Friday, February 24, 2017

Can You Feel Pride When Your Clients are Sad?

By Emily Williams, DVM

"I had to tell an owner that his best friend was dying last week. He brought his 11 year old dog to see me for coughing after exercise. Prior to going into the room, I reviewed his history and noted a murmur was diagnosed over a year ago. I walked into that room with congestive heart failure on the top of my list. I was greeted by a happy Aussie and a bright eyed owner.

While I listened to the heart, I immediately knew this was not a cardiac issue. The murmur was no louder than it was when it first was diagnosed and lungs sounded clear. I knew this had to be a respiratory problem and to be honest, I thought it was a URI. Something didn't add up, so I suggested chest x-rays. The owner authorized the images and as I held down the pedal to take the x-ray, I said out loud, "Please don't break my heart." The image came up on the screen and the chest was full of metastatic cancer.

I remember feeling an instance of pride. Pride for trusting my instinct. And pride because for the first time in my four years being out of veterinary school, I felt "experienced." Experienced enough to recognize the unlikeliness that this was a cardiac issue and most likely a respiratory condition. And further experience to be concerned that this was more than an upper respiratory infection.

But the short instance of pride was quickly replaced by shame. I thought to myself, how can I feel pride when I see an x-ray full of cancer? How did I almost talk myself into thinking this was a URI and almost let the owner not take the radiograph? Why do I deserve to feel "good" when this man is filled with so much sadness and grief?

This case shows my internal struggle with black and white thinking and perfectionism. this is a classic example of just how destructive these though processes are to my sense of self and confidence. Instead of recognizing in the moment that I could in fact feel pride and sadness at the same time, I quickly went to the emotion that made the most sense. Cancer is "bad" so I must feel an emotion that is "bad." Pride is not a "bad" emotion, so shame seems more appropriate.

I am not suggesting that I would have paraded around the owner with a giant smile on my face saying, "See, this is exactly why I wanted to take an x-ray! Aren't I just amazing for recognizing that your dog didn't have a URI. Instead he is dying!" That insanely invalidating and insensitive approach would be the same as sitting alone in my shame.

Empathizing with the owner's grief was extremely important and necessary at that time. I truly did feel sadness and my heart did break when I saw the tears in his eyes. At the same time, I recognized that for my own sense of self and sanity, I had to come back to the emotion of pride. So I came home that evening and I wrote. I went through the thought process to see why I pushed the pride far away. And as I outlined above it was because that feeling didn't seem appropriate.

A similar situation to the case above and one that I think most veterinarians can relate to is when we have a puppy exam following a euthanasia. The dichotomy of these appointment types leads to even more conflicting thoughts. At one moment we are asked to humanely end life, while owners see their family member take their last breath. While the next moment we are laughing in a room, getting puppy kisses. And exactly how many of us stop in between those two appointments and take a breath and recognize our grief? We may not have the time right then and there to reflect but we MUST come back to that emotion or eventually the feelings we avoid will destroy us.

I attribute the high suicide rate in our field because most of us avoid feeling or more appropriately we choose what to feel and ignore other uncomfortable feelings. Avoiding the feelings doesn't erase them. We owe it to ourselves to learn to live in the grey area; to experience two conflicting emotions at the same time and to be okay with the discomfort of the dichotomy.

So I look back on that day I diagnosed metastatic lung cancer in that sweet dog, and I think "Good job Emily for taking radiographs and finding the answer to why he was coughing. The diagnosis sucks! With that simple diagnostic though that YOU recommended, the family can enjoy the last few weeks of his life to the fullest." Now I can comfortably say during the moment I felt both sadness AND pride. That is the power of AND: it does not minimize one emotion in order to validate another. Instead it allows both opposing emotions to be true."

Click here for the original article.

About the Author

"Dr. Emily Williams is a small animal veterinarian in Denver, Colorado. She enjoys writing, crafting, and watching TV curled up on the couch. Her current aspiration is to master mindfulness to that she can fully be present and accepting in everything she does in and out of the veterinary field."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Guy Makes Incredible Nametags Revealing Shelter Cats’ Secret Opinions

By Hilary Hanson
The Huffington Post

"Face it: It can be a little difficult to tell what a cat is thinking.

