Oh my god do I miss blogging. But I have been flat out all month. Let’s see, what have I been doing?
When last I wrote, dear diary, I was finishing up the course on how to handle community (feral/outdoor) cats. My team did trap a handful of cats (if I remember right, it was around five), and won the Best Dressed Trappers award for the t-shirts that one team member put together saying “Team Dog Zombie” on them. I am pretty sure that I wasn’t the one to inspire the team spirit (I have always been a little deficient in the team spirit category), but they were awesome people to work with and the t-shirts really amused me.
The next week I was on an emergency room/intensive care unit rotation. The hours were very long, but I really love emergency medicine, so I didn’t mind. I got a puppy with parvovirus midway through the week. Parvo is a highly contagious disease, associated with (but not unique to) the shelter environment, so I was extremely pleased to get to work on this case. The puppy lived in the isolation unit for five days, and I was essentially barred from the rest of the ER in case I carried germs back, so it was just him and me for the duration. Oh, and a bunch of very competent technicians and very hard-working students, of course. I learned a lot about parvo. How to get a parvo puppy who still feels nauseated to eat: buy him a roast chicken from Publix! Mmm.
The last two weeks have been didactic, a strange throwback to veterinary school. I am not in shape for sitting on butt for hours a day anymore! We would read frantically, then go in to listen to lectures about the readings. The class was small (the handful of shelter medicine interns and residents, plus a few more distance learners), so it wasn’t like your traditional large lecture course, but it was still an odd experience to spend four hours a day sitting in front of PowerPoint slides again. How did I manage it for eight hours a day, back in school? But I learned a lot about shelter medicine: do microchips cause cancer? How likely is it that an unchipped animal will find its way home again? How do you wash your hands? (Yes, really.) What kind of animal are you most likely to get rabies from (and how likely are you to get rabies)? How do you calculate how many animals you might expect to have in a shelter on a given day, and what are your best methods to reduce that population? And, of course, our favorite, what color is this cat?
For these first few months I have felt my brain being gradually remolded to fit the perspectives of the faculty members in this school’s shelter medicine department. I can almost no longer remember how it felt to have different beliefs about how to approach cat overpopulation than I do now. Here’s hoping I find the time to blog it all out!