estimated 1.2 million dogs in Haiti."

The mission's goal was to vaccinate, spay/neuter, and deworm as many cats and dogs as possible over the course of two days. This was the last day of the program before our hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, would disembark and sail back to the U.S., completeing its five-month mission. There were only a few hours of sunlight left in the day to treat as many pets as possible.

A Haitian boy with puppies.

A crowd of curious people surrounded the operating tables while the team worked. The Army is the only branch in the service that has an active duty veterinary corp. The CP-15 team consisted of three Army veterinarians, two Army veterinary technicians, and members of World Vets. Each dog was vaccinated for rabies in addition to being given an oral dewormer. Many of the dogs were in fragile condition, suffering from malnutrition, mange, fleas, and wounds. Those healthy enough were spayed or neutered.

"On-site surgeries differ from those conducted in a sterile facility," Major Knobbe said. "In order to be more mobile, we use inhalation anesthesia. Working out in the open surrounded by dirt was very challenging, trying to keep things as clean as possible. We have to assess each animal prior to making the decision to operate or not. It must be in the best interest of the animal.

When CP-15 was complete, the U.S. Army veterinarian civil action programs had vaccinated 257 dogs and cats and performed 24 spay/neuter procedures."


Click here for the original article.


This Super-Realistic 3D Printed Body Is Helping Train Surgeons.

By Tom Hale


"It might creep you out a bit, but this bald man could help save your life some day.

This lifelike 3D printed body is the latest tool to train surgeons to deal with emergency trauma surgery. By performing mock operations with such a high degree of realism, it's hoped it can train doctors to cope with surgery, both practically and psychologically.

The project is a collaboration between Richard Arm from the School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University, the Ministry of Defense's Royal Centre for Defense Medicine, and Professor Michael Vloeberghs, a neurosurgeon at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, UK.

"Richard's work shows how art and science can be combined to improve the way critical surgery is performed," Professor Tilak Dias, a supervisor of the project explained in a statement.

"By enhancing the learning experience of surgeons, we can ensure they are better prepared for real life situations where their skills and knowledge are relied upon to save people's lives," he added.

Richard Arm, lead designer on the project, with the realistic model.

The model is crafted from silicone gel and fibers, with a similar texture to real-life skin, which can be slit open with a scalpel then seamlessly resealed. Inside the body, the model features lifelike simulations of the heart, lungs, and main vessels in the chest cavity. The researchers created the organs by conducting extensive CT scans to get a realistic and accurate replica of the organ's structure.

Artificial blood can be pumped around the model to simulate the threat of blood-loss and the lungs can be ventilated to mimic the movement of a patient's chest as they breathe.


The team is now working on a way to reduce the costs of producing future models, while adding more organs, including the brain, eyes, stomach, pancreas, liver, and kidneys. The UK Ministry of Defense has already ordered two of the models for battlefield training, which they will start using in December 2017.

Colonel Peter Mahoney CBE, Emeritus Professor of Anaesthesia, Defense Medical Services, said: "This is a really exciting and innovative collaboration with Nottingham Trent University.

"The ability to place clinically realistic surgical and anaesthetic training models into simulations of austere military environments is of great value to military medicine."'



Click here for the original article.


National Coffee Day!

It's National Coffee Day!

Our team here at ESS LOVES coffee and we will definitely be celebrating with a few extra trips to the coffee pot today!




How will you be celebrating?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Cat Convinces Flock Of Lambs To Follow Him Everywhere.

By Stephen Messenger
The Dodo

"Sure, on the surface Steve the orange tabby might look like an ordinary house cat - but to his faithful flock of loyal followers, he's that and so much more.

Around here, he pretty much runs the show.


The friendly feline started life out as a lonely indoor pet at home in New Zealand, biding his time, perhaps, for his chance at greatness. And indeed, despite his humble beginnings, the ambitious cat soon found his calling as a local chieftain of sorts. 

