So, my park story. I took Heidi to the park yesterday. As long as there is no one on the tennis courts, I close the gates and throw the ball for her. Yesterday, an older man (mid-60s) comes up to the fence with his young dog. It was a 10 month old Golden Retriever mix, neutered male. He asks if he can come in, and I acquiesce. Heidi has been really good with other dogs thus far, although she is very timid. I am conscious of this and am careful with her in unknown situations. She weighs 75 pounds, so I am cognizant of her ability to do damage. While well trained and obedient, she has sort of a "SQUIRREL!" mentality, so I have to keep her very focused.
At any rate, said bouncy 10 month old puppy comes in and promptly tries to mount Heidi. This proceeded to continue for a few minutes. Heidi was becoming highly agitated, and I was very uncomfortable. The guy kept saying, "oh, it's ok, she can teach him some manners." Meanwhile, my dog is trying everything she can to get away from the puppy. He is tormenting her and trying to mount her - and I couldn't catch her, because she was terrified. She starts snapping at the puppy, trying to get him off. She's running from him, and I'm running after her - without much success. The owner keeps saying, "oh, it's ok, she won't bite." I'm pretty damned sure she will. Immediately after he said that, Heidi came away with a mouth full of golden fur - but no punctures.
I finally catch her, and while I'm holding her to put her leash on, the puppy mounts her again. The owners is meanwhile explaining how SUBMISSIVE his puppy is. THE PUPPY THAT IS ATTEMPTING TO MOUNT MY DOG is submissive.
I held my tongue, got my dog on her leash, and left the park. I was shaking I was so angry. Heidi was remarkably good. While she snapped, she only made contact once, and she only got fur. It was clear she was warning the other dog off. In retrospect, I can't believe that I said nothing to this clearly clueless owner.
Lack of training infuriates me. That dog will grow up to be 60+ pounds and capable of knocking children over.
I am so anal retentive about training that my husband gets annoyed. For instance, I take Heidi to PetSmart so that she can be around other dogs and people. She is not allowed to solicit interaction from people. She is also not allowed to approach other dogs unless I give her permission to do so.
Further, she's not allowed to beg. If we are eating, whether in the kitchen, dining room, or on the couch, she is not allowed to be nearby staring at us. I also don't let her eat her food without express permission or go out the door ahead of me. She knows "wait" and obeys well.
Training a dog - especially a large breed - is so crucial to their well-being and safety. A big dog, no matter how mild tempered, can do a lot of damage without even trying. Heidi isn't perfect and neither is my training, but she's come a long, long way from the timid creature she was when we adopted her.
While we're on rants - it drives me crazy when I verbally reprimand my dog for doing something she shouldn't, and people say, "oh, it's ok, she's not bothering me." And the dirty looks you get in PetSmart when you verbally reprimand your dog! It's like people think I beat her because I take a sharp tone when she is doing something she knows better than to do.
Dogs need training. They need to know where they stand in the order of the household. It should be BELOW the people, otherwise all sorts of problem behaviors come out - housesoiling, destructive behaviors, separation anxiety. Having a dog that is stable and mentally appropriate involves some work, but it is doing a disservice to your dog (and to the world that has to deal with it), if you don't.
Any similarity between my stories and any person or animal, living or dead, is strictly a coincidence. Names, breeds, sexes, and details of the stories have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent alike.
I am an emergency veterinarian in North Carolina. Despite the crazy people I deal with, the awful cases of injured and sick animals, and the overall stress of emergency work, I absolutely love what I do. Happily married since I was 20, I have a wonderful husband who has a PhD in Mathematics, and a daughter around whom our world currently revolves. We also have a zoo living in our house that can be alternately wonderful and maddening. There are cats, parrots, and a dog who is very low on the totem pole. Our days are never dull and we are learning to balance the demands of work and family.
If you'd like to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Azotemia - elevation in kidney enzymes (BUN and creatinine) indicating dehydration, kidney failure, or urinary obstruction
Lactate - a salt/ester of lactic acid that is produced as energy for a cell when oxygen levels are low. In critically ill animals, elevated lactate can be an indicator of inadequate blood flow to organs (perfusion), decreased delivery of oxygen, and/or decreased oxygen uptake. Values > 6-7 are usually considered to be poor prognostic indicators for survival.
