Mystery Dinner

Dogs, and cats for that matter, eat all kinds of weird things.   Some eat foods, some eat toys, some eat poop (ew!)…the list goes on and on.  Being a veterinarian, we get to see some really intresting cases of weird things eaten.  In my post  Pet Poison Hotline I mentioned what happens when pets eat toxins but what about when a dog eats inanimate objects? Toys? Strings? Bones?  This condition is known as dietary indescretion.

When your pet eats an inanimate object only three things can happen:

  1. Nothing – it passes.  You may or may not see it pass as a present in the yard.  If you don’t find it eventually you begin to wonder if he ever actually ate it.  OR, you consider the possibility that it may still be inside.
  2. She makes a mess – by vomiting it back up, along with the rest of the contents of the stomach.  Then, to make matters worse, diarrhea develops too.
  3. Bad news bears – it gets stuck.  This also can cause vomiting or diarrhea or worse if not dealt with in a timely manner. 

Our physical examination and diagnostics like blood work and x-rays can help us determine if something is stuck.   Sometimes on x-ray you can see a stuck object.  Other times, you see large dilated airfilled intestines and stomach as gas backs up from the obstruction.

Check out the following x-ray for a dog presenting for vomiting and diarrhea with straining.  He has a history of getting into the trash can and did so a few days ago before all this started.  Do you see anything?

     Do you known what his diagnosis is? It’s a foreign body…in the stomach.  If you don’t see it, the following reproduction of the image with overlays points out the foreign body/bodies (green circle) in the stomach and a small amount of gas (blue arrow) in the intestine.  In this case, the gas amount is normal, it’s just the foreign body that showed up on x-rays that is abnormal.

  
 Okay, hopefully you see it now.  Now the fun part comes…what is it?  This pup had surgery and we pulled the foreign body out of his stomach.  When we went in, we were thinking we would be retrieving some rib-bones that had been in the trash can and were still stuck together.  However, this was not the case, and I should have known seeing as these two things look so identical in shape and length.   Do you know what it is yet?

  
Pacifiers!  Crazy right? Surgery went well and he recovered uneventfully.  The owners, when shown what was collected from his stomach were astounded.  Apparently, these pacifiers were missing for a full week!

It can sometimes be fun to try to guess what may be the culprit of an obstruction.  However, it is much more fun to see you smiling and not worrying over your pet as they undergo surgery to relieve an obstruction.  Be mindful of what your pet’s habits are.  Some pets will eat these things, others could care less.  Learn to know your pet and what objects or foods need to be kept away…this way, I won’t have to open up their gi tract to find out just what mystery dinner Fido had a few days ago.

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Frankie

Last week I posted about the TNR group I work with. I mentioned how it’s nifty when I get to see cats they pulled off the streets and adopted out to clients who eventually come to my primary care practice, Animal Health Care Center of Hershey. Sometimes, we see them for illnesses before they are adopted out. Meet Frankie. Frankie must have been abandoned because what Flame-point Siamese is a bonafide stray? Frankie was taken in by PAWS. He was thin, under-conditioned and un-neutered. He was given lots of groceries and love. Last week, he developed vomiting and diarrhea. So much so that the pound he gained since being taken in had vanished. PAWs brought him into AHCC. One of our doctors attended to his care while he was hospitalized for a few days. He was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. Medications to help reset his system were given and a dietary change was made. He went “home” to PAWS on Thursday.  I had another TNR clinic on Saturday at PAWS’ headquarters and got to see Frankie running around the great room. It is so good to see your patients feeling better and back to health. Assuming he continues to do well and gains his weight back, I’ll be neutering Frankie and cleaning up his teeth later this month. Clearly he doesn’t know these plans or I doubt he would have taken the following selfie of the both of us… 😉
 

Smile!
 