It all began when his owners, Amanda Whitlock and her partner, took in a group of baby lambs who were in need of care and guidance. While she handled the feeding duties, Steve apparently decided he'd steep in to offer them something even more alluring - membership in a new club in which, of course, he'd be boss.


"He's sort of almost like their leader," Whitlock told the New Zealand Herald. "He'll just be walking around the yard and they'll be following him. Or he'll be playing in the bushes and they'll be inquisitive, looking to see what he's doing and following him through the bushes."

Good leaders always lead by example.

A video team from the Herald recently caught up with Steve to learn more about his rise to power as the unlikely ruler of a flock of his own."

Click here for the original article
 and accompanying video.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Miracle Cat Pulled From Rubble A Month After Deadly Earthquake

By Stephen Messenger
The Dodo

"A month as passed since a powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy, claiming hundreds of lives and displacing thousands more, and the prospects of finding anyone alive beneath the rubble have long faded.

But Rocco the cat never gave up hope.


On Sunday, firefighters working to clean up the ruins in the hard-hit village of Rio di San Lorenzo made a discovery they could hardly believe. While inspecting a home that had collapsed in August, preparing to tear down what little remained, crews uncovered Rocco trapped within a space inside - still clinging to life 32 days after the deadly quake.


Despite having spent four weeks without an obvious source of food or water, Rocco was found to be dehydrated but in otherwise good condition, reports Giornale di Brescia.

Fortunately, it wasn't long before the cat's owners learned that their pet had managed to survive against the odds; they were present at the site to oversee the demolition of their home, with no way of knowing Rocco was still alive.

And with that, the family and their cat were reunited.

"Happy owners!" the fire service, Vigili del Fuoco, wrote online.


Veterinarian Cristiana Graziani, who was on hand to treat Rocco after the rescue, said that the cat seemed in high spirits after his long ordeal - having energy enough to purr in the arms of his owner.

"An incredible story, but true," she wrote.


While Rocco may sadly be among the last to be found alive in the rubble, he's far from the only pet to make it out alive. Some 200 animals were rescued following the quake, TheLocal.it reports - offering hope to their families that, even amid so much devastation, not all has been lost."

Click here for the original article.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Horses can learn to tell us how they feel.

By Karin Brulliard
The Washington Post

This horse wearing a blanket, a new study says,
 is smart enough to tell a person that it wants it taken off.

"Twenty-two horses in Norway can tell you whether they want to wear a blanket or stick with bare backs, according to a new study.

This is, needless to say, a handy skill for anyone who resides in a norther nation that gets a lot of snow. But its discover is also an important addition to understanding of horse smarts and learning abilities, according to researchers at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. They taught the horses to use symbols to indicate their blanket-wearing preference - and the equines' easy mastery of the task suggests they understood that the symbols had meanings that led to outcomes.

"Our aim was ... to develop a tool to 'ask' horses whether or not they prefer to wear a blanket under different weather conditions," the authors wrote in Applied Animal Behavior Science. In the end, they added: "Horses chose to stay without a blanket in nice weather, and they chose to have a blanket on when the weather was wet, windy and cold."

More than a century ago, a German horse nicknamed Clever Hans became a celebrity in Europe for his whiz-like ability to answer complex math, reading and spelling questions by tapping his hoof. Today, he's an example of some of the pitfalls of scientific studies involving people and animals: Hans, it turned out, was stumped when his human testers didn't know the answer to the question - which meant he was actually clever at reading the unconscious cues of people.

Horse cognition research has come some way since then, and the animals have shown savvy at recognizing shapes and telling objects apart. But this task added another level.

The subjects were 23 ordinary riding horses with charming names including Poltergeist, Virvelvind and Romano (one horse died shortly after the training, leaving 22 in the end). All had previous experience wearing blankets when their owners deemed them necessary. To help the horses express their own preferences, the researchers created three simple boards: One with a horizontal bar mean "put blanket on"; an unmarked board meant "no change"; and a board with a vertical bar meant "take blanket off."

