Monday, 30 March 2009

Days off and Skin Clinics

Well l spent Saturday and Sunday being very lazy all day. After 5 nights the worst anyone can remember for ages it was so busy. Full to the brim with very critical cases not counting other inpatients, phones and clients as outpatients. We were short staffed for 2 nights. Having no auxiliary may not seem much but it is like loosing your right arm.
One night l got no break, the other 4 nights l took about 10 minutes total break/night. Added in 3 lates (23:00 finishes) l was ready to crawl into a corner some place by the end of it all.

I was so tired by my second last night l spent ages trying to put a needle onto a syringe. Finally the message sunk into my brain that the needle "felt funny", l looked down and realised l had 2x 2ml syringes l was trying to ram into each other.

I forgot that my books had to be back at the mobile library on Saturday. Thankfully they do not fine you on mobile librarys as they carry no money, and they know l will be around to borrow more books as soon as l can get there.

I had one short burst of energy on Sunday, homebase and a propagator (on sale) and a packet of tomato seeds with luck l will grow my own tomatoes this year. There is also spuds chitting on the window ledge to go in once the weather is safe enough. I am told that they are good to break up the ground. I looked at the seed onions but it said well drained soil and we have heavy clay.

Today l went with my folks to my Dads skin clinic. He has skin cancer and has been under treatment for years. The Dr. is very pleasant, the main problem is she has a high pitched voice and my Dad has no hearing at her voice range, despite hearing aides but my Mum and l bellowed out what was said and we muddled through.

I asked her to check my fathers leg. He has a varicose ulcer, l know not unusual in elderly. At the moment the ulcer is infected and they are awaiting swab results. but with all his skin troubles. Confirmed today some major skin flare ups and possible plastic surgery in the next few weeks. I just wanted it checked as we were with the consultant.

A nurse came in and without gloves removed the dressing, wiped the ulcer area where some bloody serous fluid was running with tissues out of the box on the window ledge and she had no gloves on.

The Dr. came back in and confirmed it was as thought and no part of his skin cancer, then sent back in the "nurse". I had to nip to the loo but came back as she was placing a large padded allevyn over the wound.
The allevyn had been cut with non sterile scissors. With apparently a swab under it in/on the ulcer. The "nurse" then picked up some micropore tape off the floor and tore off a strip placed the tape on the floor again, and wrapped the torn part round the leg and dressing. She did this about 6 times again no gloves and placing the tape onto the floor between each go.
My Mum and l were bug eyed. At one point my Mum muttered that she had put the swab onto the floor before placing it directly onto my Dad's leg, under the allevyn.

I was restrained, my parents do not like fuss. I felt that my urge to let rip at the "nurse" was well controlled. I just zipped up my mouth and glared.

I stopped at my house on the way to drop the folks at home and grabbed some hand gel (antibacterial anti mrsa ani general nasty)Once at their house l gave myself a good hand wash and through gel then gelled some disposable gloves.
Using my Dads dressing that my folks take when he goes to the skin clinic. I swooshed the ulcer with a container of sterile water, placed a better dressing on his leg. As he is awaiting antibiotics (post swab earlier this morning at the ulcer clinic before the skin clinic) he should be ok.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

"Mouth Rot"

Back in Tenerife at the Tenerife sur zoo, Marco and Claudio had gone on a collecting trip and left a friend Sam (*not his real name) in charge of the reptilarium, their separate private owned snake section housed in the grounds, the same friend that got bitten on the thumb by the cape cobra.

In this instance Sam* trotted whistling round the corner which made me suspicious. He was too cheerful. You know that false happy, someone has when they are going to ask you to do something nasty, that no one else is stupid enough to do.

“I have just been looking at the python and she has mouth rot” (stomatitis).
“And?...” l glared just knowing what was coming but may as well make him say it.
“Need your help to handle her so that l can treat her” he grinned
“She is a more bad tempered bitch than l am and a damm site bigger and stronger as well”
“Awww don’t be mean she is only about 13ft and well yes she is bad tempered but not that bad, and she does need treating, you don’t want it getting worse” he tried to blackmail me.
I muttered she could rot for all l cared.
“Well you know that no one else here will handle her” he tried again
“In other words they are sane and l am bloody stupid, you do know that Marco and Claudio who know what they are doing won’t handle her unless they really really… really have to.” l tried again but knew it was a lost cause, sod it l should have meant it when l said she could rot.

So we went to the off display area she was kept in, a quiet section away from the public. The bitches housing unit was a huge glass fronted display built for some reason on a trailer. The python in question was bad tempered on good days and totally evil on bad days. As l said Marco and Claudio avoided handling her unless absolutely necessary because of her temperament and strength.