Pet Poison Helpline

Have you ever had your cat eat something she shouldn’t have? What about dropping one of your birth control pills on the floor and that quick Fido swallows it?  Or maybe Fluffy got into the batch of brownies you just baked?FullSizeRender  Chances are you ended up at the veterinary hospital after such an event.  As veterinarians, we get asked all kinds of questions as to possible toxicities. It is difficult to have all the answers sometimes, especially with more obscure medication ingestion.  We turn to a service called “Pet Poison Helpline”.  Pet Poison Helpline (http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/) is a wonderful service offered to any pet owner or veterinarian for a small fee of $49 per case.  They have toxicologists available 24/7 to help owners and vets determine if an ingestion was toxic, what clinical signs may show up, and how to treat and monitor the patient through their toxicity.

Tonight, we utilized this service.  Sneaky Sandra came into our office on emergency basis after ingesting her owners’ medications.  Sandra slurped 4 different pills off of the table while her owner was grabbing a glass of water.  A little while later, Sneaky Sandra had vomited and began to tremble.  Her owners did the right thing in bringing her in to be seen.  We examined Sandra and called Pet Poison Helpline on behalf of the owners.  Sandra’s toxicity case was entered into their database.  A veterinary toxicologist then led our veterinary team through determining if a poisoning had occurred, what treatments are necessary, and signs to watch for.  Luckily, Sneaky Sandra ingested 4 different medications that were ALL basically benign since she only ate one of each medication.  The toxicologist determined Sandra had not been poisoned more than possible having some excitement followed by sedation.

As a veterinarian, I really appreciate the help Pet Poison Helpline’s toxicologists can give us.  Poisonings are so different from patient to patient that it is hard to know all the details about each one.  Also, if not treated correctly from start to finish, they can be deadly.  Another good thing about Pet Poison Helpline is that as an owner, if your cat eats a plant at 4am in the morning, you can call and talk with a toxicologist to determine if you need to hop in the car to the emergency veterinarian.  Let’s hope as a pet owner you never have to use it, but if you do…please know Pet Poison Helpline: 855-764-7661 is always available for your assistance.

Sick pet puzzles

It is difficult when your pet is sick. Unlike people, our pet’s cannot talk to us to let us know what is wrong, they have to let their ailments show us the clinical signs. These clinical signs are important to note when you end up taking your sick cat to the vet.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to shed some light on what goes through a vet’s mind when you bring your pet in to be seen for a sickness.

You know all those pesky questions the technicians ask you? Did she eat? Has he been coughing? Did she vomit? She did!?!, what did is look like? (Yes, we go there…not all vomit is the same. Vomiting food means something different than vomiting phlegm.) All of these questions constitute what we call a history. Knowing what your pet is doing at home starts to give us a few pieces of the puzzle.  

 More puzzle pieces fall into place once your vet has had a chance to perform a physical examination. This step helps us determine if your vomiting dog is painful in the abdomen, has a mass in the abdomen, or if the coughing dog’s lungs sound harsh. If you sit back and really pay attention to your vet performing the physical examination you should see that it is very thorough. It is easy to miss what all we do because many times we vets are asking you, the pet owner, more in-depth questions while we are performing the physical exam. The steps we take in a physical examination are usually quite methodical and almost second nature to most vets. I usually start with the lymph nodes of the chin and then go on to the ears. In fact, it is so second nature to me that when checking my own dog’s ears for wax I sometimes begin to continue on with the next step in the physical exam!

After the history and exam, some conditions are obvious and do not immediately need further diagnostics. For example, let’s take a look at Brogan. Brogan is a 4 year old lab who has been vomiting for half a day and just before his appointment he had his first bout of diarrhea.  Other than his vomiting, he has been bright, alert, and is still playing like usual. On physical examination Brogan’s temperature and vitals were normal. Palpating of his abdomen was unremarkable – no masses, thickenings, or pain noticed. He has a good appetite, but just can’t keep food down currently. My approach as a vet is to look at Brogan’s scenario and develop a list of possibilities to his illness…upset stomach, parasites, obstruction, infectious causes, and a few more.  Then I look at the likelihood of these possibilities.  If Brogan was really down and out, I usually recommend either x-rays or bloodwork.  These too, give us another, and hopefully the final piece of the puzzle. In some cases, as well Brogan, I would likely discuss with the owners that Brogan appears to be otherwise healthy and we can try to treat empirically first.  This means Brogan would receive medications for vomiting and diarrhea and if he did not improve, we then would see him back again to perform the diagnostics.

