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Pet People

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Good Vet : More Than a Good Doctor

One of the most important relationships a pet owner has is the one shared with their pets’ doctor.

When we got our first dog, Tramp, there were no vets south of the river until Dr. Darryl Holt of Animal House on Dover Road began seeing patients at a now-closed Hwy. 48 feed store. I was thrilled to have a vet closer to home, especially after getting to know Holt, one of the kindest vets I’ve ever met. When the store closed, I made the long trip to Animal House because I was so pleased with Holt’s caring touch.

Eventually, Animal House expanded, and Southside Veterinary Clinic, part of Gateway Animal Care Group, opened on Hwy. 48. As we added more pets to our pack, I got to know the wonderful new doctors there: Steve Hampton, Tab Spoonamore and Brad Herbeck.

Over the years, I’ve had numerous pet emergencies: Penny got snake bit; Peanut gobbled a rawhide treat without bothering to chew, blocked his intestines and spent several days at the clinic undergoing X-rays, IVs and observation; Zoe had a misunderstanding with Scooter and her tooth ended up embedded in her upper lip, to name just a few of our pet travails.

The vets always recommend the least invasive (and least expensive) procedures first. They never push, they always listen and they treat our pets with genuine affection and concern, as does the entire staff.

I also admire the way they help local animal rescues with discounted prices. I often show up with a needy animal, and they always go above and beyond.

The most memorable case was that of Data, a young, sweet, abandoned border collie. Data had a terrible limp, most likely from being hit by a car. He suffered multiple hip breaks that were never treated. The bones healed crookedly, obstructing his intestines and causing his stool to come out a flat ribbon.

I took Data in for vaccines, neutering and X-rays, which revealed the serious condition. Hampton said that because the injury was several months old, surgery would be dangerous and should be performed by a specialist. Going that route would cost thousands, something neither I nor the rescue could afford. Graciously, he offered to tackle the risky operation himself at a drastically reduced rate.

During surgery, a vet tech called. Hampton saw he’d have to get extremely close to vital organs, and Data could die. Did I want him to continue or close? If he closed, Data would live, but would require stool softeners his entire life and run the risk of constant intestinal blockages. I told them to continue if they thought they could help.

And help they did. Data recovered and today lives downtown with the owners of Rock ‘n’ Rocks, who adopted him through the Humane Society. You can barely discern his former injury. Data’s case was just one of many where the vets came to the rescue.

When a 14-year-old Tramp collapsed late one, I knew it was bad. Panicked, I called the emergency number, but the vet on call was from another clinic in the group, and I’d have to travel to Animal House. Knowing Tramp wouldn’t make it, I called Hampton at home, waking him up. He didn’t hesitate before telling me to bring Tramp to Southside.

Sadly, Tramp died on my lap in the car, the exact place she laid when we drove her home after adopting her from the Humane Society 12 years earlier.

I left Tramp to be cremated and asked Hampton to save a snip of her hair. When we picked up her remains, they were in a nice urn. A large snip of her tail hair was tied securely with a rubber band. A sympathy card arrived a few days later.

That’s what a good vet does: care for you along with your pets. Of course, it’s important that you are a good client. Care for your pets properly, see your vet regularly and listen to what he or she says.

Several local vets help rescues, and my hope is more will join them and also take the lead in helping to solve our community's severe animal problem. Instead of being against pet licensing because of disagreements over fee collection, I hope they’ll offer solutions—maybe banding together to host low-cost spay and neuter events in conjunction with the Humane Society’s program, as many vets do in other cities.

After all, they know best that the only way to control pet populations is to, as Bob Barker would say, “have your pet spayed and neutered.”

Share your vet stories--the good, the bad and the ugly! Above is a picture of Peanut after he came back from his eating-the-chewie ordeal. The bandage on his leg was where the IV was placed. Poor Little Man!

posted by Sandy at 7/09/2007 08:39:00 PM


Blogger pearcehart said...

We have been going to Animal House since we moved here and lived in Woodlawn. Our vet tech friend worked there before she moved back to california. Dr. Sykes was so kind when Trouble was sick. They are all a great bunch of vets and vet techs.

I have been doing some research about our situation with the licensing. Interestingly, the consensus is that the main problem is lack of education. people just don't understand what the problem is and how spaying and neutering is the answer. To me, I am heartsick over the thought of all the pets euthanized for no good reason. People have mistaken ideas about spaying/neutering, responsiblities, behaviors, etc.

