Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meanwhile, back at the clinic...

This week at work has been better than last week, when I had to euthanize 4 old patients in the space of two days. Three of them were gut wrenching: 14 and 15 year old dogs who were veritable family members. It was so sad to see them go. The other case was an old cat with painful cancer. It was tragic, too, but since the owners elected not to be present, not as emotionally straining.

This week I got to do one of my favorite things: save a broken tooth by doing a root canal. Here's the fractured tooth before:

And here it is after:

Aesthetically it looks nicer, but if I just covered it up with bonding material and made it look pretty, eventually it would rot. What you can't see from the outside is more important.

Here is an endodontic file in the long canal:

And here is the root canal finished. All the pulp inside the tooth is removed and replaced with an inert material.

Finally remember this?

I spayed a dog, and when she vomited after her preanesthetic injection, she brought up these panties. Last week, my colleague removed 6+ pair of panties from her -- unfortunately, surgically.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bad Recipe

Party with friends until late on Friday night + Saturday night + Sunday night + Regular school day schedule today = one very grouchy Colin today.

Even though I brought him a healthy snack to eat at ballet today, he threw himself to the floor, CRYING with hunger at the end of class when I wouldn't buy him another snack there. I guess I was too grouchy to figure it out, too - Anthony reminded me of how tired he must be.

It was early to bed tonight, for sure!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Big CO Trip

I love the cozy warm feeling of this photo; it really captures feeling of our visit.

Michael on the stairs of their cool split level house. Yup, its snowing outside, on our first night!

OK, after downloading all these photos, the horizontal ones are not centered. Click to see the whole image now -- I'll fix it later.

Catching snowflakes on our tongue.

The next morning, we had 2 inches - a dusting, I know, but it was a lot for two Texas kids.
Snowball fight!
Wee snowman!

We feasted for days...
Those bright green olives tasted like asparagus.

Lovely Lyra...
Homemade pizza, with local goat cheese and prosciutto
Thank goodness for the photography skills of Anthony and Lisa,

The girls let me braid their hair...
We went hiking around Lily Lake, in Estes Park. Too bad Anna vomited on the drive up into the mountains. It was soon forgotten after getting into the beautiful mountain air.
Above, Colin and I walking across a frozen lake. Hey, who got me with the snowball?
Colin loves to eat snow.
And hike in the snow dunes,
I had to drag him back to the car. "C'mon, Mommy! Let's go hiking in the forest!!!"
When we got home, we were treated to a Star Wars Play (a.k.a. Episode 7).
We went to the awesome museum, where there was a T.Rex skeleton and an entire Fin Whale skeleton. HUGE.
Lots of cool dioramas....
...inspire lots of good why questions...
The space area had lots of Mars stuff - here Colin explores how water may have eroded Martian sand.
There were some cool rocks in the Gem and Mineral Exhibit.
We ate a great picnic lunch in the atrium. Here's Ruby..
We even squeezed in a visit to see the local PRAIRIE DOGS! So cute!

Where did he go?
I can see his tail!!!
OK, that's enough clicking and downloading of photos. If you need more, here's the whole set.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Back in the saddle

We just returned from a great trip to Colorado, visiting friends, introducing the kids to snow, and vetting the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for President Obama. (He signed the stimulus bill there the day after we visited. We approve of the choice of venue!)

More later, still too tired now from unpacking, going back to work/school, and starting the mountain of laundry, and emails....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Which one of these things doesn't belong?

In light of the huge budget shortfall, the State of California is proposing a tax on auto and appliance repair, amusement parks, golf fees, sporting events, and veterinary care.

Excuse me, but taking your pet to the veterinary hospital is not like taking your toaster to the appliance repair shop. Or spending the weekend playing golf or going to Knott's Berry Farm. It is like taking your child to the pediatrician. Pet food is already taxed, but medical services should not be taxed, no matter what the species.

The California Veterinary Medical association says it better than me:

• In this weak economy, animal owners are already making tough choices. Adding sales tax to veterinary services will force owners to make difficult choices about the health and welfare of
their pets.