Horses were presented with three boards with different meanings.
 Left to right, they meant: "Put blanket on," "no change" and "take blanket off."

Then the horses went through a methodical literacy course of sorts. First, the trainers introduced the symbols one at a time. Horses that touched it with their muzzles would be rewarded with a thing slice of carrot, and then the corresponding action would be carried out - the blanket taken on or off. Once the horses had that down, they were shown both symbols at the same time, but they only got their treats if they touched the "relevant" one. In other words, if a horse wearing a blanket touching the symbol that meant "put the blanket on," he'd get nothing.

Horse learned to touch their muzzles to the symbol that expressed their blanket preference.

Next, the researchers introduced temperature to the equation. Horses were draped in thick blankets that made them sweaty and "obviously hot," or they were put outside in what the Norwegians called "challenging weather" - so it really much have been awful - until they tensed, tucked in their tails or showed other signs or being cold. They had to pick the relevant symbol 12 times to move onto the next step, which was meeting the blank "no change" board. Picking that one always earned a carrot, but never a blanket status change.

After that, the horses saw all three boards in various combinations and locations, and only relevant choices led to snacks. Then they were given a "free choice" between two relevant symbols.

But the "ultimate test," the researchers wrote, was carried out in the elements - several variations of them over the course of nearly a year. And the horses nailed it, each and every one of them.

"In total, these results strongly indicate that the horses had learnt to communicate their preferences using symbols," the authors wrote.

Here's a chart that depicts their choices:

The horses' blanket choices in different types of weather. Two horses chose to stay without a blanket on Sept. 23, but they chose blankets on an even colder, sleety day.

The horses learned this all in just 10-15 minutes of daily training over 14 days, although a few class clowns slowed things down.

Poltergeist and Runa, for example, learned so fast that they "began to explore other possibilities and solutions to earn more carrot slices," such as nibbling on the boards, and "needed time to be convinced that there were none," the study said.

Blue, for his part, "seemed to enjoy the event of the blankets taken on and off, as he always touched the 'change' symbol," the authors wrote. But with a few extra hot and cold tests, Blue, like his peers, figured out that choices have consequences - in this case, sweat, shivers, or just the right amount of toastiness."

Click here for the original article.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

You Never Know The Power Of Your Words.

By Lauren Smith, DVM

DrAndyRoark.com




"It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

It started the moment I walked in the door to the clinic. The inpatient I had hospitalized was not in his cage. He had been admitted for pancreatitis two days earlier, but when he wasn't improving after 24 hours, we had the specialist come in to ultrasound his abdomen. The pancreas had looked normal so I fel reassured that it wasn't necrotizing and hoped he just needed a little more time and supportive care to heal. The ultrasound had also shown pockets of fluid in his prostate so we got a sample for cytology and culture and started antibiotics so that we could treat that once he got through the pancreatitis.

Though he was a difficult dog to handle, I was quite fond of him and his family. They were already going through a difficult time as they had just suffered the loss of a human family member.

I kept my hopes up.

The technician probably just took him to get started on his morning treatments, I thought to myself. I headed up to the treatment room but he was nowhere in sight. Once the worst had been confirmed, I called his owners to tell them the devastating news - he had passed away overnight. They were on their way to a funeral.

I had a few minutes before my first appointment and I used that time to head to the break room and cry. Once I got myself together, I went back down to start my day.

Appointment number one - euthanasia. I got through that and one relatively routine wellness appointment before being notified that there was a walk-in emergency that appeared to be in critical condition.

An 8 year-old springer spaniel was carried in. She was laterally recumbent, ontunded, and breating shallowly. She was also covered in thousands of maggots, even in her mouth. The elderly couple that owned her had taken her to another clinic the week prior, but didn't seem to know what had happened there. "They ordered her some medication from Arizona, but it hasn't arrived yet, so she's not on anything." "Does she live outside?" I asked. "Since she hasn't been feeling well, she's been going off to hide in the shed," I was informed.

