Thursday, August 18, 2011

PRODUCT REVIEW: Gentle Leader Martingale

I think I've mentioned Kitsune's distaste for the Gentle Leader head halter before.  "Distaste" is a mild word, actually.  He loathes it.  I've never seen a dog freak out the way Kitsune freaks out with a head collar on.  He simply refuses to reconcile with it, and if you happen to leave it in a spot where he can see it, he will try to steal it and then chew it into little bits.  It is worth mentioning at this point that Kitsune is not a destructive dog.  He never chews anything but his own toys, and even those toys that are meant to be chewed last him a long time.  He has never chewed up any of his leashes or neck collars, so the fact that he destroys Gentle Leaders is significant in illustrating just how much he detests the things.  The Gentle Leader head collar we currently own is number 3.  I kept buying them because they do work when a dog will consent to wear them, and I labored under the mistaken belief that given enough time with one, he would eventually relent.  Silly, silly human.

About a month ago while I was at work, I was taking a harness off of a dog and noticed it was a Gentle Leader brand.  Well.  News to me.  Turns out, Gentle Leader is making new "Easy Walk" harnesses with the  leash ring squarely in the middle of the chest.  Same premise as the head collar, it still thwarts the forward motion of pulling, but easier for some dogs (like Kitsune) to accept.

I immediately went to the pet store I used to work for and looked for them.  They didn't have them, but PetSmart down the street from my house did.

I dithered and couldn't make up my mind to buy one until yesterday.  Then I finally did it.  Today, having nothing better to do, I put it on Kitsune.

We had one initial Shiba Scream as he was trying to bolt down the stairs and realized he couldn't bolt anymore.

After that, he walked calmly with the harness on.  He would not, however, poop in it.  He looked like he really wanted to poop, but each time I thought for sure he was going to, he changed his mind about it.  I'm sure that will come with time.

I left it on him when we got back in the house, so he can get used to the feel of it.  Hopefully the next time we head outside, he'll do a number two.

All in all, we are much pleased with the Gentle Leader Easy Walk harness.

This never would have happened in a head collar.

Gentle Leader Easy Walk Harness:  Shiba Seal of Approval.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Clinical Cats

The kitties who live in our hospital full time.
Chloe, the blue kitty, and her two adult kids from her only litter, Casper (the tabby) and Pumpkin (torti).

Casper lounges in the back of the clinic.

Chloe and Pumpkin sit on the doctor's desk and oversee.. stuff.

I love working at a job where animals are just lounging around.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Memphis, WTF!

My mind is blown over the fact that after Memphis Animal Control officer Demtria Hogan lost a dog in her charge, they let her continue to handle animals, leading to the death of Charles Mitchum's dog while Hogan drove around for two hours trying to wait out police who were at the shelter to arrest her.

Second (and third and fourth) chances should not be given when innocent lives are at stake.

Why was this woman still working at the shelter after failing to appear for numerous cruelty cases which were thrown out by her failure to go to court?

Why was this woman still working at the shelter with the authority to handle dogs in the field after "losing" one?

Why is she on a paid suspension after her actions directly resulted in the suffering and death of a dog in her care?

WTF, Memphis Animal Control, WTF.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Things Vet Techs Think Everyone Should Know

1.  Pinch/prong collars are a bitch to work with.
Please, please, PLEASE I beg of you, if you take nothing else away from this post, just take the pinch collar off of your dog before you take him/her to the vet.  As I type this, I have little spots all over my left arm.  These spots are bruises I got from holding a large unruly dog who was wearing a prong collar at the time.  In order to have a modicum of control over any dog, and make sure my vet co-workers can't get bitten doing their jobs, I have to control their heads.  This involves wrapping one arm around the neck, and the other around the body.  Not only do pinch collars pinch ME and leave little bruises from the pressure I sometimes I have to apply in the course of doing my job, my fingers also get caught in them.  This also hurts like a bitch.  I can only imagine what the dog is feeling.  I don't have fingernails, but one of my co-workers does, and one of hers got bent entirely back past the quick the other day dealing with a dog wearing a pinch collar (completely different from the one that left bruises all over my arm).

