Posts Tagged ‘Veterinarian’

In Which My Pants Are Not On Fire

January 8, 2013

If my pants were on fire, wouldn’t I know?

As it turns out, said pants are not on fire. 

I have been waiting to hear the results from the State of South Carolina regarding the telephone hearing that took place regarding my application for unemployment benefits.

I had been denied benefits because the employer said that I falsified my application.  That’s right, they said I lied.

But at no time did my pants combust.

Here’s something curious about this whole pants-on-fire situation.  I have known the folks that work at the spay/neuter clinic since it opened several years ago.  I (and Sugar) have taken countless animals there, mostly rescue animals, feral cats, and owned animals that needed to be fixed but the owners couldn’t do it (most probably because of lack of funds and/or transportation).  I referred people there, even when I worked for a veterinarian.  Animals need to be fixed, folks, and I risked being reprimanded at the vet’s office if they had known that I was what they thought sending business away.  I counter if people can’t afford the surgery, you are not really losing their business.  If I can’t afford a Rolls Royce, are those Rolls Royce people going to consider that I am business lost?  (Thinking not, right about here.)

But the biggest potential deal-breaker on my application was one of my personal references.  I listed a veterinarian` who used to work at the spay/neuter clinic who later did substitute veterinary work at the practice that I was working at, and she knew what my skills were.  So why didn’t the Executive Director at the spay/neuter clinic check my references with her?  After all, she is his *SISTER*.

OK, maybe she’s only his half-sister, technically speaking, but they call each other sister and brother, and they grew up together.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…



Y’all can do the left-click thingy to enlarge this image.  This is actually page two, which contains the good stuff.

How’s that for a Christmas present?



Everybody’s Got One, Part Two

September 11, 2012

If we return back to an earlier post entitled Everybody’s Got One, you can update yourself regarding my former employer.

I say “former”because I resigned on May 24 of this year.  I gave a week’s notice, for I had obtained employment at the spay / neuter clinic, and that employment has already ended before the 90 day probation period ended.  That place has issues which I will not discuss here, yet, although you know I probably will later, given my natural proclivity for procrastination.

But now let’s talk about how everybody’s got one, or dirty little secrets.

When the veterinarian that hired me put the practice up for sale, he didn’t tell myself or my office mate.  I found the practice for sale on the internet.  When the veterinarian received an offer from another veterinarian, he left the sales agreement displayed on his computer monitor.  Imagine the level of distraction to leave that on your computer at work where your employees can find it.

Anyway, I copied the name of the veterinarian who had made the offer to purchase the practice, and I did an internet search.  I thought that surely there must be some mistake, for the man’s name led only to one person, who just happened to be in his sixties.  Why would someone in their sixties want to purchase a practice that was states away from where he lived?  And basically, why would someone in their sixties want to be a full-service veterinarian with the long hours and poor economy in this area?

I searched further.  I found a site called The Toonces Project.  You should just click on the link which will further explain who Toonces was, and why the website came to be.  Heartbreaking.

The site monitors veterinarians who have been reprimanded and, in some cases, fined for disciplinary reasons.  I found the name of the veterinarian who was purchasing the practice that I worked for.

September 14, 1993.

September 27, 1993.

And February 24, 1994.

My best hope was that I could prevent history repeating itself.  I can say that I could not.

I found another job eventually, but that did not work out.

How Far Is Too Far?

August 24, 2012

How far is too far to go?

I’m not talking about things of a PG-13 nature.  I’m talking about this:  how do you know how far you will go in a given situation?

On July 30, 2012, I received an email from someone who knew someone who needed help with a cat.  It’s that age-old story about a cat that just appears on someone’s porch.  And she’s a nice cat, so they feed her and give her shelter.  She returns their good actions by presenting them with a batch of kittens.

That’s usually how it starts with a stray cat.  I’ve heard it over and over again from my several jobs in the animal care industry.  They just show up.  Usually it’s a female, and, if she’s not pregnant, she’s soon to be, because cats just go into heat, oh, seems like all the time, which in actuality could be 2, 3, or even 4 times a year.

