Tag Archives: behavior

What I Learned This Week

Here’s a sampling of what I learned this week:

  • Chameleons can’t convert beta-carotene to vitamin A
  • There’s some kind of freeze-dried diet of cactus fruit for tortoises–cool!
  • Necropsy on a 5-year old guinea pig revealed a large tumor inside her uterus–never seen something quite like that before
  • Necropsy on a 3-year old budgie revealed one of the largest renal adenocarcinomas I’ve seen. The bird had demonstrated the predictable loss of use of its leg, mimicking a broken leg in the owner’s eyes.
  • Over the past several weeks, I’ve had a crash-course in Mycoplasma infections in rats. Usually, when I see respiratory problems in rats, they’re on an individual case-by-case basis. A rat-owning client of mine recently acquired two female rats, not knowing they were pregnant, until they delivered 20 babies (between the two of them) three weeks later. All of them have been plagued with respiratory difficulties since then, and two have died. This week, I came across this article, which helped shed some much-needed light on the subject for me: “Mycoplasma pulmonis in Rats,” by Drs. Jennifer Graham and Trenton Schoeb, Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, Volume 20, Issue 4 , Pages 270-276, October 2011.
  • Palpated my first trigger point (see videos in my previous post)–wow, was it painful for the poor dog!!
  • Evaluated behavior of a young but socially mature English bulldog with unusual, but severe aggression. He was adopted from an area shelter last November. He doesn’t seem anxious or fearful like most of my aggressive patients, but we’re pretty sure he has hearing loss. His behavior seems totally appropriate, and he’s very social. But if he becomes over-stimulated, it’s like a switch goes off and he gets a “crazed look” in his eyes. He has attacked the owner herself and the owner’s mother, sending the mother to the ER with serious injuries of her arm. The owner realizes that euthanasia is appropriate, and may ultimately be necessary. We are going to try an 8-week course of fluoxetine to see if that helps even out his excitability (in addition to strict environmental management). If it does, he will need to stay on it for life. I’ve never encountered a dog with aggression quite like this before–it will be an interesting road that we walk together.

It was a pretty good week, one in which I was able to help people and beloved animals. I don’t feel like I had any “do-overs” this week.

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Behavior Consult: Protocol for Relaxation

Along the same lines as my last post (Say Please by Sitting), and from the same behavior consultation, I thought I’d share my discussion of what the Protocol for Relaxation is, and how it can help anxious dogs. Again, I’m not saying this is the best way to present it, but it’s one fly-on-the-wall perspective of how one veterinarian does it.

The Protocol for Relaxation that I use is adapted from Dr. Karen Overall and her book, Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals.

My explanation of the Protocol for Relaxation – helping dogs with anxiety from Learning Vet on Vimeo.

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Behavior Consult: Say Please by Sitting

One of my goals with this blog is to share examples of exam room conversation. Afterall, reading and understanding (in theory) various medical problems and solutions doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to communicate said knowledge to a pet owner. Once again, I emphatically pronounce my disclaimer that, just because I say it doesn’t mean it’s so, and I by no means think I have done the best job possible in presenting information to the client in the following video. Like I’ve said before, this blog is an experiment, and one of my goals is not only to show a “fly-on-the-wall” perspective of this conversation, but I also hope to gain feedback in how I can improve my presentation.

That said, and with a big swallowing gulp of my pride, here’s my “Say Please by Sitting” dicussion:

My explanation of “Say Please by Sitting” – Dog training from Learning Vet on Vimeo.

Note: I should probably include some discussion on why the “Say Please by Sitting” protocol (also known as “Nothing in Life is Free”) is so useful and helpful, but perhaps that’s for another time. Or if you know of a great resource, post it in the comments section below. I really love Dr. Sophia Yin’s website and information, but she’s recently revamped her website and I can’t find any singular discussion on this exact topic.)

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