2.  Flexi-Leads may have their time and place.  The veterinarian's office is not one of them.
I die a little bit inside every time I have to go out to the waiting room and bring a dog back for a take-to-back booster shot, a suture removal, a weight check, or any other thing and the owner hands me a Flexi-Lead.  These things are utterly useless to control a dog with, and if there's one thing you want in a vet's, it's control over the animals in your care.  I can't wrap it around my hand, they're clumsy to try and hold on to while doing something else with the other hand, and more than half of the time, they're broken and don't lock, making the most simple thing, like a weight check, a complete circus.  The cheapest Flexi-Lead I've ever seen is about 23 dollars.  The cheapest sturdy, six-foot nylon web leash I've ever seen was 1.99 in a clearance bin.  Get a cheap, sturdy nylon web lead and if you do nothing else with it, leave it in your car for when you go to the vet, and leave the Flexi at home.  Your dog's health care team will love you for it.

3.  Muzzle your aggressive dog.
If your dog needs to be muzzled for strangers to handle him, and you KNOW your dog needs to be muzzled for strangers to handle him, it will save a lot of time if you buy your own soft muzzle and have your dog muzzled already when someone comes for him.  If the only time you need to muzzle your dog is at the veterinarian's, and you don't want to spend the ten bucks to buy something you only use once every 12 months, that's okay.  Vets have muzzles.  Just make sure you tell someone while you are checking in that your dog will need to be muzzled.  Please, do not wait until a member of the veterinary care team is reaching for your dog to let someone know.

4.  Respect the scheduling, and the other clients' time.
Do not make an appointment for one animal and then bring the rest of your pets along to be looked at as well, without making separate appointments for each of them.  This is REALLY selfish to everyone else who has made appointments, and it makes the doctors super grumpy.  Then we have to deal with super grumpy doctors and pissed off clients who have been waiting way longer than they should have for the rest of the day.

5.  Be honest about bite wounds.
If your pet has an overdue rabies shot, and a bite wound, don't try to lie to us and tell us it's not a bite wound.  Your veterinarian knows what a bite wound looks like.  We'll know when we see it.  Please don't tell us over the phone that your dog "scratched himself" or "laid down on a nail" or "jumped off of the couch wrong" or any other bogus story.  That's really not fair to the people who have to handle your hurting (and therefore unpredictable and volatile), potentially contagious with a fatal disease, pet.  We need to know crap like that so we can take precautions for our own safety.  We don't want to die of rabies.

6.  We don't set the prices.
The owner of the practice and/or the office manager sets the prices (unless you go to a VCA, in which case some corporate main office somewhere sets the prices).  If you have a problem with the prices, don't yell at the techs or receptionist.  You might as well scream at a brick wall for all the good it's going to do you.

7.  Know your local veterinary ERs.
Use them for emergencies, don't bother going to your regular vet first.  If your pet is bleeding profusely, having serious respiratory distress, actively seizing or has just been hit by a car, GO TO THE EMERGENCY VETERINARIAN.  In a medical emergency, every second counts and you may be wasting very precious time going to your regular veterinary practice if they don't have the equipment or resources to handle emergencies on-site.

8.  Use your words.
Be descriptive when calling your veterinarian about a problem with your pet.  No information is TMI in a vet's office.  Don't withhold information from the vet tech and then pour it all out to the veterinarian when he or she gets in the room.  We need to be able to write that stuff in your pet's chart for  future reference, and so the vet has a better idea of what's going on before they get in the room with you and can ask intelligent questions. We're not asking for the fun of it.

9.  Do your part to prevent disease transmission.
If your pet is coughing, sneezing, vomiting, having diarrhea or otherwise showing signs of a possibly contagious illness, feel free to wait with your pet in the car until the health care team is ready for you.  On the other hand, if your pet is fine and just going in for a yearly physical, you probably shouldn't allow your pet to play with or have contact with an unknown dog in the waiting room, because some of them are there because they are showing symptoms of contagious illnesses.

10.  Dogs should be on a leash, cats in a carrier when at the veterinarian's.
This should be a no-brainer, but still people will carry a small pet in and then put the pet down to run around in the waiting room where a larger, aggressive pet could possibly come through the door at any second.