Mom clearly loved this dog with her whole heart, despite the fact that the patient's presenting condition may have indicated otherwise. It turned out the patient was diabetic. I advised the client of the very poor prognosis given her current condition, and euthanized her.


Not long after I finished that case, I had a recheck appointment on a patient I had seen the day prior for vomiting. He had looked pretty good at the time so we took some blood work and treated him out-patient. The blood results came back and I caller her with the news - he was diabetic. He was no longer vomiting so I asked Mom to bring urine with her when she returned so I could check it for ketones. You guess it - 4+ of them. This dog was literally Mom's only friend on the East Coast. Her entire support system was 3,000 miles away in California. He had to be okay.

I gave Mom a hopeful prognosis but warned that until we got the ketone out of his system there was a chance he might not make it. We admitted him to start treatment with plans to transfer him to the emergency hospital before we closed for the holiday weekend. He died at the ER 30 minutes after arriving.

And to top it all off, a frequent boarder, an elderly tea-cup yorkie beloved by everyone at the hospital, arrived DOA.

I shed tears several more times after my morning cry session. And in the middle of all of this mess, when I was beginning to legitimately wonder how I was going to make it through the rest of the day, something happened.

I was bringing up a chart to the front desk when a client who was picking up medications for her dog stopped me.

A few months ago her dog had been sick. We ran a lot of tests and couldn't come up with an answer. After a while the family decided they didn't want to pursue it anymore. The dog was continuing to decline and they felt putting her through more invasive testing wasn't fair to her. I understood and suggested taking her off of the anti-inflammatory she had been on and putting her on prednisone for palliation. Two days later I got a note that they had made an appointment with a house call vet for a euthanasia in a couple days. I called them and let them know I understood and respected their decision, but to please start the prednisone in the meantme and see if it helped. The next day I got another call. One dose of prednisone and 12 hours had changed everything. She was running around the yard like a puppy.

Mom and Dad have both thanked me since. At the front desk on this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, Mom thanked me again. "I love you Dr. Smith," she replied emphatically. "You gave us our dog back. We are so grateful to you."

"Thank you." I replied, tears welling in my eyes for the umpteenth time that day. "You have no idea how much I needed to hear that right now."

Even now, writing this two days later I am weeping. A few kind words from an appreciative client saved my sanity and got me through one of the top 10 worst days of my career. As grateful as she is to me, I am now just as grateful to her.

You never truly know what someone is going through. How their day, their week, their year, is going. You never know the power your words can have, so use them well. It wasn't my medical skills that saved that dog and brought her owners untold relief and joy - it was a phone call. And their words are just as powerful. When you appreciate someone, tell them. It could just be that what seems like a small gesture to you, has an immense impact on them."

Click here for the original article.


Rescue Workers Free Horse Stuck In Septic Tank.

By News Talk Florida


"BUNNELL, Fla.- A horse that had fallen into a septic tank hole was freed by a team of animal rescue workers Tuesday afternoon.

The horse was trapped for about three-and-a-half hours, said Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito. Mercy, a 24-year-old quarter horse, fell through a fiberglass cover over the underground septic tank on property on Clove Avenue just before 11:30 a.m.

Officials said they believe Mercy weighs around 1,200 pounds and was unable to escape the tank once she fell in. Her owners discovered her and called 9-1-1, but Petito believes Mercy had been stuck for about 30 minutes before her owner found her.

Veterinarians and rescue crews raced to get Mercy free as she ran the risk of being paralyzed from lying on her side for too long. Just before 3 p.m. crews were able to pull her from the water-filled tank. Officials say she appeared to be in stable condition at that point.

A large animal rescue unit from St. Johns County lead the rescue effort to save the nearly submerged horse. Flagler County Fire Rescue, Flagler County Public Works, City of Palm Coast units and Flagler County deputies also assisted in saving Mercy.

