Marley

May 5th, 2016 by Dr. Levey

One of my very first patients when I graduated from veterinary school was a puppy named Marley. She was a little mutt who resembled a rottie but smaller and lanky. She had recurrent juvenile urinary tract infections so I saw Marley all the time. She and I were buddies.  Her humans and I became buddies too.  I saw the pregnancies grow big and met the new babies.  Marley was good with the kids, as were her dog siblings.  It was a happy family.

When I moved to Madison I was overjoyed to walk into an exam room and see my Marley 🙂   I had the pleasure to care for her as a puppy, in her prime and “golden years”.

She could be skittish, and was not always kind to her dog siblings, but she was always one of my favorites. I guess I like bad dogs 🙂
I knew that Marley was not doing well. Tonight I got a text from Marley’s “Mom”, she was going into Madison, it was time to say Goodbye.
I have my daughter with me at home. I cannot wake her up to run out and kiss a dog goodbye. I know this, but it hurts anyway. I wish that I could be there to hold her paw and hold her family. I wish that I could say that last Goodbye in person.

But that does not always happen. She will always be in my heart and I feel fortunate that I was able to be part of her team. Helping to give her the great life that she had.

Rest in peace sweet Marley.

Bravery

April 5th, 2016 by Dr. Levey

So many people have asked me how to talk to children about the death of a pet.
There is no easy answer to this.  I am not a counselor, and I have no formal training in child development.  I am a veterinarian with a small child and these are some pointers from my perspective.  If you are having a hard time discussing death with your child, I recommend that you contact a professional therapist for help.

Have an adult family meeting ahead of time so you are all on the same page.

-It may cause fear and confusion to hear different answers from different people

-If there are major differences in opinion – talk about them, kids need to know that it is ok to feel differently

-This is especially true when it comes to religious influence, do you believe in an afterlife? does your child?  does their peer group?  This is an opportunity to talk about respecting the beliefs of others.

 Use the word “Death”

-Phrases like “put to sleep” can cause a child to fear going to sleep themselves or others trying to get some shut eye

Set up a special ritual or time and space to say Goodbye

-Some kids need time alone, others want to talk about how they feel.  Be open and patient with their feelings.

Set up a way/time/space to remember

-Everyone needs to continue to grieve, give them a safe place/time to do it

If they are able and want to be present for the euthanasia, let them.

-This really depends on the age and maturity of the child.  Talk to your veterinarian about it, but generally speaking, the act of euthanasia is peaceful and can be helpful in the grieving process.

Use resources on line and in libraries for more ideas

http://beingbraveforbailey.com – This book aims to help children cope with the euthanasia of a beloved pet. It was written by a family veterinarian (and friend of mine) and it has helped my daughter deal with our recent loss.

Talk to your veterinarian and allow your child to ask questions as well.

-We have all been through it, and we are here to help you

katebbfb

xoxo

Dr Kate Levey

My partner in crime

March 12th, 2016 by Dr. Levey

When I was 22 and in my last year of college and applying to veterinary school I got a dog. It was a lark, I was on vacation and she was the town stray. I named her Serendipity. She was a bad dog. She locked me out of my apartment the morning of my big bio chemistry final. She ate every computer cord, all my bras, my nice shoes, my roommate’s glasses, a bottle of ibuprofen, and so many pies. She peed on my bed so many times that I spent a good chunk of student loan money on mattresses.

She hung out quietly while I studied. She took long meandering walks with me and listened while I talked about science and boys and plans for the future. She kept me safe when I lived in the city and she fought off the loneliness that school can bring.

IMG_0228

She was there when Adam asked me to be his wife and she walked proudly down our wedding isle with my niece and nephew.  She was with us in grief when were in grief. She was with us in joy when our daughter was born.

She was a game chick. Wherever life went we would go. The two of us were unstoppable. I felt like she was my wild side, the part of me unconstrained by society. She had no need for professionalism and was too independent to care if she was a feminist.