Medication at the ready l told cheerful Sam* he was making the first contact with her. He was fine about that. He thought (hoped) he could do the medicating without taking her out.
He opened the door and climbed up, half leant in, ready to get her chance she started to slide out and he had to catch fast before she was out the door.
He fell off the step with her push forwards and had to scramble upright holding her tightly. I grabbed the tail end as it slammed out to try and wrap around whoever it could.

Sam managed to get the mouth swabbed with the medicinal mix without getting grabbed by the mouth, or so he informed me. I was to busy with being tossed around like a boat on a wild sea by the tail end as she writhed while trying to avoid the odd loop she started to throw.
“ok he gasped let’s get her back”
If l thought the first part was hard l had a lesson to learn on getting her back in. The trailer was raised so it was an up to get in as opposed to a down slide out. Added to that the door did not want to stay open and no safe way could we jam it open, whoever was nearest it had to try and fling it open as we stumbled past.

She threw loops on us. She threw us all over the place with her writhing twists, as we unwound or shrugged off a loop another descended. She had us both looped several times. Her mouth was trying to grab whatever it could to aid the constriction.
We slammed into and tripped over the trailer with her writhing but did not dare let go.
Paco the zoo owner appeared and l gasped for him to give us a hand, gasped because l was trying to get a loop off my throat.
“Not a chance she is Diablo” he said and after watching wide eyed at our struggles he disappeared.
It took us 10 minutes to get her back in. We were exhausted battered and bruised from banging into her trailer, falling over and out of breath from loop squeezes.

I glared at Sam*, and just how often are we meant to do this merry little fucking dance before she kills us?” l asked. Not amused, and totally exhausted knowing how much of a miracle it was that she had not got free and none of us got seriously hurt.

“We aren’t, she is to dangerous sod it the lads will have to do her when they come back, l will just keep an eye and see it doesn’t get worse” Sam panted back.

When Marco and Claudio arrived back they had horrified hysterics when informed of our little jaunt. You never got her out, just 2 of you? Followed by more laughter from the pair.
“She has a slightly deformed mouth” said Marco when he recovered from laughing. “It was damaged when she was young by a person that did not know how to handle her. We took her on to fix her and kept her"
“Deformed be beggared she damm near ate us and squeezed us into a nice mush while she was about it” l said.
“Yes she just has lip damage to show for things now” said Marco. “No trouble with anything else, as you noticed.” He carried on chuckling.

I glared at Sam but before l gave in to the urge to shovel him back in with ‘the bitch’ and lock the door. l snarled “Get medical histories next time before you take over care of anything.” l stalked off.

Some facts and why these big constrictor snakes are not pets.

The large pythons can get vicious as they get bigger. Pythons up to 30 ft reported in the wild. The biggest captive snake is 27ft and 183kg. Pythons are as wide as telegraph poles when adult, and it is all muscle.

They are carnivorous. Attacks on handlers, sometimes deadly, are not uncommon.

It is recommended for these snakes you should always have a second person available to help with handling and feeding. And defiantly 2 people when it is over 8 feet long. In fact it is a good idea to have a person present for for each 4 feet of snake. So 3 people to handle a 12 foot snake and 4 people for a 16 foot snake.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Car 54, Where are You?

I have been on nights so not really with it much the last 6 nights. First night on we had another police incident. I was trying to decide what to call this blog. Either after the American sitcom 'Car 54 Where are You' or 'Very Special, Special Branch'
When l told the vet who had been involved with the previous incident about the following when she finished laughing said.
" There is Special Branch and a Very Special Branch, we seem to get the Very Special Ones."

We had a dog in that had to have a mouth swabbing. At least the sergeant l spoke to this time was very helpful and said he would get someone and swabs to us as soon as possible. No behaving like a prick like the last one l dealt with.
The police we get are pleasant but what are they taught? The 2 that came were not the probationer material we had last time, these looked to have been in a bit longer.

About 5am 2 officers turn up with 2 huge packets of swabs. I only needed 2swabs out of about 50 in 2 bulging packets of sealed swabs.
They were clueless about what was needed. Did they leave the swabs then go, did they write them up, where did they take them. I insisted they stay while l swabbed which took all of 2 minutes. As to where they went to I suggested they ring their sergeant for info
After swabbing they looked at the swabs like they were aliens so l passed 2 empty evidence bags and said seal them in there and write the details on, my name area swabbed FWIN etc. still blank looks, and nothing written on the bags, oh well not my problem, l had told them and offered the details.