• Pets are members of the family and an important source of companionship. This proposed tax could add approximately 9% to the cost of veterinary care. The result will be that many animals won’t get the medical care they need and they will be abandoned or euthanized.

• Shelter populations are increasing beyond capacity as many Californians lose their homes to foreclosure. If people can’t afford to take care of their pets, they may be forced to abandon them to shelters, adding to the overcrowding and financial strain.

• More than 800,000 cats and dogs enter California shelters every year at a cost to taxpayers of $275 million. As shelters become filled beyond capacity, more healthy animals will be euthanized adding to the emotional strain of shelter workers.

• The public health and safety will be at risk. Veterinary care is essential to protecting the public from zoonotic diseases such as rabies and leptospirosis.

• Food production animals require veterinary care. A lack of proper care would affect the public health. Also, a sales tax on veterinary services will increase the cost of food production which will ultimately be passed on to consumers further adding to the already high cost of food.

• Veterinary medical care shouldn’t be taxed any differently than human medical care.

• Veterinarians are clearly health care professionals and are subject to many of the same laws and regulations as other health care providers. Veterinary medicine should not be singled out for this tax.

• It is an insult to the veterinary profession to compare veterinary medical services with appliance and furniture repair.

• It’s not right for our beloved pets to suffer because of the state’s financial problems.

• It’s not right for our beloved pets to suffer because of the state’s financial problems.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

May the Force be With You

Adorable handsewn Yoda doll by Anna. This is a small representation of the Starwars crafting going on in our house - there are posters, a character guidebook, and sculpey clay figurines. And hairdos.

Yoda is the best.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I can fix this

Sorry for the last downer post. Here's one reason I like dentistry so much: I can take a painful mouth and make it better. This poor little dog came in for a dental cleaning today. We didn't know how bad her dental disease was until we took Xrays.

See that big black hole in her upper molar? That's a resorbtive lesion, and it goes right into the pulp of her tooth. The roots look moth eaten, too, because the body is resorbing the tooth from the inside out. I can't stop this process from happening, but I can remove the tooth and therefore remove the pain. The owner had switched her from dry food to canned a few years ago because she wasn't chewing it anymore. Now we know why.

This next Xray of her lower jaw was pretty scary.

There are big black holes under this dead, resorbing tooth. On the left root, the bone loss is so severe there is almost no cortex left. This is a 10 lb. dog. We're talking less than a millimeter of bone left. I took a deep breath and gently, gently extracted the tooth. I did not want to fracture her jaw!

Post extraction film. Notice no fracture, but there is a hole of infection in her jaw. Poor baby. I cleaned it up, put a bone graft in, and sutured it closed. Seven extractions in all. She was swollen post-op, but had a good recovery. She is going to feel so much better tomorrow!

Monday, February 02, 2009


We have some stellar clients at our hospital who really love their cats. The mom and her adult daughter both have 10 or so cats each in their home, and also rescue a lot of cats and find new homes for them. They are not crazy cat ladies - they really care for each cat and also follow all our medical recommendations. No matter the cost, they always want the best health care for all their many felines.

Recently some of their cats have gotten ill with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). This is a terrible virus that, once activated, is 100% fatal. Many cats are exposed to this virus and never get sick. We don't know what causes some cats to have an active infection and others to remain well.

Part of the problem is the enormous immune reaction the virus causes. Usually we see fever, lymph node enlargement, and a belly full of fluid. When the cat's body attacks the virus it causes a vasculitis, and the leaky blood vessels ooze protein and water.

Normally we see a few cases a year. In the past few months, we've diagnosed 5 of their cats. Saturday was really bad - I euthanized one that had been in "hospice" at home, sent home another for hospice that had been hospitalized all week, and diagnosed a new case. It really made me want to vomit, since I can't offer any effective treatment, can't explain the virus, and can't even tell them how to prevent the spread. Neither can the gurus of feline internal medicine. It frustrates me that it is happening to such a nice family, one that would do anything necessary. In this case, nothing we know of will help.