GI sloughing: when the cells lining the GI tract die (can be secondary to MANY things, including heatstroke) with resulting bloody diarrhea, bacterial translocation into the bloodstream and sepsis
TTJ: transfer to jesus: code for when an animal needs to be euthanized or die
DIC: disseminated intravascular coagulation: a very, very bad thing - when the hemostatic system gets out of whack, and clots start forming in the blood vessels until all clotting factors are wasted. once those are gone, internal hemorrhage ensues, followed by death, usually. also known as "death is coming"
Pleural effusion - fluid contained in the pleural space (chest) - this is not the same as fluid in the lungs (see pulm edema) - in cats can be caused by infection in the chest, heart failure, cancer, FIP, feline leukemia, FIV, and in some cases, the cause is never found (idiopathic)
Anisocoria - unequal pupil size (related to any number of causes including brain damage/head trauma)
Laterally recumbent - lying on side, unable to rise
Hyperglycemia - elevated blood glucose
Hyperkalemia: elevated blood potassium - a life-threatening condition related to several disorders (kidney failure, antifreeze toxicity, urethral obstruction...etc)
Sepsis - refers to a bacterial infection in the bloodstream or body tissues. This is a very broad term covering the presence of many types of microscopic disease-causing organisms.
Nephrectomy - kidney removal
Splenectomy - removal of spleen
Pulmonary edema - condition in which fluid accumulates in the lungs, usually because the heart's left ventricle does not pump adequately ( can be caused by heart failure, electrocution, drowning, too many IV fluids, to name a few)
Tick borne diseases - any of a myriad of diseases transmitted by ticks - including but not limited to Rocky Mtn Spotted fever, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia
Fine needle aspirate - A method of sampling in which a needle is used to suck in cells or tissue bits for diagnoses (good for diagnosing masses/lumps)
Blood glucose - The principal sugar produced by the body from food–especially carbohydrates, but also from proteins and fats; glucose is the body's major source of energy, is transported to cells via the circulation and used by cells in the presence of insulin (normal range in a dog/cat is 75-100)
PCV - packed cell volume - the volume of packed red cells in milliliters per 100 ml of blood (normal range 35-45)
Diseases I see/treat frequently
Dystocia - difficulty birthing. May be responsive to oxytocin administration (Pitocin, as in people) but may require c-section.
DKA - diabetic ketoacidosis: the extreme end of the diabetic scale. A patient that is diabetic can develop DKA when other diseases make the blood glucose hard to regulate. Other diseases that are commonly associated include urinary tract infection, pancreatitis, pyometra, skin infection, and cancer. In DKA, the body starts metabolizing fat and producing acids that cause a drop in blood pH, nausea, weakness, severe dehydration, electrolyte derangments, and death.
DCM - dilated cardiomyopathy: an idiopathic (cause unknown) cardiac disease in which the heart chambers become very thin/dilated, and cardiac output drops radically. Causes arrhythmias, tachycardia, and sudden death. Seen in large breed dogs like Dobermans, Great Danes, etc.
Lymphoma - cancer of the white blood cells, the most common and treatable form of cancer in dogs
Blocked cat - slang term for a male cat with a plug of mucus and crystals obstructing the urethra (fairly common in male cats) definitely a life-threatening because urine can't get out of the body! If present long enough, causes shock, acute renal failure, hyperkalemia (elevated potassium), coma, and death. Symptoms include straining in the litterbox, yowling while trying to urinate, producing small, bloody drops of urine (also symptoms of feline cystitis, a non-lethal condition)
GDV - stands for gastric-dilatation and volvulus - a condition of large breed, deep-chested dogs (usually) in which the stomach rotates 180 degrees on its axis and thus - nothing can enter or leave, considered the "mother of all emergencies" - it warrants immediate surgery and carries a guarded prognosis
IMHA - immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. A disease in which the immune system attacks the red blood cells and destroys them. It causes profound anemia and is life-threatening. Causes are primary (no known cause) and secondary ( tick borne disease, cancer, and heavy metal intoxication). Treatment is immunosuppression with drugs primarily. Prognosis is guarded at best.