  
There are many different causes to illnesses.  As described, getting information from you, the pet’s examination, and sometimes diagnostics as well is the best way to put the pet illness puzzle together.  As veterinarians, our job is to take all of this information, figure out what is related and important to the current case, and decide the best course of action.  While these puzzles can be frustrating at times, it is one part of veterinary medicine that keeps me entertained, learning, and challenged.  There is nothing better than figuring out the correct puzzle and helping Fluffy get back to enjoying playing ball.

Top 10 Reasons VET TECHS are AWESOME!

It’s National Veterinary Technician Recognition Week.  Just thought you’d like to know why veterinary technicians are a much needed and important member of the veterinary team:

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1. Getting bit, scratched, peed on, or pooped on is just a routine hazard of the job.

While getting bit doesn’t happen THAT often since technicians are trained in proper restraint techniques, it still occurs.  However, getting peed on and pooped on is a regular occurrence.  Sometimes when Fido is super-nervous he piddles and it’s likely on the arm or leg of the tech helping to hold and calm said fearful Fido.  Anal glands are a real treat and an unforgettable smell…watch a vet and a vet tech work together and you’ll know which vets have a history of a wide splash zone with such smelly procedures such as anal gland expression!

2. Techs are experts with venipuncture.

kittenHave you seen kitten veins?  They are almost invisible! On top of that, have you ever seen a kitten sit still for a needle poke? My poor husband has notoriously bad veins for blood draws or catheter placement – I always joke with him that our technicians could hit his vein on the first try with their eyes closed.  Okay, okay, maybe not quite with their eyes closed but it’s be pretty easy after trying to draw blood from the minuscule vein of a 1 pound wiggly kitten.  The general population thinks that blood draws are the job of the veterinarian or that the veterinarian may be more skilled than the tech at blood draws but quite frankly, the techs have us beat on this one 9 times out of 10.  Only every now and then do you get a vet who started out as a technician and might still retain his venipuncture expertise!

3.  Hospitalized pets receive most of their care at the hands of the tech

Again, probably thought to be the job of the veterinarian, but the tech is the person who is likely to carry out the treatments that are “ordered” by the vet.  When a pet patient is admitted to the hospital, the veterinarian examines the pet and decides necessary treatments – be it anything from IV fluids to oral medications.  The tech then has to carry out these treatments and the monitoring schedule set up by the vet.  If anything changes the tech is likely to be the one to alert the doctor who then again re-evaluates and re-plans for further diagnostics or treatments.  I’ve seen many a tech also spending that extra time to tuck hospitalized patients into a warm bed or to hand feed sick pets who would otherwise not be eating.  They truly care and go the extra mile without much recognition.

4. Techs educate pet owners on an daily basis – every time they step in an exam room

What diets should I feed and how much? What is heartworm? How do I get rid of fleas? Does Fluffy need every vaccine available?   This is one task that is different in every veterinary hospital, however, in ours, our techs get the conversation started.  Some techs even have special interest areas in which they have attended advanced learning seminars – such as on nutrition and diets or pet behavior.  Again, in our practice, our techs are educated on what vaccines we require and those we recommend depending on the pet’s lifestyle.  This not only helps keep us veterinarians on time but allows us to focus on the more advanced medical discussions with pet owners.

