Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When a patient dies - do people know?

We had a very emotional week at Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital.  Multiple difficult cases, emergencies and the unfortunate death of an employee's pet leaves us all asking why?  Why do we do this job that is so difficult that we often spend our evenings sleepless with worry.  Sleepless about a sick patient, or what we could have done differently to save a beloved pet.

One incident that occurred this week happened during a small mammal surgery, when one of my most experienced technicians scheduled her pet rat for a routine surgical procedure. Together with one of our excellent doctors, they performed the routine procedure that went very well until the rat was recovering from the anesthesia.  For no apparent reason he suddenly arrested.  They worked and worked to try to get him back but they were unsuccessful.   The technician and doctor were distraught.   How could this happen so fast and why?    

When I heard what had happened,  I went to console and hug my technician who then looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "Do people know how hard this is on us?   Do they know that we go home and cry and often lose sleep over their pets?"  "You should write a blog about this so people can know."

Working in a busy small animal, avian and exotic practice sets us up for extra difficulty.  Exotic pets are much more sensitive to disease, anesthesia, malnutrition and other health conditions.  Some times the pets get to us when it is too late for us to save them.  When we lose a pet their owners can become angry as they go through the stages of grief and lash out at those of us that are there to try to help them.  This all leads to increased stress that can ultimately lead to depression and burn out.

We want our clients to know that we really do care about all of the patients and even though we look happy when you bring us your healthy pet, we may have just been through something very upsetting and difficult.  We do love our jobs,  and have our fair share of fun puppies and kittens to cheer us up, but sometimes we may just really need a hug.

So please treat your veterinarian, veterinary technician, animal assistant and receptionist with care and love, because they suffer right along with you when things are going badly and they work long hard hours to be there for you and your pet in your time of need.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Click on Detroit 4 the Best - Going for our Third win!

It is here again!  WDIV's Click on Detroit, 4 The Best contest.

Each summer the Detroit TV station WDIV holds their "4 The Best, Click on Detroit" contest to choose the best, or most popular businesses in the greater Detroit area.  Last year Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital worked hard to accumulate votes asking clients and friends to vote for us in the contest. Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital was happy to be awarded FIRST place in the "Veterinarians" category which included over 100 veterinary hospitals in the metro Detroit area. This was our second, first place finish!

The worst thing about winning in 2014 and 2015 is the pressure to try to hold on to that first place spot for this summer.  We asked all of our wonderful clients to vote, comment and vote again, over and over all summer long.  We hope that you are all up for this year's challenge as we try to pull off a third win.

Thanks to all of our wonderful clients, friends and Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital team members for making Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital one of the best in Detroit.  Also, thank you to WDIV for recognizing small business in the Detroit area with this contest.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Is God in our Exam Rooms?

The veterinary profession has unique responsibility, pressure and power built into it,  that few other professions do.  We perform euthanasia.  Frequently, as a normal part of our day.   The pressure in these situations from the initial discussion about euthanasia, to the pet's ultimate passing and the grief that follows;  we endure it from beginning to end.  We console, council, comfort and remember that beloved pet with our clients as they proceed through their grief. We then have to keep it together enough to carry on with the rest of our day.  Almost immediately afterward we proceed to the next appointment and carry on as usual.   This can be very difficult for veterinarians and it happens almost every day in our hospitals.

This got me to thinking one day about whether God is present in the exam room when our pets pass away.  As someone that has been in hundreds of these final exam room visits, I can say that I think God is often there.  I have had situations that seemed impossible to handle with overwhelming grief and even anger of clients that are saying goodbye to a best friend and sometimes child substitute.  Times when I was searching for just the right thing to ask or say to ease someones mind and many times the words come, or the clients feel some calm and relief just being there with the pet.  Not that we hear any audible voices or anything supernatural.  It is just a feeling of pure love between a pet and its owner that reminds me of God's love, non verbal and non judgmental.  I have even had the honor of being asked to pray with clients over their pet at those last moments.  Being involved in something so personal always feels a little intrusive, but in a way is glorious, because I know that others do not get to do this in their work lives.

Whether you believe God is in our exam room or you don't,  I can say that I feel truly blessed to work doing something that has deep meaning and the power to help people navigate one of life's most difficult moments.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Protecting your dog with this important simple test - 4DX

Each year we tout the importance of checking your dog for Heartworm and preventing this deadly disease through Heartworm preventatives monthly.   This year at Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital we have already diagnosed two dogs with Heartworm disease so we know that the disease is present in our area.  In order to do the best for our patients, we have added a new test called 4DX to our Heartworm prevention arsenal.

