Monday, July 30, 2012

Lumps and Bumps in Dogs

Lumps and Bumps in dogs are not normal.  Simple.

"So how long has this lump been there", I ask.

"For a long time, doesn't cause her any pain", the owner says. " You said it was nothing and that it was ok to leave it."

"Well, I have no record of it from her last visit 12 months ago." I state.

" It has only been there for 3 or so months. Started off real small, and now it is the size it is now" he points to something the size of a tennis ball."

Ok. I last saw your dog 12 months ago. The lump only came up around 3 months ago, and you are telling me that I told you that it was OK to have left it, and done nothing about it. Sounds logical to me (not).

In all fairness, the above scenario doesn't happen often, but it does happen. 

Some people, rather than being honest with themselves, justify their lack of taking action on a third party... in this instance, me, the vet.

I would, and most other vets wouldn't ever say that a lump was ok to leave unless we were darned sure what it actually was.  In the world of lumps and bumps, size does not matter, where the smallest of lumps can be the nastiest of things.

We are always here to help you, help your pet.

Want to know more?  Go to our lumps and bumps page. to find more about what we can, at Russell Vale Animal Clinic, and especially what I can, as Dr Liz, can help.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Is love enough?

There are alot of songs out there about love.  In fact, I would take a leap of faith and say that probably 80% of the pop songs are all about love.

"All you need is love"  Really? 

"Love is a Many Splendoured thing" You think?

"Love, Love will keep us together" Not convinced.

Is the love of what you do enough to keep you doing it?  Is the love of your family enough to keep the family together?  Is loving your pet enough when serious welfare decisions need to be made?

People often use love as an excuse to not do the right thing.  They are under the misbelief that all the love in the world is enough.

It's not. 

The love of what you do is  not enough if it doesn't  pay the bills, or put food in your children's mouths.  I once knew a person called Linus.  He was a social worker as was his wife.  They were passionate about the welfare of teenagers and especially those from troubled households.  I didn't know him when he was a social worker.  I knew him as a postie - the guy who rides the motorbike delivering the letters.

Love was not enough to keep him in his field of helping people. Society does not pay these guys well enough. Society pays movie stars, racing car drivers, tv reality stars, footballers well - but how do they improve our society?

Love of the family is often not enough to keep families together when the parents fall out of love.  Many couples fall into the trap of thinking love is all they need, and when they fall out of love with each other, they divorce.

 If you listen to the oldies who reach 50 plus years together, most of them say the secret is not love, but respect, and trust, and just fixing the things that get broke. 

But is loving your pet enough?  ( Sorry, but yes, it is always  about animals for me.)  Too  often, I see people making decisions on their pet's veterinary care based on the love they have for their pet.  And this can cloud the decision making process.

"I can't do that, I love my pet too much"   "I can't think of putting my pet through that again, because I love it too much."   These, and many other excuses are given by pet owners all the time as reasons on why they will or will not do something.

What all of these owners have in common is the "I".  They make it about them (or their wallets).   But it should all be about the pet.  If your pet could talk, would it agree with the decision you make?

Love is not enough... respect and trust is also  what is needed to make the decisions that need to be made in the best interest of the pet. 

I love animals, but I do what I do as a vet for more reasons than just love.

Love is not enough.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Creaky Joints? Solutions to stiff joints and sore muscles.

Cold weather brings tight muscles and joints, for our pets, and also for us. Looking after our joints (and the rest of our bodies) should be simple, and part of our daily living routine.  Joint care for my pets is divided into two main camps - those who need Everyday Care, and those who need Advanced Care.
Everyday care is for those dogs and cats (and everyone else) who are otherwise normal and active, with no obvious signs of joint or muscular issues. Our aim in these pets is to provide nutritional support for the joints and muscles for normal wear and tear that occurs from daily activity. Without the food for joints, the joints struggle to repair themselves. Our joint products available at animalclinic  are seperated into Everyday and Advanced to make it easier for you to know what you need to get.
Advanced care is for those who you can see have their moments, where getting up is just not as easy as it should be, and perhaps, after a really long walk, they just don't want to do much for a day or two afterwards. You really need a vet to examine your pet to find out what combination of things you need to do (just as physical massage, exercises and medications) to ensure your pet is painfree and happy.
Don't leave it until your pet struggles to go up and down stairs, or cannot get up, before you seek medical attention.  The earlier we can start on multiple therapies (which are really dead easy... trust me), the longer, happier life your pet will have. They are not on this Earth for a long time, so let's make it a good time !