The male officer grabbed a packet of suture material and asked what it was. I told him, he looked blank. “To stitch things up” l tried again, still vacant looks. His partner, female stared at him with an ‘oh no here we go again look’
Shrugging the male put the suture material in the bag with the unused swabs. What did you do that for l asked?
“ermmm” he looked at me blankly.
I grabbed the packet from him and took out the suture material and said “That’s our biosyn to stitch up animals.. unless there are some scroats mouth you want to use it on?”
His partner raised her eyes to heaven as it was obvious from the blank look the male officer did not understand what l was saying only the fact he was not walking off with our packet of biosyn.

He was a cat person and asked to chat to some cats. I introduced him to one of the medical cases on his way out, my mistake they stood purring away at each other, well the cat purred he stood muttering ohh who’s a lovely lad then and other such comments.
His partner mindful of time said to hurry up the nurse is busy, was it that obvious l thought.
“Coming” was the reply.
After about 3 goes she grabbed his arm and dragged him out.

Outside the practice on the front steps he stopped, and said “ohh we don’t have your details”.
“Nope l did try and give them to you” l replied.
So he gets down on his knees and plonks everything onto the floor and scrabbles round his pockets for his notebook while trying to gather up the spare swabs and evidence bags that have come out of the plastic bag and spreading across the floor out of control.
With a sigh his partner takes hers out and writes my name down, he manages to gather everything up, stands up and they disappear, literally it turns out.

At about 8:45 just about to sink into my bed l get a phone call from work.
“Did you have the police here earlier to swab that dog?”
“Yes, what’s up?”
“Well police control have been on do you know who they were because they have disappeared, well not exactly disappeared but they do not know who came down and there was just a garbled message about things from some one in the police, they do not know who the message is from and no one knows who or where anyone is”
“No l didn’t bother with names l was busy and tired, ring the sergeant dealing with the FWIN”
“Which station were they from?”
“I don’t know l said” getting a tad miffed, “for gods sake get the police to put a call out for a nice but vague male officer that likes cats and a pleasant, but exasperated female officer who is organised”

So if anyone recognises the pair and they are still lost, please do not ring me, l am to tired to care.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

My Award and Other News.

Many thanks to Dickibo for the Lemonade Award my very first award. I need to get hub to do the ewww test though from what Dickibo says. Actually l did not think the photos were that bad, l guess l was wrong!

I wrote a blog the other day about my day in London and having a look round St Margaret church next to Westminster Abbey.

I decided to contact them about the plaque l had seen as l wondered why parts were missing. I got a lovely couple of replies. The first was from the Rectors secretary who said that St Margaret were glad of the big ques outside the Abbey as many people funnelled to St M instead. That this is great because they don't get any financial help from Church of England. I was also told that my query had been passed to Abbey Library.

The Abbey library sent me a reply today about the damaged scene:
The wall memorial that you saw in St Margaret’s is that to Hugh Haughton. The damage to his effigy may have been done during the Civil War I suppose but why he was damaged I cannot say. She is his wife Frances (Cooth) and the daughters Elizabeth and Frances. He died 1616 and the monument was erected by Frances “in token of her love to her husband”. They were obviously residents in the parish as she came from Dorset and he from Chester.

So if you like history This is well worth a visit and is just the right size to look round and not be swamped with people and is very peaceful. St Margaret's Church (click on the links at the bottom of the url to learn about different aspects and also on the left hand side)

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Ditch the Bits

Back in Tenerife and Tony the vet was over from UK. We (hub and l) had taken about 10 dogs up for neutering. Added to the feral cats that Judith had trapped and taken over it was a long day waiting for kits to sterilise and neutering animals in various order to get the best from the day until we headed home.

In Tenerife there is no cremation area for animals. They go into the dustbin then to the dump. In this case it was the body parts and a load of other veterinary stuff from Tony that were to go into the bin. However on the way back from Tony’s the bin areas all had people parked in them and we did not really want to drop our “bits” in public as some was starting to get smelly.

We got back to the kennels and went to unload the dogs when l saw this little bitch tied to the gate and almost at full term ready to whelp. I quickly rang Tony and asked if he could do an emergency abort on her, no problem. I unloaded the dogs as fast as possible and we headed back to Tony.

It may seem cruel to abort but the volume of strays meant that the cruelty came in adding more. Not to mention there was no place to keep a bitch and pups as we were full. It would have meant putting two dogs to sleep to get a kennel. This would add mum and an unknown amount pups for several weeks till they could be rehomed, assuming that all survived.
Tony operated and we all headed back. By now very tired and getting late. I had feeding to do, let them have a bit of time out and finally home about 9pm.