5. The job is physically challenging

Imagine this scenario – a 130 pound English Mastiff needs abdominal xrays to look for the possible corn-cob he swallowed whole that is now suspected to be in his intestines causing an obstruction.  How do you get a dog this big on an xray table that is 3 feet off the ground?  Make him jump? No, not likely – dangerous to pet and the xray machine parts! english mastiffNot to mention probably impossible with Kujo not feeling so well. So, you lift with all your might and with as many people as able.  Okay, now Kujo is on the table but how do you get him to lay on his back for the standard ventral-dorsal view?  Roll-over Kujo!  Not likely  – unless he’s the world’s best behaved and well trained English Mastiff.  You each grab a hold and slowly lay him on his side and then roll him up onto his back.  The next precious moments are filled with activity in which the xray beam is centered and the picture taken while your muscles are still available to help restrain Kujo in the correct position.  Oh, and did I mention that most of this is occurring with the heavy lead xray gowns on to protect you from the radiation?  Oh, and by “you” above, I mean the technicians.  The vet is likely onto her next appointment playing with a cute and cuddly beagle puppy whilst the techs obtain this important image.

 

6. Techs sacrifice their skin to save the vet

Even today during appointments I attempted to vaccinate a semi-unruly cat named Rambo.  Rambo wanted nothing to do with being at the vet’s office and certainly absolutely NOTHING to do with her rabies booster.  Our tech was holding Rambo for her vaccination when she suddenly made an attempt at revenge.  The first thing the tech said to me when Rambo got away from her was “step back” and “watch out”.   This concern for my health and safety happens on a regular basis.  Then, on top of all of this, the techs might get scratched but won’t draw attention to it out of respect for the owners.  Nobody wants to know when their four-legged furry child has misbehaved or injured a person!  If possible, the techs will stay quiet about it and not ever let on that they’ve been injured until the task at hand is complete and they step out of the exam room.  I’m willing to bet almost every technician could point at a scar and say how it happened when a vet was poking a pet with a needle.

7.  Anesthesia monitoring and recovery can be complicated and nerve-wracking

There are so many things to monitor when your pet is undergoing a surgical procedure.  At the start, as the veterinarian administers the induction medications, and the pet slowly slips into an anesthetic state, the vet and the techs mind are now a blur.  The tech is Veterinarian doctor and a beagle puppythinking about everything from monitoring the heart rate, breathing rate, level of anesthesia, fluid rate, pulse oximeter, pet temperature, comfort and much more while the vet is now reviewing in her mind the surgical procedure ahead such as what size and type of suture to use, any nuances that might need to be addressed during surgery, and also level of anesthesia and possible further medications that may be necessary.  We veterinarians rely heavily on our trained technicians to keep an eye on the patient as a whole while we have our eye on the surgery site.  If anesthesia concerns arise, the tech brings them to the surgeon’s attention and the anesthesia is adjusted accordingly as per vet instructions.  This can be a very nerve-wracking time for technicians – not normally in routine procedures such as spays and neuters, but in an aged pet needing a lump removal you can bet that there are some heightened nerves until the procedure is complete.

8.  Medicine refills can pile up fast  – and counting 36, 60, and 112 pills of three different medications can take a bit of time!

Your child’s doctor doesn’t normally carry many medications in-house.  So when your son is diagnosed with an infection, you are likely sent with a prescription to the nearest pharmacy.  Many veterinary offices need specific animal medications which are not always available at a human pharmacy.  Therefore, we act as a pharmacy on a regular basis in the midst of all the other goings-on in the hospital.   So, in between educating clients, collecting lab samples, caring for hospitalized pets, assisting veterinarians, and taking xrays, the techs are usually responsible for being a pharmacy technician too in filling prescriptions.  This involves counting out the pills or measuring out the liquid medication, printing out a prescription label, and sometimes calling the pet owner to inform them that the medication is ready.  This can be quite the daunting task to complete when you’re filling 50+ prescriptions a day!

9.  Doctors can be pushy

I struggled to figure out what adjective to use above.  Pushy works but bossy, irritable, impatient, demanding, and others would work as well.  Now, that’s not to say we’re ALWAYS like this, but when we get stressed out about a couple of tough cases or maybe we’re running behind, we can, at times, take it out on our technicians.  (I’m guilty of this on occasion.)  We can also be cheerful and we like to think we’re fun at times too!  In most practices, the doctors are the authority figure so technicians usually just have to put up with an irritable veterinarian without getting irritable back.  This can be challenging and mentally exhausting.  Our techs do a great job of remaining chipper and overcoming these periods.  (Now as a disclaimer I want you all to know that I feel these irritable veterinarian times are not frequent occurrences and most vets will accept a gentle reminder to regroup and return to a normal cheerful doctor.)

