Grateful

August 22nd, 2015 by Dr. Levey

I have wanted to sit down and write a blog post so many times this week, but have been met with exhaustion and a lack of words. This week has been busy and hard and my Madison Team met it head on and saved lives.

Early in the week a huge sweetie named Winchester came in. He had been losing weight lately and now seemed to be having a hard time breathing. Before he got sick he had been 160 pounds of Mastiff handsome, he was now 123 pounds but still handsome and gentle and good. This dog immediately stole our hearts.

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I ordered radiographs (x-rays) of his chest asap. His lung sounds were too quiet and I could not hear his heart. I suspected either a large tumor or free fluid in his chest. While positioning this still huge dog for the radiographs he passed out from lack of oxygen. My techs set up oxygen, yelled for me, then got the needed view so I could make a diagnosis. There was so much fluid in his chest that it had mostly collapsed his lungs and was pushing on his heart. The fluid needed to be drained immediately. We were just starting appointments, but no one stuttered or objected. The thoracocentesis (chest draining) tools were gathered and we started the long process of pulling 1.6 liters of thick fluid out of this sweet boy’s chest. After about half of a liter he picked his head up, his gums turned a beautiful shade of healthy pink, and he started smiling. It took three of us about 45 minutes to drain his chest and for all of it, Brad, one of our ward managers, was holding Winchester up or otherwise supporting most of his weight. I’m sure he was sore the next day when we had to do it again, but that time Winchester laid still like he knew that we were there to help.

Our hope is that this fluid does not come back, or at least slows down. We sent samples to a pathologist to be examined.

We also saw our share of adorable puppies, hilarious kittens, a diabetic dog who we are all pulling for, a couple goofy limping Golden Retrievers, and new older dog with half a blue eye and a lot of dignity.

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Life is good and our Madison staff is great.
Thanks guys. I hope you get some sleep cause tomorrow is another day 🙂

Circle of life

August 5th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

Last night at Madison was hectic. I wanted to write to you then, but I didn’t get home until 11:30pm.  Among other things, we saw an acute allergic reaction with facial swelling that was adorable but dangerous, puppies and adult dogs in for routine vaccines and check ups, one puppy in for a nasty respiratory infection, two cats who wanted to make sure we understood their displeasure at our actions (or attempted actions), and two cats who just wanted to snuggle.

We also said goodbye to one very sweet old friend that I will always keep in my heart but who’s body was too tired to continue in this world.  He had been a joy to everyone lucky enough to know him and his memory will continue to bring a smile to many hearts even as his loss brings tears.

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The other appointment that stuck out was our new puppy.  At Madison we are careful with scheduling our new puppy appointments.  They need to be a whole hour long and we try to put them in the schedule where it will be ok if they run over that amount of time.  Sometimes this time is mostly spent cuddling and cooing and taking a million puppy/kitty selfies.  Last night’s new puppy appointment was a true New Puppy.  The family who brought in the tiny yorkie baby had never had a dog before.  It was all new.  The potty training, the barking, the selfless love, the utter devotion, the sweet cuddles – all the love that a dog immediately brings into a home was so new and wondrous to this happy family.

This sense of newness, and need to explain so many little things that we all take for granted about our pets made us pause in our hectic day.  Pause to explain the various aspects of dog behavior and training, and pause to appreciate how much our own pets bring to our lives every moment of every day.  This happy family spent almost two hours at Madison learning about their new family member.

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Andrea went over vaccines, house training, bite inhibition, parasite control, feeding, appropriate treats, and so much more.  We call this our “Puppy Rap”.  The puppy rap has so much good information that it can be overwhelming.  We make sure that everything is also written down and there is even more good information in the packet of handouts that go along with it.

I hope this new family unit continues to grow in love and appreciation for each other.  We are looking forward to seeing them back in 3 weeks for puppy’s next set of vaccines and another conversation about the sweet life with a pet in the house.

 

Kitten Update

July 23rd, 2015 by Dr. Levey

Those who follow our facebook page will remember the tiny kitten that our Good Samaritan found and brought in a couple weeks ago.  Those who don’t follow our facebook page will be given a moment to rectify that issue …. 🙂

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He was less than a week old and needed a momma cat (or nursing queen as they are called).  My sister made a call to her friend, Will, at a Upland Hills Farm and we had him a home before any of use could call our spouses to ask if they would stay up all night with us and bottle feed a kitten.