We only needed to use the car over the next 3 weeks or so which meant the van sat and happily relaxed in the underground garage at the flats. I needed to go and get something out of it and went to open the doors. My nose twitched, oh god! My heart stopped as a memory sunk into my brain…along with the now powerfully overpowering smell as l opened the door fully. The interior of the van shimmered in a vicious miasma.

All the body bits, the dead foetus the stuff we had taken from Tony and said yup don’t worry we will throw it away. With all that went on it was all still in the van. I got rid off it asap, it almost floated to the bins. Thankfully the van had been underground if it was parked in full sun, the thought does not bear thinking about.

l had to go and break the news to hub. I prefer to draw a veil over the resultant discussion…ok ok argument. I still maintain that he was also in the van and had just as much to do with forgetting as l did, especially as he rested while l checked, fed, watered and let out all the dogs.

When we left the island over a year later the van still had an aroma in it when it got hot but not as bad as when l opened the door that day and realised that we had forgotten to “ditch the bits”.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Life's Thread's

Life has some amazing threads that l have been involved in. One of them concerned my horse Tuckys Dream and took about 30 years to pull back into one thread.

My horse in Bulawayo Tuckys Dream, was a lovely grey and bloody minded with it. If l did not concentrate she would go under a low branch and attempt to sweep me off as though l was a fly. I hated using a saddle so if l was wrong footed l could be caught out. She would then stop and have a graze while l de twigged myself. She loved tough fast riding. In other words jumping no not really, hammer round a gymkhana course or red rover (a rough game) ride out into the veld or swim in a dam and she was in her element.

It was Archibald from Leander that arranged the purchase of Tuckys Dream from Salisbury. She had a horrendous journey to Bulawayo. The horse box crashed and at least horse was killed. It took hours (over 20) for the others to be freed, returned to Salisbury and then sent down again to Bulawayo. This gave Tucky a lifelong aversion to horse boxes.

When l collected her l was to ride her from the Show Grounds to Leander overflow stables where she was to live. She arrived while the annual Trade Fair was on.
We started out fine, l was riding her out of the side entrance and setting off along the dirt track towards the main road, CLUNK CHUNG ROARRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr the pump house started up as we went past.
Things got a bit confusing at this point. I am not sure what manoeuvre Tucky used but she changed ends and l swapped horse back for dirt road.
Luckily she headed back into the show grounds and someone caught her for me. Once back on her and with many wary looks and snorts from her we made it round the pump house and headed home.

We had several happy years together getting up to mischief till l left the country and had to sell her.

The amazing end to Tucky’s story was in 2007 l was talking to a friend John in my websites chat room. He is in his 70s and now lives in UK, but was from Bulawayo. He was telling me about his daughter and her horse. Thinking l may have known her l asked the horse’s name, l remember animals better than people.

“Tucky’s Dream” was the reply.

My eyes froze on the screen and my heart hammered, tears formed and l asked for more information. It was such a shock after 30 years. I had known that the people who bought her from us had been unable to handle her and l was told she had gone to Greenway Riding School.
Apparently Archibald had bought her back from the people not Greenway. I was glad l had not known that part, he was scum and l would have freaked.

John’s daughter had fallen in love with Tucky when she rode at Leander. On her eighth birthday John walked her to the paddock.

“Well, what do you think of the horse?” he asked her

“It’s Tucky Dad, you know l love her” said his Daughter.

“Just as well” said John, “As l have just bought her for you”

They had her for many years. I did not ask what ultimately happened to her, that part l am a coward over and don’t want to know.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Meet the rcvs Day

I spent yesterday in London on a Meet the rcvs day. I learnt a lot about what rcvs (royal college of veterinary surgeons) do and had a nice lunch. I do not know if it is good or bad that I was not what Jill (president of the rcvs) was expecting. I said “what you expected me more gobby and less tatty”, Jill just grinned.
I swear us Africans are coming out the woodwork. The waiter at rcvs was a shy lad and was from my home town of Bulawayo. There was a lady from SA on the bus.

I really do not like London, it is dirty and has no dustbins, l am not a bomber l wanted to dispose of rubbish. London is costly, my 92p dr pepper from the north was in London 1.59 l managed to get one for 1.39.

The statues and artwork are amazing and while the buildings have some wonderful architecture and carvings in stone and bronze they have a cold feeling heart. It is like all those years of scheming inside have stained their souls. I was looking at the church commissioners building opposite parliament when this thought struck me about the difference between their shells and souls. Having said that l do not like cities in general.

