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Veterinary Medicine: It’s a Person-Pet-Vet Connection

On Valentine’s Day we celebrate relationships – not just romantic relationships, but the bond we have with all the people who make our world a better place.

In this fast-paced, online, corporate world, it’s the relationships with people we often miss – REAL people. I’d rather speak to a real person on the other end of the telephone line, even if I have to hold for a few minutes, than a corporation’s telephone tree, or worse yet, a “talking” computer voice.

Have you ever felt more ridiculous than when talking to a computerized “help” line, the likes that utility and airline companies now use? How much more impersonal can you get?

When people learn I’m a veterinarian, I invariably hear, “Wow, you must love animals!”

My answer: “Yes, but I love the people part of my job just as much.”

Every animal we see comes with a person.

Working in a family-owned veterinary practice that has been in the neighborhood for more than 50 years, we’re privy to some amazing relationships that have developed between Atlantic Veterinary Hospital and our clients. We thrive on the people parts of our jobs and enjoy the relationships we develop as we work together to care for four-legged family members.

I like to get to know the people behind the pets.

When I’m putting in a late night finishing medical charts, working through my lunch time to answer the many calls that come into the practice every day, or missing dinner with my family to care for a sick pet, knowing that I’m working for people I care about makes it worthwhile. In fact, our veterinary oath includes a promise to protect human health.

It’s all about person-to-person-to pet relationships

And I promise you will never, ever talk to a computer when you call us. You’ll get a real person on the phone or answering your email, one who wants to help you or put you in contact with someone who can. Veterinary medicine is just as much about people as it is about animals. Thank you for being in relationship with us.

Avalanche Rescue Dogs (Video)

Several years ago, when I first learned to ski, I almost fell out of the chairlift at Steven’s Pass because I was gawking at a yellow Labrador retriever wearing a bright red vest. The dog had jumped into a lift chair behind me and was riding the lift up the mountain.

Wondering what in the world a dog was doing on a ski lift, I waited at the top after disembarking, pretending to adjust my ski mittens while I stared in amazement at the dog and its handler.

It turns out the dog was an Avalanche Rescue Dog, used to find skiers and snow boarders trapped in a snow slide. These dogs are also used to find skiers who have fallen and are covered by new snowfall, or have become lost and are holed up in a snow cave.

Once buried by snow, the victim is impossible to find with the naked eye and may have only a short time to live if not rescued. Many avalanche victims owe their lives to dogs trained in avalanche rescue.

In the late 1930s the Swiss Army started training search dogs in avalanche rescue, techniques that have been refined in the decades since. The dogs are taught to alert when they find “pools” of human scent.

Highly trained and organized volunteer rescue groups across the US, Canada, and Europe now provide avalanche search and rescue service to ski areas.

I hope none of us ever needs the services of one of these fantastic dogs, but their dedication to their task and their joy in the snow make them a beautiful (and comforting) sight.

Here’s an informative 4-minute video of avalanche rescue dogs in training:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm0eU08XuTE[/youtube]

Martin Luther King, Jr.: ‘Take the First Step in Faith’

January: the first month of the year and a time for new beginnings.

Ever hopeful, many of us make a resolution or two on New Year’s Eve, promising ourselves we’ll accomplish something special in the coming months.

Sometimes, however, what we want to accomplish can soon loom very large in the light of day after New Year’s Eve.

Afraid to fail, we ask ourselves: “What was I thinking?”

We begin to rationalize — even before the holiday decorations are stowed away — that a challenging goal is really too difficult or enormous to be attainable, so why bother? And another year goes by.

This month we also celebrate the birthday and amazing life of American hero, Martin Luther King, Jr. Dissatisfied with the status quo, King encouraged people to imagine a better world – a world no one had actually seen before. Goals don’t get much bigger than his, but King was a man who believed in the power of our collective individual efforts to bring about massive positive change.

“Take the first step in faith,” King said. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Join us in celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Honor his legacy by mustering the courage to dream big, coupled with the tenacity to see your dream as a series of achievable steps.

One of our big dreams for Atlantic Veterinary Hospital is the installation of digital X-ray, a new technology that allows better and faster diagnostic capabilities for our patients. While upgrading our X-ray equipment is not world-changing in a global sense, the technology can be positively life changing for our pet patients. Right now, digital X-ray seems out of our reach due to the cost of the new technology, but we’re working on smaller steps to achieve that goal, and we’ll keep you updated.

What are your goals for 2012?

Simple Ways You Can Volunteer to Help Pets

“I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid.”

Not a day goes by when I don’t hear that sentiment. It warms my heart to interact daily with people who love animals, no matter what their role.

But it warms my soul down to my toes when people volunteer their talents purely for the joy of caring for animals in need.

Sure, vets have their place in animal care and many volunteer regularly with charitable organizations, such as worldvets.org.

But there are so many ways to volunteer your talents to help animals – it’s not all about being a veterinarian.

  • Some people help animals by fostering homeless pets (and there are more homeless pets every day) through rescue organizations.
  • Some raise or donate funds to help those rescue organizations.
  • Others repair the computers of the fundraisers. Or they update websites, stuff flyers, collect pet food and blankets, man a booth, run a charity race, or adopt a pet from petfinder.com.

Everyone has some talent they can offer that has a positive effect on the lives of animals.

During this season of gratitude, I recognize you, fellow animal lovers, for the things you do to help care for animals in need. I know the joy you receive in return makes it all worthwhile and this world a better place. Thank you!

Shake Up in the Pharmaceutical Industry Affects Veterinary Medicine

Over the past two years, health care professionals have faced critical drug shortages and price fluctuations the likes of which we’ve never seen before. These shortages are affecting human and veterinary patients alike.

In fact, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) now has a website providing information about current drug shortages, as new ones seem to surface every week.

“FDA recognizes the significant public health consequences that can result from drug shortages and takes tremendous efforts within its legal authority to address and prevent drug shortages. These shortages occur for many reasons, including manufacturing and quality problems, delays, and discontinuations.

FDA is aware that in 2010 there was a record number of shortages and in 2011 FDA has continued to see an increasing number of shortages… As a result of these shortages, health care professionals sometimes face situations where they need to identify suitable alternative medications to treat their patients.” (fda.gov)

What if no suitable alternative exists?

Some drugs, like injectable calcium needed in human and veterinary emergencies, are not available – period. The price of other medications has increased without warning.

Metronidazole, a drug often used for intestinal upset and previously pennies a tablet, is now 75 times more expensive than just six months ago. Understandably, consumers are not pleased and patients at risk (or their families) are afraid.

Some days, we attempt to place a supply order, only to learn a medication is no longer available, or that it’s on extended backorder, or the price has jumped through the roof.

We do our best to keep our pharmacy stocked, our prices competitive, and to search for alternatives when the medication we need is not available. These days, it’s often a real challenge.

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week

Everyday, in veterinary hospitals throughout the country, the veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and kennel assistants attend to the hands-on art of healing animals.

They are our nurses, nursing assistants, and aides: our eyes, ears, hearts, and hands. They give comfort, calm fears, and treat illness and injury under doctors’ directions.

Yet, most of them provide that care, day after day, without a lot of recognition or glory. Their names aren’t on the practice sign, they don’t have business cards, and they don’t earn huge salaries. When clients give thanks to the doctors for making an ill pet better, they often do so without realizing that behind the scenes, the technicians and assistants were an indispensible part of the care and healing.

Please join me in thanking and recognizing our technicians and assistants who provide nursing care to our furry patients. Thank you for giving them some of the gratitude and a little of the spot light they deserve.

Thanks Inovadent

Veterinary hospitals are not only providers of customer service, we’re also receivers. We have vendors who help us take care of our equipment and facility; locate needed out-of-stock medications; manage our employee benefits, etc. It feels GREAT to receive the kind of customer service we try hard to give our clients and patients.

This week we were recipients of the most amazing customer service I’ve ever experienced. And, in an indirect way, so were several of our patients. Our dental machine, a real work horse used nearly every day to improve the dental health of our patients, went kaput. We were dead in the water with several dental procedures on the schedule. Some naughty gremlin yanked a crucial cord, ripping it out by the roots deep inside the machine, and the machine went down.