I got the honor of driving kitty Up North to Oxford Township to meet his new family.  On the way we stopped at a pet store to get some KMR (kitten milk replacer) and give the very hungry kitty a bottle. I really wish that I had more hands so that I could have taken a picture of the way that his paws spread out as he held and kneaded at the bottle.  He was a hungry little purr monster!  After he was full of milk he hunkered down and fell asleep purring.

When we got to the farm Will introduced kitty to the queen and his new siblings while E and I played with baby goats and pigs 🙂 The baby goats do Not like to stay in their pen and they Do like to be scratched on the head.

For a couple days it went well between kitty and queen.  But he was a little too small for the kitten room at the farm.  The bigger kittens wanted to wrestle and this poor kitty was too tiny.  He needed to be bottle fed after all and he was taken in by Will and his wife and daughters. Kitty could not have found a better or more dedicated family and I want to express my gratitude to them for opening their home and hearts to this sweet little orphan.

One of Will’s daughters, Ashlynn, would like to be a veterinarian. She came to job shadow me this past week and brought the kitten for a visit.  He is bigger now and is eating kitten food from a dish instead of milk from a bottle.  He still likes to snuggle, but now prefers the top of your shoulder to under your shirt.  Soon he will be big enough to go play with his kitten siblings at the farm.

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If you are looking for a dose of farm life, check out Upland Hills.  They have camp for kids in the summer and bonfire parties with hay rides in the fall.  They also have kittens (up for adoption!) and baby goats (not up for adoption, but always up for a head scratch)!

 

 

A way in

July 8th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

We had people over tonight. My husband is on the board of my daughter’s preschool. So we had about a dozen people over to our house for a board meeting to discuss name tags, fundraising, educational play, and whatever other business was at hand.

Some of these people we know fairly well, some not at all. I am not a naturally social person and can get anxious during these meetings. I often busy myself cleaning or putting out snacks or putting our daughter to bed, but tonight I noticed something wonderful.

When people came into our home they all to some extent interacted with our animals. They greeted them, played with them, talked to them, asked them questions, and generally socialized with Nick, Pickles, Luna, and Sara – often before they greeted the humans in the room.

The animals acted as buffers, as ambassadors to the human world around them. They allowed our guests to have an idea of the culture of the home they were entering and have a social interaction that was free from judgement or preconceived notions. kates phone march 2015 696

Animals have always served this function for me. In a new place I would seek for any sign of animal life. Finding instant stress relief at the sight of a furry face or wagging tail. That is one of the things that drew me to veterinary medicine. Animals have given me such comfort during stressful times, it seems appropriate that I should dedicate myself to helping them lead comfortable lives.

Animals have been part of the human experience for thousands of years. We have relied on them to help us survive and there is some evidence that our relationship with animals is one of reasons that we became the dominant species we are today.

It should not be surprising that the connection we have with them has a deep emotional vein. But in that way that we tend to think that we are the only one anxious at a party it was lovely to see other people use my beloved pets as a way into the comfort of our home. I hope that they feel welcome and enjoy the cat on their lap and dog on their foot 🙂

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Typical Day

June 20th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

I have been struggling with trying to explain a typical day here at Madison. Today was anything but that. Saturdays are usually pretty hectic. Today we had our normal mix of adorable puppies and kitties, mild illness, routine examinations, and we also saw “Daisy”. Daisy was attacked by an unknown dog on Wednesday. She was out for a walk with her family when a dog came out of nowhere and charged her family (and three little kids). Daisy put herself in the line of fire and took a beating. When she was brought in on Wednesday, bleeding and scared she was as sweet as pie. Dr Scott was able to sew her partially up, but most of her wounds needed to be left open. Bite wounds are considered infected and if they are closed too soon they are at risk of becoming abscesses and can be dangerous.  Bite wounds, and other traumatic wounds, are also considered Dynamic.  This means they can undergo serious changes as they heal and our treatment plan needs to role with that.  The first thing that Daisy needed was to be stabilized, the bleeding stopped, and antibiotics be started. 

Today Daisy came back for a recheck and her wounds had changed. She had large patches where the skin had died – turned black and was acting like a sponge for bacteria. She needed another surgery, in the middle of a busy Saturday.

