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Apr 08

The Side-Effects of Life

Posted by Dean Scott in Untagged 

Dean Scott

Just for fun, take the name of any product from the last fifteen years, go to the Google and put in (product name) and then the word "kills". Now, granted, you're not going to find that everything kills, but you'll find websites, blogs, rantings, and ravings about the evils of any of these products. Anything (and I'm not picking on these products in particular) from Proin to Proheart, from Rimadyl to Cerenia, Frontline to Drontal, you can find someone, with a lot of time on their hands who is running a crusade to get these products off the market. And they are rife with misinformation, or incomplete and skewed information. You can, if you want to waste some time, even generically put in things such as antibiotics and vaccines and see who's against those. Besides specific stories that people have, and you'll find one pet's story is told multiple times so that it looks like a bigger problem than just the one incident, they also rail against the host of side-effects these drugs have, as if there's no reason to be giving these medications other than to cause harm to the animals. I joked with the sales reps of a new flea medication that was just released (ends in -gard) how long it would take for someone to start up a campaign against it, because anything new is obviously bad. Ironically, anything old seems to be good, with people touting ancient 12th Century Chinese herbs (and, no, please don't send me notes about how you know these things work and why; it's not that I'm close-minded or not informed - I've done my due diligence and like the products above, I'm not picking specifically on ancient Chinese secrets like Calgon) and colloidal silver because not only do they work, but, hey, no negative side effects! And aren't all side-effects considered negative?  Some people don't want to give their pets "poisons" or "over-medicate" them with flea or heartworm preventatives, without considering that getting fleas and heartworm cause side-effects all on their own.  I've had some people not want to vaccinate their pets, as if parvo and feline leukemia didn't have some very serious down-sides.  I sometimes want to ask these folks, "So, you must not drive a car.  Oh, you do?  Well, that's odd, because the likelihood of having an accident is much higher than if you walk everywhere you need to go.  What, with your concern for repercussions, if you weren't here standing in front of me, I'd assume you probably don't leave the house either."
People will take all sorts of medications themselves, it's a veritable pharmapalooza at your local WalMart, without the direction of a physician, with perhaps dubious reasoning for taking them, and perhaps even mixing medications that shouldn't be, all without once thinking of potential side-effects. If you point out that you can look up and find the side-effects from something as ubiquitous as aspirin, you'll get a blank stare from clients, because, well, aspirin has been around for long enough to not generate anxiety. But, for some reason, we dispense a new product and there are people out there waiting to jump on it like a cockroach in the kitchen. As far as I can tell then, anything new is bad and has side-effects and anything old really, really works and has no side-effects. Well, intellectually, this just can't be. I'm not sure how, in the 21st century, people seem surprised that there might be side-effects to a medication. Even the allergy, penile dysfunction, and allergy to penile dysfunction medications on television ads have the Voice-Over of Doom intoning how your spleen can explode and amorous bees may be attracted to your scent as possible side-effects. So, I submit the following that you can feel free to use the next time you have someone who's angry that you would dare to give them something to help their pet that has potential side-effects. You can just clip it out and tell them that this is up-to-date information on the realities of side-effects.

Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News!

A new study shows that life has side-effects. While life was developed as a benefit to society and as a general panacea, one group has been leading the internet charge against it, claiming that it has far worse side-effects than the benefits it bestows. The titular leader of the group released a statement yesterday, "There are things they don't want you to know about life. We're here to reveal the truth! Life has been shown to cause pain, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, weight loss, weight gain, genetic abnormalities, cancer, and even death. That's right! Life causes death. Without life, there wouldn't be any death! And that's what they're keeping from you!" This group is looking to stop the production of life. As of this writing, the creator of life has not released a response to the accusations. Those against life see this lack of defense as a justification to continue their endeavors. "Because they have no defense! Which just proves they know all the bad stuff that life does to people and animals and yet continue to callously produce it!" Once they get life eliminated this group's plan is to go after water and oxygen as both of these can cause harm in sufficient quantities, leading to water intoxication and oxidative damage of lung tissue. "Water is the leading cause of drowning!" they contend.

Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News! Breaking News!

Mar 02

Jaded Vet Quiz!

Posted by Dean Scott in Untagged 

Dean Scott

It's said that it's not the years, it's the mileage.  So, though you may know how many chronological years you've been in the profession, where do you fall on the mileage?  That what the new Jaded Vet Quiz seeks to determine.  Below are ten questions that, depending on your answers, will tell you where you are in your career.  Keep track of your answers and add up your points at the end.  You may be surprised.  Then, again, maybe not.