But thanks to comedian Jeff Wysaski, better known by his online persona Obvious Plant, you don't have to - at least when it comes to the kitties up for adoption at the Sante D'Or Adoption Center in Los Angeles.

Wysaski made name tags for numerous cats, explaining their quirky "likes" and "dislikes" - with "likes" including cuddling and staring out the window and "dislikes" including "90's garage rock," "Badminton" and "the warlock's curse that transformed her into a cat."

Wysaski wrote on Facebook that he "stealthily left" the labels at the shelter, but clarified that "All these cats are real and need a home!"

While the shelter was appreciative of the gesture, staff members did have one minor quibble.

"Thanks for the shout out," Sante D'Or wrote in a Facebook comment under Wysaski's post. "Please stop by and see the cats in person. We'd love to chat. However, Obi is a huge fan of improv comedy..."

You can purrrrsue the name-tags below, and learn more about the cats up for adoption here."

Click here for the original article 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Closed for President's Day!

Endoscopy Support Services will be closed
Monday, February 20th in observance of the holiday.

We will re-open Tuesday, February 21st at normal business time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cops Build Cozy 'Condo' For A Friendly Stray Cat

By Stephen Messenger

"For the last four years or so, the area outside of the Boston Police Department's SWAT team headquarters has been home to their unofficial mascot - a sweet-natured calico kitty who just showed up one day and decided to stay.

The officers named her SWAT Cat, naturally.

It didn't take long for the SWAT team to fall in love with their new self-appointed feline colleague, who'd always run to greet them as they returned from a call, or cozy up beside them when they sat outside. In return, the SWAT team has made sure she's stayed healthy and safe.

One thing they couldn't do, however, was make SWAT Cat an indoor cat.

"The men and women of BPD SWAT Team have tried numerous tactics over the years to convince her to come in from the elements but she is set in her ways," a department spokesperson wrote online.

While the team has provided her with a variety of shelters in the past, they decided it was time SWAT Cat had an abode befitting of her place in their hearts.

What resulted is an insulated architectural masterpiece of pet-sized proportions.

"Officer Jamie Pietroski, a 15-year veteran of the Boston Police Department, stayed late after work for several nights painstakingly preparing SWAT Cat's new home," writes the department. "The condo features a spacious studio interior layout, a large deck for outdoor dining and glass sliding doors offering panoramic city views."

The insistently outdoor kitty would now be living in style.

And sure enough, she seemed to appreciate the gesture.

"SWAT Cat moved right in and looks very happy with her new custom kitty accommodations," wrote the department.

While we would love to see SWAT Cat decide to put her free-spirited days as a stray behind her, and opt instead for the comfort and security of domestic life inside with the team, we're happy to know that the door for her is always open.

In the meantime, it's nice to know she'll be cozy in a cat condo all her own."

Click here for the original article.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

20-Year-Old Goldfish Gets Surgery To Remove Lump On His Fin

By Caitlin Jill Anders

"Bob the goldfish is 20 years old, and has been with his parents his whole life. He's even older than his human siblings, and is a beloved family pet. So when Bob's parents noticed a small lump on one of his fins, they were incredibly worried, and immediately took him to get checked out.

Bob's parents took him to the Toll Barn Veterinary Centre Limited to get checked out by Dr. Faye Bethell, who determined that the lump was a tumor, and Bob would need to have it removed.

"We first met Bob on the day of his surgery and he was in good health apart from his tumor," Dr. Bethell told The Dodo.

Bethell and her team had operated on many fish before, but Bob was by far the oldest one. An anesthetic powder was added to the water Bob was in so that he wouldn't feel a thing during the surgery, and his heart rate was monitored the entire time.

"Our nurses kept him wet throughout to prevent damage to his scales and provided anesthetic infused water through a tube in his mouth to keep him oxygenated and anesthetized," Bethell said.

The surgery went well, and the vets were able to remove the tumor from Bob's fin without harming him in any way. His loving family took him home, hoping for many more years with the fish they love.

"Bob is now doing well and back to his normal self," Bethell said."

Click here for the original article.

Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from
Endoscopy Support Services!