So the email, from the persons that I’ll call The Intermediate Couple, told of a family in a neighboring county that had a cat they couldn’t keep.  The cat had given birth in the spring, and so of course was pregnant again, and the family couldn’t afford to spay her, and didn’t want to keep her.

I replied that if the female were spayed, couldn’t they keep her?  Every animal shelter and rescue is overrun with cute kittens for adoptions, and it’s difficult for an adult to be adopted, because who can resist a cute kitten?  (And if you write a blog, just post cute kitten pictures and watch your hits go up.  Not that I would EVER do that.)

The Intermediate Couple replied that they would approach the family about keeping the female after she had been spayed.

And The Intermediate Couple and I went back and forth with email correspondence setting up the particulars, like if I could get financial support for the surgeries for the mother and her three boy cattens, and how to arrange transportation.  Because of extenuating circumstances, it looked like I would need to drive to the next county and pick up the cats, house them until their surgical date, then house them again after surgery, then return them home.

Sugar weighed in.  “That’s too far to go.  Someone else needs to do it.”

Thank you, Sugar.  Love. You.

He argued about all the reasons that I couldn’t do it, and I argued about all the reasons that I could.  I generally have Friday afternoons off, so I could drive out then to pick up, and then to deliver the following Friday.  I could keep them in big crates in the shed for their safety, because I can’t have intact males and females wandering about here at the Swamped! Plantation & Rawlsbury Camp.

So the long version of an even longer tale is that is exactly what I did.  At first, I thought that I would bring all 4 cats here, house them, take them for surgery, re-house them, and return them, all in the space of one week.  I realized that I was out of my mind, for no good deed generally goes unpunished, and I would have to break it down to two cats at a time, which would lengthen the time that it would take to complete this project.

So with scrawled directions on a scrap of paper (remember paper?), I made my way to the next county to meet the newest project.  It was 43.3 miles one way, door-to-door.  I picked up the mother cat and the biggest boy.  It did not work to crate them here, not even in the shed, for ants got into the food.  Sugar said to take them to the grooming business and house them there.  I knew he’d help, even without me asking.

Was that too far to go?  It involved three trips to pick-up and return, for the family had decided to keep all four cats.

Here’s the best part:  The Intermediate Couple donated money to my PayPal account to cover the cost of the surgeries, and a little bonus for me, which I’ll donate to the grooming business.

So the cats get to stay in their home, the family gets to enjoy the cats that are now speutered and vaccinated, The Intermediate Couple gets good karma for a good deed, and I got in a little side trip to the Robert (Roe-BARE) Cemetery.

Was that too far to go?  And how do you know unless you try?

(And thanks to reader Linda who planted the seed of this story with The Intermediate Couple!)


Sue Nami, the Charm School Graduate, Part 2

July 28, 2012

Two years ago, I met this girl.

Occasionally, she visits the vet’s office.  On the last visit, I could not resist taking her photo.  People just love to let you take photos of their pets. 

If you click on the link above, you’ll see when Sue Nami arrived at the vet’s office, all ripped and torn and sad.  Here she is today.

What a beautiful girl!


Phone Call of the Week

April 27, 2012

You probably know that I work for a veterinarian’s office, and many days I spend my time at the front desk.  I now present:  The Phone Call of the Week.


(Phone ringing)

YoursTruly:  Thank you for calling Dr. Doofus’s office.  This is ruthrawls.

Caller:  I’d like to make an appointment for my dog to get a rabies shot.

YoursTruly:  If you are interested, we have a low-cost clinic every Wednesday afternoon by appointment.  A rabies shot will be $7.00.

Caller:  OK, how much will it cost?

YoursTruly:  It. Will. Cost. Seven. Dollars.

Caller:  OK, do I need an appointment?

YoursTruly:  Yes.  Ma’am.  Youneedanappointment.

Caller:  OK, I’d like to bring my dog in next Wednesday.

YoursTruly:  I’m sorry, next Wednesday afternoon is full, but we can go forward to the following Wednesday, or, if you’d like, you can bring your dog sooner but the rabies vaccination will be full price and there will be a charge for an office visit attached to it.

Caller:  But I need to get my dog in before the end of April.

