What could be more fun than playing with puppies and kitties all day long? And what could be more rewarding than helping pets and their ...
Jeffrey Vogl, DVM
Ask the VeterinarianE-mail
July 23, 2013
I had a client come in last week with ANOTHER stray kitten she had found along a rural road. I cannot tell you how many cats she has because I have never counted how many are in her file. Let’s just say her file is not a manila file folder, but a 3-ring binder….a 4-inch-thick one! She has a true “clowder” of cats. (like pack of dogs).
June 6, 2013
As a veterinarian with a few years (translation: decades) under my stethoscope, I have come to really appreciate the puppies and kittens that come in to our office for their first visits and then watching them grow and develop over years and move on into the autumn and winter of their lives. It is very much like I have a permanent pass into a theater and watching a movie of them as our clients share stories of their furry friends’ antics each time they come in.
June 3, 2013
I still hear the same dog myths today that I remember hearing as a child. Call them myths, ol' wives' tails, folklore or superstitions, but they are not true and in fact may be just bad advice. They have been passed down from the Great and Powerful OZ and, even still, reside in the gospel of digital Dr. Google. There is no doubt that you will shudder and balk at the blasphemy against hundreds of years of “proof” that these fallacies are fact. It will rock the very core of your dog knowledge that you have rooted and passed on to all others who seek your mentoring and advice because you are….. “Dog Person”! If these “facts” as you know them are false, what else in this world can be true? Next thing you are going to tell me is that Lassie wasn’t a real show about saving the life of little Timmy every week and, worse yet, Lassie was a boy dog!
March 14, 2013
Even if you could define “smartest” I am not sure you would get a consensus on which is the smartest breed of dog. Does smartest mean problem solving, learning, obeying commands, or dog IQ testing? (Yes there is an IQ test for dogs). Some dogs are street smart and some are book smart just like people.
January 15, 2013
I used to buy into the fact that since humans have opposing thumbs, lack a prehensile tail, and make and use tools that we were somehow superior in intelligence to our pets. Yet the longer I practice and the more I witness, I become more skeptical about how all this works. I have been watching dogs outsmart their owners since I began practicing almost three decades ago. Sometimes it is so subtle, our clients don’t even know. Other times it’s blatant, conniving manipulation of humans.
November 28, 2012
I signed another sympathy card last week for the family of a wonderful female golden retriever that died from mammary adenocarcinoma (breast cancer). This type of cancer would most certainly have been prevented if she had been spayed at an appropriate age earlier in her life. Every time this happens it reinforces my belief in spaying and neutering. I routinely inform our clients that it is not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” and “what” hormone dependent disease we will deal with in their pets’ later years if they are not spayed or neutered. The lifespan of spayed and neutered pets statistically are a year longer due to the list of diseases that can no longer afflict your pet.
October 4, 2012
In the movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks is a Fedex employee who survives a plane crash and finds himself stranded alone on a deserted island. After years he has learned how to survive and “make fire”. At one point during this nail biter, he develops an abscessed tooth. The pain becomes so unbearable that he resorts to using the blade from a found ice skate to knock the infected tooth out of his mouth. It still makes me queasy just imagining that scene.
August 7, 2012
One of our clients came in to our office with one of his “kids” last week because it was ADR (ain’t doin right). His dogs are very much his “kids” and live a wonderful life. We see many dogs and cats every day that ADR. Oftentimes, our clients just can’t put their finger on what is wrong, as in this instance with this 11-year-old female Cocker... We kept her for the morning to check her over and just a few blood tests later, we knew we were in trouble. Her liver enzymes were elevated, her liver size had decreased and the texture on ultrasound was not normal. A specific liver function test proved that her liver was in advanced stages of failing.
June 27, 2012
Due to the very nature of our line of work in veterinary medicine, we are exposed to pain and suffering many times every day in our furry friends. From trauma, elective surgery, non-elective surgery, tumors, fractures, periodontal disease, abdominal pain and osteoarthritis, we are continually trying to prevent, alleviate or just plain manage all these types of painful situations. Just like children, our pets are helpless when it comes to pain management and rely on us to be there for them.
May 7, 2012
I think I am old enough now that I can use the phrase, “You remember the good old days.” If you listen to the “older than me timers” you could feed your dog scraps, bones, pork or anything else lying around. They wouldn’t get sick and still live forever. And that’s a long time. I am not sure how true all this is, but I still hear it said by many of our charming senior clients. These days, we get several calls about vomiting or diarrhea patients every single day. Our patients compared to the past seem to have a much more “sensitive constitution,” as my grandma would have said.
March 20, 2012
One of my favorite movies, Never Cry Wolf, where a naive researcher studies the impact a pack of wolves has on the caribou herd, exemplifies exactly how relationships with our domesticated dogs should go in our homes. In one scene the alpha wolf of the pack urinates on the intruding human's tent in the arctic tundra, sending him a message of whose turf this is. To respond to this indignation the researcher returns the favor, marking the wolves’ den. In the real wild this would be seen as quite a challenge and likely a fight would ensue to determine who the real alpha is. Rarely in the wild do these fights take place because of the wonderful social order in a pack of wolves.
January 31, 2012
Hackles raise, pupils dilate, body position changes to a more erect stance, ears perk up, facial twitches begin, and low growling can be heard from people on both sides of this issue. There is such a huge divide between both arenas; it becomes difficult to see answers. As with everything, there are radicals in both groups and always will be. Like my high school chemistry professor Mr. Zetterholm, I would suggest we throw out the best and the worst scores and concentrate on the average, the grey area and use a more common sense approach. It just seems that rarely are the extremes the answer to anything.
