Scrub those bucks!


“What do you mean you think we should ‘Clean my dog’s teeth?’

We never did anything like that back in the day – she just has bad breath… Why do you need to knock my lil’ gal out jus’ ta brush her teeth?”

Well ignoring the fact that my client’s little baby was a shark, and would take your hand off given a chance, her teeth were absolutely putrid.  6 out of 6 tartar, 6 out of 6 gingivitis, 6 out of 6 periodontal disease.  Tonsillitis.  Enlarged lymph nodes, Mitral valve murmur.

“Well, Mr. Gonzalez, if you had gone 12 years without brushing your teeth, and you ate nothing but macaroni and cheese, and arroz con pollo, your teeth might look alot like hers.”

He laughed and agreed.

Please remember to brush your teeth!  And if you don’t also brush your little baby’s teeth every day, be prepared to spend some money every 12 years or so.

Eleven teeth extracted, 2.5 hours of surgery time.

Posted in Dentistry, Humerous, Veterinary Medicine | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Canine Cystic Calculi (Struvite)

The amazing thing is that I did this exact surgery less than 12 months ago. Even I am impressed that bladder stones of this size can form in less than a year.  Clearly it was my fault that that I did not impress enough upon my client that I was serious when I stressed how important a special diet was going to be to prevent their recurrence.  I should have insisted that perhaps her doctor with a master’s degree in nutrition was a little more qualified to give advice, when she told me that her sister was a “Vet Tech,” and she said (thanks, but no thanks!) she would be getting her nutritional advice from her.  Besides, yuck! Hill’s Prescription Diet? Yuck! Everybody knows that dogs aren’t supposed to eat grains!

Far be it from me to disagree with the experts at the pet store and say that “Blue Buffalo” dog food isn’t the perfect food for every walking companion animal.  Except this one.

Cystotomy 1215 pre-opCystotomy 1215 visualize bladderCystotomy 1215 stay suturesCystotomy 1215 plop-plopCystotomy 1215 tada!


Posted in Diet & Nutrition, Humerous, Soft Tissue, Veterinary Medicine | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment


The size of a banana in a large adult dog, the spleen is a major part of the immune system, and also serves in filtering and recycling red blood cells.

Unfortunately, the spleen is the site of a very common malignant tumor, the hemangiosarcoma.  Typically reaching the size of a softball or much larger, the tumor often grows so large that it bursts, and if unrecognized, quickly causes rapid blood loss, and death.

Although removing the spleen is commonly performed, the clinician must recognize the signs early, and the surgeon must have very gentle hands!

This isn’t the biggest “hemangiosarc” I’ve ever removed, but it’s pretty respectable!

IMG_1088 IMG_1090 IMG_1098 IMG_1102

Posted in Oncology, Soft Tissue, Surgical Cases, Veterinary Medicine | Leave a comment

Cats and Fan Belts

A kitty climbing under the parked car, up next to the engine is just a really bad idea.  When the car starts the next morning, the pistons fire up and down, spinning the fan belt around at a frightening speed.. Even the fastest exit will often leave a leg, or in this case the skin from half of the tail, resulting in what’s called a “degloving” injury.

Fortunately “bob-tailed” cats are very loved by those feeling very guilty.

IMG_9798 IMG_9799

Remember, smack the hood to make some noise before getting into your cold vehicle for the morning start!


Posted in Pet ER - STAT & Triage, Soft Tissue, Surgical Cases | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dogs Eat the Darnedest Things! (Balloons)


Dad was planning a surprise party, and had streamers, posters, a package of balloons, markers and funny hats on the kitchen table.  Before he started blowing up balloons and putting up the decorations, he left to pick up the cake, only to find everything strewn all over the floor.  What a mess!

Everything was accounted for, except…

This package had 30 balloons in it, with the emphasis on had!  With only 12 left, there were 18 unaccounted for.



The poor dog stood with quite a tummy ache, drool hanging to the floor.


A quick trip to the vet, and…


18 balloons.  OK, now we’re ready for that party!


Posted in Humerous, Internal Medicine | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Fat Cats


Obesity in cats is not a joke. It’s an extremely serious condition that leads to all kinds of health disorders, including a potentially fatal condition called hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease), diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure, skin conditions, and crippling arthritis.

Approximately 55 percent of my feline patients are overweight or obese. Most cat owners do not seem to realize that their pets are overweight, and “fat cats” have become the dangerous new normal. We must address this weighty issue for the health of our feline friends!  Five pounds doesn’t sound like much, but it equates to about 82 pounds on a 160 lb human!

Very few cats can be fed “free choice” (just keeping the trough full) without becoming obese.  Remember, in the wild a cat would spend the entire day chasing after prey.  Although dry food is certainly better for preventing periodontal disease, some cats just plump up when fed such a carbohydrate rich food, based on grains.  The nutritional value of a mouse is only about 4% carbohydrates, so although most cats do fine on a dry food formula, some certainly do not.  If your furry friend’s only exercise is jumping off the couch to the food bowl, one of the above maladies may not be far off!