YoursTruly:  (silence)

YoursTruly:  Ma’am, the last Wednesday in April has already passed.  There are no more Wednesdays left in April.

Caller:  But the sign said every Wednesday in April.

YoursTruly:  (silence)

YoursTruly:  I’m not sure what sign you are referring to, but we have been having a low-cost vaccination clinic every Wednesday afternoon from 2-5 since last July.

Caller:  There’s a sign at Harvey’s.

YoursTruly:  OK, well, I’ll check on the sign at Harvey’s, but I can assure you that it’s every Wednesday from 2-5 by appointment, and there are no more Wednesdays left in April.  Would you like to make an appointment for May 9?

Caller:  Yes, I would.

YoursTruly:  Here are the times I have available (and I rattle off a list of available times).

Caller:  (aside to someone else)  Mama, do you want 3:15, 3:30, 3:45, 4:15, 4:30, or 4:45?

Mama:  It don’t matter to me.  It’s your dog.

Caller:  We’ll take 3:15.

YoursTruly:  OK, may I have your last name please?

Caller:  Put it under Wade but it’s my mama’s dog now.

YoursTruly:  May I have your mother’s first name please?

Caller:  Bonnie.

YoursTruly:  What’s the dog’s name, please?

Caller:  Lady Rose.

YoursTruly:  OK, your mother  has an appointment for Wednesday, May 9th, at 3:15, for Bonnie Wade and “Lady Rose”.

Caller:  That’s not my mama’s name.

YoursTruly:  I thought you said put it under Bonnie Wade.

Caller:  *MY* last name is Wade, and it’s my dog, but my mama has it now.

YoursTruly:  (mental deep breath)  We need to record the dog’s name under the person that has the dog, so that if the animal control officer comes around and checks the rabies vaccination and rabies certificate, everything matches.

Caller:  Oh, that won’t happen.  Our dogs is inside.

YoursTruly:   May I have your mother’s name, please?

Caller:  Her name is Bonnie Cook.

YoursTruly:  Ok, I’ve got your appointment down for Wednesday, May 9th, at 3:15.  If anything changes, please call us.

Caller:  OK.  Thank you.

YoursTruly:  Good-bye.

One minute later, the phone rings, and I can tell from the caller ID that she’s calling back…

YoursTruly:  (deep breath)


Precious Pees-lee the Problem Cat, Part 4

April 16, 2012

Sugar won. 

He wanted the Precious to go to the vet for a check-up.  Precious Paisley still wasn’t using the litter box consistently, even though the fleas were dead and gone.  Many times when a cat is not using the litter box, it’s a medical issue, and even though I thought she was peeing/pooping outside the box because she was insane from a lifetime of flea infestation, I conceded that she might have bigger issues.

Hoo boy.  The vet’s office reported that the bloodwork was okay, but Paisley had a urinary tract infection and a fever to match.  The prescription was for Baytril, a bitter, high-powered antibiotic, which the vet said might not work.  What if the UTI didn’t resolve? More tests?  What if the UTI *did* resolve, and Precious still eliminated outside the box?  Does this mean she is destined to live outside?  (Ya think?)

On day one of the meds, I crushed the pill and mixed it up well into some canned food.  Paisley ate half, and not a bite more.  She had detected the Baytril.

Day Two:  Sugar’s BabyDaughter tried the same in Fancy Feast, which is like crack for cats, and Paisley wouldn’t touch it.

This was calling for drastic measures. 

Day Three:  Sugar crushed the Baytril, mixed it in water, and siphoned it up into a syringe.  I put Paisley on a thick blankie and made what is called a “Kitty Burrito” by folding the end over her hiney and back, then wrapping the first side over her, then the second side.  All this was happening on the floor, and then I straddled the angry burrito like a mini-pony with my shins flat on the floor and my feet crossed one over the other so the little burrito couldn’t back out.  Then, still keeping her wrapped, I exposed her angry little head and gripped either side of her head, fingers under her chin and thumbs behind the back of her head.  Sugar shot the syringe full of watery meds into her mouth, only missing a little, and Paisley let out a low howl of distress.  That was some foul dose of medicine.  She struggled and fought like only a pissed-off cat can, but she never lost control of her bladder or bowels.  I let her up, fully expecting her to turn on me and climb my frame, but instead she climbed into the windowsill, dripping and slinging foamy saliva from the medicine.  Didn’t help that Sugar yelled Dammit I Missed.