Dr Rollo skipped his lunch break to start the procedure, then when he started back into appointments I took over. Kari, one of our licensed technicians stayed with Daisy the whole time, making sure that her vitals were strong and she was not feeling any pain. She also missed lunch has not yet taken a break or sat down today.

This hour plus surgery in the middle of a busy Saturday definitely set us behind in appointments.  Our reception staff handled it as gracefully as Swans on the water!  They explained the wait, made sure people had candy to make the time go by faster and kept on Smiling 🙂

After she woke up and recovered from the anesthesia Daisy seemed to feel better. She was sent home with more medications and instructions to come back Monday for more bandage changes and rechecks. She and her family have a long road ahead of them and they are up to the challenge. Daisy is a brave dog who protected her family and her family is returning the favor by making sure that Daisy has excellent medical care and lots of love.

We have been closed for about an hour and a half now, our staff is reading stool samples and calling families with the results, answering questions, and making sure that all the animals here have when they need for the night.

We are all hoping for a quiet Sunday 🙂

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Crash and Pigs

June 16th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

I have a great update this week 🙂  Remember the puppy that we called Crash?  She had crazy hair and bad diarrhea.  She found a wonderful family!  They brought her into Madison and they are all doing in love!  Crash is eating regular dog food and pooping normally.  The new family was unaware of her special position in our hospital and was a little surprised to hear about her rock-star status but it answered the question of why she already seemed so spoiled perfect 🙂

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We also had a family of Guinea Pigs come in this week!  We had so much fun just putting them on the scale.  I am happy to report that they were in excellent health, eating a varied diet and getting plenty of exercise and social interaction!

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Pocket pets like Guinea pigs, rabbits, and ferrets need regular veterinary care too.  They can fall victim to parasites, nutritional deficiencies, obesity, boredom disorders, infections, and metabolic diseases just to name a few.

If you want to learn more about these adorable pets, check out the link below.

http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/all-pet-health/small-animal-health-care/rodents-more-just-vermin

If you have any questions about your tiniest family members give us a call 🙂

 

Friday Night Fright

June 5th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

Maybe it is the rain or all of the excitement of graduation season but it was a pretty slow evening here at Madison.
We got a chance to play with puppies, really spend time educating owners, catch up on a million phone calls and blog 🙂

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Just before closing, however, we had an emergency come in. Sweetie had a totally normal morning and afternoon. She was playing in the back yard this evening and collapsed. She was non responsive and laying in her own stool when her family found her.  They immediately called us and then brought her right in.

On presentation she was cold and non responsive. Her gums were pale and pulses weak. The techs ran the ordered diagnostic tests fast, started IV fluids and put warm blankets on her to bring her body tempurature up. She responded well.  She headed out a while ago to the local emergency hospital for overnight observation and care.  She should be home tomorrow to celebrate her boy’s graduation from High School.

Hopefully tomorrow will be busy with lots of healthy check ups 🙂

Team Work

May 28th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

The staff at Madison Veterinary Hospital is top notch. They prove that every day in a thousand small and large ways. Recently I got to see a beautiful example.

A woman came into our lobby holding a large dog who was mostly non-responsive and bleeding. She had found the dog on the side of the highway and did know where else to go. There is an emergency animal hospital about 1/4 mile down the road, but this dog needed help now. Our receptionists calmed the lobby, paged the medical staff and then calmed the frightened woman. She noted where the dog was found and got her contact information so we could call her with updates or questions.

The technicians assessed poor Ryan (as we called her), started a line, gave pain meds, cleaned wounds, took x-rays, and calmed the poor girl down. They did all this while tending to a full schedule of appointments with out missing a beat.
We found that she did have a fractured jaw, and some head trauma, but the rest of her body was mercifully spared anything more severe than road rash.  After she was stabilized we wanted to get some calories in her.  Because of her broken jaw she cannot chew.  She will have to wear a muzzle and eat only a liquid diet for the next 6 weeks.  Our techs and ward managers make up an appropriate slurry and sat with her to make sure she was able to lick up the food and keep it down.

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In the beginning of this process we also scanned her for a microchip, which was not present.

Small rant on microchips – Please get them. And then please register them and keep up with your current contact information. Microchips are not very expensive, usually around $50. They last a lifetime and have no side effects, aside from a small poke. Each chip has a special and individual number sequence. When a reader is run over the dog, the number comes up, that number will then be used to contact you and let you know where to find your lost friend. With out this simple device, we thought Ryan would more than likely never find her family.