Dr Liz

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Life is a popularity contest

Please like us. Please like me.  Like us on ..... Come join us and like us to win a prize.

Life is all about liking and being liked.  And if you are more liked, then people are more likely to buy from you or spend money to buy your product, and you are going to make more money.

The geek doesn't always win, the smart girl doesn't always get ahead in life.  It doesn't always work out like it does in the movies.

I was never popular at school. I was the fat kid that people laughed at. I had the strange surname that everyone sniggered at when they called out the roll call, as the teachers never got it right.

I had the poor parents so my clothes were not in fashion... I had no fashion sense anyway, so it would've made no difference even if we had money.

I was not liked. I was not likeable. And I have tried to be liked and likeable, and in the process, became I person I don't even like myself, all because I am trying to be liked - I am trying to be something I am not.

To be true to yourself, is that they say.  Well, what if being yourself is not going to get you anywhere in life? 

An easy way I can get liked in the consultation room with my clients is to tell them what they want to hear.  "You are doing a great job with Fluffy" (noticing the advanced dental disease, the arthritic joints and the matted coat, ignoring the fleas as they scurry from one matt of hair to another, and not mentioning it to the owner at all).   And I can't do that, unless it is true.  My honesty will see me end my veterinary career.

 Being liked is going to get me more clients, and a busier practice, with lots of staff running around doing all of the jobs that I hate doing, like cleaning.  Those are things I really dearly want.  I can only get those things if I am liked by my clients.

I have great great clients, who honestly want their pet to be examined, who don't feel guilty when I find things that are not normal, and who go out of their way to get these things fixed up.  But I don't have enough of these ones.

It is all about being liked.  To succeed in life you must make yourself popular, and liked.  But to succeed in this way, means I cannot be true to myself.   I have to be honest and tell owners about what I find when I examine their pet, as I cannot be anything else.  And this makes me unpopular and unliked.

There are flaws in my argument, as there are many rich people who are not popular or liked.  But they make their money in other ways, such as being confident, pushy, bossy or aggressive. 

At the end of the day, I have to tell owners the truth about the condition their pets are in, as that is what is best for that animal. It is all about the animals, but unfortunately, that position makes me unlikeable, unpopular, and unlikely to succeed in business.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What I love about Home and Away

Yes, I have to admit it. I am an Home and Away junkie. I watch it, and my kids know to record it if I am running late.

I call it “Home'in'Useless” because, well, no idea why. But I still like Home and Away.

Strange, I know. The plot lines are non existant. There is not one complete family unit in the entire show.

The story lines are a bit stupid. The acting is questionable at times. The characters... well, they aren't real or true. People aren't like that, are they.

I enjoy watching it. It is good entertainment. What it does, it does well.

It has the “X factor” which many TV shows these days try to get. The “X factor” is that huge thing that makes the difference between success and failure.

Some vets have the X factor, and some don't. I don't know whether I have it or not, I am guessing not, since whilst I still have a vet practice I am struggling to pay the bill. I am equally guessing that I don't, in that I call a spade a spade, and not pretend to be something I am not. Whilst that is real, that is not what people want.

Owners want to be told that they are doing a great job. They want to hear that their pet is 100% healthy. That there is nothing wrong. Many owners don't want the truth. They don't want to know about the fleas crawling through the skin, the pus underneath their pet's gums, the mites crawling in their pets ears. They want me to lie about their pet's health to make them feel better.

But what do I love about Home and Away? No animals. It is an animal free zone. There is not a dog in sight. No one has pets. Therefore, no vets. I can immerse myself in a world of no animals, and no complaints about animals for 30 minutes a day. Heaven. 

That is what I like about Home and Away. I can get away to another world with no animals in pain, no animal cruelty, no pets dying, no rescues of kittens behind walls, no people who are making unreasonable demands or requests.

But, at the beginning of the day... a world devoid of animals is not one I could live in all day... I have to be thankful that I am a vet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In for life

All of what I do and what I am is about helping animals.

