October 15-21, 2017 is National Veterinary Technician Week. This is the week we recognize what a vital role our technicians play in taking care of our patients and clients. Without them, we would not be able to do our jobs.
So, who are these people outside of their jobs? I decided to explore that question. When I asked the technicians what their hobby was, I got a lot of blank stares. Most of the time the initial answer was they didn’t have a hobby outside of their work and spending time with their families (a separate problem that I won’t address here). When I pressed the issue, here were some of the varied answers I got (I promised I wouldn’t list their names).
- Drink wine
- Visiting breweries, watching the TV show Fixer Upper
- Making soap, crocheting, quilting
- Gardening, vacuuming (that is what she said)
- Birding, gardening
- Walking the dogs
- Reading, going to the lake
- Milking cows, spending time with her niece and memau
I must admit, some of the answers surprised me, but the variety of personalities is what makes our team great. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Ladies, for all you do!
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.
With the recent devastation in Texas and Louisiana, the wildfires in the west, and Irma lurking in the Atlantic, it is time to review disaster preparedness for you and your pets. Below is a list of things that are recommended to help you and your pets survive a natural disaster.
- Microchip your pet. It is a permanent, traceable form of identification. Any animal can be microchipped. Make sure to update your microchip registration when you move, change phone numbers, or get a new emergency contact. Also keep collars with tags on all cats and dogs. In an emergency, there may not be access to a microchip scanner.
- Plan for a pet friendly place to stay if you need to evacuate. Consider pet friendly hotels, kennels, or loved ones. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND IF YOU MUST EVACUATE. Some shelters are now set up to accept people with pets.
- Start a buddy system. Exchange keys with someone who can evacuate your animals if you are not home when disaster strikes. Give that person your pets’ information and your emergency contact information. Make sure that person is comfortable handing your pets.
- Identify an emergency vet outside of your immediate area.
- Plan to have to temporarily confine your pet. If your pet is not use to a crate or carrier, take time to get them use to them.
- Know where to search for lost animals.
- Take photos of you with your pets so you can prove ownership (this is where microchipping can eliminate this problem).
- Assemble a disaster kit.
- Food – a one week supply in an airtight, waterproof container. A can opener and spoon if you feed canned food. Rotate the food every two months to avoid spoilage.
- Water – a one week supply in an airtight container out of direct sunlight. Rotate every two months.
- Basic animal first aid kit. One week supply of any medication your pet is on, plus flea and heartworm medication.
- Proof of vaccinations and photos to prove ownership.
- Collar, leash, harness, crate, collapsible food and water bowls, blanket, toys, and treats.
- Paper towels, dish soap, plastic bags, litter trays with litter
You can visit RedRover.org to find more resources for disaster preparedness. Hopefully you will never need these tips, but it never hurts to be prepared.
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.
August 15th is Check The Chip Day! This is a day to remind people to have their pet’s microchip checked to make sure it is working properly. 1 in 3 pets will get lost in their lifetime. Without proper identification, 90% will not return home. According to the American Humane Association, only 17% of lost dogs, and 2% of lost cats will find their way back to their original owners. Four million pets are euthanized each year at nationwide shelters.
Microchips are inserted between the shoulder blades with a needle and is a relatively painless procedure. Microchips are tiny transponders made of a special plastic or surgical glass. They are encoded with a unique set of numbers and letters that when read by a scanner can be traced back to the owner through the company’s registration. Most microchips read for about 25 years. The reports that microchips are the cause of cancer are false.
Please remember to register your pet if you have a microchip, and update the information with the chip company if you move or change phone numbers. Unfortunately, I have encountered several animals that could not be returned to their rightful owners because the chip was never registered or had outdated information on the registry.
Our staff will be happy to scan your pet’s microchip at your next visit to make sure everything is working.
Keep your pet safe – chip them!
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.
