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I CHALLENGE YOU to Film yourself watching this video with water in your mouth. You cannot swallow the water or spill any during the video. If you do, you fail. Tag a friend and good luck xD….
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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Video Rating: 4 / 5

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Stars to Attend Louie’s Legacy Fundraiser

Celebrate the start of the holiday season alongside famous friends of Fidos and felines at a festive fundraiser for Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue. Taking place November 21st at The Hilton Garden…



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DogTipper

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Then there was that time at the bordello with Dr. Lorie

This has been an almost unbearably terrible week for those in the veterinary profession, and those who love animals. First the awful news that Dr. Sophia Yin had passed away, and then not one day later, we learned of the passing of another tremendous voice and educator, Dr. Lorie Huston.

lorie

Like many of you I considered Dr. Huston a friend. She was extremely well regarded for her work online as the Voice of Pet Care with the Pet Healthcare Gazette, her many contributions to various publications, and most recently her position as president of the Cat Writer’s Association. But I think even more than her fantastic work, she was admired for her kindness.

Her gentle manner and empathy were unrivaled, and a shining example of the compassion that veterinarians so often extend to animals but sometimes struggle to extend to each other. She never had an unkind word for anyone. I don’t know how she did it. She made me want to be more like her.

As a denizen of the online community, I have nothing tangible to offer in condolences, no casseroles to deliver, no walls to place a white flower upon. All I have are words, those intangible, ethereal ideas that seem so unremarkable in the face of such sadness, and my attempt to express them in the hopes that in some small way they help someone else understand what Dr. Lorie was all about. And because I cannot bear to cry any more today, I want to instead share a story that will maybe make those of you who knew her smile a little through your tears.

The Marble Room Incident

A couple of years ago, the AVMA national convention was in San Diego. I touched base with Dr. Huston and learned she would be attending, and made plans to meet up with her at the Winn Feline Foundation booth, where Dr. Huston was sharing the work the foundation is doing to advance the health and well-being of cats. Dr. Huston had six cats, six well-loved, adored felines.

“Shall we go get dinner?” I asked, and she said she thought that would be a good idea. We walked a little bit through the Gaslamp district, and as I was starting to get tired I saw the name of a restaurant I had been to before and said, “How about the Marble Room? They’re great.” Lorie agreed.

I had been to the Marble Room with my husband shortly after it opened, a throwback steak house type place with amazing truffle fries. That was how I remembered it. No one told me they had changed ownership.

We sat outside since it was a pleasant evening, which in retrospect was an error since  had I gone in I would have seen the new theme: old timey bordello masquerading as a saloon. Within a minute, what I thought was a streetwalker but was instead an embarrassed-looking server in a too-tight corset and can-can skirt asked us what we would like to drink.

“Iced tea,” Lorie said with a pleasant smile, as I sat horrified. “Me too,” I squeaked out. “Are these uniforms new?”

The server nodded with a frown, trying not to catch the edge of the menus on her fishnets.

A quick Google search would have helped immensely in this situation.

A quick Google search would have helped immensely in this situation.

So Lorie and I shared a pleasant meal of not-quite-as good as I remember truffle fries while we talked about the role social media played in the evolution of veterinary medicine.

As always happened when we spoke, I was blown away by how sharp she was- never mind her calm and quiet demeanor, her brain was always churning away a million miles an hour about what the next big step was in improving the human-animal bond. Her greatest gift, as many of you know, was in explaining these complicated health concepts in concise and clear language. She made medicine accessible, and to those like me who knew medicine, she made social media accessible too.

Midway though dinner, she excused herself to find the ladies room. When she returned, she assured me that she located it just fine. When I followed suit a moment later, wedging between red leather banquettes towards the back, I saw that the hall leading to the ladies room was hard to miss as it was covered in, uh, tasteful I guess, nudes. I paused a moment to dab my forehead with cold water, mortified that I took poor, sweet Dr. Lorie to the world’s tackiest themed restaurant for subpar potatoes.

Seriously, naked people everywhere.

Seriously, naked people everywhere.

When I returned, Lorie was talking to the server and quite kindly ignoring her attempts to hold her top up as she cleared the plates. “I am so sorry,” I said. “This is not the place I remember.”