December 16, 2011
With all the comments and questions I received about what everyone was feeding their dogs and cats, I couldn’t help but continue my rant about services marketing to all of us pet owners and how we buy into it Even as veterinarians (as if we should know better) we succumb to the glitz and glamour of marketing by these billion-dollar corporations. Witness this at our numerous conferences and the huge booths and displays by prescription diet and OTC diet companies who successfully bribe us with pens, key chains and candy.
November 8, 2011
Hardly a day goes by at my office without a client asking us what is the best food for my dog or cat, because everyone knows most of the pet foods are terrible. They have things like grain, BHA, by-products of some sort, preservatives, and who knows what else. Why I have even been told by clients that most of these foods cause cancer, weaken their immune system, cause skin disease; have ground up tires, soybean oil, tocopherol, and many acids like lactic, phosphoric and citric. I was horrified to learn that all these pet food companies were trying to harm our beloved pets. It would make sense then that all of the diseases I deal with every day are caused by the very food we use to try to keep them healthy. Could that mean that unscrupulous veterinarians would recommend these toxic foods, to cause diseases and increase their bottom line? What a horrible conspiracy.
October 3, 2011
Sounds like a country western song, but that’s what all of us were greeted with at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center Sunday October 2nd. It was South Bend’s first Community Pet Day, put together by South Bend Animal Care and Control, CARE of South Bend and a host of other organizations. Veterinarians from Kryder Veterinary Clinic, Western Veterinary Clinic and our office, University Park Veterinary Hospital, along with several technicians, assistants and other wonderful volunteers all offered to give a few hours of our time to what seemed like a good cause. Little did we know.
September 6, 2011
You can feel it in the air. It’s just a bit cooler in the mornings, a little less humid. Cicadas are buzzing, grackles are bunching up, football is in the air and at our office the excitement of another cuterebra season is upon us and in full swing. Don’t you love it. You can just hear it in our staff’s voices: “Is it one?” “Can you wait so I can see too?” “What time is Mr. Larvuh coming in with Lumpy, his yorkie?” “Can I stay over lunch to help?”
August 3, 2011
It’s been more than 15 years, but I can still see our beautiful yellow English Labrador retriever Jake running through the field behind our hospital, on a mission he knew all too well. Our daughter barely able to walk, had put Jake in a “ sit stay,” then stumbled her way through all the brush into the middle of the field to hide his “dummy.” Several minutes would pass as Jake quivered with excitement, waiting for his master to return from her foray. She would walk up to him, (he faced away from the field so he could not see her path) whispering and petting him as his excitement grew to be unbearable. Then came the screamed “release”! Like a machine, he cast left to right and back, on perfect 45s, across acres of goldenrod. Seemingly miraculously, within seconds he returned, tail up, head held high, very proud, with the dummy in his mouth. He was the perfect breed of dog…..for that.
July 6, 2011
Q: I have father and son cocker spaniels, both born in my house and used to being together. The father is 12 years old though, so I know the time will come when he will leave us. Since the younger (age 7) has always been around his dad, when that passing does occur, do dogs go through a "grieving" process, or experience separation anxiety at having lost such a constant presence?
June 19, 2011
Last week we squeezed in a client who wanted a second opinion on their new kitten, “Goobers.” Mrs. Panicking had found out the day before that her newly adopted kitten from the shelter had a “very serious” condition and she needed to know if he was going to make it. She was thinking of returning the kitten she had already fallen in love with and, to make matters worse, she herself had started to become ill with the same symptoms.
June 6, 2011
Q: Dr. Vogl, your last column was about tick season. I'm worried about my dog and Lyme Disease. Should I be?
May 22, 2011
I have always prescribed to the notion that the world’s varieties of creatures are woven into webs of balance, necessity and purpose. Even the ones that make you go yuuuuck. It just seems however, that try as I might, a few of these I just can’t figure out their place in the scheme of things. Such is the case with that slower than a sloth, creepy, crawly, disease-carrying arachnid we call a tick. The absolute only positive relationship I have ever heard is with Diceros bicornis (black rhino) and his friends of Africa and the nitpicking tickbird that rides his back. This wonderful symbiotic relationship allows the parasite eating tickbird a ride with a free meal and the rhino, Lubriderm-like skin.
May 4, 2011
What do you get when you mix the smells of unwashed, musty, old athletic socks, dead fish, and moldy limburger cheese (because the fresh stuff smells so much better)?
April 24, 2011
With the Easter season here, the phone call that we are sure to get will go something like this: “Excuse me Dr. Vogl, but Mrs. Kottentayle is on the phone and their Beagle ‘Peter’ just ate a few of those foil wrapped chocolate eggs, wrapper and all.”
April 13, 2011
Q: If my cat has had one bout with toxicity from ingesting onions, is she at greater risk if she ever eats them again? After all, aren't onions natural?
April 5, 2011
“No, no, no, fatty tumors have nothing to do with your dog’s weight,” I reply to my client with her 8-year-old, yellow Labrador retriever. Lipomas, (pronounced lie-poe’-muss) also known as “fatty tumors,” are common in many older dogs, especially retrievers. Every day in our practice we recheck one or find a new one. Lipomas are sneaky by nature; they seem to show up for no apparent reason (much like the fat on us). Usually our clients will say that they just noticed this new lump even though they pet their dog all the time. Groomers will often find these lumps too.
March 30, 2011
Q: Dr. Vogl, what questions should I get answers to about adopting a dog from a rescue group/humane shelter? I mean, seriously, I just want to look.
March 24, 2011
Q: Dr. Vogl, are dog parks safe? I worry that other dogs that go there might not be up-to-date on vaccinations?