Friday, 30 October 2009


Someone phoned up today to make an appointment for their 'Bitch on fries'.

Yep, it took us a while too.....

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The first cut is the deepest.

I don't think we ever forget our very first pet. 

This is me with Otto.

He was there before I was born.

I was vaguely aware during my earlier years that he fell somewhere between my baby brother and the goldfish in the pecking order of things.

He ate from the same silver dish for seventeen years, mostly cat food in a blue tin from Sainsbury's. He used to sit in the middle of the go cart ramp when we wanted to use it. One day he ate Fishy. When he disappeared for three days I cried every day. I still remember the day he came home vividly, Dad bursting excitedly into the living room holding him under his arm. 

When we moved home my parents transported him in a porcelain waste paper bin that smelt of cigarette stubs. When we moved again Dad thought that at thirteen 'the shock would kill him'. The next day he dragged a squirrel through the cat flap.

He weaved his way into the fabric of our life with a soft gentle charm.  

When he died we knew we had not only lost a pet but an irreplaceable part of our little family unit. A little piece of our history.  

As in the photo, he may always have been on the periphery but he was never out of the picture.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A worse profession.

My mother and I are hooked on the current series of 'Masterchef the professionals.'

Last night during the show she sent me this text : 'I think masterchef is a worse job than a vet.'

My reply: 'Yes, but at least if you find a brown stain on your uniform you know there is a fair chance it's only going to be gravy.'

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Zoonotic disease.

A zoonosis is a disease you can catch from your pet.

As vets we are naturally at risk from these. Today I took a trip to the chemist to obtain some treatment for the red patch of skin on my chest which I suspect to be ringworm.

There were four or five other people at the counter of various ages all waiting for flu and cold remedies... and then there was little old blotchy me.

'I'd like some Canesten cream.' I asked the matronly looking chemist in a low voice.

'Have you got Thrush?' She asked loudly.

Everyone tried very hard not to look at me because the English find nothing more embarrassing than a problem 'down below'.

'No I've got ringworm.' I said rather pointedly through gritted teeth.

'Oh you've got worms!' She said nodding her head rather excited as if she finally understood.

Now they were all looking at me rather disgusted.

'I do not have worms, I have a fungal infection which I caught from a patient!' I ranted across the counter.

With that everyone simultaneously took two steps back...including the chemist.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


I've got news folks, the dog world is in the grip of a 1980's perm style revival.

There's a new hybrid in town, the Dog 'o' doodle/poodle crosses:

They come in all shapes and sizes:

The Labradoodle:

The Cockapoo.....ahhhhh

The Basetoodle (although I do wonder whether this was an accidental mating and if so whether a chair was also involved)

It would appear that the trend is not just hitting the canine world....Sarah Jessica Parker has been spotted sporting a similar 'do' in the new 'Sex in the City' movie.

See if you can spot the Jackadoodle below...I'll give you a clue, she's the cute one.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


My colleague has a unique description for clients who pick and choose from the tests and treatments you have recommended for their pets.  She calls them 'smorgasboard clients.'

For example you say 'Felix needs to have a blood test, X-rays, drip, ultrasound and antibiotics.'

And they say after twenty minutes of deliberation and time wasting 'I don't think we will have the blood test or X-rays but we will have the ultrasound and drip.'

It's not because they can't afford it, it's because they think they know better than you and somehow they think you are trying to con them into tests they don't need.

Heres what happens in every scenario.

Two days later Felix isn't better.

Four days later they let you run the complete work up you wanted to do on day one.

Monday, 5 October 2009


Recently I've been thinking about fledgling vets.  You'll probably have been qualified around three months now.

When I think back to some of the useless exam questions I had during my finals like:

'What is the ideal colour of an egg yolk?'

'Describe the surgical treatment for chylothorax?' 

and 'How would you design housing for 100 farrowing sows?'

None of which have proved any use in the real world, I realise now that I was totally unprepared for life in practice.  It would have been far more useful for example to have been asked the following:

'There is a sixty five kilo Rottweiler growling outside your consulting room door, the owner wishes you to examine it's ears. You have the following at your disposal, a fifty kilo seventeen year old trainee nurse, a dog catcher and some ketamine. Describe how you would use these to complete the task safely.'


'Jeffery, the ten year old domestic short hair has been anorexic for 2 weeks and he is jaundiced. The owner has twenty pounds in her purse and doesn't get her benefits until next week. List the charity organisations that you might be able to contact for extra funds and how you feel the owners financial situation might alter the prognosis?'

Or even:

'You have been up all night performing your first caesarian and have had no sleep, describe the methods by which you will keep yourself awake during the next twelve hour shift?'

Sometimes I wonder whether it should be the examiners at vet schools and not just the students who should be doing a bit of 'seeing practice' during their holidays....