Tag Archives: what I learned this week

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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What I learned this week


Photo Credit: Pachyblur

For me, doing is learning. Here’s a run-down of what I did this week that seemed noteworthy enough to list:

  • My first ferret fracture repair–a 10-month old ferret broke his R femur via unknown trauma. Placed an IM pin and two cross pins. Caused some splintering of the bone in the process but I was mostly satisfied with the result. Really, really hoping for the best for this little guy.
  • Gastrotomy/foreign body removal on a young Golden Retriever
  • Epidural on the same dog
  • Dealt with the worst chinchilla paraphimosis I’ve ever seen. After removing a fur ring constriction around the base of his penis (under sedation), I just kept him on metacam (and used lots of lubrication), and over the course of about 6 days, it has gone from possibly needing amputation (good thing we didn’t go that route) to returning almost completely back to normal.
  • Performed a molar grind on another chinchilla who has the worst teeth I have ever, ever, ever seen. I’ve been working with him for quite awhile, actually–this was one of our “routine” check-ups. He is also the only chinchilla I have extracted molars on before. I didn’t think he was going to survive this long, but he is such a trooper and his family is so committed to him!
  • Tried (and failed) to troubleshoot technical difficulties at a local CE presentation (as president of the local VMA, I feel a responsibility for making sure everything goes smoothly–this was painfully disappointing). The speaker did a phenomenal job of presenting off-the-cuff and I still learned a ton, including:
    • If a young, healthy dog has elevated liver enzymes but no clinical signs, the first step she recommends is trying a limited ingredient diet.
    • If performing an ultrasound-guided aspirate of the liver, use a 25-gauge needle. She’s never known a case to bleed excessively from that small of a needle, and sedation is not (usually) needed. The FNA can help indicate things like histoplasmosis or other potentially infectious causes.
    • If performing an ultrasound-guided biopsy (under sedation of course) of the liver, ALWAYS do a coagulation profile first. She said everyone at their specialty practice has been burned at one time or another by having a patient bleed excessively after a liver biopsy.
    • Her preferred antibiotics for liver infections are ampicillin or amoxicillin. But she said make sure these are given IV. The bioavailability of ampicillin when given orally is zilch.

I’ve also learned more about college basketball (maybe I’ll post how I did with my bracket when all is said and done), I’ve learned that I’ve got a LOT of work to do on our upcoming open house, and since we set a date for our annual staff retreat (and it’s less than a month away), I need to do some serious brainstorming for that.

What is one thing you learned this week?

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