I was appalled at the finding by one study that the biggest perpetrators of pet relinquishments are men under 35 who had the pets for a short time. I was also further disgusted to learn the following:

The National Council on Pet Population
Study and Policy:

The Top Ten Reasons for Pet Relinquishment to Shelters in the United States

1. Moving
2. Landlord issues
3. Cost of pet maintenance
4. No time for pet
5. Inadequate facilities
6. Too many pets in home
7. Pet illness (es)
8. Personal problems
9. Biting
10. No homes for littermates

1. Too many in house
2. Allergies
3. Moving
4. Cost of pet maintenance
5. Landlord issues
6. No homes for littermates
7. House soiling
8. Personal problems
9. Inadequate facilities
10. Doesn't get along with other pets

These animals are givem up because they are dangerous but because they don't fit into people's lifestyles.

And finally, from the Humane Society of the US:

HSUS: Solving the Pet Overpopulation Problem

The solution can be simply stated. Its implementation, however, requires sweeping efforts from a variety of organizations and people, including you.

The solution is this: Only by implementing widespread sterilization programs, only by spaying and neutering all companion animals, will we get a handle on pet overpopulation. Consider the fact that in six short years, one female dog and her offspring can give birth to hundreds of puppies. And, in seven years, one cat and her young can produce hundreds of kittens.

Given these high reproductive rates, it stands to reason that, in only a few years, carefully planned and implemented sterilization programs could produce a dramatic reduction in the number of unwanted companion animals born. In fact, in those towns and cities that have implemented such programs, we've already seen the number of companion animals who had to be euthanized decline by 30 to 60 percent—even in those communities where human populations have been steadily increasing.

But these programs don't create themselves. They require the planning and coordination of many people. Successful pet population control programs range from subsidized sterilization clinics to cooperative efforts involving local veterinarians to mass media educational campaigns. Only through the continued nationwide establishment of such programs will we bring an end to the tragedy of pet overpopulation.

Community-Based Solutions

Legislation can have the most direct impact simply by requiring that every pet adopted from a municipal or county shelter be sterilized within a certain period of time. Similarly, differential-licensing laws—laws that substantially increase license fees for pets who have not been spayed or neutered—give owners an incentive to sterilize their pets.

Education, too, is an essential part of solving this problem. Unless people know the facts about pet overpopulation and sterilization, they are virtually helpless to do anything about the problem.

Reduced spay/neuter fees play an important role as well. Subsidized spay/neuter clinics and programs in some communities have already helped bring down the cost of sterilization. In areas where veterinarians have agreed to reduce their spay/neuter fees, we've seen a significant decline in the number of animals euthanized.

Finally, pet owners can do their part by having their companion animals spayed or neutered. This is the single most important step you can take. Have your pet sterilized so that he or she does not contribute to the pet overpopulation problem, and adopt your next pet from an animal shelter.

Updated Oct. 12, 2006.

there needs to be some sort of education program that goes out to teach kids about this, maybe at the County Fair, or places where people of all ages can learn the facts. A car race would be good since that audience tends to be young men.

I used to do that sort of thing about Child Abuse. I went to schools and taught kids about being safe and when to tell an adult about secret touches. I wish I could do it for the pets. My medical situation barely lets me leave the house at all, let alone be in public for any length of time. I wish I was younger...

Monday, July 09, 2007 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger pearcehart said...

I meant to say, the pets are NOT given up because they are dangerous..

Monday, July 09, 2007 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Alice, the Humane Society does have an education program where they will go into the schools and teach about exactly these things. One of their goals is to be able to expand education more into the adult community, such as through the Jaycees or the Civitans, etc. Of course, since they are donation and grant funded, it can be difficult to do everything that they want to do. But, believe me, the rescue community here in Montgomery County shares the belief that education is key to this whole crazy thing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:58:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

There are good Vets and not so good Vets in this world! When we moved here we found what we thought to be a good Vet for Skeeter from a referral. Everything was fine until we had to put him down. When I called to inquire about the procedures, they informed me that they would have to put a catheter in him during the procedure in case he made a mess! I told them that I had never heard of such treatment and could they skip on the catheter if I would promise to clean up any messes my baby left them. They said no and that was standard procedure! I was so upset at the thought of my baby having to be catheterized in his last moments with us. I was crying my eyes out when I called the Saint at work and passed on this news. He too had never heard of anything like that procedure before. So once he calmed me down enough to get me off the phone, he did some phone calling and found out that that was NOT standard procedure! We had no experiences with such things so what did we know???.... I wondered if they were just out to get more money off of an unknown client..?...