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This is terrifying to pet lovers and Madison has some major pet lovers! Our staff took pictures and posted them on lost pet web sites and first thing the next morning called the local animal control offices around where Ryan was found. It turns out her family had been frantically searching for her and left their number with the animal control officer. We called the family and they were at Madison to pick her up in no time at all.

Watching the sweet lost dog perk up and wag for her family was what we call an “emotional paycheck”. They are reunited and we are all looking forward to seeing Ryan healthy and happy and with her family on her follow up visit 🙂

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If the Madison staff was less dedicated, this story may have had a much less happy ending. Thank you. It is an honor to work along side such a Team!

Baggage

May 19th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

I go to yoga a couple times per week. Or at least I try to. This past weekend I had made it to my mat and was trying to focus on my breathing while not falling down while trying to balance in a very uncomfortable position, when the instructor said something that really hit home.

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He asked us to visualize all of our past experiences, good and bad, wrapped up like a thick tail behind us. He suggested that we use that “tail” to help us balance and to have gratitude for all of it. In his class and in life. I suddenly found triangle pose much easier.

These past experiences, many people call it our baggage, makes us who we are. Good and bad we can lean on all of it, for lesions, or hope, or relief that we have moved on, or to take comfort in sweet memories.

At Madison we all have a lot of baggage. So many potent and emotional memories of animals we have loved and lost. Times when our efforts were heroic and the outcomes were joyous, and the other times when all our work seemed to be in vain.

And we do lean on those past experiences and they do deserve our gratitude. We learn from them. They are part of our shared experience, part of our culture. They help make us who we are and they help to bond us to each other.

We lost a good kitty this weekend.  Many of us have many memories with her and her passing has brought sadness and anger.  Tomorrow when I find my mat I will try to find strength in having the good memories of her as well as the hard to help support me.  I will breath and be grateful for all of it.

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Busy Day

May 12th, 2015 by Dr. Levey

It is 10:17pm on a Tuesday night. Madison officially “closed” a little over two hours ago but much of the staff is still here and hard at work. We had a pretty typical shift this evening, we saw some healthy dogs for routine checkups, a young dog with diarrhea that was lasting too long so he came in and we found the parasitic culprit. We saw the cutest golden retriever puppy ever and we all took turns rolling around on the floor and carrying him around the hospital to show other clients and hear them squeal with joy at the site of a happy puppy.

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One of our regulars came in, a diabetic cat whose blood sugar is always too high. She has been losing weight and today we diagnosed a massive amount of constipation. Her stool back up is so severe that she has stopped eating and her potassium has crashed. We admitted her into the hospital for intravenous fluids and enemas to soften the rock hard poop and hopefully get her sugar under control.

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Another kitty came in for an evening check up. This girl has not been eating well and now seems to be in pain. We did an ultrasound of her abdomen and thoroughly examined her. Her abdomen appears normal, but she is painful and she is running a fever. We pulled blood for several tests that our lab will run, gave her an injection to pick up her appetite and sent her back home. Hopefully tomorrow we will have some answers.
While doing the final checks on our hospitalized patients, one of our LVT (licensed veterinary technicians), M, found that our previously blocked cat had re-blocked. When we say that a cat is “Blocked” it generally refers to a blockage in the tube that leads from the urinary bladder out the penis. This tube is called the Urethra. The cat could not pee. This is an emergency. M got kitty’s family on the phone and then Kitty prepped for anesthesia. We were able to pass a urinary catheter and remove a large plug of mucous from the end of his urethra. We removed the urine from the bladder and flushed it with cool saline. Then we sutured the catheter in place, attached a closed collection system that will allow us to measure the amount of urine produced, and woke kitty up.
While M and I were busy helping this poor kitty to urinate properly the rest of our evening staff were all busy as well. They were reading urine samples that were collected throughout the day. Making sure that our diabetic cat had all of the proper medications and diet. Properly cleaning and folding our surgery laundry to make sure that it was sterile for our next surgery day.  Refilling prescriptions, making sure that every dose is correct, and of course cleaning every surface of the hospital to make sure that when we open tomorrow no one will get a hint of all of the odiferous activities of the day.
The Madison staff is still here at almost midnight, making sure that everything is perfect and everyone is cared for and tucked in. I am so proud to be a part of this excellent team. Tomorrow will be another day of pushing ourselves physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
Good Night for now.

 

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