What’s the solution?  First talk to your own vet, who can safely guide you through the maze.  A likely solution involves cutting calories through cutting carbs – much like the South Beach, or The Zone Diets.  

Critical though is that an obese cat not stop eating completely.  One or two days of no calories at all will typically send your cat into liver failure, and a critical emergency.  Best solution?  Prevent obesity by discussing body condition score with your veterinarian at each annual examination.

Posted in Diet & Nutrition, Internal Medicine | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

March 3, 2015 – Periodontal Disease Canine 1

IMG_8688 IMG_8687

Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats, and is entirely preventable.  By three years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, other than bad breath, there are few signs of the disease process evident to the owner, and professional dental cleaning and periodontal therapy often comes too late to prevent extensive disease or to save teeth. As a result, periodontal disease is usually under-treated, and may cause multiple problems in the oral cavity and may be associated with damage to internal organs in some patients as they age.

Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth form a substance called plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth.  Subsequently, minerals in the saliva harden the plaque into dental calculus (tartar), which is firmly attached to the teeth. Tartar above the gum line is obvious to many owners, but is not of itself the cause of disease.

The real problem develops as plaque and calculus spread under the gum line. Bacteria in this ‘sub-gingival’ plaque set in motion a cycle of damage to the supporting tissues around the tooth, eventually leading to loss of the tooth. Bacteria under the gum line secrete toxins, which contribute to the tissue damage if untreated.

Periodontal disease includes gingivitis (inflammation [reddening] of the gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth). There is a wide range in the appearance and severity of periodontal disease, which often cannot be properly evaluated or treated without general anesthesia for veterinary patients. Effects within the oral cavity include damage to or loss of gum tissue and bone around the teeth, development of a hole (‘fistula’) from the oral cavity into the nasal passages causing nasal discharge, fractures of the jaw following weakening of the jaw bone, and bone infection (‘osteomyelititis’). Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and are carried around the body. Studies in dogs have shown that periodontal disease is associated with microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys.



IMG_8676 IMG_8678

Posted in Dentistry, Gerentology | Tagged | Leave a comment

March 2, 2015 Retained Baby Teeth

Puppies normally have 28 deciduous (baby) teeth that erupt during the first six months of life. Adult dogs have 42 permanent teeth.  Kittens have 26 deciduous teeth, and adult cats have 30 teeth.

Veterinarians are often presented with (typically) dogs with deciduous teeth that failed to fall out as the permanent teeth erupted.   The roots of the deciduous teeth resorb in order for the teeth to become loose and fall out. This allows the permanent teeth to erupt normally.  Left in place, they will often cause the permanent teeth to slide into an abnormal position – many versions of mis-alignment, and pretty much always will result in premature tartar buildup, decay, and periodontal disease.

This is a pretty simple case, only two retained upper canine incisors.

IMG_0084 IMG_0088

When both deciduous and permanent teeth are trying to occupy the same position, this double row of teeth overcrowds the mouth, and food gets trapped between the teeth. This trapped food causes periodontal disease. In addition, the double set of roots can prevent normal development of the tooth’s socket and eventually erode gum support around the adult tooth.Any remaining deciduous teeth should be extracted surgically soon after they are discovered because they will cause dental problems (overcrowding in the mouth, plaque buildup, malocclusion, etc.)

IMG_0085 IMG_0090


Your veterinarian may decide to remove the retained deciduous teeth at the same time your kitten/puppy is spayed or neutered. If your pet is intended to be a show animal, the dental surgery will, of course, be scheduled differently.  However, if altering surgery was done early (prior to shelter adoptions, for example), we’ll see mouths like this as an adult.

Posted in Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine | Leave a comment

March 1st, Another Me

Big Cartoon

Ok, this one’s just for fun.

OK, not entirely fun – lots of gross stuff – pretty much what 30 years of Veterinary Medicine looks like from the outside.

Lots of good stuff, lots of tears. Very blessed!


Posted in Humerous, Stuff about me, Veterinary Medicine | Leave a comment


Billy home sick with Wolfe & Noel 1972crop

I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian since I could want anything.  What I do is a blessing.  To me, of course.  Some of us wanted to be vets because they like animals more than people.  Not me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love animals with every thread of my fabric, but my perspective is a little different.  I love people, and enjoy helping them in my own particular way.  I’m humbled and honored when people bring their beloved little friends to me.  I then become woven as a thread into the texture of fabric that is their family, and their lives.  We’re blessed with these creatures who show us God’s unconditional love in their own way.  In fact, I believe we are called to be good stewards of them, and that includes providing the very best care and most love we possibly can.  This differs for each of us as much as our own respective lives.  Join me on this journey as I share a few of our daily adventures.

Posted in Stuff about me | Tagged , , | Leave a comment