10.  They love pets more than they love people

Last year during national vet tech week, I asked each of our techs to explain why they became a veterinary technician to use as a post to honor each of them for their hard work.  It was so “cliche” in that they all said something to the effect of loving animals. Well of course they love animals! But if you actually look at many of their pets, quite a few of them have pets that were “rescued” or “homeless” because a previous owner ran into a situation where they couldn’t care for or keep a pet.  Of our technicians, I can think of at least three who have at least one pet which fits this “needed a home” criteria.  The hearts of our technicians go out to each and every pet going through a difficult time, they shed a tear for the elderly pets who go to the rainbow bridge,  and they are delighted when a hospitalized pet is discharged from the hospital as a healthy pet on the road to recovery.  Many remember the names of each of the pets and how they best tolerate their nails being trimmed – if cookies are needed for distraction or belly rubs work best.  They talk to your pet in that silly voice we all use at one time or another, you know the one I’m referring to…the octave-higher-silly-words-all-strung-together-excited talk that you know makes your pet just wiggle with joy.  The bottom line is, of all the other 9 things on this list, the most important is how much they love Princess when she’s in for her regular check-up and nail trim. And that’s why we love technicians and couldn’t run as successful veterinary practice without them.

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Next time you’re in the vet’s office – take a moment to thank the technicians for all they do…it’s really quite impressive!  And if you’re a vet like me – don’t forget to also thank your techs as you know you’d be lost without them.  A little bit of thanks is nothing compared to what they deserve, but it does go a long way.  To all the techs out there – Happy Veterinary Technician Week!

WORLD RABIES DAY

Yesterday, September 28th, 2013 was World Rabies Day.  Do you know the facts about rabies virus?

Core vaccination in our dogs and cats includes vaccination against the rabies virus.  Why? Rabies is widespread throughout the world (with very few exceptions) and is always fatal if proper vaccination or post-exposure vaccination is not employed.  Many people know that rabies is dangerous and that animal bites are a vehicle for virus spread; however, there’s much more to it than that…

What does rabies look like? There are two forms of rabies – a “furious” form and a “paralytic or dumb” form.  However, some animals will show no signs of rabies other than death.  The furious form is more easily recognized and the paralytic form can be very dangerous and hard to recognize.

Furious Form

Aggression, loss of fear, circling, excessive vocalization, attraction to humans or activity, daytime activity of species normally active at night, difficulty swallowing, drooling, biting at objects or other animals

Paralytic or “Dumb” Form

Decreased activity, uncoordinated walk/mannerisms, hind limb weakness, dull.  Cats with paralytic form suddenly become excessively friendly and may meow excessively.  Lower jaw may drop and increased drool production.

What animals can be infected by rabies? Any mammal can be infected. We vaccinate our cats and dogs against rabies to not only protect our pets but also to protect the humans that live with them.  Incidentally, some county fairs require rabies vaccination for all livestock that are housed at the fair during fair week, again, based on their close proximity to the general public.

The CDC monitors rabies prevalence within the United States.  The most common wild-animal carriers by region in 2010 are pictured below: [photo courtesy of CDC.gov]

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How is rabies transmitted?  Exposure to rabies occurs when saliva or bodily fluids from a rabid animal comes in contact with another animals (or human) blood, mouth, or mucous membranes.

  • A direct bite or scratch from a contagious rabid mammal
  • Saliva or neural tissue from a contagious rabid animal contacting an open wound, breaking in the skin, or mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Virus can survive on inanimate objects for as long as it takes for the saliva to completely dry.  Sunlight will kill the virus, freezing and moisture may help preserve it.  The virus is killed by most disinfectants and there has never been a documented case of rabies transmitted to humans from an inanimate object.
  • BATS are a frequent cause of human rabies cases in the US as of 2013.  The CDC recommends that every bat found inside a building or home to be tested for rabies because people and animals can be bitten by a bat and have no idea it happened.
The following image shows the number of rabies positive raccoons tested in 2010 compared to the number tested. Notice how the east coast is bright yellow – meaning there were many positive rabid raccoons. [photo courtesy of CDC.gov]

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What do I do if my pet has been bitten? 