I loved her and respected her as her own being. And she choose to stay with me for over 15 years.

IMG_0398

I agonized over the decision of when is the right time. But the old saying proved true when one morning I looked into her eyes and she met my gaze with pain. Her joy was gone. It was my duty and my sacred honor to help her out of pain.

I gave her all the chips ahoy and all the ice cream and a couple valium and brought her into Madison. She laid on me while Dr Rollo gave her the final injection. She may or may not have given on last un-ladylike snarl. She was my free spirited dog who held to no convention other than our love for each other and for life.

My life continues now. It is easier with out a geriatric live in friend to care for. It is a poorer life with out my friend. I will always carry my SaraSodaPants in my heart.  It is hard to really grieve for her.  She is part of me.  She is with me in a hundred ways every day.

Thank you Sara.  Thank you for years of love and crazy chases over fields and skunk sprays at 4am.  I would need to voice of a poet to do your memory justice.  Thank you my good good friend.  I love you.

sara weddomg

What’s that smell?

February 14th, 2016 by Dr. Levey

This is a game we play a lot in veterinary medicine. In over half of my patients, the smell is related to dental disease. People often ask me “how did this happen, he only eats hard food?”.

Eating hard food can be beneficial to your pet’s mouth but it is far from a panacea for all dental issues. If you only ate carrots and toast would you never need to brush? or floss?  or see a dentist for regular cleanings?  Our pets may not desire the whitest teeth or freshest breath, but we should at least endeavor to reduce the amount of infection in their gums.  And they do have infected gums.

I know, brushing your pets’ teeth is annoying and stinky and not in your schedule. So I have a suggestion – If your pet is docile and patient, why not delegate this chore to a younger member of your family? These tiny humans are excited by strange tasks and by animals, perfect combination. Just make sure to use a soft brush, pet tooth paste, and supervise closely.

2016-02-14 11.50.44

Good luck to your tiny minions and send us your adorable (and safe) pictures 🙂

 

Happy Valentines Day,

Dr Lovey Levey (and her minion)

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2016 by Dr. Levey

Well, it’s here, 2016! We are living in the future. Computers more powerful than the huge one in our school when I was a kid are now in my pocket, on my wrist, and on my kitchen counter.

Thanks to vaccines, excellent and precise diets, preventative dental health, and appropriate medications, my patients are living longer than ever.
The future can be daunting, but it also holds so much promise, I am excited to be a part of it.

new-year-kitty-wallpaper
I spent this New Years Day morning with wonderful old friends and their children. The kids were running around, playing video games and petting the cats. The adults were drinking coffee and chatting. And I was standing in my kitchen. My control center, behind the island, close to the stove, with Luna (my golden retriever) on my left and Sara (my oldest dog friend) on my right. As the house quieted down I started to make a loaf of Challah. Kneading the dough that my mother taught me to make, that sustained my people for generations, gave me such a sense of being connected to the past.
This year my resolutions are centered on intention and bravery. I will not hide behind “I can’t” or “I never have before”. I will face my future with a firm grounding in the past. Knowing that generations of my family lived and loved and struggled so that I would be here. Making the same sustaining bread to feed my family to give us the strength to live and love and face our own struggles.  I will be open to the gifts that life offers and face the challenges with a brave and open heart.

And I will take my dogs for more walks.

Happy New Year my friends!  I hope this year brings you the trials you need to make your strong , the joy you need to make you happy, and enough quiet peace to enjoy it all.

sleeping new year

When is it Time?

December 15th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

The Holidays are a time of celebration, and joy, and reflection. Generally people are able to spend more quality time at home with family this time of year. Maybe that is why I hear this question more often during the Holidays.

When is it time?  How will I know?
There are no easy answers to these questions. When to euthanize your beloved family pet is a difficult question to grapple with. It is Supposed to be difficult. The inner struggle makes us worthy of the Trust that our animals place in us. That is what my dad told me and that is what I tell my clients and friends and family members when this topic comes up.