Friday, February 10, 2017

You Get Knocked Down, But You Get Up Again

By Lauren Smith, DVM

"That's life and as funny as it may seem, some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream."
~Frank Sinatra

"It was the summer before vet school. Like any good, future vet, I had taken a summer job as an assistant at a local animal hospital. It was a small hospital in a strip mall. The owner, let's call him Dr. O for short, was currently the only vet working there as his associate had recently left; not that two vets were needed. The case load was small, some days only seeing three or four patients. Dr. O spent much of his day doing Shutzhund training with his German Shepard.

In between the few appointments that we did see, I would sweep, organize cabinets, stock shelves and sweep some more. After sweeping for the third or fourth time in a single morning, I would get bored and go up front to chat with the lovely ladies at the front desk, much to Dr. O's chagrin.

"I don't pay you to socialize," he would say. Honestly, I wasn't sure what he paid me for, since there was hardly any work to be done. Not that I was there for the pay check; I was there for the experience working with animals.

Of course, neither of us were getting what we wanted out of this gig. With such a small case load you'd think perhaps Dr. O might be able to take some time to teach me a thing or two, but you'd be wrong. He seemed eternally vexed by my restraining technique. He would complain every time I held an animal for him, but never once showed me a preferred way to restrain.

One time, after having me wrangle a particularly frightened and understandably uncooperative dog down on the exam table, I must have let up for a second. I can't remember if it was because I just couldn't physically hold the dog, or because I felt bad for torturing the poor creature. Either way, the dog got his head free. No one got bit, or hurt in any way. Dr. O went off on me.

"Never let go of a dog when you're holding for me. I don't know where they taught you how to restrain a dog, but you have no idea what you're doing. This is a dangerous job and you're not cut out for it. You should seriously consider doing something else."

I was devastated. I was already enrolled at Ross. My deposit was paid. This was my dream; one I was ready to leave my family, friends and country to achieve. And here was someone telling me I wasn't cut out for it.

Of course, it was ridiculous to let this man get to me like that. There wasn't one thing about him I respected. He didn't show respect for his clients or his patients, he treated his staff like crap. I knew that in my head, but my heart was still hurt. My nagging voice of self-doubt was suddenly manifest out of someone else's mouth.

I kept the job, knowing that it was only for a couple more months and all the other summer jobs at vet clinics had undoubtedly been filled. Dr. O's words stuck with me as he continued to berate my performance, but I soldiered on; determined not to let a small, unhappy man and a toxic work environment dull my excitement for my dream.

I survived the toxicity and went on to succeed in vet school. After a very short stint in another toxic work environment after I graduated, I found my place at first one, then another supportive clinic where I found mentors who helped me grow into the vet I am today - one who strives to offer not just excellent medical care to her patients, but kindness, compassion and empathy to her clients and who tries to always remember to respect and support others that she works with.

A few years ago, when a new graduate joined our practice, we got to talking about our experiences and lo and behold, I learned that he too had spent a few months working for Dr. O. He too had been told by Dr. O that he shouldn't be a veterinarian.

Mr. Sinatra was right - some people will always get their kicks, stomping on a dream. If they try to stomp on yours, pick it up, dust it off and dream."

About the Author
"Dr. Lauren Smith graduated in 2008 from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed her clinical year at Cornell University. Her professional interests include internal medicine, preventative medicine and client education. Dr. Smith lives and practices on Long Island with her cat, Charlie and dog, Frankie and loves to read, write, and run in her free time. You can check out more of her writing at"

Click here for the original article.

Friday, February 3, 2017

No One Can Believe How Good This Therapy Cat Is At His Job

By Caitlin Jill Anders

"When people first meet Raul, their reaction is usually delight mixed with disbelief.

Ever since he was a kitten, Raul has always been a little different than most cats.

When Raul's human siblings would have friends over for play-dates, he would always sit and watch the action, even when things got loud and hectic. He was never afraid of chaos and loved hanging out with everyone he met, and one day his mom realized he could use his special traits to help people.

"One of my friends, a teacher, suggested that I bring him into special education classrooms," Sarah Morr, Raul's mom, told The Dodo. "At first I thought it was a weird idea, but when I looked into it, I found that therapy animals are not only a very real thing but they also can provide so many benefits to the people."