We found a Vet near our new house and we made the arrangements to take Skeeter in for his final goodbye... No catheter involved and they questioned me when asked about that. I was too upset to talk to them about it so I just kind of blew it off and did not answer them for fear I would break down and act a fool in their offices... Anyway, after the arrivals of Sheba and Cheetah, we have kept the same Vet and really are pleased with his services. Although, our area is growing like mad and it is not so easy getting in and out of his office with all the growth. I hope in time, he may expand his business and add another Vet to take off some of his load.....

My mom has a great Vet. I have talked about their Special needs baby and posted Punkin’s picture before. We suspect she was a backyard forced bred tortie. She has to take medicine every day to keep her going. She has had horrible intestinal problems for many years. I don’t think anyone expected her to live beyond 5 years or so with all of her health issues. But "Doc" has done a great job of keeping that baby strong and healthy. She is now 10 years old (I think) and doing great!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

Well boys and girls, I just mailed a check to the Humane Society to purchase one 11 pound bottle of HINES 57.(That's what Jeremy calls our new dog Hines) All I need to do now is work it out to keep him in a comfortable atmosphere til we get back from vacation. I think I have it worked out with Jeanette, the foster Mom, but since we had to step up the adoption process, she may not be able to keep him with her. I'll get it all straightened out. BUT I HAVE A HINES!!!!!YEAH!!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

On the topic of vet visits...About a month back I took Stella to the vet for her rabies shot and a check up. I changed vets b/c where I was taking the cat was in Alexandria and is 40 miles from us now. So I went to a new vet closer to us. It was the first and last time I will go there. He is an older doctor who only does things old school. I normally don't have an issue with doing things old school but there are so many new things that work better.

He told me that I was killing Stella. I buy the regular 7 way vaccine from a licensed vet supply and give it to my dogs myself. It's cheaper for us, about $7 a shot. I also buy there flea and tick treatment online from a vet supply also b/c it's cheaper. He said that only a vet should be giving these. I understand where he was coming from, but we have always done this. From the time I was little I remember being there while we gave the dogs and cats shots. He also told me that Stella was over weight. HA! She is only 116 lbs. I told him he was nuts. SHE'S A ST. BERNARD! She's a heavy dog. He wanted her to weigh under 100 lbs. Then he wanted to exam her ON the table. I have never had ANY vet pick her up and put her on a table. She's too big! Which is what I told him and said he needed to exam her on the floor. He told me that if I didn't help get her on the table, he wasn't going to see her. I should have walked out then, but I needed for her to get her rabies. She freaked out being on the table and almost fell off. Then he tells me she has ear mites and wants me to pay $185 for a bottle of solution. UMM NO! At that point I said to just give her the shot, b/c I had to leave.

He made me feel so bad. I was so worried when I left that he was going to call animal control and try to have my dogs taken from me.

I have since taken Stella to another vet to have her ears checked and she DOES NOT have ear mites. He sad with most dogs that have large droopy ears get wax build up and the more they are outside, the dirtier they can get. To just clean her ears with an alcohol/vinegar solution once a month and she would be fine. I'm glad I went with my gut instead of listening to him.

I received a post card in the mail from him a couple of weeks ago saying that I needed to treat my dogs ears and get her on flea stuff. I called him and told him that he would not be seeing my dog again and that he has no buisness treating animals the way he does and hung up on him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

CONGRATS BRETT!!!! All god things works themselves out. I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to hear all about the great family adventures you all will have!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

