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Sherry’s Corner » 2011» December

Archives for December, 2011

Bed Bugs in the Hen House

According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, bed bugs are small, flat, oval, wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals.  They generally feed at night.  Recently, veterinarians were involved in a severe bed bug infestation affecting two chicken breeder houses–the impact was a 10% decrease in egg production.  Now poultry producers are being warned to be on the lookout for bedbugs.  Should we wonder about products with feathers?  Another interesting finding of recent interest is the suspicion that armadillos are a likely source of leprosy.  Interesting happenings in the animal world. 

IT WAS A TERRIER YEAR. The winner of the National Dog Show presented by Purina was a Wire Fox Terrier whose registered name is Ch. Steele Your Heart. We will see Eira at Westminster when she tries to become the third dog to win both this show and the New York fixture. The other two are the colored Bull Terrier, Rufus (now retired and doing therapy) and the Scottish Terrier, Sadie (she is in the whelping box). One of the  fastest terriers, a Toy Fox Terrier that lives in Bloomsburg (Jnyx), has been invited to compete in the national agility trial in Florida over the holidays.  Rumor has it he travels not only with other canine companions but a parrot named “Cuddles”.     

BEWARE DOGS WITH A SOUTHERN ACCENT. According to a recent article groups are taking advantage of natural disasters in the South to promote themselves and move dogs all over the country.  Not only do these dogs inflate national shelter totals, but they transport infection with them which affects local dogs and takes up space which should be reserved for local dogs in need.  (Yes, we do have heartworm in this part of Pennsylvania.) 

      This is always a problem at the holidays when demand is greatest for puppies and small breeds.  If we are urged to “Buy American” we should be advised to buy pets that were born and bred in Pennsylvania and have a local history.  Start with the veterinary record and talk to the hospital. Educate yourself and urge others to also advise those seeking a canine companion to ask questions before bringing the newcomer to the family.  You wouldn’t marry the first person you kissed under the mistletoe. 

And speaking of kissing –the usual holiday recall of pigs ears is in effect due to salmonella.  Yes, it is contagious.

HOLIDAY READING. The best books to give and to read are those written by veterinarian-author James Wight (James Herriot). If you have read them –re-read them. They are priceless and timeless.  ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL is the first of the four volumes.  When Dr. Fred Gunther (a former Danville Veterinarian) was president of the PA Veterinary Medical Association he invited Dr. Tristan Farnum, Herriot’s companion, to speak at the veterinary association meeting.  The Gunthers later visited James Herriot in England. 

      At the meeting retired Danville veterinarian Dr. George Leighow interviewed Farnum.  The interview is on tape and part of the Animal Crackers archives.  (As a new veterinarian Gunther practiced at the Leighow Hospital and it is rumored was a wicked chess player!)

AGRITAINMENT. The newest source of farming revenue is the increase in entertainment and educational activities on the family farm.  Activities include petting zoos, hay rides, fall festivals, dairy tours, etc.  (Perhaps they will take the place of the county fairs?)  Especially at this time of the year when we think of shepherds we look forward to herding activities becoming part of a farm.  As breeds follow function in form breeders might use flocks for education in herding trials in a working dog environment.  The farms might even offer a place for judges seminars and training. (Since chickens are easy to train and thus could be used to teach dog owners training skills, if we could find some hen houses without bed bugs we might turn them into training classes?)   

Dec 20, 2011 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

A Tongue-in-Cheek Blog, with Important Points

 This is a tongue in cheek “Sherry’s Corner” –with important points. 

In the BLOG we give veterinarians faces and bodies–and focus on the people who help our pets.  Too often we are so much into the pet problem we do not see beyond the white coat.  Under the white coat is a heart.       

My puppy Ben taught me this lesson.  He is clothes-conscious.  He knows when I am dressed for bed and when I am dressed to go out.  Red is his favorite color unless another color squeaks!  And, Ben is most interested in clothing worn below the waist–pants, shoes, and socks.  That is Ben’s main source of  information.  And so when he is at the vet’s office he sniffs the vet’s pants, shoes and socks.  And, at one time when his surgeon Dr. McBrien even appeared shoe-less in the reception area (having a vet sit down in the reception part of the hospital seems less threatening), Ben was thrilled (he is extraordinarily fond of shoes).  On this visit, the doctor had a spot of blood on his one shoe and so took it off–Ben found the socks much more informative! I have also had veterinarians sit on the floor beside my dog.  Again, they were putting the information on the pet’s level. It is more than what the dog (and owner) sees– it is really all about perception–how one processes what is seen. This influences what one hears, too.

I once observed a female veterinarian wear very high heels–this must have also been an interesting source of information as she knelt next to her clients on the floor in the reception area.  (She was more Julia Roberts than Oprah and I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had a mini skirt under her white coat.)  Most women veterinarians wear flat practical shoes.  I once had a Brad Pitt look-alike veterinarian whose practice was laboratory animals.  He loved to argue with his clients–I am sure the rats and rabbits adored him.  He was very protective of their welfare.  All vets need to be compassionate patient advocates as well as human whisperers!

An important triangle  defines the bond among veterinarian, owner and pet.  Communication is a vital part of this perception–the triangle with the dog at the top-most point!  Today, face-to-face is best, but many vets also use e-mail and phone calls. One of the more interesting things I have learned from the veterinarians I have met is that they usually eat soup.  I think it is because they need to be ready for the next emergency!  Facing a bloody cat on an empty stomach must be hard to do.

Anyway, Ben’s surgeon was almost as good-looking and charming as George Clooney and truly cared about what both Ben and I thought.  After he finished taking apart Ben’s leg and nailing, screwing and bolting the bones back together, Ben has some reservations about whether he liked him.  He likes his acupuncturist and talks to her openly when he is not trying to remove the pins.  Yes, she too is more Julia than Oprah.  As for his main veterinarian–she is a definite Diane Sawyer and he trusts her.  We don’t have a Lady GaGa on the team yet but I think Ben would like one.  The human Tony Bennett has said of Lady Ga Ga–”she is America’s Picasso of music.” Since Ben is now limping through rehabilitation he would like a Lady GaGa to give him his MSM and Baytril–not me. 


        

        

Dec 04, 2011 | Comments are off | Uncategorized