“Oh no, it was delicious,” she said kindly, ignoring the rest of the situation. “The truffle fries were excellent. Thank you.”

And that was Dr. Lorie, always. Gracious to a fault. She was generous with her friendship, advice, and compliments, even when they were not deserved, even when her friend subjected her to an awkward, PG-13 rated evening out after a long day at the conference booth.

She will be missed.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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VLogBlog Three – Whiskas vs Feline Greenies

these results are unofficial.
Video Rating: 3 / 5

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Knuckle cracking real-time talk here.

This is not about Sophia Yin.

I feel the need to say that before launching into a discussion about suicide and depression in the animal community, because the horrible news that she took her own life and the ripples it is causing in the veterinary world is the reason I’m talking about it today. But it’s not about her or her situation, which none of us will ever really know; Dr. Yin’s legacy is the work she did during her life, and it should remain that way. This is not about one person.

Whenever a tragedy like this happens, I see the same posts over and over: “Shocking. Tragic. Hold your loved ones close and tell them you love them. If someone seems to be suffering ask if they are OK.” And so it goes for a day or two, as we hug our kids and our spouse and our dog and then go back to work and assiduously ignore the suffering of those around us. Not that we recognize it most of the time anyway, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

One of the biggest misconceptions people seem to have about stress, burnout, and depression is that it is inevitably obvious to those around the person. I blame Zoloft ads for making us think all depressed people walk around weeping with little clouds hanging over them.

Click here to view the embedded video.

I think a lot of depressed people look like this:

positive-people

Totally fine, I’m fine, I’m fine.

You know how we always say cats walk around looking like a million bucks with BUN levels through the roof until one day, way past the point it was an issue, it’s finally too much but you never had a clue? A lot of depressed people look like that. So maybe this is a little more accurate:

flesh-wound

They do just fine at work, and out amongst friends, and then come home and realize man I am not fine. But we’ve normalized stress in our lives to the point many of us don’t even necessarily recognize the signs of depression in others, and even in ourselves. I sat on the floor of the bathroom for four hours straight one day, when I was suffering from postpartum depression, and still had no idea that sitting on the floor of the bathroom unable to muster the energy to move two feet might be a sign something was wrong (protip: it is).

I don’t like talking about that time in my life, but I will because every time we censor ourselves from discussing these things we perpetuate the stigma that drives people away from seeking treatment. We are more scared of the consequences of admitting depression than we are the consequences of not being treated, and oh my god, how awful is that? I’m pretty sure the mental health professional community has been watching us in horror for years, waiting for us as a profession to finally say yeah, we could probably use some assists here.

So while asking someone if they are ok and offering virtual hugs is lovely and kind, I really think the time has come to try and do something a little more impactful. Open dialogue is a good place to start. So let me share some things that I have discovered over time, watching us wring our hands in despair over and over while we wonder what we could have done differently:

1. You would not believe how many other people out there are going through the same thing.

People at the top of their field, with lovely families and good jobs and beautiful dogs. People who seem to have it all together. And maybe they do, if they have good treatment.

2. I wish someone had told me about these things in vet school.

I thought I was the only person plagued by worry and self-doubt in school. In retrospect, ha! That was really not the case. Nonetheless, a little peer-to-peer support or support from people already out there would have been very reassuring. I believe we need to start letting people know at the start of their career, not at the middle or end, that stress/anxiety/depression/burnout are common, but solvable problems.

3. There’s support, although it’s hard to find.

Do you know what the hardest part was for me about getting through my depression? Figuring out who to call. My OB didn’t help, the psychiatrists she gave me the numbers for didn’t take on new cases, I wasn’t actively suicidal, and by the fourth call I was too tired to deal with it any more. So I laid on the bathroom floor for a few more days until I had the lightbulb idea to call my primary care physician, who was horrified and got me in that afternoon and life got a lot better after that.

I feel like our profession is still in the same place. Help should be very visible and easy to access, a rope already floating in the water instead of a life preserver someone has to yell for when they are drowning. Want to really do something to make our profession better? Help me figure out how to make that happen.

