Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tick and Treat...

Well...Who said that "time flies when you having fun"?? Time sure flies when you are running around fire-fighting on 5 -6 fronts at a time too!!

January has been one of these months...when I wish there were 3 more hours to my 24 hr day!Ok, we're back on track now and a lot "I-wish-I-could-blog" stuff have happened but the one thing I want to share is that this year we may be facing a new disease in our dogs and cats in Mauritius; one imported from the African continent (most probably South Africa)

Since, November of last year, I have been brought several cases of dogs with pronounced lethargy, swollen peripheral lymph nodes, fever, neurological symptoms and very low Red Blood Cell counts.All these are textbook symptoms of a disease called Babesiosis; whereby a unicellular parasites invades their host's red blood cells and reproduce there. Babesia is a tick-borne disease and is transmitted through tick bites from dog to dog. Bad news - Some Babesia infect humans too.

My attempts to treat symptomatically failed and as of now,the results are as follows:
I had to euthanise one of the animals;
One is still in a chronic lethargic state;
1 puppy died and 2 others out of the red zone and safe.

Since this disease is not "recognised" in Mauritius we, of course, do not ave the specific drug that treats it. Looking up for several hours on the internet, I learnt that some drugs used to treat human Trypanosomiasis work.So here I am phoning my human doctor friends for info...after several phone calls I end up in the Sanitary Division of the Ministry of Health where I learnt that I cannot get the drug.Aaaaargh!Back to internet again then...and this time I decided to review scientific papers on that disease.Bingo!(or at least I think so). Research done in 2000 tend to show that one antibiotic commonly used for respiratory infections (Azythromicin) works. At that time, I just lost one out of 3 Rott pups, so I decided to try this on the 2 that were left. After 3 days, they were much better and their submandibular lymph nodes were back to normal and fever was gone! Pfiuuuuh!So I start to ask questions about ticks...Mum is full of ticks; the one who is in a chronic state had a bad beat recently with ticks and the one I had to euthanise (old and agonising with anaemia)was of course....full of ticks!

Amidst all this, I of course, contacted the Division of Veterinary Services for an official report of my "suspicions" and faced with the lack of motivation, I decided to take the matter further MYSELF. I took blood before euthanasia; took one sample from the Dam of the Rott pups and a third one from the chronic lethargic doggy and sent all this to South Africa for analysis.
Now, waiting for the results to come in, I can only put a word out to all my colleagues about this situation and hope it might save a few doggy lives. Whilst talking to one colleague in particular, I got the following statement; "Wow! That's interesting Sam. Let's keep this for ourselves...this will give us an edge over other vets!" What a mentality!As if we are vets to compete with each other!He got a blunt "F**k you dude!" and "Go re-think why you became a vet!". I may have spoilt my relationship with that colleague but...hey I don't care!

Well, Mauritian vets out there...until we get Imidocarb (drug of choice for canine Babz)please have your Azythromicin handy.

With this intense hot and now humid weather, the next few months are going to be just "Tick and Treat!" for us vets...kinda our version of Halloween!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

PNYTS - Post New Year Trauma Syndrome...

Back to clinical stuff again...

