A Day in the Life of a Veterinarian

Personal Blog

Welcome to the Home Page of my personal blog! 

Please remember that these are my own thoughts and meant to create a window into my mind, showing a Day in the Life of this Veterinarian.

We have every day struggles, just as everyone would, and then we have an immense amount of work related stress, on top of those every day struggles.

We suffer from mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, and we need to find an outlet for those thoughts. This blog is one of my outlets. What do you struggle with that writing your thoughts down could help you with?

How to Navigate my Blog

If you have been following along, you may have noticed that I have a ton of interests! I have broken this blog into categories. I created a new drop down menu to navigate to specific topics - scroll over the menu above.

 

Under Pet Health and Nutrition you are going to find some case information. A lot of it is geared towards veterinary students, as I hope that when they run into some of these cases, it helps them think through the cases. 

The newest feature on the blog is the area of Indi's Reviews - you can find this from Indi's Home Page

I also talk about my struggles with anxiety and depression - the whole reason I started this blog - mostly under Taking Care of You

I started a new category for My Fertility Journey - essentially, this is where I am dumping my brain from all the things I am learning about how to conceive when you are a professional female, who put off having children until her late 30's.

I hope that this blog page will have something for you! Enjoy!

NIAW: Take Control

Thank-you to everyone who has been joining me along this journey. I try to share my perspective in the hopes that it will help other women who are on the TTC journey as well. The main thing is: You are not alone. Part of why it can be difficult is because we feel helpless. As I mentioned, during COVID-19 we are restricted in the services that are available to us. Despite what our doctors and fertility specialists say, that a few months aren't going to harm your overall chances of conceiving, we cannot within ourselves believe that this is true. To conclude this week of National Infertility Awareness, I wanted to provide insight that can relieve the anxiety that couples are feeling. Take cont

NIAW: Respect the Decisions of Others

Another topic that I wanted to talk about is respecting the decisions of women who are childless. There are women who do not want to have children. These women can appear the same as women who cannot have children. The difference between the two is - the one who has decided they do not want to have children, often voice this at a young age. How many times have these women had to argue with other people about how 'they will change their minds when they are older'? This can be very frustrating for these women. Have you heard the terminology DINKS? Dual-Income-No-Kids? I only heard this because of a friend of mine, who was trying and find out that her and her partner couldn't. The term itself e

NIAW: IUI and IVF

In this post, I wanted to talk a little bit about fertility treatments. My husband is completely clueless when I start using all these acronyms. I'm talking about my LH and my BBT, making an appointment with the fertility specialist who is likely going to perform IUI first, then maybe IVF, but I'm not really sure yet because of COVID-19. I already posted about LH and BBT. So in brief, LH is luteinizing hormone. Women need an LH surge in order to have ovulation. No LH surge, no ovulation. This LH peak is measured by urine strips in kits called ovulation prediction kits (OPK). The BBT is the basal body temperature. This is the body temperature measured first thing in the morning before any act

NIAW: Just Relax and it will happen - Stress and Infertility

If you are in the TTC community you have already been told by your mothers or mother-in-laws that you should just relax and then it will happen. I can tell you from personal experience that this is the last thing that a woman who has been trying to conceive wants to hear. Did I already say that you should never tell a woman to 'just relax'?? Today, I wanted to talk about the physiology behind stress and then how it can affect your reproductive hormones. Stress itself is complicated. It is not a simple shunting progesterone to cortisol to meet the demands of stress. In fact, acute stress can cause an increase in cortisol that parallels an increase in progesterone. What can happen in times of

NIAW: Supplements and Fertility during COVID-19

I already mentioned that women with infertility struggle at the best of times, emotionally I mean. The roller coaster of the TWW (two week wait) and the disappoint when AF (Aunt Flo) shows up. The pressures that their partners may be feeling when the woman announces that they are at their peak and need to make a baby - right now! Now, you add social distancing measures, being stuck indoors with no natural light, no gyms are open, and you may get fined if you go walking around in the parks, and everyone finds they are getting squirrely. For couples who are TTC, their fertility clinics are closed. They are in a race against time before their eggs dry up. Couples that have already had embryos f

NIAW: Cycle Tracking and Short Luteal Phase

Now that you have been trying to conceive (TTC) for 6 to 12 months, and you have been deemed suffering from infertility, what do you do next? Your doctor's orders were: have sex every 48 hours from the end of your period to the start of the next, but the woman's fertile window is much shorter than that - about 6-7 days in one cycle. If you are like me, or any other over-achieving working professional, then you may not have the time or energy to set aside the time to connect with your partner. Of course, once you know the 'why' of why are you not conceiving, then your doctor or fertility specialist can assist you, but as mentioned, during COVID-19, all non-essential businesses have closed the

National Infertility Awareness Week

Raise your hand if you have been trying to conceive (TTC) and you don't feel understood. How about those of you who are afraid to talk to anyone? How many of you have joined a TTC social group? Strangers come together on these platforms with one common goal - to have a healthy baby. Now, to those of you who have healthy babies, those of you who had no problems getting pregnant, maybe getting pregnant on your first try, or without trying - it's not that we aren't happy for you. It is that the sadness of our own lack of success hurts more when we see new pregnancy announcements. No offence, we don't really want to talk about our infertility issues with you, because we think you do not understa

Tiger King and COVID-19: To Mask or not to Mask

I have not jumped on the bandwagon to watch the newly released Netflix docuseries ‘Tiger King’. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t appeal to me. I also read that there is going to be one more episode, which I am sure millions of people will watch. I worked with tigers in the past. I was a zookeeper, and did relief keeping on the big cat route at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. I had a huge interest in big cats, and carnivores in general. So the idea of ‘Tiger King’ was kind of cringe-worthy. People in isolation during COVID-19 need entertainment though, so I kind of get it. What I wanted to also talk about is the news of the tiger at the Bronx Zoo that tested positive for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-