The South African lady on the bus told me where to jump off as she was getting off at the same stop. She was a chartered accountant over at the Dept. of transport. Just about opposite the rcvs, as you can guess we chatted about the state of Africa.

I was in London very early and went for a walk along to the houses of parliament in the sun which was nice. I was toying, till l saw the que, of mooching about inside Westminster abbey.
I went instead into Lady Margaret church next to it, a lovely little gem that only a few people were in. The plaques were fascinating with their stories of the long gone and olde writing.
One small statue vignettes on the wall fascinated me. It is in memory of someone but the man kneeling on a cushion has had his legs, arm and head off. The woman facing him and 2 children behind her are perfect. I do not know who it is of he was not mentioned, l assumed the woman was a queen but do not know. Everywhere else even damaged work was not overly damaged. Yet this seemed very deliberate, unfortunately no one was around to ask about it. If anyone knows l would love to hear the reason.

At the rcvs we were split into 2 small groups. l asked a lot of questions, every time the comment any questions popped up... everyone's eyes swivelled towards me. I got the impression that several people were on tender hooks for me to start a blazing row. Actually l see no point in doing that. Some questions were answered in general conversations other answers were incomplete due to time but at least in part were answered, even though it did open others unasked. It is up to me to decide if l really care enough at the moment to know the answers or leave it till such a time as l decide l want to know.

At one point the other group marched off to the waterproof basement (rcvs seem very proud of the waterproof basement, it was mentioned a lot) apparently the person showing them round is desperate to find out the history of a flag that rcvs store down there. I asked Jill why they had not taken a photo of the flag and sent it to the museums. They have enough to cover every subject in London. I got such a look of total astonishment l thought l had grown an extra head and had to feel for it. Apparently no one had thought of such a simple solution.

l have a better idea of what rcvs did and didn’t do which was a good starting point as like 99% of veterinary staff l had no idea and what l thought was about 90% wrong.
rcvs do the following:
1) Sort curriculum for vet and vn education and see that whoever supplies it stays suitable and current as do those practising.
2) Information storage and grants for veterinary research and other projects education travel etc.
3) Talk with the politicians etc over various animal related issues –although not convinced they seem to do any good again answers were vague, l kept being told to read the literature and no hard facts were given to my questions, l was not impressed.
4) Disciplinary if it brought the profession into public disrepute – The example given was, if a vet stole another persons spouse that didn’t matter.(except to the other spouse) If someone lied about work they had done that did.
5) Fees for registration to practice which are meant to help with the various things they do 1-4 above.
6) bvna are there to support nurses and bva to support vets, rcvs is the paperwork wagon that rolls along in between.

On the 2 veterinary registers - this is people legally able to call themselves and practice veterinary work: there are 8232 qualified vet nurses and 23445 vet surgeons in the UK

On the trip home there was some shrill voiced possibly arab female (l never looked even when getting off the phone my head ached to much to care) on the phone behind me she talked non stop for over 2 hours and when l got off the train at my stop she was still shrieking down the phone in a godawful monotone shrill. ... Ahh well at least l had a lovely lunch and an informative day.

I missed the programme last night on vet's but have been reading about it, as usual the tv did not give an honest balanced view. I understand that vet staff are having a hard time today due to this. Animals in need of tests are being refused the tests by the owners as they say vets are ripping them off. As animals can not talk the basic blood tests are invaluable to diagnosis and treatment.
Tempers are frayed when they are told that a prescription will cost x and need regular check ups every few months by the vet.
Thank goodness l am off for a few days hopefully by then things will have died down.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Carrying a Grudge

Had a fairly chunky cat in a couple of nights ago with FUS, he weighed about 7kg. Often the FUS cats can be grumpy as they are uncomfy so we always tend to move carefully with them. This one was a bloody minded sod. You could stroke the top of his head with a finger but 2 fingers was not allowed as you may try to grab him, he wasn't daft. No stethoscopes to listen to his heart. If you did manage to get one close enough all you heard was the growl in the chest and your hand got damp with his hissing with fangs rubbing on your hand in warning. The fangs were big, sharp and ready for use.

We needed to give him a bolus of fluid every hour as the vets wanted precise fluid and the pumps were in use. This meant we had to put an extension set onto his leg catheter so we could do things from a distance. To get the extension on he had to have a sleep because we were no way in hell getting near him awake.

