Last exam and the end of the vet school year…

Vet school Parasitology

I’ve never worked so hard in my life, had so many sleepless nights, and felt so utterly lost and without hope in my life. Someone once said that it was the getting in that was the easy part of vet school. After spending the past week fighting the massive urge to curl up in the corner, sleep and forget about everything today I managed to pass parasitology.

This subject has been hell for me, with the Latin species names, the sizes and the pure quantity of information it has been a never ending cycle of learning one thing to forget it after studying the next thing going round completely in circles.

My brain is mushed, my legs don’t seem to be connected to it anymore, and I can’t remember the last time I had a proper meal…

Upside is the year is over, 5th year starts on the 21st September and I am so excited, just about another 700 days of this vet school lark to go!

With that I am going find food…

Tearing the tips of a cat’s claws off…

Blue boots after surgery

Just imaging letting a doctor cut the end bones in your fingers and toes off… I found this story on Facebook today and just had to share. Blue Boots is doing fine now as far as I am aware…

Blue Boots. In 2013 Blue Boots was surrendered for behavioral issues including litter box avoision and extreme aggression. Fortunately, someone stepped in and Blue Boots went to a Specialty Purebred CAT Rescue foster. The vet through SPCR found the cause that explained everything, though most people would not have connected the dots, as Blue Boots’ original owner did not. See, years earlier, Blue Boots had undergone a 4-paw declaw procedure. It’s quite routine and widely accepted in the US and even vehemently defended. What you see in these photos are the deformed claws that were growing WITHIN and THROUGH Blue Boots’ paw pads.


In one study of declawed cats in a particular shelter, one vet found that 66% had left over P3 fragments from the declaw being performed improperly. 33% of them had more than 5 fragments. Of those with fragments, 45% had at least one fragment larger than 5 mm. 28% had a 100% fully BOTCHED declaw procedure, meaning they had bone fragments larger than 5 mm left in each declawed toe.

In the case of Blue Boots, he was 100% botched, meaning those bone fragments left behind in each toe also included a part of each nail bed. Over the space of time after his declaw, the ingrown claws caused constant pain and resulted in his litter box issues and his aggression. Again, his owners weren’t able to connected the behavior with the cause and he would have been killed.

If an individual MUST have a declawed cat, either due to the potential health risks of a possible scratch or due to the rules of their living arrangement, please consider adopting an adult feline from a rescue or shelter that has already been declawed. If a child colors on a wall, you do not cut off their fingers. You teach them not to. The same applies to kittens and training them to use an appropriate scratching surface. There are so many alternatives and humane solutions. This is not merely my opinion, but a truth based upon the research of countless veterinary professionals, proven statistics and studies done throughout the world. Declawing is now banned in at least 22 countries.

Personally this is a surgery that I consider cruel, we should not be modifying animals to fit our needs.

Animals helping humans, humans helping animals… One Health

Oscar cat leg implants

Anyone that has watched Bionic Vet will know the story of Oscar the cat that had his back legs chopped of by a combine harvester, and that Prof. Noel Fitzpatrick replaced them with some implanted metal legs. However did you know that this new “honeycomb” implant technology was being developed for human use as a replacement to fake limbs using the socket and strap method? In fact since Oscar the technology has been used in humans, one of the London bombing victims has the same type of implants for a new arm.

The only reason that Oscar got his implanted legs was because the doctors developing the implant could not get ethical permission to cut off the legs from research dogs to “test” their new dogs. Instead they turned to actual patients that had lost their legs through trauma – Oscar was the first cat to be used to test this new technology.

However even though developed in animals and widely used in humans now this new treatment technology is still very limited in its use in animals, with just one or two places in the UK providing it.

Now it could be claimed that this is pretty unfair. It happens all the time though, loads of the human medical advances are developed through veterinarians and animals. Yet sadly once the treatment is developed it then only occurs in the human world.

This is where the One Health concept has come from – animals and humans should work together for health sharing knowledge and breakthroughs in medicine. It is a concept that I am wholly behind, as sometimes there are simple fixes to problems that are just restricted to human use not because of anything special, but because of lack of knowledge.