Our diagnostic laboratory, Idexx offers the 4DX test that not only checks for Heartworm disease, but also for three other tick borne diseases, and it can be done with the same tiny blood sample that your dog gives us for the routine Heartworm test.  The four diseases that it tests for are:
  1. Heartworm
  2. Ehrlichiosis
  3. Lyme 
  4. Anaplasmosis
Heartworm disease is caused by the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis. These parasites are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and grow in the heart of infected dogs.  These worms can cause permanent damage to dogs' heart and lungs. 
Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis are known as tick-borne diseases because they are transmitted when ticks bite and feed on pets. Because ticks can carry more than one of these diseases, infection with these diseases can occur at the same time in the same dog.  Signs can include fever, lethargy, and lameness. Research has shown that if a dog is infected with more than one of these tick-borne diseases at the same time, the likelihood of developing clinical signs is increased.
A vaccine is available to aid in preventing Lyme disease, but there are currently no vaccines to protect dogs from ehrlichiosis or anaplasmosis. Appropriate tick control methods combined with periodic testing may be the best ways to help protect dogs from these tick-borne infections.

If you have any questions about the 4DX test, or anything else concerning your pets, please call the Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital team at 586-751-3350. Have a great summer and don't forget to give your dog it's heartworm and flea/tick preventatives. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Happiest Place on Earth!

I have spent the last three days in the most amazing, uplifting place in the world.  You might say, the happiest place on earth; Orlando, the home of Disney and all the wonders that the Disney parks magic brings.  But,  I did not visit one of the Disney parks and I still feel a jolt of child like optimism about life and work.   I am not in Orlando to experience Disney,  I am here to experience a unique conference called "Work Human".

 When I signed on,  I really didn't know what Work Human was all about.  I learned of this conference from a friend of mine at the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association and I thought it sounded interesting and different from my usual veterinary conference.  This conference is put on by a company called Globoforce and the goals of the conference are centered around making all of our workplaces more "human".  Whether you work in an office, home or school, the space that we occupy for our work needs to be more meaningful and soul nourishing.

I heard from speakers like Shawn Achor, the author of, "The Happiness Advantage" in which he proves statistically that increased happiness directly correlates to productivity and profit in the workplace.  Amy Cuddy, author of the book, "Presence", who shows that we are happier and more productive in life if we live in the moment and embrace our power.  She does research on Power posing and how it leads to higher achievement in the boardroom and the classroom.

Finally this morning we heard from actor, Michael J. Fox, who at the young age of 29 was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and has continued his career as a successful actor and founded on of the most successful foundations in the world working on diagnosing and treating Parkinson's disease.  He spoke about how you cannot always control your circumstances, but you can control your attitude towards them and use the space you are given to create something good and continue to live life to your fullest potential.  To see someone that has little control of their body, retain so much control of their mind and optimism is remarkable.

The lesson that I have learned from hearing all these amazing speakers, is that our capacity for resilience and optimism lies far beyond our imagination.   It is only limited by our own pessimism.

Check out the books written by these amazing people and have a blessed an optimistic day.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Here comes the Sun (and bugs)

Yesterday as my husband and I came home from Sam's club with our car load of giant size containers of "essential" items.  I walked into my kitchen to a small army of ants parading around my kitchen stove. Ah, spring!   I immediately grabbed my two cats, who were incidentally not helping to catch the invaders, and ran them into the laundry room, so I could spray some ant spray along the kitchen baseboards without poisoning the lazy, bug adverse creatures.  As I was cleaning up the ant mess and relocating them out of my house I thought, wouldn't it be great to have something that I could spot on my house once per month to keep all the bugs out, like we do with our dogs and cats? That got me thinking about a blog on flea and tick control.   Weird right?

I am not a big fan of bugs as a general rule, so any way I can prevent them from getting into my house, or on my pets is supremely important to me.  In our area of the country we have the most problems with fleas and ticks starting as soon as the weather warms above 45 degrees.  That is when the ticks first wake up and start feeding on us and our pets, and those little buggers spread diseases like Lyme disease.  Fleas like it a little warmer but they can stay with us year round if they get indoors for the winter.  

There is a vast array of flea and tick products for dogs and cats, enough to make veterinary professionals heads spin. We have spot-ons and sprays, pills and collars and hundreds of different brands. To make things even more complicated the industry introduces new products each year and there is not one that is considered best.

I like the chewable tablets (NexGard) because they are easy to use and not as messy as the topical spot-on products.  (and my dog Trent loves his NexGard chew).  That being said, some dogs won’t eat them, others have food allergies,  some have medical conditions that are contraindicated with certain oral preventives, and cats can not take them.  For those dogs that can't take NexGard or for our cat friends, I prefer Frontline and Revolution.  Two products that we have been using safely for years at WWVH.

Families with cats also need to be careful with over the counter tick prevention products for dogs, as some of them contain ingredients that are toxic to felines and are not recommended if your cat grooms your dog or likes to cuddle with them.

Here in Michigan I like to keep the flea and tick medications going all year round.   There are many choices, and no real right or wrong product, but do not ignore your pet's needs.  If you do, the bugs will be marching around your house soon and bringing their diseases with them. 

It's Spring! If you haven't started your pets on their Flea and Tick prevention yet, do it now.  We have coupons and specials to help you get quality products and save some money, so call us at Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital to stock up for your pet's summer.  One of our technicians would be happy to advise you on the proper product for your furry family member.    586-751-3350