I dropped a blanket over him, avoided teeth and nails that were coming through the material and pinned him. The vet worked out where the backside was for his snoozy juice.
The extension was attached, his bladder checked and expressed as we had him asleep and his first bolus given then his snooze was reversed. The whole thing took less than about 10minutes.

An hour and next bolus due l carefully opened the door farthest from him. The extension was near this door (nice long extension l wasn't daft) to give him his next bolus. At this point he was in the far corner of a double kennel, we try and give FUS cats double kennel so they have space. He had climbed into his litter tray not cause he wanted to pee just it was where he wanted to sleep. As l lifted the extension and put the needle in he watched.

When my attention was off him as he was just lying there he moved. Up on the back legs, front out stretched and all claws out he hurtled at me, l slammed the door just as he hit it and tried to swipe me with the claws while hissing and snarling. He then grumped, turned round and went back to his litter tray pulling the extension back in around him.
We often have cats that are nasty if you try handle them but he was not doing this. He initiated and brought the attack to me. Not something cats do often, they prefer swipes at being handled and vocalising to warn.

5 mins later when he had settled l had to use the door nearest him this time to get the extension, as it was now about 2 inches from his front leg. I managed to get it and pulled it out the door, he kept hissing and grumping but no attack, he had made his point there. I slowly closed the door and gave him his bolus leaving the extension hanging out. It was able to pull under the kennel door as there was a big gap but at least we could now do bolus until he moved and pulled it back in a few hours later.

Last night he was a lot better and just hissed l even managed to slide the scope under and hear a heart amongst the background growling.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

A Snake in the Hand

I thought it about time l put up some stories of my life as a kid growing up in Rhodesia. Snakes tended to appear unexpectedly in life in Africa and then slide out again.

One day helping my Mum and the gardener move paving slabs l noticed a tiger snake curled up on a slab. I casually said, “Look mum a tiger snake”

“Don’t be silly” said my Mum not looking.

“Yiiiiyeeeeeeeeeee” the scream from the gardener was followed by a crash as he threw away the slab and went into a sprint that an Olympic runner would do justice to.

The noise made my Mum turn round, she headed off in the other direction.

I did what any sensible child would do under the circumstances. I grabbed the snake around the head. He had enough of humans and was about to slide off in the 3rd direction. African Tiger snakes are lovely golden snake with black stripes on goign across the body, they are back fanged and not particular poisonous, this was an adult roughly 2 foot long.

I asked Mum, who was casting dark looks at me and telling me to put it down "NOW", to find a box and punch some holes in the lid.
As l refused to let go the snake she was in a dilemma so took the easy way out and got me a box. I took it round to Mark for his snake collection.

Mark l knew from my class at school used to have a huge snake collection and lived just down the road. I would visit him with Jane, one of my 2 best friends who lived opposite him. Marks parents thought he had a few non poisonous snakes.
The reality was that he had about 40 snakes, some safe, some semi poisonous and moving all the way up to highly venomous like puff adders, various cobras and similar.

He had been known to have one of his semi poisonous snakes give him a bite so he was feeling ill and could miss tests. I guess the moral of the story is that parents should really learn a bit more about kid’s hobbies. Nowadays problems from the internet are easy to deal with, at least that can be solved by pulling a plug.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Guessing Game

So how about a quick guessing game... what's this picture of an x-ray .... hint it is to do with a dog.


If you said ball you guessed right 2 dogs want the same play item so one wins by default and cheating, well what else do you call swallowing the item in question? Oh and the squeaker still worked post removal.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

A Broken Heart

Back in Tenerife, Elsie and l had gone up to Adeje the main town in the council area. I have forgotten what the reason was but this lovely little brown bitch trotted up to us.
I asked Elsie to ask people around if she belonged to anyone. The answer was no she is just a street perro (dog) well not any more l said she comes with us.

Bella settled in very quickly she was so loving and just wanted love in return. She had spent the first week with us when a family turned up, took one look and fell in love.
Bella went off to her new life, for a week when they turned up again.
“She is dirty, she steals food, she is smelly”
I said l had been through her history with them. I had explained all possible problems, that she had only known the streets and they had accepted and understood what l had told them. I said that l would be happy to help train her up and so she could stay with them.
“No” said the woman “l do not want her… we will have that one” pointing at one of the other dogs and treating Bella as though she did not exist.
I left them in no doubt that they would never have one of my rescue dogs, they are not disposable and to get off the property.

Bella struggled in my arms as they drove off. When they had gone and l shut the gate she ran up to the gate digging and crying. I carried her back her cries were heartbreaking. I put her in with a couple of quiet but loving Podenco’s l had in to see if she would settle with them she just went flat and stared at the door. When she got out at playtime she went straight to the gate digging and crying trying to get out.

Within 2 days l was force feeding her with food and water. Her weight fell off her and she went from chubby to a skeleton in what seemed like a day.
If a car came to the gate she perked up looking for her family. As soon as she saw it wasn’t them she collapsed again, silent.

I thought of taking her home to help her but then l would have put her hopes up again and then have to wean her off and l couldn’t do that. I couldn't not get her on an emergency flight to Germany for a couple of weeks. Assuming she survived.
My guilt looking at her was and still is so deep l will always carry it.

Tony came out a few days later and l went straight up to see him. He did not actually believe me until l got there. While we were talking his wife and a friend of hers came towards us out of sight, their voices and footsteps carrying.
Bella jumped up and yipped, saw Wendy and collapsed again in despair.
Tony looked at me, then at Bella. “She won’t make it you know. I would never have believed a dog could die of a broken heart but she does not want to live without those people"” he said quietly.

I knew that but lived in hope he may have some magic cure for her even though in my heart l knew he didn’t.
“I know l told him, she won’t even survive the trip to Germany and even then….”

I carried her into his consult room and she slipped quietly away. She loved to death a family that had no doubt forgotten her within days. I know she has found the peace and love that was denied her on earth.

Sunday, 8 March 2009


One more shift before my 11 shifts of lates and nights marathon is done. Thankfully sunday is like tonight 13-23:00 so l will get a good nights sleep. Not much sleep over last night well morning as l was not in bed till about 4am by the time l got home and was in for 1:30 today. Added to that every time l moved in bed my knee felt like someone shoved a red hot poker into it.

Anyhow as my brain is at the moment mushed, and not up to thinking of anything intelligent to say l decided on some humour, with the hope that l will be unbrain tangled in the next couple of days.:

Pocket Taser Stun Gun

Pocket Taser Stun Gun, a great gift for the wife. A guy who purchased his lovely wife a pocket Taser for their anniversary submitted this:

Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket, purse-sized taser.

The effects of the taser were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety...


Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two triple-A batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button.
Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs.
Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Julie what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave. Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-A batteries, right ? !!

There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised.

Am I wrong? So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, and taser in another.
The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water.
Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries. All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-A batteries) thinking to myself, "no possible way!"

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best... I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, "don't do it master," reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad..
I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and ........

I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the foetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to her self, "Do it again, do it again!"

Note: If you ever feel compelled to "mug" yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three-second burst would be considered conservative.

SON-OF-A-... That hurt like hell!!! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. How did they get up there???

My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I'm still looking for my testicles? I'm offering a significant
reward for their safe return. Still in shock.

P.S. My wife loved the gift, and now regularly threatens me with it!
"If you think Education is difficult, try being stupid".

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Scruffs Pet Beds

Yesterday we had a company that makes dog and cat beds also collars and leads bring us a load of seconds and returned beds for dogs and cats to do with as we wanted. The staff descended like vultures. I managed to get Wibble a lovely bed and have placed her duvet (feather of course!) into it, so she had extra padding.

Then half an hour later the company came back with another load. This time l grabbed some beds for night shift staff pets as well, but of course, as l did not get everyone a bed l came in for abuse. Day shift were grabbing for friends and family etc which while not fair was par for the course. (l was on 13:00-23:00 shift)

The really useful thing is that the beds have lots of zips so you can take the covers off and wash them separate and rinse the inside foam on it's own. Usually the problem with pet beds is as soon as you put them in the wash the interior snarls into a ball, you can not untangle it and it goes soft and saggy.

By way of thanks to the company Scruffs Beds l would advise anyone looking for dog or cat beds beds to have a look at them they make fantastic beds. On the website go into their Scruffs (dogs) and Tramps (cats) section. Wibble got their Park Lane - Windsor (large/cream) dog bed

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Amazing Zooming Photos

Not animals but an amazing site. In this photo l think it is Obamas inauguration thingy or something fancy the important thing is the photo.
You can zoom in from 10 000s of faces to see a single face. Move the picture while you are zooming so you can pick the area to zoom.

There is a whole gallery to choose from of photos from what l could see. To get to the gallery click the Exit Full Screen on the top left of the picture.

Monday, 2 March 2009

FUS Cats

There is a very high incidence amongst cats of FUS (Feline Urinary Syndrome) at the moment, unusual, we normally have a big collection around fireworks night.
Females have a much larger urethra and do not usually get FUS they do get cystitis though.
FUS generally affects male cats. Males have a very tiny penis that blocks easily. However if your cat (male or female) can not urinate or keeps going and passing small amounts or it is bloody, anything out of the ordinary see the vet as soon as possible.