This year starts off with a series of bad trauma that dogs sustained trying to flee firecrackers.
One trapped her leg in the metallic door she was trying to jump over, stayed hung like that for like 3 hours and fractured a leg bone before owner came to rescue. Dog came to me with a badly done bandage compressing the leg with massive pitting oedema due to loss of blood circulation. Tried to save the leg from "Compartment Syndrome" but necrosis starting at the tip of this leg; with loss of nails and pads - She is scheduled for amputation tomorrow.The limbs are made up of several"compartments"; distinct from each other and if there is an increase on internal pressure due to any kind of swelling, the pressure reverts back on the underlying blood vessels and flattens blood vessels - causing the lower parts to die. Compartment sydrome is insidious and may caost the life of your dog. Sad, Sad case...Bandage was put by someone who wanted to immobilise a fractured tarsal bone but caused much more damage than the fracture itself! Hera is a beautiful Malinois; so full of energy and life...
But I have faith in dogs' adaptation faculties...She will be alright and find a way to be happy...even with a missing lower leg.
Second dog fell from the rooftop and snapped his left femur ! Who the hell keeps dogs on rooftops?? Well...many Mauritians do...and think it's ok. So I wore my "angry eyes" and had a serious talk with the owners. The animal finds itself in blazing sunlight all day long and no matter what little shade it gets; a hot concrete rooftop is not your first choice to lie down on when you are feeling hot! Then there is wind...rain and the fact that dogs have scarce depth appreciation and in moments of extreme excitement or panic...they will cross overthe rim and fall.This one fell from a 2 storeyed house...I spent like 2 hours in surgery fixing that broken bone and judging by the amount of muscle damage the broken bones caused, he will have some permanent locomotory deficit.
The last one came today (or is it yesterday already?). The owners found their big fat doggy impaled on the projecting metallic "spikes" we like to put on our gates here. Massive deep skin laceration with exposure of mammary glands. Wound looked clean but I have a guarded prognosis on these types of wounds: at locations where there is a lot of fat as around mammary glands (sorry ladies!)wounds tend to heal slowly. Fat depots have a poor vascularisation and at the first laceration, the lipocytes will die, liquefy and mess up healing; hindering formation of repair tissue etc. I have left a gauze drain underneath and we'll see what comes with it on monday. Ok...funny moment during my conversation with the owner; when I prescribed pain killer suppositories he innocently asked me: "How do I give her that?" Looool! Good one! Am still waiting for someone to ask me "Do I put the suppository before or after a meal?" !

Trauma surgeries are cool but the room is in such a mess afterwards!!After the fracture surgery, my operation table was like a war zone...and it sometimes takes more time cleaning afterwards than actually performing the surgery. Talking about cleaning, I always smile when I wash one special surgical instrument: my Needle Holder! This buddy has been with me for like 17 years now and still look like new and performs like just out of the box...some stuff (and people too) are like that. I guess I will cry when this one breaks down eventually.

Yup! My 2011 started with a lot of stitching. Am happy that the heat is keeping the flies low key...otherwise, all these trauma would have been of full of wiggling, jostling little nightmares! Uuuugh!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

MMXI...Get the Party Animal out of your pet!

Last time I wrote on my blog was ...last year!

Been hectic always at this time of the year! As we all like to say: "New Year Celebrations....all the preparations; build up etc...and now its over!"

Yup. 01.01.11 already...Whilst we are busy getting all the "partyness" out of our body; looking again at that "2011 Resolutions" list and being convinced that "this year am gonna be up to it" (Lol!) what about our pets?
I spent some time watching my own Toshka today and judging by the phone calls and texts I received over the last few seems now is the time pets are celebrating...not yesterday!
Firecrackers; Fireworks; Loud people; Blaring music; too busy owners to give attention; party food maybe (Toshka had a blast with Marshmallows!)
We've heard it on the TV news;PAWS was on MBC Radio last week; I've been on Radio 1 on the 31st - about animals' sensitive hearing and how to prevent panic attacks in your pets etc...and yet all this loudness is unavoidable and last minute advice is of little to no help.

So add this to your resolutions list: "Get my dog desensitised to firecrackers this year". That is, get him prepared to that without having to go through an night of terror for the numerous times of the Year we chose to celebrate with Firecrackers.

How you do that? Well, type "Desensitise my dog to Firecrackers" and look it up on Google! Loool!And by the time you've read the first 3 articles ( need to read all of the 23,000 search results!!) you'll be an expert in that.
For the lazy ones...basically it is based on "Positive reinforcement technique" i.e. getting your pet to associate the loud noise with a positive experience. Some use real firecrackers and others used recordings of firecrackers...but in any case use real treats to "reward" them!
Personally, if I was going to go into that I would have opted for the recordings; that gives you the option of playing with the sound volume and progressively getting your pet accustomed to louder and louder noise.
If you gonna party and have fun...don't be the only Party Animal around; am sure your pet will adore being part of that too!

Ok...need to go Party with my siblings now...and tomorrow is gonna be a big party day (mostly night) too!
Aaaaaagh! MMXI !! Day 1/365 of loads of awesomeness!

HNY to all of Ya Party Animals out there!