So you think you’re depressed/ burned out/ feeling off? Take a deep breath, you are in good company. You do not stop being a successful professional and accomplished person. Life can be good and you can still rock out and kick ass and laugh till your cheeks hurt. Here’s some places to start:

1. There is active peer support, through VIN, and on Facebook. A closed group has been started on Facebook for people dealing with these issues as well as their family and friends- to request membership, click here. Peer support is fundamental, though of course it is not a substitute for-

2. Calling your primary care physician, who if they cannot handle it themselves can at least get you where you need to go. I guarantee you every mental health professional out there is going “uh, of course,” at every thing I have said because they are experienced in these things, while we are not.

3. Stop googling. Seriously, all you will do is come out blaming yourself for not juicing enough and while it is a lovely way to get vitamins, it’s probably not going to be enough. Talk to a pro, just like we tell people to stop treating their dog’s ear infections with diluted alcohol that they read about on a yahoo group and go to the vet. Right?

4. VetGirl has offered their excellent webinar about suicide awareness available for free, for everyone. It is well worth the watch not for anyone who works in the field to help increase your understanding of the issue. You can find it here.

5. VIN is offering a webinar this Sunday at 9 pm PST to honor Dr. Yin and discuss “Dealing With You and Your Colleagues’ Stress and Depression.” My understanding is that this webinar will be made available to non-VIN members as well, so stay tuned as I get more information. Both webinars, by the way, are taught by mental health professionals who know their stuff.

I will be honest and admit I hate overly sentimental statements accompanied by soft-focus ocean pictures like “fall into my arms and I will catch you” and “the world is full of hugs if you just ask for them” and all that other stuff, so I will offer you my own personal unfiltered thoughts on this:

Depression sucks, and it’s real, a physiological crap storm of neurotransmitters, and if you are reading this experiencing a dawning sense of dread with unasked-for tears rolling down your face as you desperately say nonononononono I’m fine, you might not be. So call someone who can help so you can stop feeling miserable, ok? Do it today.

hugs

OK maybe one overly sentimental picture. But just one, and only because kittens. And with that, I demand some good news so we can get back to our regularly scheduled program of fur removal device discussions and derpy dog pics.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Holiday Gift Idea: Righteous Hound

Fashion forward fans of Fidos are known for wearing their hearts on their sleeves, and now  pet parents can display their dogged devotion for their four-legged friend by wearing Spot-inspired apparel…



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DogTipper

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Schools should check kids brush teeth, says NICE

Schools should check kids brush teeth, says NICE
"Given that we know how to prevent dental disease this really should not be happening," Prof Kay added. Poor oral hygiene in adults has been linked to increased gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancers. The British Dental Association said that there
Read more on BBC News

Dr. James Wells of South Charlotte Dentistry Recognizes Dental Hygiene Month
Patients looking for a dentist near Ballantyne in South Charlotte can now visit Dr. James Wells of South Charlotte Dentistry, who is now accepting new patients in honor of Dental Hygiene Month. Dr. Wells specializes in same day crown service which …
Read more on Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release)

Oral care for little ones
… eating habits and nutrition. In addition, many forget that tooth decay can impact communication and physical appearance as well. Primary (baby) teeth last for one-sixth of a person's life. Hence, proper oral care has to be ensured, right from the
Read more on Deccan Herald

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The midwife at the end of life

Like many of you, I’ve been mesmerized by the bravery of Brittany Maynard, a 29 year old woman who is dying of Stage IV brain cancer. After hearing the course of the disease progression from her doctors and considering what the end of her days were likely to be like, she made the incredibly difficult decision to move to Oregon, one of a handful of states in which assisted suicide is legal, and choose the day and manner in which she will die.

brittany

 

While her story is compelling and awful, it is not so surprising a concept. For veterinarians, taking part in these sorts of heavy decisions is an everyday occurrence, and to the Maynard family I say: I am so glad you have the ability to make that choice.

As I travel to Indianapolis for the annual meeting of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (the mouthful acronym of IAAHPC), I find myself struck by the two most common things clients say to me when I come to their home to euthanize a sick pet:

  1. This must be so hard.
  2. I wish we had this for people.

Though we all wish for ourselves, and our pets, to die peacefully and unaware in our sleep, the truth is, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes death is peaceful, but sometimes it is horrible and painful and agonizing and drawn-out. To say that is a fate worse than death is not a metaphor in this case. Death can be a relief. We don’t always get to choose the way in which we die, but when we know it is coming and it is going to be unpleasant, I am very grateful this is an option we have for our pets, and for some people.