In fact for rarer animals in zoo’s vets often call in human doctors to help with surgery – very common with primates – so getting this expertise however without the knowledge. Part of this is because of the high level of specialisation in human medicine – a surgeon will just specialise in a certain area whilst the specialisation in veterinary medicine is not so specific. This is something I love about veterinary medicine – the variety – however I do see the field evolving into a highly specialist referral system for more complex cases.

This is why I am so excited for Vet Festival and the One Health Live Concert next month at the University of Surrey. This is the future, and it is now.

Common Dog Dangers to Avoid this Summer

Dog safety in summer

Summer is the time for relaxation and enjoyment. However, during this time, the temperature rises, thus, imposing perils not only to humans, but also to pets. If you wish your animal pals to be protected from any unforeseen incidents, you need to be aware of these common dangers to avoid:

Ticks and Mites

Because most of your time will be spent outdoors, ticks and mites are considered the biggest threats. With this, veterinarians recommend that dog owners should regularly check their furry pals for any signs of ticks and mites, at least once a day.

Although it is hard to spot them on dogs with thicker coats, these can still be removed using tweezers. If these are tolerated, these may possibly carry fatal diseases like Lyme disease, which causes the dogs to feel tired and feverish. In the event you notice these pests, it is recommended that you talk to your vet immediately to know the best possible medication.

Heat Stroke and Dehydration


Similar to humans, heat stroke and dehydration are among the very serious threats to your dogs during the hot summer days. So, it is important that you keep your pets fresh and clean. Also, you have to make sure potable water is always available.

If you are planning to take them on afternoon walks or on long vacations, you have to carry portable water bowls to keep them hydrated.

Dogs with thick coats are also prone to heat stress. If you ever notice any of the signs below, consult the veterinarian immediately.

  • dullness
  • dry gums
  • lack of appetite
  • tired eyes

Bee Stings

For humans, bee stings are never really pleasant; same as to dogs. But, whenever they hear these sounds, pets tend to investigate. And due to their curiosity, it might get them stung. When this happens, the best thing you can do is to call your vet. He can enumerate some over-the-counter medicines you can buy to treat your pal.

Sometimes, the dogs react to swelling. If they feel really annoyed, there are possibilities that they might scratch the infected area, which results in pulling out the fur. Once you notice them to act this way, bring your dog to the vet immediately.

Added Fur

Grooming is really important for dogs during the warm summer days. Hence, every pet owner must regularly brush their pets more often to eliminate any excess fur, which will only contribute to heat stress. If you are planning to cut them off, make sure they are not too short though. The coat can also protect them from the intense summer heat.

Other Predators

Because summer means more time spent outdoors, there are possibilities of encountering slithering snakes. Some of them may be harmless, but always remember that a snake bite can always cause fatalities than your pet’s bark. Therefore, you must not wait for this to happen and protect your pet, as well as your family, against these serpents, by keeping your place clean.

Toxic Food

dog bones

Everyone loves to have a good meal, even dogs. But, not all human food is safe for them. During summer, having a barbecue party is a norm. And during this time, your dogs may become exposed to onions, garlic, raisins and grapes, which are all toxic if taken in large quantities.

In addition to these, there are other foods that pose a threat to your dogs, such as:

  • Fruits with Pits
    Avocados, peaches, apples, and other pitted fruits may cause choking hazards to them.
  • Corn on the Cob
    Dogs have difficulties in digesting corn cobs. Eating this may result in diarrhea.
  • Food with Bones
    Bones are toys for dogs. But, real bones should not be made play items. The bones’ sharp edges may only damage their throat, which might later cause further complications in their digestive tract.
  • Caffeine-Rich Products
    Any caffeine-rich food can be fatal to your canine. And what’s worse is that there is no cure for this. Whenever they get poisoned with caffeine, your dogs might experience rapid breathing, muscle tremors, heart palpitations, and tiredness.
  • Chocolate
    All kinds of chocolate are dangerous for your dogs. If your dog eats it, even the smallest icing in a plate, may cause your furry pal to vomit. It can also result in seizures and anomalous heart rhythm.

All the dangers listed here sound scary and alarming. But, with preparation and vigilance, your pooches can beat off the summer heat and create fun memories with you.


Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can reach him via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages.