Entry, Life As A Vet Student
Sally Moseley, St. Matthew's University
I have always thought of myself as a good pet owner.
That being said, how many discredited parents have told a similar tale?
How I think most pet owners (and many parents, as well) get into trouble is not by lack of caring but lack of knowing. I have been a huge advocate for client education before I even knew what client education was; I spoke to youth groups about the importance of realizing the responsibility of taking care of a pet before they got a pet, and I also spoke to them about common dangers pets may face.
I honestly did not inform them of very much, just some basic ideas. I mostly wanted to encourage those kids to follow the adage “look before you leap” so that they might get the most out of having a pet.
Somewhere along the line, I must have forgotten my own advice. I certainly cared, I just did not know. And I did not learn until the incident, which may be considered the point at which it was “too late”.
For ten years, I had two beautiful female leopard geckos: Fintsy and Coraco. When I first set up their tank, overjoyed with the thrill of the exotic experience, I had a stack of books about leopard geckos. I would have told you that I read every single word. I would have told you, and I would have believed it myself.
Ten years after first pouring sand into that tank, on a cold morning before the sun cared to join us, I woke up to a gargled shriek. It was a moment where I had no idea what was happening, but I did know that one of my geckos was in pain. (Later, my vet would try to comfort me by saying reptiles did not feel pain, but I changed his mind that day.) I jumped out of bed and lifted up my geckos’ favorite cave to find a strange site.
Fintsy was not only missing a foot, but she was biting her own leg. Maybe sometime in my veterinary career I will make up some plausible explanation for her biting her own leg. I wish I could give an explanation now, but all I can come up with at the moment is that it was in response to Coraco biting off her foot.
I am not sure how many people know about leopard geckos. Maybe to some people this incident does not look like my fault.
But I have not exactly given the full story yet. A couple of years before the incident, Coraco bit off Fintsy’s tail. Why didn’t I separate them after that? Two reasons: I had my suspicions that Coraco was partially blind, and leopard gecko tails grow back.
It was not until years later that the incident occurred, and in a panic of Googling I discovered that you are not supposed to let two female leopard geckos live in the same tank. They fight. I thought ten years was a long time to go with one “fight” that might have been a blind gecko’s attempt at catching a cricket. But then I read that everyone said they had geckos for three years or five years or even ten years before they fought.
If this had happened to everyone, how did I not discover this before?
Needless to say, I felt extremely foolish. Poor Fintsy lost a foot because of my little negligence. I took her to the vet that day, and the infection was already spreading to her abdomen. She survived another half a year.
I still have one beautiful leopard gecko, and I now believe she is enjoying the tank to herself. I can understand when a client misses something about raising a pet. And I understand the feeling when he realizes he did something wrong. Maybe it would be easier to know everything about everything so that we would never make these mistakes. Maybe it would, but I am inclined to think that we should continue to learn. When I spoke to youth groups, I wanted the kids to learn before anything happened. But when something does happen, we can learn from that as well.
And, more importantly, we can teach what we have learned.
Entry, Life As A Vet Student
Kyra Berg, University of Illinois
I just recently found a tumor on my cat Shadow that was really suspicious of a vaccine-associated sarc, so he had a punch biopsy on Monday. He's never used an e-collar, so he's been struggling to get used to it these past couple days. Here is what happens when you're too nice of a mum…
so now, my cat is totally livid and moving like a slug across my flat because I've gauzed, taped, t-shirt-wrapped, and e-collared the crap out of him.
Life: 12, Kyra: -4
Entry, Foot in Mouth Disease
Terra Berardi, Ross
It hit me when formaldehyde,
began to smell like home.
It hit me while my brother was eating chicken,
and I proceeded to tell them about the muscles and bones.
It hit me when I acquired a million pets,
that I meant to only foster.
It hit me when I used words like “distal” and “proximal,”
to give driving directions to my father.
It hit me when I forgot,
what having a social life means.
It hit me when every study break involved,
the consumption of caffeine.
But it hit the most when I sat down,
to write this submission,
because it was a way of feeling productive,
while procrastinating on my study of nutrition.