1.  Eight year old, spayed female pitbull comes in for coughing and is diagnosed heartworm positive.  The client says how much the LOVE their dog and they have had her their whole life.  What do you think the client will do?
a)  pursue heartworm treatment
b)  "think about treating" after being given an estimate
c)  euthanize
d)  leave with handouts and never return

2.  You have an important family event to attend after work.  At a half-hour before closing, a client, who is notorious for being late to appointments, has just called and said they're only "five minutes away" and their pet is very sick.  You.......
a)  tell them you'll be there and stay late if necessary to get their pet taken care of
b)  tell them to come on in, after all, they're only five minutes away and you should have plenty of time to still take care of the problem
c)  explain to them that due to the lateness of the day, they would be better off just heading to the nearest emergency clinic
d)  notice the caller ID and pretend you're the answering machine

Feb 04

Random Thought From NAVC 2014

Posted by Dean Scott in Untagged 

Dean Scott

I actually didn't have a subject for the February blog. No matter how much I thought on it, I just couldn't come up with what I thought was a viable idea. Then I went to the NAVC in Orlando. Or should I say, the petri dish that is NAVC. Because as well as getting together in small rooms with poorly circulated air and sharing in the passing on of knowledge, the CDC needs to know that it serves well as an incubating source for sharing viral infections. Thank you patient zero! Anyway as the conference went on, I wrote down random thoughts that came to me. And here, unlike certain unwanted viral particles, I'll share them with you.

At the end of each day are 15 minute lectures over various subjects. These short time periods force the speakers to get to the point and thus, tend to be better for it. All lectures should be 15 minutes. They're a lot better than the guy who had an hour and 15 minute lecture and spent 30 of those minutes convincing us that renal diets do really work, which I'm pretty sure none of us doubted. And speaking of time, and I know I'm speaking only for myself, but I don't need a two hour lunch plus a 40 and 20 minute break throughout the day. I'd rather plow through the day and maybe get done in three days rather than five. I have found that I am able to eat and listen at the same time. Read and listen. Sleep and listen. Bunch of stuff. Time periods for CE seem pretty arbitrary. As I've said before, you can lead a veterinarian to conference but you cannot make them think. If you get more useful information out of a 15 minute class than an hour long class, how can you equate that hour long class as more significant for CE? Just like all of the horse medicine I learned in vet school was a complete waste of time (for me as I've never touched a horse since graduation), so, too, is a lot of the information conveyed at conference for the average practitioner. I know these things won't change, but I feel better for bringing them up.

A new thing with getting scanned in to the classes with your card was the scanner making some kind of noise when the screen turned green. Eventually I figured out it was saying, "Granted". At least I'm pretty sure. Don't know what this adds to the NAVC experience. At various times though it sounded like "Commander" or "Dammit" or "Get Him". Which, for all I know, may be true too.

My first thought when I saw the sign below was that it was a class.
nursing mothers
It wasn't.

Anyone else while sitting in class have a lecturer give out a piece of advice that strikes home? Like you had a similar case last week and the little pearl the lecturer just spoke on would have been really nice to know LAST WEEK! Or the converse, when the lecturer says to definitely never to do "X" and you know for a fact that you've done "X" and now are worried if "X" is going to get you into trouble in some manner. This dovetails into my aversion to doing the multiple choice keypads that they hand out in some lectures. I think they're a trap. I understand they do this to stimulate interest and get a feel for what the audience would do in certain situations. My completely ungrounded fear, however, is, if I do it, the results will show up on the screen like this:
feb blog graph
And "B" was the absolute wrong choice.

I went to so many lectures that, when I filter what the lecturer has to share through what I know my clientele is willing or able to do, so many times about a third of the way through either diagnostics or treatment I'm thinking, "By this time I've either referred the patient or the clients don't want to proceed any further."

Atypical Addison's is the new darling of the Unicorn-illness set. Got really tired of having that be one of the rule-outs. FYI, not one of the cases that they mentioned this in had atypical Addison's. But, boy did we spend time discussing the possibility!

Which brings me to another weird trend in the lectures that I attended. The insistence by the lecturer on "you have to do test X", it is vitally important, and you're stupid if you don't do test X. Then the results of the test are shown and the lecturer goes on to say how unhelpful the results are. If the test was "normal" it was declared it still might not be truly normal and if the test showed elevation, well, that might be erroneous also and lead you down the wrong path. Well, thanks for clarifying all that for us!

Finally, the exhibit hall. First of all, unless you're set on going to a particular booth, there are two things you should do. One - keep moving. If you stand still, you will be pounced upon by whatever booth sycophants you are near. Think of it as a predator-prey relationship. Second, don't make eye contact with the vendors - it gives them hope. In the second part of the movie the Hobbit there's a scene when the troop is going through Mirkwood and are beset upon and trapped by spiders. This is how I feel when I navigate the exhibit hall.

By the way, I'm proud to say that, yes, this is the way I entertain myself while at a conference. I alter my reality without the use of drugs or alcohol. I do, however, self-generate a huge, and legal, amount of endorphins, epinephrine, and dopamine during these same conferences.

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