Cat – 3.  Sugar and YoursTruly – 0.

Day Four:  A repeat of day three, this time with a dish of FancyCrack waiting.  She fell on the FancyCrack and sucked it up like an angry vacuum cleaner.

Day Five:  A carefully refined, cleverly choreographed orchestration of Gomer and Goober get owned.

Tomorrow is Day Six.  If this blog ends forever after tonight, you can thank the Precious Pees-lee.



Roscoe’s Last Stand

April 1, 2012

Last week a client called with an issue regarding her eight-month-old pit bull.  She and her boyfriend had just gotten the dog in January.  They had several other pit bulls, and one of the female pits had a new litter, and the woman herself had just had a baby.  She said that she should have brought the dog sooner but didn’t have the money until that day.

Her concern about the dog was that he had been bitten by fire ants, and she was worried that the dog would not survive.  He had been bitten about five days prior to her calling the vet’s office, or at least, it was five days ago when someone noticed the dog needed medical care.

When the dog arrived at the office, he was in sad shape.  He had not been bitten by fire ants, or, perhaps more correctly, if he had been bitten by fire ants, you couldn’t tell it.  His skin was raw from demodectic mange.


Demodex is a treatable condition that is caused by mites that live in the skin. You can learn more about demodectic mange, sometimes referred to as “red mange”, by clicking on this link.  There’s another type of mange called sarcoptic mange which is contagious.  Demodex is not contagious, but the tendency to develop demodex could be inherited.  If you have a dog that you want to breed, like a pit bull, you should not breed the dog if he develops demodex.  Small issue for some backyard breeders, but many breeders don’t plan on holding onto puppies, so they might sell them at a reduced rate.  Like Roscoe.  The new owner said that they drove to Tennessee to get him, which was no easy drive at about seven hours, and that he was on sale for $500 instead of the usual $2000 that a pit with his rare coloring could command.  It was impossible by the time I met Roscoe to tell what color he really was.


The vet told the woman that this condition had been going on for a long time.  She seemed confused about that, like perhaps she had lost track of time.  She also seemed shocked that the condition wasn’t caused by fire ants, because she knew that the dog had gotten into fire ants.

We talked about what to do about the dog.  With a severe case of demodex, it could take up to six months for the cure to work.  It involves giving the dog a minute dose of ivermectin every day, in some cases twice per day, and usually antibiotic is prescribed for the infected skin.  The woman was pretty sure she wouldn’t be able to follow the regimen.  She didn’t seem to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she did seem to understand that this dog was owed more than he was getting.  She was considering euthanasia, and I asked if she would consider giving him up if a rescue group would take him.  She agreed that she would.  I made a phone call, but the answer was what I already knew it would be:  the group was full, there were no spots available, and no foster families to be had, not even for a sweet young pit bull.

If you have a squeamish stomach, you might not want to look at the following pictures.  It’s not too graphic, but then I see this kind of stuff fairly often, so what is not so graphic to me might just be paralyzing to you. 

Poor sweet Roscoe ate cookies out of my hand, then walked over to me and rested his head on my arm. His poor, bloody neck leaked bloody pus on my hand.

I lifted his chin to photograph his neck.

His right side matched this view of his left side.

It occurred to me that, even with a good foster situation and medical care, at the end of the treatment, you’d still have a pit bull that needed a home. 

Good night, sweet Roscoe.


Freakity Frack, Part 2; Or, Dogbite!

March 3, 2012

Yes, I agree with you.  Who would have thought that I would have been bitten twice within 48 hours, AND that both animals were not up-to-date on their rabies vaccine? 

We already have established why the cat wasn’t brought up-to-date when she came into the office in my fascinating post yesterday.  Today’s sojourn into danger began yesterday when an owner called about having her 16-year-old chow put to sleep or *PTS*.  The appointment was scheduled for this morning, and when the dog came into the office, it was truly time for this event to happen. 