  1. First and foremost, do NOT get bitten trying to break up a fight between animals.  If you are bitten, clean the bite wound immediately and call your healthcare professional. 
  2. Check to make sure your pet’s rabies vaccine is up-to-date. 
  3. Be sure to try to ascertain the rabies vaccination status of the animal that did the biting.
  4. Call your veterinarian.
  • If all animals involved have current rabies vaccinations then rabies transmission is not likely. 
  • If the BITER is not vaccinated, the BITTEN pet is considered exposed.  Your pet must be seen by a veterinarian ASAP and the BITER should be monitored for 10 days for any signs of clinical rabies disease.  Once 10 days have passed and the BITER is healthy, the BITTEN is no longer considered exposed and is safe from rabies virus from the bite.
  • If the BITER is not vaccinated and the BITTEN is current on rabies vaccination, again the BITER is monitored for 10 days for signs of sickness.  If the BITER cannot be monitored for 10 days (such as the case with a wild-animal bite) then the BITTEN is considered exposed and should be quarantined for 90 days.  Rabies vaccination during the quarantine period is permitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
  • If the BITER and the BITTEN are both not vaccinated for rabies, again the BITER is monitored for 10 days for signs of sickness.  If the BITER cannot be monitored for 10 days (such as the case with a wild-animal bite) then the BITTEN is considered exposed and should be quarantined for 180 days as it can take up to 6 months for rabies to incubate in a bitten animal. Rabies vaccination during the quarantine period is permitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

RABIES EXPOSURE INFORMATION AND PROTOCOLS CAN BE CONFUSING.  IF YOUR PET IS POSSIBLY EXPOSED TO RABIES, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE FOR FURTHER DIRECTION AND CARE.

Further instructions for persons bit by a rabid animal in Pennsylvania are found here: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/AgWebsite/ProgramDetail.aspx?name=Rabies-Facts&navid=12&parentnavid=0&palid=129&

Can Rabies be prevented? YES! Vaccination against rabies is very effective.  By PA LAW, dogs and cats (including indoor only cats) must be vaccinated for rabies by 4 months of age and vaccination must be kept up-to-date.

Pictured below is  a 2010 surveilance map of the number of rabid cats and dogs by US region that were tested positive for rabies compared to the number tested overall.  Notice again how the east coast and PA tend to be covered in yellow – Rabies Vaccination for all pets is recommended and required by PA State Law. [photo courtesy of cdc.gov]

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Please take time today to check your pet’s rabies vaccination status.  If you do not know when they are next due for their rabies vaccination, please call your veterinarian as soon as you are able.

 If you have any further questions regarding the rabies virus or rabies vaccination protocols, please feel free to post below or call us at Animal Health Care Center of Hershey at 717-533-6745.

A Day in the Life of Spuds

As promised – our guest blogger today is Spuds – our hospital kitty who’s got a big birthday this month! :

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I’m Spuds; some of you have seen me on the counter top where the girls work in the back. I wanted to let everyone know that I have a birthday this month and it’s a big one. I was told a long time ago I wouldn’t make it to two, well I have made it to ten and that’s a whole decade people! I was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia; which means I have limited space to breathe because my liver and stomach sit up in my chest near my lungs. I’ve been doing really well living here so I decided to share what a typical day is like for me.