I am in this for life. For my life. For my pet's life.

And this may mean that I may have to end a life. Sadly, that is what many people focus on when I tell them I am a vet. The fact that I kill animals. 

They say something like " I can never do what you do, I just love animals too much."  As if what I do means I don't love animals. What they say hurts.  They forget (as I do sometimes) that I save alot more than I kill.

To kill .... what harsh words to describe the gentle ending to a great life,  for a pet that is in alot of pain.  Every time a pet's loses its life, it is as if a part of my soul has been chipped away too. 

"You are only human, not God", I was told yesterday.  Even God can't save our pet's lives on this Earth... he just offers us, and them a better life afterwards. 

There is no cure for death, but I hope that we make life count.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My veterinary identity crisis.....

I obviously need to jump up and down and make myself  more known out there.  I am suffering from an identity crisis... I know who I am but does anyone else?

This week I received a mailing from an organisation in Sydney which I used to receive veterinary magazines from.  It was written to another vet's name but addressed to Russell Vale Animal Clinic and my veterinary clinic address in Bellambi.  OK... possession is nine tenths and all that, and it was a letter saying that they missed me.... or rather, missed Dr Jo..... I read the magazine, it was still trashy, so no reason to re-subscribe, and thus, correct their mistake.

Shrugged my shoulders - and moved on. Today, got a referral letter from a specialist whom I had referred a patient to for advanced eye surgery, and the letter came back to Dr Catherine..... at my veterinary clinic and my veterinary clinic address.  This did annoy me - I personally know this specialist.

But shrugged my shoulders again - but  twice in one week.  Is there some identity napping scheme going on? Coupled with a phone call from some person with a strong accent claiming to be calling me from London, England asking me for my specialised opinion on veterinary matters, and wanting specific identity information from me, and I am wondering what is going on?

Fortunately, a surname like mine is not one you would want to steal!  But I am feeling a bit lost that Russell Vale Animal Clinic, my  baby, the thing I nurtured from when it was just a concept to what it is now, being linked to vets who have never worked here. And me, being lost in the sea of veterinarians out there due to database mismatches. 

At least it is a change from seeing the many variations on how my surname is spelt (and the pronunciations are just as good too).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Feeling sick as a dog..

Where does that line come from?  We know what that saying means in a general sense, as we use it often when we feel pretty sick. But who came up with that line?

I am really sick right now, and that doesn't happen alot for me. Fortunately. Being a vet doesn't allow time for sickness and running a business means you work when you're sick. I am, as they say, sick as a dog.

But the phrase "sick as a dog" really bothered me though, as whilst dogs get sick, they don't show it well. So I googled where the phrase had come from, and got some interesting stuff. No idea if its true, but here goes.  Around 1700 the phrase was first used and it related to the fact that dogs were not always considered as they are now (loved pets).  Similar to the phrase "dogs breakfast", and "gone to the dogs".  It was a way of saying that things are really really bad.  From what I gather, it had nothing to do with dogs actually being sick.

And that does make sense.  When dogs are sick they don't act sick  They often don't complain when they are seriously ill, but if it is something minor, like a torn nail then they limp and lick at it. When they are showing signs of being "off" you need to take it seriously.  This could mean that they are seriously sick.  It doesn't mean you run down to the vet all the time, but it does mean you take notice, make the time to write a few notes in your diary.  Watch for changes, and if things change for the worse, then get your pet examined immediately.  You don't want your pet getting so sick that it hits the point of no return - that is that horrible point in the disease process that no matter what we do, we can't make your pet better. 

Cats are worse still... they sleep alot anyway, so when they start to sleep more, it is hard to notice that part as being different.  One thing to remember, cats are not small dogs, and dogs are not small people! 

Now back to as sick as a dog!  That's me. Just as well as I am sharing my lounge room with two other sick dogs - Leo and Jasper,  but they aren't sick as dogs, one is just sick and one is just recovering from a dog bite. 

Cough cough....sneeze.  woe is me... back to my lemon tea while I feel as sick as a dog.

PS My information on where the phrase came from was from researching google, so I could probably guarantee that the information is inaccurate. Still, googling things is fun.