The vet explained that he would give a presedation shot to help the animal relax, and then in about 10-15 minutes he would administer the final injection.  I lifted the dog to the table, restrained the dog gently by cradling her head with my left hand and putting my right hand on her rump.  The vet started the subcutaneous injection in her shoulder area, and she swung around with her head towards me and BIT me on the same hand that the cat bit.  I pulled away, said owowow, and the dog kept snapping.  I backed away further and looked at my hand.  The skin was not broken, thank goodness, because if it had been, and this bite were reported to a medical doctor, the dog’s head would have to be removed from its body and sent to the state lab for examination for rabies.  The dog’s vaccination was overdue about a month and a half, and we know that she certainly does not have rabies, but remember the protocol I outlined yesterday. 

My grandmother used to say that things come in threes.  Someone please bite me now.


Freakity Frack, or Catbite!

March 2, 2012

Here’s a little Public Service Announcement, so if you are not so inclined to follow my little rant, just move along.  Nothing to see here, people.


The subject is rabies vaccinations, or in this case, lack of a current one.  In the veterinarian’s office where I work, we have a reminder system, like most offices, in which we send out reminder postcards to our clients to REMIND them to update their pet’s vaccinations.  It’s an ohsoclever little system involving a piece of card stock, some ink in the printer, and a postcard stamp.  Hardly brain surgery, except unless we are reminding the owner to bring their pet in for brain surgery.  Generally, we don’t encourage brain surgery, but there is always the special owner who perhaps does need a brain transplant themselves.  Hey, take my brain, I’m not using it right now.

This fascinating saga began yesterday afternoon when a woman presented her cat wrapped in a blankie, not in a crate.  Even though there were dogs in the lobby, the womanwithcat waltzes in without an appointment.  (Is there a catcrate thief in this town?  Is that why no one uses a cat containment system?  You just wouldn’t believe the number of cats that show up crateless.)  It seems that the cat hadn’t been eating and wasn’t feeling well, and the exam showed that the cat had some fleas and some flea allergy-type dermatitis. (Remember Precious Paisley?)  The paper file also showed the cat was due for a rabies vaccination, but the vet elected to decline the rabies vaccination because he says he doesn’t like to give a vaccination to an animal that appears unwell, in case of vaccine reaction.  I, however, did not know that the rabies vaccination was not up-to-date because I was diddling around with something else in another part of the office. 

So the vet elects to give the cat a bath to combat the fleas and to soothe her scabby skin.  I assisted, and the cat was bathed without incident.  The vet wrapped her in a towel and placed her into a stainless steel condo typical of the type found in many veterinary offices, while I fetched some more dry towels.  Picture this:  little kitty has been subjected to the indignity of a bath, then placed soaking wet into a metal box which is shiny, cold, and loud.  When I attempted to retrieve a wet towel from around the cat, she bit.  Not too hard, but hard enough to break the skin, and therein lies the issue.

The state of SC says that all domestic dogs and cats must be vaccinated yearly for rabies.  If a bite happens and medical help is sought, the Department of Health and Environmental Control must be contacted, and the animal has to be quarantined and observed for signs of rabies for a period of time, usually about 10 days.  Truly, when an animal has been vaccinated with a one-year rabies vaccination, the vaccination does not cease to work 365 days later.  It is claimed by some that the vaccination is still at work years later, and the case has been argued that people don’t get vaccinations every year, right?  We are vaccinated as children and then – case closed.  No more vaccinations, unless your tetanus shot is outdated and you step on a rusty nail or perhaps place your hand into a rusty cat’s mouth.  Just sayin’.

So immediately after a bite, cat or dog, or even person, you stroll to a sink and turn on the hot water and place your bitten part under the HOT running water, just as hot as you can stand it.  Your goal is to get the blood to flow out, not in.  Do not use cold, because this will cause your flesh to contract and seal in any bacteria, germs, dirt, and general catmouth yukkiness.  Blood flowing out flushes the wound. 