FUS is rather an innocuous term but it is actually a life threatening condition. The cat is unable to pass urine. Due to crystals or urethral spasm which is often stress related or idiopathic reasons. The bladder backs up as it can not empty, the cat goes into renal failure and if not corrected and the bladder emptied the cat WILL die.

My cat Ginger got FUS in Tenerife. I went to the best island vet as Tony was not out in Tenerife at that point, the vet refused to empty the bladder as it was not full enough. I was ignorant of the dangers and agreed to go back the next day. I wish l had known what to do and was going to happen. There was also no vet available in the night.

I sat up with Ginger and in the middle of the night he started to fit. I sedated him and went over to see a friend in another block. I had lodged a trainee German vet with her. I asked the trainee to come and put Ginger down for me l would supervise but couldn’t do it myself, trying to put my own pet down was not something l thought l could do.
The lass came over but wouldn’t put Ginger down and begged me not to. I agreed to give him one more go but any fitting and l wanted her to put him down. About 30minutes later Ginger had another fit. I sedated him down again and she refused to put him down saying wait, l refused and despite her protestations put him down myself. She went home sulking, l was emotionally screwed up, going between disgust at her behaviour and pain and guilt in what l had done to Ginger. I next did the second hardest thing l have done, l put Ginger in a plastic bag and put him in the dustbin outside.
When l went back to bed l finally crumbled and l burst into tears which woke hub up, I hadn’t wanted to as he had had a hard day. He was upset at what had happened as he loved Ginger as well and was horrified l had not woken him up with all the drama. I pointed out that l knew he would have struggled to cope with the situation it was easier for me and what with the bloody trainee stressing l couldn’t cope with 2. He understood.

This made me very aware of the danger of FUS. And the fact that the bladder does not have to be very big there may have been a series of short term blocks, possibly un noticed or as they seemed to clear un worried about. In Gingers case he had the short term blocks that cleared l had noticed but did not realise the danger. These probably damaged the kidneys.

Under normal circumstances the cat is admitted and bloods run straight away. This will give an idea of what is happening with his kidneys and other system values. He is put onto fluids appropriate to the blood results.
As soon as possible the bladder is emptied. Sometimes a cysto will be carried out. For this their side is clipped and cleaned over the bladder area (some vets prefer to do this with the cat on their back not their side) A needle is inserted into the bladder and the urine drawn out. This helps take some of the pressure off the bladder.

A cat urinary catheter is then inserted, a cats penis is tiny and insertion can be difficult. Sometimes an eye flushing catheter needs to be placed and saline is flushed along it (retro flushing) to try and push debris (crystals and sediment) back to the bladder.
Finally with luck ok and skill the main urinary catheter is inserted and the bladder is flushed out. Usually a sample is kept to check for crystals type and size.
The urine can be very bloody especially as if there is crystals they have been rolling around and damaging the bladder lining.

If the catheter went in easily then practices vary but the one l was at tend to remove the catheter after a good flushing with several hundred ml of saline. If it is badly blocked then the catheter is sewn in and the cat has to put up with the catheter for several days having it flushed every few hours to help clean the bladder out. Some crystals if large may need an operation to remove them.

If it is impossible to place a urinary catheter then vets will discuss operation choices with the owners to bypass the blockage but this is for extreme cases.

Food changes are indicated for some crystals. The food correcting the body’s Ph and stopping the crystal type forming. In Gingers case it was crystals, the water in Tenerife is very high in calcium and l did not realise how common FUS was there.
One of the biggest factors in UK FUS cats is weight. The amount of obese cats that have it is huge and probably the biggest factor.
If stress related then reasons are discussed about what is going on. Sometimes basic suggested changes can help with a bit of common sense. Other times a good behaviourist can help.

Once a cat has had FUS they may be prone to reoccurring bouts and it can get very expensive. An owner needs to be aware of future ramifications of the condition which their vet should discuss in detail with them. Another good reason to have insurance. And my good old chant go via petplan

Placing the urinary catheter

The bladder is flushed with saline and the urine is often very bloody

The catheter is sutured in place and a line placed on to drain the urine away from the cat, sometimes the line is left off if the cat is restless so he does not twist it.

If they are worried the vet may take an x-ray of the bladder with a "contrast medium" the white oblong is the bladder. Any leaks would show a white explosion or line out of the bladder. In this case all is normal.