How many worms, ticks, viruses, or fleas on your pet are OK with you? Ten? One hundred? One thousand? I am going to bet that your answer is zero. Unfortunately, parasites are a constant threat to our pets. Most parasites are microscopic, so the threat goes unnoticed. It is amazing how many people decline an annual fecal exam because “they don’t see anything in their pet’s stool”!
There is a very interesting website (www.capcvet.org) that breaks down the incidence of parasites in all the counties in the United States and Canada. The following are the current statistics for Berks county:
Lyme disease – 18.9% (1 of 6 dogs test positive)
Erhlichiosis – 1.81% (1 of 56)
Anaplasmosis – 8.36% (1 of 12)
Roundworms – 3.11% (1 of 33)
Hookworms – 2.46% (1 of 41)
Whipworms – 1.11% (1 of 90)
Giardia – 4.95% (1 of 21)
Heartworm – 0.04% (1 of 157)
FeLV – 1.97% (1 of 51 cats)
FIV – 5.7% (1 of 18)
In our practice, we diagnose dogs with Giardia on a regular basis. Currently we have 2 dogs that are undergoing heartworm treatment. So, the threat is real. Please bring in a fecal when your pet comes in for their annual exam. Our staff is ready to answer any questions about the threat of parasites to your pet, and will help you formulate a plan to lessen the risk to your pet.
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D
Recently I performed a dental on a 16-year-old dog, after which I removed an infected eye from a one pound, four-week-old kitten. While the cases were very different, they had one common denominator. At one point or another, someone suggested the patients should not have surgery based solely on their age. Now I will admit, I kind of held my breath a little on the one-pound kitten. It wasn’t because of its age; it was because of its size. It was hard to dose the medication accurately; and even harder to get an IV catheter in. However, I trusted my staff, they trusted me, and the kitten did very well during the surgery.
Age is not a disease process. There are certain diseases that are more common in elderly patients; but the diseases, not the age, dictate whether anesthesia and surgery are plausible. As an emergency vet, all my surgery cases were very sick when they were placed under anesthesia. We didn’t have the luxury of waiting to anesthetize healthy animals. Are there times when an animal is too sick to have a routine procedure on them? Absolutely… but the disease, not the age dictates that.
While I was at the Western Veterinary Conference in March, I attended a lecture on anesthesia. The board-certified anesthesiologist described a phone call he got for a consult with a former student. The dog was healthy, all the pre-anesthetic bloodwork was normal, but the doctor was terrified to anesthetize the dog. When the specialist asked why, the local doctor explained that the dog was 27 (it was an AKC registered dog, so the age was accurate). With a gentle prod and a reminder that age is not a disease, the 27-year-old Bichon had his dental done successfully, and the owner was very happy. So, the next time you think your cat or dog shouldn’t have something done because it is older, remember the 27-year-old Bichon!
Ann E Bastian, V.M.D.
As we fluctuate between spring weather and ice cold weather, we still need to be prepared for when the weather is cold. Attached is a chart that will help you when the thermometer dips.
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.
The Bastian clan recently expanded with the addition of Duncan, an 11-week-old Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. In the past couple of weeks, I have come to realize some basic tenants of puppy ownership (kittens carry their own set of issues, but you usually don’t have to litter train them).
- No house is 100% pet proof. No matter how much you try, they will find something to chew or eat. Crate training is the way to go, as it prevents accidents and helps with housebreaking.
- Paper towels and carpet cleaner are essentials – no explanation needed.
- Razor sharp baby teeth will eventually fall out.
- Consistency is the key – puppies thrive when they know what is expected.
- Even when they protest vaccines, microchips, or removing the 1000th leaf from their mouth they don’t hold grudges.
- They have a 2 second attention span so be creative in the way you keep them busy.
- The witching hour doesn’t last all day.
- A tired puppy is a good puppy.
- And finally, you gain a family member that will grow to love you and become a treasured part of your life.
On behalf of the doctors and staff of Willow Creek Veterinary Center, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.