A disaster response team from the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine also responded from Gainesville about 2:30 p.m. The team used specialized equipment and conversed with the St. Johns rescue unit commander before crews freed the animal within 15 minutes.


Animal doctors from the Shelton Veterinary Clinic in Bunnell also aided in the rescue. They injected Mercy with pain relievers and muscle relaxers to calm her as emergency crews worked to pull her out.

A lead veterinarian at the clinic, Jennifer Lockwood, reported that Mercy sustained minor cuts and scrapes on her left shoulder and knee from the fall. She prescribed pain medications and antibiotics to help heal the wounds, but Mercy is expected to make a full recovery.

When Mercy was finally pulled free she laid on her side for several minutes. Once she stood up members of the exhausted crew began to smile and laugh."

Click here for the original article.


Monday, September 19, 2016

International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Avast, ye mateys
It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!


"International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD) was created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate."

Did ye' know that Krispy Kreme promises "Any swashbuckling guest who talks like a pirate will receive one free Original Glazed doughnut, while fans who dress like a pirate will receive one dozen Original Glazed doughnuts."

Here at ESS, we be takin' this tide very seriously!

How will ye be celebratin' today?


Meme Monday


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Woman Spends $500 To Save The Life Of A Tiny Goldfish

By Zainab Akande
The Dodo


"A 1-year-old goldfish would have died last week if it weren't for the quick thinking of his owner.


Emma Marsh, who lives in Brisbane, Australia, noticed that her goldfish, Conquer, had begun to choke after he accidentally swallowed a rather large, black pebble from his tank.

No matter how much he tried to spit the pebble back up, Conquer was unable to due to the stone's size. If Marsh hadn't taken him to Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services, he would have eventually died from starvation due to the pebble blocking his airway.

As soon as Conquer arrived at Brisbane Bird and Exotics, veterinarians got to work. In order to remove the stone stuck in his throat, vets first dripped an anesthetic into the same water the goldfish was brought in with.


Upon opening his mouth and getting a good luck, medical staff could clearly see the black pebble and an instrument was used to enter Conquer's small mouth...


... then pull the stone out very slowly.



"After the pebble was dislodged, we moved Conquer into a recovery tank that contains clean water, free from anesthetic," Brisbane Bird and Exotics wrote on Facebook. "This allowed him to recover uneventfully. He went home the next day and so far has stayed out of any more trouble!"


Marsh, who bought Conquer for only $12, ended up spending a grand total of $500 for the relatively simple procedure - but for Marsh, the price seemed to be no problem when it came to guaranteeing Conquer's health and survival.


"I treat fish like they're any other pet," she told The Courier Mail."

Click here for the original article.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Welcome to the special hospital where pets are treated better than most human patients

By Rafi Letzter
Business Insider

Sue Maraczi comforts a patient.

"Emergency veterinary medicine is rough work.

"Some people can't take the screaming," said Sue Maraczi, an emergency and critical care nurse at the Animal Medical Center (AMC) on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

"But you have to consider that [the animals] are sick, they don't feel well, they're in a weird place, there's unfamiliar faces."

She held a Yorkie in her lap. It didn't need any treatment right that second, but cried pitifully whenever it was left alone in its cage.



Like any big-city hospital, patients show up at AMC's emergency room with problems ranging from sniffles to abuse to horrible injuries. Down the hall in the intensive care unit, a team of veterinarians and technicians care for a small army of critical and terminal creatures.

AMC is the most advanced animal hospital in New York City, and among the most advanced treatment centers anywhere in the country. It's a place where cats and dogs routinely get state-of-the-art radiation treatment for brain cancer, total hip replacements, and even alternative treatments like acupuncture.

A team of vets perform surgery to repair a small dog's knee.

One day this summer, I spent 13 hours in the ER: trailing doctors, talking to vets, and watching how they treated the hundreds of animals in the building.

It's an expensive, luxury level of care for people who treat their pets with the same concern that they'd afford a member of their own family, as many AMC veterinarians and staff emphasized.