The last time this happened, the  local repair guy was unable to help us. Our dental machine’s manufacturer was sold to another company, and he didn’t know where to get parts. We contacted another vendor in desperation, he made a call or two, and a few hours later we found  Inovadent, a tiny company in a tiny village (832 residents, even smaller than where I grew up) in the middle of rural western Wisconsin, located right smack in the center of town on Main Street.

Joe, one of their technicians, was extremely patient, practical, and kind during our numerous frantic phone calls. He was able to diagnose the problem by listening to the machine over the telephone; overnighted the part we needed; then talked us through changing out the part — and he’s never seen our dental machine! We were back up and running.

Thank you Joe and Inovadent from the doctors, staff, and patients of Atlantic Veterinary Hospital. You uplifted our spirits and made a real difference to our hospital and the care we can provide.

Blessings,

Dr. M

Join us at the Seattle Furry 5k!

Grab your leash, a coffee cup, and come join us this Sunday June 12th at Seward Park for the 2011 Furry 5k, a fun run/walk to raise monies for the Seattle Animal Shelter. We’re participating as sponsors and have put together an array of treats (for humans and canines), fun freebies, and cool raffle items. Registration starts at 8am and the run/walk starts at 10am. Hope to see you there!

Our friend Julie at tugrrrs.com donated 2 awesome handmade leashes for our raffle. These leashes are colorful, soft, strong, and stretch like a leather leash (so you don’t get your arm yanked off when a squirrel crosses your path).  Thanks tugrrrs!  Check these out at http://tugrrrs.com/products-page/.Be Happy

Purina and Novartis also donated lots of items we’d like to pass along to you.

Hope to see you at the park!

Dr. M

 

Atlantic Vet in Your Community

Community is important to us! In addition to caring for the four-legged family members in our neighborhood, we’re looking for ways to give back to this incredible community and the people we serve. Our most recent efforts include:

  • We’ve started a pet food drive for the Rainier Valley Food Bank. Please donate a bag of cat or dog food to our collection barrel, and we’ll say thank you with a $5 discount toward your pet’s next exam fee.
  • We’ve signed on as sponsors for the 2011 Furry 5k, a fun race event in Seward Park June 12th that raises funds for the Seattle Animal Shelter. Bring your pooch, get a little exercise, and visit our booth for fun prizes and snacks.
  • We donated goods and services to the Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce 2010 and 2011 auctions for their college scholarship fund.
  • We’re doing our part for Bridge-to-Beach Cleanup 2011 on May 1st, beautifying our immediate area and showing our pride in the valley.
  • Dr. Monahan participated in Career Day 2011 at Washington Middle School in March.
  • We offer a Green Discount of 5% to clients to walk, bicycle, bus, or carpool to their appointments.

Atlantic Veterinary Hospital has been part of this community since the 1960s when the practice was started on Atlantic Street (hence our unusual name on the West Coast). The practice moved a little south to Beacon Hill-Rainier Valley when the I-90 interstate was built in the late 1960s and has been at it’s present (and final) location on 23rd Avenue South for 22 years and counting. This vibrant, growing community is our home and it’s important to us, so we’re going to keep giving back.

Join us!

Dr. M

Update on Adopting

We were so pleased to welcome “Bogart” to our family yesterday. Bogey is a senior black Lab found wondering many months ago and ended up in the slammer in Ellensburg. Fortunately, he avoided death row when some wonderful folks posted bail and have been fostering him since. We drove over to Ellensburg yesterday to meet him, and it was love at first sight.

He fits right into our family – he knows where to sit to beg for Scooby snacks, snores contentedly in his new bed, lies in the “middle of the road” in our kitchen,

likes to go for walks, warmly tolerates all the lovin’ from our two boys, and gets along well with our younger Lab and two kitties. 

Bogey’s got arthritis and is a little stiff on rising, so we’re starting him on some special food and a second medication to help ease his joint troubles, as well as investigating some alternative therapies like therapeutic swimming, physical therapy, and accupuncture. Got keep him moving!

He’s a great old boy, and we’re lucky to have him!

Dr. M

Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Seattle serves the following neighborhoods: Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Seward Park, Capitol Hill, Leschi, Central District, Madison Valley, International District, and Georgetown.