Morr got Raul certified as a therapy animal and began taking him into schools to work with kids in need. As soon as he started, it was clear to everyone around him that this was Raul's true calling.

"Raul takes his job seriously and is the calmest, most patient cat I have ever met," Morr said. "He calms kids down with nothing more than his presence and always seems interested in whatever the children are working on."

Raul performs many different duties while visiting schools. He sits with the kids while they read aloud to help boost their confidence and improve their reading skills, and he also works with the school counselor to help kids be more comfortable expressing their feelings.

"He is able to take some of that sadness or stress away because he calmly listens to whatever they have to say," Moor said. "He provides unconditional love and understanding and I think some of the kids that have been made fun of or bullied for being different really identify with him because he doesn't act like a 'normal' cat."

Raul also works in a special education classroom, where he lets kids push him around the hallways of the school in his stroller. When other kids in the school come up to the student who is pushing Raul, it gives them a chance to answer questions about him and have interactions that are important for their social development.

"The children not only increase their mobility and social skills, they also get a boost of self-confidence from all the positive attention they get," Morr said. "Raul just enjoys being pushed around and lays in the stroller being adored."

Raul is such a calm, patient cat, that most people tend to treat him more like a human. Being with Raul is like being with an old friend, and everyone who interact with him is instantly a little calmer and happier.

"When people first meet Raul, their first reaction is usually delight mixed with disbelief," Morr said. "They ask me questions about what he likes to do, and what he thinks about things. The kids all adore him and I have a folder full of drawings and notes that children have made for him. Basically kids and adults all treat him as if he were a good friend."

When he's at home, though, Raul is just like any other playful cat. He loves to look out the window, play with his cat brother Carl, and play tag with his mom and siblings. But no matter what he's doing, he has to be around people he loves at all times, even when he's just taking a nap.

Raul is an incredibly calm and compassionate cat, and is making such a difference in the lives of every kid he meets.

You can follow Raul and all his adventures on his Instagram account."

Click here for the original article.

Cat Gets New Tiny Legs So He Can Walk Again

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

"His name is Pooh and he's ready for a home.

No one really knows how a stray cat named Pooh injured his back legs. It's possible a train, or maybe even a car, struck him in the small Bulgarian village where he lived. Whatever happened, Pooh had some serious injuries, and he needed help quickly.

Pooh didn't really belong to anyone, although a local woman occasionally left food outside for him. when the woman noticed Pooh was hurt, she rushed him to Central Vet Clinic, a veterinary hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital. Vladislav Zlatinov, a surgeon who worked there, was the first to examine Pooh.

Pooh had severe soft tissue damage and open, infected wounds. Zlatinov knew he needed to act fast.

Initially, Zlatinov thought he had only two choices - amputate the back legs high up on the limbs or, if that didn't work, euthanize Pooh to put him out of his misery.

But Zlatinov didn't want to do either of those things. He'd heard about Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick, a celebrity vet in the U.K., who'd done a complicated surgery on a cat named Oscar, repairing his injured back legs and attaching permanent prosthetics - tiny "peg legs" - into the cat's ankle bones.

"I had the vague idea that this is done, but it sounded impossible for our practice," Zlatinov said. "But I wanted to try."

The process wasn't easy. Zlatinov had to perform several surgeries to save the upper part of Pooh's legs. Then Zlatinov organized to get custom-made prosthetics, which he drilled into Pooh's ankle bones, permanently attaching them to Pooh's legs.

"He's doing surprisingly well so far," Zlatinov said. "Pooh can move freely on flat surfaces - walking, running, even making small jumps. For now, he can't make bigger jumps. What's important is that he doesn't seem to be in pain."

Pooh might seem a little clumsy, but Zlatinov doesn't think this has anything to do with his artificial legs. "He is just one lazy, fat boy," Zlatinov said. "Eventually, he will be able to move freely... if he loses the fat belly, of course."

Pooh seems to be getting used to his new legs already, and treating them like any other part of his body. "He grooms them and tries to keep them clean," Zlatinov said.

"We're very proud," Zlatinov told Reuters. "It was quite a success... It gives hope to other patients."'

Click here for the original article.