"We get dogs helicoptered in all the time," said Lori Asprea, a technician in internal medicine.

One the day I visited AMC, a cat was released after receiving more than $50,000 in care.

Asprea described one dog that came in with severe leptospirosis, an infection most common in canines but that can jump to humans. When he arrived - on a private jet - his kidneys had already failed. He seemed to recover with treatment, but when it came time to release him back to his owners, a potentially fatal clot clogged up the blood vessels in his lungs, sending him back to the ICU. Another clot killed off flesh on one of his legs.

Today, she said, he runs marathons with his owner.

(Some identifying details, like the names of certain pets, are withheld or altered because of an agreement with AMC intended to protect the identity of the center's patients.)

***

Often, pet owners show up at AMC without the cash on hand or insurance to cover emergency treatment.

On the day I visited, a small white dog named Daisy showed up with both of her front pays hanging limp. Daisy had leapt off a high curb after her owner and, Maraczi determined, broken both her legs on the asphalt. Treating her would likely cost several thousand dollars, which her owners could not afford to pay.

Emergency room veterinarians and technicians tend to Daisy.


The next step for AMC staff in this situation is to ask if the owners want to open a line of credit for their pets. Many especially those who bring in young pets like Daisy with major injuries, say yes.

Daisy's owners agreed, but said they expected to fail the hospital's credit check. ER vets began to discuss whether it was time to tell the owners about AMC's payment relief plan. AMC, a nonprofit with high operation costs, keeps the lower-cost options as a last resort to avoid sending seriously sick or injured animals away untreated.

"I've seen people refinance, sell things, you name it." Maraczi said.

It happens even when AMC's staff thinks the animals or their owners would be better off without extreme interventions. "It's easier to give advice than take it," she added.

Before it came time to offer Daisy's owners payment relief, they got approved for $3,000 in hospital credit.

***

The standard of care at AMC - and the lengths people go to secure it for their pets - can be jarring for pet owners who consider spaying, neutering, shots, an annual checkup, and end-of-life euthanasia their cat or dog's due at the local clinic. But to AMC's vets and technicians, it's obvious that people would want for their animals the same treatment they'd expect for their children.


And it's clear that they love pushing the boundaries of the possible in veterinary medicine.

Rachel St. Vincent, AMC's radiation oncologist, uses a linear accelerator purchased from a human hospital to finely target and burn away brain tumors and other cancers that resist surgical intervention.

She studied alongside human radiation oncologists, and described her fellow students gathering around, fascinated, to see how she would apply what they learned to the alien anatomies of dogs and cats. Many of her patients are enrolled in clinical trials that will inform how people with cancer are eventually treated.

Maia the cat gets a CAT scan. The data will allow St. Vincent to target Maia's nasal tumor.



Robert Hart, director of orthopedic surgery at AMC, excitedly showed me the glue-free 3D-printed hip replacement he uses in large dogs. The high-tech structure induces the bone itself to grow into its nooks and crannies. It's a treatment not yet available to humans.

These advances appear to emerge from more than just detached scientific interest. Every AMC vet and technician I asked owned multiple pets, often animals adopted after they were abandoned and ended up at AMC.

Asprea adopted her dog, Shadow, after he was dumped out of a moving car and ended up in the ER.

"Oh he looks like a project that will cost me thousands of dollars," she said, laughing, "where do I sign?"

Maraczi said she has something close to a rescue menagerie at home: one Caribbean island dog with just three legs, another with all its original limbs, a poodle mix that had been electrocuted and ended up at AMC, three cats, and a cockatoo found in the trash that now enjoys regular laser skin treatment and acupuncture at AMC.

***

The pace of work at AMC's ER resembles that in an emergency system geared toward humans.

The hospital is staffed 24 hours a day, as doctors and technicians rotate in and out. The workload is unpredictable. The flow of patients ebbs and flows, seemingly at random, though the pace seems to pick up in the evening.

That's when everyone gets done with dinner, Maraczi said.