ok--now for a post on subject--We take all our monsters to All God Creatures Clinic to see Dr. Ramey. She was recommended to me when we first got Lucy, by a girl I worked with. She had like 5 cats. I have to admit, I was nervous about it because I hadn't been to vet before. NONE of our dogs growing up went to the vet-ever. So this was a new experience for me. But ALL of the girls that work there are SO friendly and I can tell that they do love their jobs and genuinely care for the animals they treat. Dr. Ramey gives it to us straight-no LALALALA speeches. She does brow beat me alittle when it comes to Lucy's weight--but it's only because she cares about what it may do later in Lucy's life. I've had emergency situations where she took my one of my babies in on a seconds notice, or advised me of what to do til I coudl get my pet to the office. She kindda gets alittle upset with me cuz I'm a natural born worry wart and I'm the one that wigs out when Jeremy is the calm one. She suggested I start trying to learn about the simple injuries and conditions that every dog or cat faces, that aren't wonderful to have, but not exactly life threatening. So I bought my big DOG AND CAT EMERGENCY BOOK and began to study up. I started looking stuff up on pet web-sites and put some effort into recognizing little things and big things, and kowing when to freak out and when not too. OK--I still freak out, but I don't go take Charlie to the vet anymore everytime he has the runs either. I think we have some great vets in town, other wise we wouldn't have any at all cuz they couldn't stay in business. But we like Dr. Ramey-she's pretty cool.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

Adrienne, you can buy the ear wash stuff at Pet Smart that is supposed to keep ear wax down and prevent mite invasion. It's not extremely expensive, and a bottle will last a good long while.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 1:09:00 PM  
Blogger O'Malley said...

I could sing the praises of Dr Winn at St Bethlehem all day. When Cody was first diagnosed with cancer, it was hard for me to drive to Knoxville for his treatments. In my opinion she left her comfort zone when she offered to treat Cody in her office. She had never treated a cancer doggie before and spent a lot of time on the phone to UT to get things done and to know exactly what to do. I will forever hold her on a pedestal for everything she did for us and still does. They have also done the same thing for me when I took a stray in. I think they know I am the crazy lady who thinks she can save all the animals in the world and they give me a break.

I have had a bad experience with one vet in town but I don't want to slander anyone local so I won't mention names. I thought a very sick stray at my house was going to need to be put down and called this vet who agreed to come to the house. The cat did not need to be put down but due to this vets ignorance, the cat almost died and cost me over $500. Once again, the folks at St B helped me out and the kitty is still with us a couple of years later. And she is no longer a "stray" After spending that much money on her we forced her to become a member of the family whether she wanted to or not!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 1:26:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

I am not stuttering here, just posting this twice to make sure you see it Brett. After all, you are the one which stutters! LOL

Brett, I forgot to tell you how happy I am that you will be having a new addition to your family with Hines! I am so glad it all worked out for y'all!!!! I hope you did not loose too much sleep with that first visit, but maybe that was Hines way of making sure you were the right family for him! Your way of handling things worked out in the end…I think this is great news!!!

Your 11 pound bottle of Hines 57.. Now that is funny! I rarely put sauce on my steak (a good steak does not require any sauce) but when I do, it is Heinz 57!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 3:37:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I love the picture of Brett and Hines on the couch. Brett is reaching out,and Hines is looking at him like "who is this fool? I don't know.....I don't see a treat in his hand or anything. Should I trust him?"

I can't wait until they get back from vacation and they have him 24/7. I'm sure we'll be hearing all kinds of great stories.

Now we have Shannon, who just got a new pup Rocky,Adrienne has the new Hunter, and Brett and Jeremy have Hines! Yes,lots of good stories to come.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 4:48:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Adrienne, that vet was such a jerk! $185 for a bottle of ear medicine!

I know people who give their pets ALL their shots, except rabies of course. That is the only one that has to be given by a vet. You can order all of them from reputable online pet suppy places.

Brett, Dr. Ramey is one of those great vets who helps out the shelters a lot too.

Shannon, now I'm dying to know what vet you are talking about. You must email me the scoop!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 4:54:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

Alice - I wanted you to know that I copied your research and sent it to a couple folks here in the office who were considering adoption of pets. After they read your research, they were P*ssed. They definitely are going to do their own research to make sure they that they are ready to have pets in their home and when they are, they get the right one and treat it the right way. Great Going ALice!!! You taught TWO couples about the importance of adopting and the importance of helping control the over population problem. YOU GO ALICE!!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Skeeter, I'm with you, I thought of steak sacue when B calls Hines, Hines 57. It is good stuff.
Shannon, me too on what Sandy asked. Tell me on a privet email about the vet you had the bad experience with. too have had some problems wit one whi I think flat out lied to me about my sweet baby who had the leukemia. I will email you the details on that too. I don't want to bad mouth anyone on here either.

Thursday, July 12, 2007 9:41:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Pam, I will email you on my parents Vet... He is great and in your area...

Friday, July 13, 2007 10:50:00 AM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.

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