            I have an elderly neighbor named Carolina that lives above me. She complains a lot and often tries to steal my food but she’s okay. I’ve known her since I was a kitten and we get along pretty well, sometimes we argue when one of us wants to sleep in the same bed and things can get a bit hairy. We hug it out and I usually end up giving her the bed, she has taught me how to share and to respect the elderly. Carolina is like the grandma-kitty I never had. Sadly Dakota is no longer here, he was a great old cat and I knew he was sick. He taught me a lot over the last few years; how to properly groom myself, which flavors of food were the best to savor and what sleeping positions were just perfect for sun catching. Dakota was like the grandpa-kitty I never had. His time finally came to an end and he was called to the big kitty bed in the sky. Carolina and I miss him very much.  Then there’s Gigi, she’s been here for several months waiting for adoption and I wish she would find a home. We sometimes get along but she’s really bossy and acts as if she’s royalty. I am actually older than her and she tells me what to do! What she doesn’t know is that sometimes when she’s off sleeping somewhere else I go in her cage and use her throne for a nap, I’ve learned to be a sneaky cat in my decade of living.

I’m usually awoken early in the morning by a beeping sound that is quite alarming and annoying.  It goes away pretty quickly and it’s my signal to begin my repetitive chirping and pawing to escape my prison they have called the “kitty condo”. Within a few short minutes the ladies come into work. I am finally released from my cage and bolt to freedom and await my delicious meal.  I’m treated to a succulent can of food with flavors bursting of salmon, chicken, or beef. Occasionally I have to wait for my morning meal while the ladies of the hospital attend to other cats and dogs. I maneuver and weave my way through their path where they’re walking in hopes they will stop what they are doing and feed me. When this happens, it feels like forever since I was released and still no food has been put in front of me. Once the temporary residents of the clinic have been taken care of I am finally given a feast fit for a king; a bowl of a delicious pâté is bestowed upon me.

After my morning meal I begin my rounds of checking out what the women of the hospital have going on. Someone is often in the room where dogs and cats have stuff done to their insides and wake up sleepy.  Another area I like in the morning is where a big machine is, it has buttons on it and it steams cloth- like squares. In this area there‘s a drawer with an array of toys to play with; long plastic items that bounce with a swift hit from my left paw, metal objects that clank with a whack from my right paw. I often take off carrying these prized possessions to a specially secured location known as “the banana box”. Some of the other ladies check on rooms, turn on machines and get ready for the morning dog and cat visitors. Later on I have my first siesta, either in my banana box, the pet bed that’s up on my counter, or in Queen Gigi’s bed.

A lot of you have probably seen me on the back counter in my bed or observing me doing a great impression of a gargoyle. I do see you looking at me from the clear boxes in the wooden swinging walls and I often wonder what you’re thinking, then I remember you’re looking at me because I’m so handsome and awesome.  I love walking in front of the girls while their working on the light box while they tap buttons.  I swat items like paper writers and plastic items with numbers on them.  I come across a lot of “get off the chart”, I call them these because every time I step on these papers they always yell at me and say “Spuds get off the chart!”  If I’m feeling frisky I’ll give someone a walk-by-batting to say hello or I might even give a little love bite to show that I’m thinking of them. 

In the afternoon I might take a brisk walk to see the ladies out front at the desk or take a casual stroll into the rooms throughout the clinic, I like to stretch my legs and get ready for the evening dog and cat visitors. In the evenings, I can be found on the back counter taking my second nap of the day or I’m up and getting in the way.  I really like bothering the ladies while they use their paper writers on “get off the charts”, it’s always an easy way to get attention.  I might see a dog walking past me going to a room where the ladies put on their gear to take pictures of their tummies, chests or legs.  Other times I see cats in carriers going to and from the back table to get their weight checked.  The ladies might even use a plastic tube with numbers on it and a spiked tip on the end to draw red fluid from them, most don’t even mind it because the girls do such a good job.

Before I know it things are getting quiet and I’m seeing less cats and dogs in the clinic.  I am ushered to bed only to act like I don’t want to go but knowing I have a dish of pâté waiting for me back at my humble abode and a super comfy bed that is too good to pass up.  I hear the latch close on the “kitty condo” and I know they have me in for another night, only to be released the next day to do it all over again.  

 

[a big thank you to Jennie our technician for being willing to transcribe Spud’s thoughts and comments]