Monday, September 28, 2015


My Dear Son:

Sukie's first trip to the veterinarian was, as with many cats, filled with small reassurances and terror. She'd rather ride in a lap than in a crate, but we didn't test that theory. The ten-minute car ride was filled with mewling. In the exam room, she settled down, stopped shivering, and purred loudly for a few minutes. The exam, culture, and shots seemed no big deal to her. The trip back home in the crate was punctuated once again by louder and accelerated mewling.

Sukie checked out generally very healthy except for Coccidia, a parasite that infects the intestinal lining of many young animals, treatable with ten days of sulfadimethoxine, an antibiotic that kills single-cell organisms. Otherwise, she proved her health with an abundance of playfulness, voracious eating, remarkable adaptation, and rapid responses.

I thought you might want to know what a veterinarian looks for in our pets. It's a long list, so I'll start with a few and finish next letter:

The veterinarian looks first at your pet's appearance, weight, and temperature. He considers whether your pet has enough muscle mass or too much adipose (fatty) tissue, which also changes with age. He also considers whether the pet is well-hydrated or dehydrated, because, as you have experienced recently, inadequate fluid in the tissues can cause all sorts of problems, among them pain.

The veterinarian looks at your pet's disposition, considering its breed. It's sort of like considering how the animal is doing emotionally, and whether its personality is developing as we would expect it.

The veterinarian looks for age-specific concerns, which, at this time would be parasites or diseases that might easily overtake a young animal while its immune system is still developing.

The veterinarian looks at the eyes, which are huge portals to understanding disease processes. If the eyes are bright and clear, the animal stands a strong chance of being healthy, at least for the next few weeks. When the eyes or eyelids (cats have three) are draining or otherwise damaged, it's very likely some disease process has already started.

More next time on health!

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