It’s been a while since I’ve done a Pet Doctor Barbie post. It’s past due for a new episode, yes? I think it’s time for Pet Doctor Barbie to meet one of her self-appointed arch nemeses, Pet Food Dude.
Hi Mrs. Sandford, good to see you and Muffin. It’s been a while!
I’m really glad you’re doing housecalls now. I want to get Muffin’s bump looked at again.
OK, I’ll just look at my notes here- 1 cm, top of head…mm hmmm… So where we left it one year ago was that you were going to go talk to your husband and then we were going to aspirate it.
Oh….yes. It’s grown quite a bit since then. We really need –
Yes, I wanted to talk to you about that. I’m a bit upset that you didn’t mention last time how his kibble might have caused this.
We don’t really understand why cancer occurs, Mrs. Sandford. The important thing now is to take care of this mass. I’d hate for you to blame yourself because of your food selection.
I don’t blame myself. I blame you. How much do you make from Big Pet Food anyway?
Actually nothing. But aren’t you feeding a boutique brand anyway? You told me last time you were feeding…let me check…organic grain free non-GMO preservative free all natural Wolf Chunks.
Yes, and you told me to stop and to go back to that one full of corn and despair!
Actually, no, I said Wolf Chunks were fine if that’s what you wanted. But about that mass…
I’ve been using turmeric on the advice of Pet Food Dude. Do you know Pet Food Dude? Can I borrow your computer? This guy knows all your tricks.
Sure, have at it. May I ask what tricks you are referring to?
Vaccines. Pet food. You know. Poison. They are full of free radicals that are overpowering the antioxidants and preventing cellular apoptosis no matter how many carrots I add.
Here’s his site. He knows your medicine is a lie and you’re really just after our money.
I’m going to log on and see what the forums say about your “cancer just happens” line. Oh wait….shoot. My membership is expired. Can you hand me my wallet?
Oh, I think I’ve seen his site. Is he the one who sells supplements and seminars on dog juicing?
Yes! He’s a pioneer. OK, credit card updated, I’m in.
OK, here we go: Have I at any point in the past fed kibble from Big Pet Food or gotten Muffin vaccinated? Yes, 10 years ago. So they say here that this is why he has cancer and it isn’t responding to the turmeric. They also said you would say exactly what you said about it not being their fault, and not to fall for it. What do you have to say to THAT?
Mrs. Sandford, I need to level with you here.
It really doesn’t matter to me what you’re feeding Muffin. I am glad you care about him and want to do what’s best for him. I do too! I promise! I’m having a really hard time talking to you when you’re typing at someone who is convinced I’m out to hurt you both. Right now I am just really worried about the size of this mass on his head. I think we need to get him in for a full evaluation ASAP.
*tap tap* I’ll think about it. I haven’t tried coconut oil yet.
May I ask why you even had me come out?
I just wanted this all on DropCam- see it over there? It’ll be on Pet Food Dude’s YouTube tonight. He’s doing a “Vets Revealed” bit. Well, since you didn’t do anything I’m sure you aren’t expecting payment. You can see yourself out.
TO BE CONTINUED….
I am becoming increasingly convinced the communication gap between veterinarians and clients is the number one problem we’ve failed to solve. We’re just not on the same page a lot of the time, it seems, and it makes me sad. I can’t read a single article online without coming across “veterinarians are money grubbing pigs that suck” (true blog title) and someone else saying “if you can’t afford x/y/z/q you shouldn’t have gotten a pet, jerk.” I feel as though this is perhaps a bit extreme, but it’s what happens when we don’t work together to identify our goals.
Common Fallacies of Bad Client Interactions
(In just as many cases, the vet on the left is an associate up to his or her ears in student debt and just trying to make it through the day without getting yelled at one more time, and the client on the right is a stressed out single parent who just spent a grand fixing her car.)
Much of this angst comes from the pervasive assumption that in all cases we will do everything we can medically, no matter what, which was fine a while back when “everything” meant “antibiotics” but as veterinary medicine has advanced, has come to mean “MRI, spinal tap, radiation.”
This assumption, of course, carries over from human medicine: if you’ve got the insurance, you’re getting the treatment. Everyone’s happy, right? Right?
Not so much. Satisfaction with a medical course of action relies on multiple factors.
Sometimes getting to “Everyone Happy” (Square B) is impossible. D’s not so bad either, but A and C are no-fly zones.
Human Medicine Satisfaction
I would argue that satisfaction with outcomes is directly correlated to the balance between the amount of treatment pursued, and its benefit.
So really, the goal here isn’t to push everyone towards the far extremes of treatment; it’s about getting to that center line of balance. In human medicine this change is slowly creaking along with things like hospice care, which moves people from C to D in low treatment benefit situations, and increased access to insurance coverage, which moves you from A to B in high benefit situations. With Mom, we were squarely in the D category, and while we’re not HAPPY, it’s a hell of a lot better than if we had treated her to death.
So how does this apply to veterinary medicine? It’s similar, except we tend to find ourselves walking a line most strongly related to finances.