One of the most important skills AMC's new technicians learn in the ER and ICU is keeping the animals calm while the vets work.

Romper, a large black German Shepherd mix, showed up in the ER after leaping through a closed glass window trying to chase a cat. He was agitated, with slices up and down his legs, and tried to bite the vet who triaged him.

With his owners help, the staff got him in a muzzle. But while he waited in the back room for the vets and his owner to decide on a treatment plan, he grew anxious, breathing heavily, rolling his eyes, and drooling. Every few minutes, he'd pull hard on his leash...


Omar, a young technician building experience before vet school, held Romper in place. When it was time to stitch him up, Omar wrapped him in a tight bear hug. When Romper calmed a little, Omar helped lay him on the floor so an anesthesiologist could prepare intravenous drugs. Once Romper was asleep, the team made quick work of cleaning and closing his wounds.

At that point, it was 10 pm - my cue to leave the ER staff in peace. As I walked out the door, a woman passed me pushing a bloody mess of fur and torn skin on an improvised stretcher.

"Please somebody help!" She called into the waiting room. "Somebody help me!"

An attendant broke from behind the front desk at a run."

Click here for the original article.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What My Terrible Mistake Taught Me About Compassion.

By Jade Velasquez, LVT


"In every walk of life one this is guaranteed. Mistakes will be made. This is true in so many professions, but in veterinary medicine can be considered almost taboo. We're a field of overachievers. Type A personalities, Perfectionists. That doesn't stop mistakes from happening in this field. But it does magnify the effect they have on us. When we screw up, animals can die. That is an insane amount of pressure. So often when we make a mistake, we beat ourselves up more than anyone else ever could.

One of my favorite patients in the field was Tonka. He was a wiry haired terrier mix who had been diagnosed with lymphoma. He would come in for chemotherapy wagging his tail and would promptly try to rip out his IV catheter. His owners were extremely dedicated to giving Tonka a chance to beat cancer. They did whatever they could to keep him happy. They also happened to be the nicest clients ever. Always smiling. Always appreciative.


One day Tonka came in for the vincristine portion of his chemotherapy protocol. Whenever I saw him on the schedule I would announce "My boyfriend is coming to visit me today!"I would get him all set up in his house after he gave me kisses and begin to prepare the supplies needed to administer his chemo treatment. I'd done this many times before and we had it down to a science. I would calculate his dosage, place an IV, give him his injection and then in a couple hours he could return home.

I had always been taught that one you give an injection, you can't take it back. I double checked and triple checked my math like I did every time. I pulled up the injection and gave it. Then I walked out to write up my notes for treatment in his chart. I opened his chart and the white hot feeling of dread shot through me. I had just given "my boyfriend" twice his dose for chemotherapy. So inside I freaked out and immediately told the overseeing doctor what had happened. She grabbed Plumbs and began scouring it for potential side effects. I called an internal medicine specialists friend of mine and begged for help. What did I just do? We came up with a plan for treatment and initiated it. I then walked out the back door and began dry heaving.

When Tonka's owners came in to pick him up I was absolutely petrified. I was nauseous, sweating and on the verge of an anxiety attack. I had every intention of walking into the room, explaining what I had done and explaining how we were going about fixing it. I walked into that room, looked his owners in the eyes and broke down crying. I apologized and tried to explain what happened in between sobs. I said I understood if they no longer trusted me with his care.

His owner looked at the sniveling ball of tears I was and reached out and hugged me. I sobbed harder. She took my hand and told me that she knew in her heart I would never intentionally do anything to harm Tonka. It was a mistake. We would get through it. Together. I couldn't believe that a human being, and Tonka would be so willing to forgive me. He endured his treatment for the chemo overdoes and actually went into remission for awhile. All through out this, his owners still asked for me to care for him. We even build an unlikely friendship.

