Now that finals week has passed and I’ve recovered some of my brain function, I can finally write about the things that I’ve been wanting to write about for a while now.

I’ve had the chance to learn a lot about avians lately.  First, at the Midwest Veterinary Conference, I sat in on the Avian track all day.  Most of the info seemed fairly basic (how to do a physical exam, diagnostic techniques to use, common diseases, etc), but it was great for me, since I haven’t learned any of it yet.  I should be learning even more soon, as we have Non-Mammalian this quarter.  I’m excited!

We also had an extracurricular lecture about bird behavior a few weeks back, which was very interesting.  The speaker, Lara Joseph, has a blog featuring training techniques and videos, some of which she shared with us during the lecture.  She basically uses the same positive reinforcement we use for every other species, but it’s very interesting to see it applied to birds.

Something I found particularly curious, though (because I had honestly never heard about it before then), is that those studying bird behavior are starting to discourage wing-clipping.  The thought is that curbing a bird’s main mode of mobility can have significant behavioral consequences and is at least a component of most of the problems seen.

I wonder about how practical it could be, though, for the average bird owner, to have a full-flighted bird.  Is it just a matter of convenience that we wing clip?  I’m reminded of declawing cats and the disrepute that’s gained lately; to me, however, there’s an added aspect of safety to the wing-clipping issue.  There has to be a lot more surveillance of and attention paid to things like fans, open windows and doors, items left out, etc. when you have a flighted bird, unquestionably.  Can good training help reduce those dangers?  Sure.  But then I return to asking myself, will the average bird owner take the time needed to instill that training?  Not so sure.

So has anyone else heard of this theory?  What do you recommend to clients when it comes to wing-clipping?



January 21, 2011

I have a confession to make:  I am obsessed with hoarding shows.

Whoo, feels good to get that off my chest.  It’s true.  I can’t quite put my finger on the exact appeal of it, except that it’s a little bit of a train wreck effect.  I find the psychology of it immensely interesting, too.  When it really hits home, though, is when they air episodes about animal hoarders.  Long before the veterinarian/animal protection service shows up on the scene, I’m thinking of what I would do if this strangely compulsive person were my client.

Animal Planet has a great little article on how to help an animal hoarder, but it’s geared more toward the families and friends side.  The veterinarians sadly have no guide.  I find myself trying to come up with a way that you would start up that conversation.  And failing.  I imagine starting from a perspective of serious concern for the animal is best, but even if you manage to gently bridge the subject, I can’t imagine the client being receptive or returning after that so that you can help both them and their animals.  But staying quiet isn’t an option either, with the health of so many animals on the line.

Anyone have to deal with this situation before?  How do you navigate that touchy subject?


January 11, 2011

Welcome to The Curious Corgi!

I’m currently a second year veterinary student at The Ohio State University and this blog is a way of helping me to cope with that fact.  I’m a small animal, private practice girl, with a goal of treating domestic exotics as well as dogs and cats, but I’ve toyed with the idea of specializing, too.  I also have budding interests in behavior and dentistry, and will probably have many, many more by the time I’m done.

The plan I have in mind for this space is less a day-in-the-life exercise (though I imagine there will be some of that) as it is a place to further delve into topics I find either interesting or confusing or both.  Eventually, I’d also love this to be a place where I can get input from other people in the profession, whether they be other students, veterinarians, technicians, assistants, etc., so please comment with anything you have to add.

Right now, it’s only the second week of winter quarter, but it’s proving interesting so far.  The roster includes:  Urinary System, Musculoskeletal System, Digestive System, Fluid Therapy, and a cardiovascular case study elective.  So look forward to lots of conversations on different forms of excrement and compound fractures!

But of course, no vet student introduction is complete without an appearance from the pets.  So here are some gratuitous photos of my furry family!

The distinguished gentleman at the top of the page and this blog’s namesake is Bean, who will eat any food you can think of, including brussel sprouts, and loves nothing more than a good ball.

Our resident evil genius is Vladimir.  He’s a crotchety old man already at four.  (He has a softer side when you bring out a comb, but don’t let him know I told you that.)

The newest addition is Beckett, who’s just shy of six months now.  He’s the cuddly to Vladimir’s aloof, but has an unsettling tendency of timing his sneezes to the exact moment he’s staring us in the face.

Beckett’s been our problem child since we got him.  When he was young he had a troubling bout of constipation and, though that’s resolved, he now has an issue with his anal glands now.  They seem to be constantly expressing and he will get a crusty buildup of hardened material at the dorsal rim of the anus that I have to physically dislodge.  The odor is more rancid than normal anal gland material as well.  The doctor who took a look at him thinks that he may have a chronic inflammation and could be a candidate for an anal sacculectomy if it doesn’t resolve itself.

Has anyone ever seen a cat with this kind of problem?  I’ve been told it’s rather rare (and I’ve certainly never seen it before), but how rare?  Are there alternatives to surgery that could work?