There is no one for sure sign of when it is time. Have a family meeting, make sure everyone is on the same page, discuss what your pet’s favorite things are. Are they still able to do these things? Are they in pain? Is their pain controllable? How fast are they declining?

When a decision is made after these discussions, it is made in love with the family members knowledge and consent. In my mind this is the best way. This is what I tell people time and time again.

Now it is my dog.  My dog who was my best friend before I met my husband or had my daughter.  Who helped me get through vet school, who stood up in our wedding, who has been my constant companion for 15 years. My Sara-Soda-Pants who is old and increasingly in pain and confused. I ask people – How will I know? When will it be time? What should I do to help her pain? How long should I wait?  I keep expecting other people to be able to answer these questions for me, but I know they cannot.  So, we are having the family meetings. We are keeping her comfortable. We are spoiling her and loving her and trying to get as much quality time in as possible.

There are no easy answers but we will make the decision based in Love and it will be Hard and we will be Worthy of her Trust.

sara weddomg IMG_0398 IMG_0228 kates phone march 2015 546

Crisis of Confidence

November 9th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

Good Morning followers of the blogosphere.
First let me explain my recent silence. I intended to write to you once per week with interesting, and educational, heartwarming, and puppy filled posts. I thought that I could bring you inside our veterinary hospital and give you a glimpse into our world and make your lives and your animals’ lives better all while crafting quirky and fabulous prose. I may have set myself up to fail and then hidden from my computer for weeks on end.

dog-hiding-under-blankets.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smart

 

Admitting a problem is the first step right?  Then I am on my way 🙂

Recently I was sitting in one of the exam rooms of my own doctor’s office and was feeling forgotten.  I was there because at times I ride my bike like a fearless 10 year old instead of a cautions and slightly arthritic adult and I fell pretty bad.  Being a doctor I then avoided all good advice and got my arm pretty infected.  So I was sitting there in the exam room, after being checked in by the receptionist and weighed by the nurse, afraid of the pain to come and contemplating running out and ignoring the problem until my arm fell off, and I felt like I was in there forever.  What the heck was taking the doctor so long?  I had an appointment, the waiting room was empty, and I had been there long enough to play out every horrible scenario over several times in my head.  It hit me that this is what my clients and patients go through when we are running behind and I wanted to let you all in on what the heck we are doing “in the back” while you wait in that small room scrolling through facebook for the millionth time.

catDVM

Part of what we pride ourselves on at Madison is our excellent record keeping and our preventative medicine programs.  So after the technician comes in and takes a history, they have to enter it all into the computer and then give that history to the doctor.  Sometimes we then go back through the record and check medication doses, or previous blood work, or just make sure that the vaccine schedule is being followed and everything is up to date.  We then draw up vaccines, grab some treats, and your doctor comes into the exam room.  The doctor asks some questions (sometimes the same questions, this is done on purpose, we do know that you already answered them), does a thorough physical examination, and goes over a plan with you.  Then the doctor leaves and it can seems like hours later the tech comes back in.  During that time lots of things are happening – the doctor is putting exam notes in the record, estimates are put together for today’s or future procedures, blood and urine samples are being drawn from your pet, their nails are trimmed and anal sacs are emptied, medications are entered in the medical record and retrieved from the shelves, information on your pet’s specific issue is being gathered to better inform you on the disease process and/or treatments, and in case of a Health Plan sign up the receptionists are putting together paperwork to go over with you.  I am sure that I left some things out.  What is not happening is any standing around and chatting.  We are running – sometimes literally, although I am the OSHA rep and I like “walking feet” to avoid any slip an falls.