Sadly, Tonka ended up losing his battle to cancer. It was a sad day when I heard that my boyfriend who'd taught me so much about forgiveness and compassion had passed. Tonka's owners continued to come to us with their other pets. I even attended their wedding recently. This mistake truly touched my life and let me know even though it sucks to admit that I screwed up badly, growth comes from our mistakes. In our darkest times beauty, kindness and compassion can emerge and change us. Thank you Tonka for teaching me one of the most important lessons in this profession. Thank you for loving me when I couldn't love myself. I know you're giving 'em hell at the Rainbow Bridge."

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Little Bird Gets Tiny 'Snowshoes' To Fix Her Problem Feet.

By Stephen Messenger
The Dodo

"Oftentimes, all it takes to help an impaired animal get back on her feet is just a bit of creativity - and maybe some cardboard.


The good folks at the California Wildlife Center (CWC) recently came to the rescue of a mockingbird who needed just that sort of assistance. An unknown injury had caused her feet to knuckle, a common condition in young birds that makes it difficult for them to perch, grasp objects or even walk around.

Fortunately, this problem has an easy fix. (And it's pretty darn adorable, too.)


Rescuers simply crafted the bird a pair of tiny "snowshoes."

"We needed to train her feet back to how they should be," CWC veterinarian Duane Tom told The Dodo. "Essentially, we used pieces of cardboard to tape her toes into their proper position. It usually takes a week or two of wearing the snowshoes before their feet are back to normal."

We're happy to report that the mockingbird's feet were successfully treated thanks to that cute bit of ingenuity - so things are now looking up for her. As Tom notes, nearly all the birds treated for knuckled feet at CWC are able to be released back into the wild."

Click here for the original article.


Friday, September 2, 2016

Closed for Labor Day!

We will be closed
Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
in observance of Labor Day.


"Dedicated in honor of the worker, it is also appropriately called the "workingman's holiday." The holiday is dedicated to you in respect and appreciation for the work you do in or outside of the home, union or non-union, big company, small companies, or government. As long as you work somewhere at something, this holiday is for you!

The first Labor Day held was celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882 and was started by the Central Labor Union in New York City. In 1884, it was moved to the first Monday in September, where it is celebrated today. Labor Day quickly became popular and one state after another voted it as a holiday. On June 28, 1894, the U.S. congress voted it a national holiday.

Labor Day is also viewed as the official end of summer. While the Fall Equinox is still a couple of weeks away, kids go back to school and summer vacations are over."


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Miracle Cat Pulled From Rubble Days After Deadly Earthquake.

By Stephen Messenger
The Dodo

"Sometimes miracles do happen. For Daniela Tursini, one of countless people affected by last week's deadly earthquakes in Italy, it came in the form of a reunion with the cherished pet she thought she'd lost forever.


Tursini had been at home with her cat, Gioia, on Wednesday when the 6.2-magnitude quake rocked her village of Amatrice in central Italy. Although she was lucky to escape with her life, Tursini had been unable to carry out Gioia, who went into hiding as the initial tremors struck.

The next morning, aftershocks reduced what was left of Tursini's house - like so much else - to rubble.


In the aftermath, Tursini continued to try to find her pet, calling out her name. As rescue efforts got underway, she pleaded with firefighters to scour the ruins of her home for Gioia. Still, as days passed, hope of finding anyone alive faded fast.

"I beg you, find my cat, she's all I have left," she told rescue workers, Il Centro reports. "My house is gone, I've lost everything."

On Monday, nearly six days after the quake struck, the incredible happened - crews clearing the rubble found Gioia alive.

Afterward, Gioia was given a checkup by veterinarians on hand and was found to be dehydrated, but otherwise in good health.


Gioia has since been returned to Tursini - a joyful reunion, no doubt, amid so much loss and devastation.

While the earthquake has claimed the lives of nearly 300 people, rescuers have been compassionate to the plight of non-humans as well. More than 200 animals have been pulled alive from the rubble so far, TheLocal.it reports - each one brining a glimmer of hope that not all has been lost."



Click here for the original story.