I suppose in many ways veterinarians are leading the charge in normalizing people’s attitudes about this possibility, right in there with hospice workers and other professionals who deal with these realities. None of us probably gave that much thought when we signed the dotted line on vet school admission forms, but it’s there nonetheless.

There is a small but important distinction I wish more people made when talking about Brittany’s situation: they say, “She is choosing to die.”

This is not true. She wants very much to live. She has no choice in the matter. She is dying.

The accurate statement is, “She is choosing how to die,” and that is a vital distinction. I’ve seen differing views on this, people who genuinely believe that there is beauty in every moment of life, even in suffering an agonizing death with a ravaged body, and to that I simply say: I respect your view on it and your right to choose that end. I also respect those who choose as Brittany is doing, and I find beauty in that as well.

There are limits, of course. I do not show up at people’s homes and simply provide euthanasia on demand for pets who do not have a terminal disease. For my own emotional well-being I have very specific requirements and lines I do not cross. There are situations (such as a dangerously aggressive pet) where the lines about what is ethically acceptable are fuzzy, but my personal limits are not. I feel very proud and honored to be able to do what I do.

This is how I continue to do this every day: by reminding myself and the grieving owners that we are not killing a pet; the disease is killing him or her. We are simply aiding the process and making it more comfortable. I wish for the Maynards the same I do for my patients: comfort, peace, as much as can be gathered in a stressful situation.

I am the midwife at the end of life.

And I am OK with that.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Halloween has hit rock bottom

Things were simpler back in the 80s. We only has three things to do the week before Halloween:

1. Watch the Great Pumpkin.

great-pumpkin

2. Carve a pumpkin. No one helped. If you cut your finger off, oh well.

halloween_jack_o_lantern_2-t2

3. Run to Woolworth’s and pick out your plastic costume that tied in the back like a surgeon’s gown and suffocating mask you could only see out of one eyeball at a time. Trying not to kill yourself tripping over the pavement was half the fun.

smurfette

And that was it. Our biggest worry at the time was the ever ubiquitous ‘old man hiding razor blades in apples’ trick, which we were all scared of but no one actually ever saw.

I long for those simpler times. My week has been, shall we say, a bit more complicated.

1. Who has time to watch the Great Pumpkin? I have a Halloween party to plan at school. Except we can’t call it Halloween, so it’s a “Harvest Party” (with costumes) in grade 3 and a “Mystical Science Party” (with costumes) in grade 5. Two weeks ago I was summoned to a summit of all the room moms so we could coordinate our party activities, which were delegated as follows:

  • candy potions lab
  • luminescent fingerprint experiment
  • homemade spooky finger cookies
  • dry ice punch
  • Pretend blood coagulation experiment

I missed the meeting. When I was asked after the fact what I’d like to do I offered to contribute some sort of preserved creature in formaldehyde, which was the best I could do. I was assigned plates and cups.

2. Pumpkin carving has now become an Olympic sport.

No!

No!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No!

No!

 

Nooooo!!!

Nooooo!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My garage is filled with half-used Pumpkin Masters and the sad remnants of plans gone awry. This year, we’re painting them and calling it a day.

3. Costume shopping began two months ago when the Chasing Fireflies catalog arrived. They cost a small fortune, but they are the only catalog where ten year old girls are still allowed to be ten year old girls.

tween-halloween-costumes-1

Over my dead body.

 

“Why aren’t you wearing a costume, Mommy?” asked my daughter.

“Because I can’t find anything I like, honey,” I responded.

“How about a dog?” she asked. “You like dogs.”

That was out.

That was out.

“Maybe I’ll just be a veterinarian,” I said. “That’s hard to mess up.”

DANGIT!!

DANGIT!!

Desperate, I tried to think of the least sexy things on the planet. A lamp. A body bag. A hazmat suit.

 

badcostumes

We’re all doomed.

 

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” I said to her. “Maybe we can just get Brody a costume instead.”

tramp

Or maybe not.

monroe

Go home, Halloween. You’re drunk.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Dog Bad Breath | Plaque Attack

Dog Bad Breath | http://www.reviewblawg.com/dog-bad-breath/ | Bad Dog Breath Plaque Attack Triple Care Dental Spray No more brushing! Results in as little as…

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