So I squeezed my bitten hand, making sure that all the puncture wounds bled out.  Then I sanitized the wounds, and reported the bite to the office manager, who is the vet’s wife, and just happens to be wound a little bit too tight, and she started panting “rabies, rabies, rabies”, which certainly made things. just. right.

Today she insisted that I go to the doctor, where I was able to receive a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (a tdap) in my arm muscle.  (I was greatly relieved that I was able to receive the vaccination in the back of my arm and not some other part of my posterior since I was pretty sure I wasn’t wearing the “good underwear” that all of our mothers told us to wear when growing up, just in case we were in a car wreck and the emergency workers would see our shabby underwear and know that our mothers didn’t love us and take good care of us.  Yes, I was actually concerned about that for a brief moment.)  The doctor was encouraged that I did not have pain or swelling or fever in my arm or elsewhere (most certainly not in my posterior).  I did tell my new friend the doctor, who told me that he had been practicing for 55 years, that my dog, Mr. Packett, has a prescription of antibiotic that I started taking the evening before, and the doctorman said *that’s good* (really, when has a doctor ever told you it was good to self-medicate), but that he wanted to start me on a stronger antibiotic.   He said that he didn’t like animal bites, as though I did, and I defended the little critters by saying, “They bite for a reason.”  The cat was a nice cat, and she was an “owned” cat, not a stray without a medical history, and she had been vaccinated for rabies before. 

Here’s the lesson I’d like for you to take away from this.  If the cat were to die during the quarantine period FOR WHATEVER REASON, her head would be removed and sent to the state lab so that her brain could be examined for signs of rabies.  Even though you know and I know that she has no signs of rabies and she is surely not rabid, the protocol demands that her head would be removed from her body and sent off for laboratory study.  I would venture to say that most animal owners do not want that to happen. 

So, hey, here’s a thought.  Don’t ignore the reminder postcard, and better yet, stay cognizant about when your pet’s vaccinations are due, or, even better, if you’re not sure when they’re due, call your vet’s office.  They’ll know. 

Please do this for me, or I’m going to have to concentrate more on the state of my underwear.


Out of the Mouths

February 18, 2012

I’m in a unique position in that I’m involved with several businesses having to do with animals.  I work for a veterinarian’s office here in this little town, and the BabyBoy is the groomer for Sugar’s grooming business.  I consider myself sweat equity at the grooming business even though mostly what I do is the banking and ordering and taking photographs.  I’m at the grooming business for a bit in the morning (sometimes) before I go to work, at lunchtime, then again after I finish at the veterinarian’s office.  At the vet’s office, we refer people to the grooming business for grooming and boarding, and at the grooming business, we refer people to the vet’s office for vaccination updates and medical issues that are noted during the grooming/boarding session.

Last week a six-month-old West Highland Terrier named Louie was at the groomer’s.  I saw him at lunchtime.  His grooming session was finished, and he was playing with some of the other dogs in the lobby area that the dogs use for playtime.  I went into the cat room, which is next to the lobby foyer, to tidy up and check on Gladys the Guinea Pig whose cage enclosure is with the cats, and I heard Louie’s owners come in to pick him up.  I heard a man, a woman, and a small child, all very happy to see Louie.  The child was chattering away, although I couldn’t hear what she was saying.  Louie went home and all was well.


The next morning a man called to make an appointment for his Westie who could not use his left rear leg.  He said that he had let the dog out earlier that morning to go to the bathroom as usual, but had not stayed with the dog, and when he went to let the dog in, the dog was on three legs.  The man brought the dog for an appointment, and, yes, it was Louie.  An xray revealed a broken leg.  I called the BabyBoy while the dog was in xray, and asked if he was limping or favoring his leg during the grooming, and had the owners commented on his leg?  He confirmed what I already knew.  The dog was fine when he went home.

Louie’s leg was repaired and splinted, and he was due to come in one week later for a re-check.


The following week, the man and a little girl brought Louie back for his re-examination.  The little girl was a darling little child, perhaps 2 1/2 years old with the face of a cherub.  She chattered away to me, while the owner and the vet examined the dog on the table.  The owner and the vet were engrossed in conversation over the dog, and did not hear the child say to me, “Daddy hurt Louie really bad.”