ComputerDog-3

We try very hard to keep things running smoothly and on time but sometimes emergencies happen, or a routine appointment turns into sometime more.  If you ever want to see where all this busy magic happens as us for a tour!  We love to show off all we have to offer and maybe it will make you feel better about your alone time with your phone.

doctor

Our back bone

October 13th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

This week is National Veterinary Technician Week.
We have been celebrating by slowing working to make them diabetic 😉

IMAG1006

Our technicians do so much every day. From the moment they walk through the door they are busy and they rarely sit down. They often work through lunch making sure that a pet is safe and comfortable after surgery or talking with a distraught client about their sick friend.

winnie jene 2

They work with blood and poop and whatever that horrible stuff that comes out of anal glands is called. Then they talk about it over a quick snack in the stairwell.  They coo over puppies and kittens in appointments, then stay up all night making sure a sick little one is eating enough.

IMAG0988

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They spend hours on hold with pharmacies to make sure that your medications are correct and pull their hair out doing the paperwork necessary for sick animals to get the pain medication that they need.

 

Jenny kitten

They never stop learning and often spend their own time becoming more knowledgeable and skilled.

Shannon Pres

To become a LVT (licensed Veterinary Technician) they must get through an intensive program and learn about the anatomy, physiology and behavior of multiple species.  They must be able take blood and urine samples from these species, and then how to appropriately and safely get information from these samples.  They must safely anesthetize and control pain and address emergencies in these species.  At the end of this intensive program, they take State and National Board Exams.  When they have completed these tasks they can then be called LVT’s.  This title cannot convey the intelligence, courage, love, patience, dedication, and commitment that they posses.  That they need in order to succeed in their chosen field. These super hero’s of the veterinary hospital deserve our respect and admiration.  They too often get our short tempers.  They take it in stride and continue to make all of our lives better.

Next time you come in, please learn your Technicians name, and Thank her.  Look her in the eye and let her know how much you and your pet appreciate that she shows up ready to do what needs to be done to make your lives better.

Tech Point

Note – I often use the female pronoun here.  Currently at Madison we have only female LVT’s.  I do not intend to discount of leave our their Male counterparts.

 

Freedom

October 6th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

On Saturday, October 17th Madison Veterinary Hospital will be participating in a special event.

The A21 Campaign has a strategy to end human trafficking in the 21st century.  This is a world wide problem. Not only for the victims of human trafficking, often women and children, but for everyone. Human trafficking is used to fund organized crime, undermining health, safety, security, and the basic needs of humanity. It is the fastest growing crime in the world.

Please take a moment to read about this organization at  –  http://www.a21.org/

Consider making a donation or joining us as we Walk for Freedom.

A21

 

A little Luck and a lot of work!

September 12th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

At Madison we have so many wonderful clients who work hard to make sure that their pets stay healthy. I have the opportunity to work with one such family and I wanted to tell you a little about them.

CAM00159(1)

This is Lucky. Lucky was recently diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus. When an animal has Diabetes their blood sugar, also called glucose, becomes very elevated. This elevation stems from a lack of insulin. The role of insulin is to act as a key to get the glucose into the cells where it is metabolized by the cells and turned into energy.  With out the insulin the blood sugar gets higher and higher while the cells continue to starve.

High blood sugar can lead to urine infections, kidney damage, cataracts, acid/base disturbances, and a host of other problems.  Diabetes is fatal if not treated. The main stay of treatment for diabetes is injectable insulin. One of the challenges is to find a dose and timing of injections to keep the blood sugar in a good range. One way we do this is to run a Glucose Curve – this is where we check blood sugar every hour over the course of a day to get an idea of how much the glucose drops and how fast it rebounds. We do this in the office which means that the pet needs to stay all day with us and it can be stressful. Stress can increase blood sugar…. This is a diagnostic problem.

Back to Lucky. Lucky’s family took the extra step of getting a glucometer (a small machine that measures glucose in a small sample of blood) to use at home. They made an appointment with one of our technicians and learned how to get the small blood sample from Lucky and how to work the machine. Now they can run glucose curves at home! Lucky’s “Mom” calls me with the results and we discuss what, if any, changes need to be made.

Lucky does not even mind the poke. He gets extra pets and attention during the procedure and it only takes a minute!  Lucky sure is a lucky dog! 🙂

20150903_173428