The Veterinary Experience
There’s a whole lot of people in square C these days, who spent more than they really had on treatments they weren’t sure they wanted, because they felt like they had to, and when things go downhill as they often do with very ill pets, people can end up really, really disillusioned with the profession.
Now, since we have no ability to magically divine which people are up for specialty treatment and which people are not, we always offer all the options to clients- as we should. There are people who spend thousands, lose their pet, and are still ok with the outcome- but they were also very clear on the risks and made an informed decision. Many clients, it seems, feel as if they are not.
So what do we do to improve outcomes? In my experience, the best way to move the dial from A to B is pet insurance, at least for emergency situations. There are few situations more likely to prompt a Facebook mob than a pet who died a preventable death because the owner couldn’t afford treatment and the ER vet wouldn’t do the treatment for free- nor should they. Owners need to shoulder some of the responsibility here of financial preparation, and if they refuse to take even basic steps to be prepared, maybe they really are a crappy client.
And conversely, moving the dial from C to D involves good veterinary communication, and a willingness to understand that lots of factors go into the decision about whether or not to seek treatment. If a veterinarian talks a senior on a fixed income into a kidney transplant for a 15 year old cat in renal failure, after she expressed concern about paying her rent for the month and her own upcoming surgery- maybe they really are a money grubbing vet.
But I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Clients and vets both have work to do here. And I believe with all of my heart that the better we get about empowering clients to make informed decisions, the more that will carry over into human medicine- which is a wonderful thing.
I realize this is a vastly oversimplified explanation of some really complicated issues, but hey, we have to start somewhere. Whatever it is we’re doing now sure doesn’t seem to be working too well.
This one also just needed some minor adjustments. Take a little off the top (so he isn’t quite so entered in the image!), remove the flower in front – too distracting, take the blade of grass on the left side of his face out and blur the areas of grass that are in focus on the sides of the image. I’m not sure if I agree with the crop (I find it feels squishy if the dog’s head doesn’t have breathing room) but I definitely agree with everything else!
Aggression is one of the most common feline behavior problems reported to behaviorists. Cats may exhibit several different types of aggression including territorial aggression, non-recognition aggression, status-related aggression, fear aggression, redirected aggression and medically-induced aggression.
Here I will address territorial aggression – one of the most common expressions of feline aggression.
Cats are, by nature, solitary hunters and have strong territorial instincts. Feral cats mark their territory with urine, feces, and certain natural odors secreted by scent glands. Scent marking serves to indicate that the territory is occupied and serves to reduce antagonistic encounters between cats.
When food is plentiful, as it is in our homes, groups of cats can and often do live harmoniously. Groups of cats may even develop something of a social structure and seem to have a mutual understanding of their own house rules. These house rules may include time-sharing arrangements.
Feuding cats have little chance to avoid each other within the four walls of the home and battles that would naturally end with one or other cat running away can never reach that conclusion. With this problem, clashes are usually ongoing with one cat the perpetrator of the attacks and the other simply trying to keep out of its way.
The best way to attempt to avoid this problem is to gradually introduce a new cat using the technique described below, though peace and harmony cannot be guaranteed using any approach.
Treatment of Territorial Aggression
Systematic desensitization and counterconditioning is the behavioral technique of choice to reintegrate feuding cats. Systematic desensitization involves separating and then gradually (and systematically) increasing the two cats’ exposure to each other.
Ideally, neither cat should show anxiety or aggression during the introduction or reintroduction process. If they do, the owner must arrange for them to go back to a previous peaceful level of exposure before attempting to advance in the program once more.
Below is what I call my 7STEP program for re-introducing feuding cat. A scaled down, more rapid version of the program can be employed when introducing a new cat to a cat-containing household.
STEP 1 (of the Desensitization Program)
Completely separate the feuding cats in 2 separate environments within the house.
Now begins the process of desensitization and counterconditioning.
The door should be cracked open 1-2 inches and secured with a doorstop or hook and eye.
Only when peace prevails at the Step 2 level of exposure, he opening should be widened to a 4-6 inches.
Once the cats are able to eat and play close to each other across the screen, the next step is to reintroduce them to each other for a short time in the same room.
Once the cats are eating peacefully side-by-side on harnesses or in their carriers, the next stage is to free the more passive cat from the harness or carrier.
Once the cats can be together peacefully for extended periods of time, the owner should make sure to praise them and/or give them food treats whenever they are seen together.
The process described above is tedious and it may take several months to achieve acceptable results. However, no matter how frustrating it may be, do not rush the reintroduction process as that will only exacerbate the problem.
Dr. Dodman is a Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Director of the school’s Animal Behavior Clinic. He is also Chief Scientific Officer for the CENTER FOR CANINE BEHAVIOR STUDIES. He has written over 100 scientific articles and several popular press books, including The Dog Who Loved Too Much and The Cat Who Cried for Help.
I have a blue Pitbull (2 years and 7 months). He is a very healthy boy but he is not eating good !!! I mean he is eating a small amount of food, he is
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Well I was just wondering if your site hacks into peoples computers telling them to go on this site? Because my computer keeps typing in AAFCO and other
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