Insomnia: Vet School Stresses and Hormone Messages

I had an excellent sleep last night. Not long, just a deep sleep, in comparison to the two nights before. I thought it was odd, though it coincided with my two work days, my work life hasn’t been so stressful as of late. But I have been tracking my cycle because I’m TTC, and then I thought - are the shifts in my hormones during my cycle contributing to my insomnia??? Turns out there is some science behind this random thought. The ebbs and flows, no pun intended, of your cycle hormones can contribute to insomnia. In first year vet school, I suffered from insomnia, where I didn’t sleep for four days. I would go to bed, then lay there tossing and turning all night. I later attributed this to se

Veterinary Student Blogs

These days, many veterinary students are turning to blogging, and I can see why! It's a journal. It's a way to feel like you can be accountable, to yourself, to your vet school family, and to aspiring veterinarians. Journaling daily is also therapeutic. If you read some of my blog posts, you can tell that some of it is ranting! Back in my youth, I didn't have a computer, but I had paper. I would write my thoughts down as a way to express myself. But a diary or journal is so personal! It is your own personal therapist. Blogging or Vlogging (the video form of a blog) is a way to public journal. An account of memories for yourself, but you also hope that what you put out there is going to be he

COVID-19: Urgent versus Non-Urgent Veterinary Care

We’ve been highly encouraging pet owners to take advantage of our telemedicine during COVID-19. Some patients however, we cannot tell if this is an immediate life-threatening condition. Things like an acute abdomen can go either way. However, Dr. Weese has posted this triage flow chart to help determine which animals need a physical examination and which ones can be handled through telemedicine. Spays and neuters - while important, and as veterinarians we know that spays of females will help reduce their risk of mammary carcinoma and pyometra - are not urgent. They will need to be postponed until we can safely interact with owners. Nail trims and grooming are also non-essential. However, a h

How to Trim Your Pet’s Nails

During COVID-19, grooming and nail trims are not essential services. This is a great time for pet owners to learn how to do this at home! One, you are home more often. Two, it will keep your pets nails at a healthy length, while still social distancing. Cat Owners I’m starting with cat owners because I have Indi to demonstrate on. Here’s a video for you to learn! 1) Positioning - Desensitization - Use treats to get your cat to be comfortable with the position you want to trim its nails in. In the video below, Indi was desensitized to sit with all four paws out to make it easier to clip all four paws in one position. Not all cats will allow this. The younger your cat is, the easier it will be

COVID-19: Update in Pets from WSAVA

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has posted an update that you can find here. While there was a clinical trial on testing SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in cats and ferrets that I shared earlier, the One Health team suggests that the levels of the virus that were inoculated in the trial may not reflect real life levels from human pet owner to cat. However, we are still encouraged to limit contact with pets from high risk households (people who have traveled and are in isolation, or pets living in households with a positive case of COVID-19). Stay safe!

Women of the Round Table - TTC Journey and Veterinarians

There is so much to be inspired by in the world. During my journey of TTC, I think back on my third year in veterinary school. Two final year veterinary students organized an inspirational gathering of women, called Women of the Round Table. They were inspired by an event they attended in the U.S. and wanted to bring it to the WCVM. In that year, a lot of the fourth year females were busy on rotations and could not attend, so the invitation was sent out by our Pawsitive Practice organizer inviting third year females to join. Why was it a female only event? Because females encounter different challenges than male veterinarians. Women empower other women by sharing their experiences. I’m shari

COVID-19: Updates for Ontario Veterinarians

Premier Ford announced today that we are going to have more closures, so an updated list was posted on the Ontario government’s website. This evening I received two emails. One from the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, our governing body, and one from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association. It probably doesn’t surprise you that this gives me anxiety. I work in a general practice, and although we do see the occasional life or death situation, aka urgent care case, we also see skin issues, and ear issues, vomiting and diarrhea, painful abdomens and painful backs, all of which is considered non-urgent, but causes pain for pets, and distress for owners. These will still be cared for by p

Tick Season - 5 things you should know to protect your family and pets

It’s suddenly warm in Toronto, and if you are a new dog owner there are things that you need to know regarding tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease. In fact, an owner sent us an email with a photo of a tick she pulled off her dog. Get informed! 1. Tick Activity With climate change, as well as movement in deer populations, ticks are becoming more common in our northern country of Canada. In the winter, it may be cold, and yes, some of the ticks will die, but there are ticks on animal reservoirs such as deer. Yes, there are deer in Toronto. I saw one crossing the Lake Shore last fall. However, spring and fall are the most active seasons for ticks. Typically, once the snow melts and the t

COVID-19: Cats and Ferrets

Dr. Scott Weese published another blog post during this pandemic. I just thought I would share it here, in case you haven't seen it. Overall, the ferret results are not surprising. Ferrets are clearly susceptible to this virus. Cats also appear to be susceptible but are less likely to get sick. No shock there either, though the fact that cats could transmit the virus without direct contact raises some concerns. It was a very small transmission study so we need to see more data from other studies. The dog results are encouraging and support a low risk of infection of, and from, dogs. Ferrets and cats remain our main focus, both in terms of keeping infected people away from them (so the animal

COVID-19: Serum/Plasma Transfusion

I mentioned a few days ago about research in serotherapy that used serum or plasma from recovered individuals during influenza outbreaks to transfuse to ill individuals. Now, the call is out in the U.S. and Canada to have people who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) to donate their blood in the hopes that their antibodies will help currently ill people. There are cases it is believed to have helped in China. Current therapy in the U.S. does not have a report on whether it helps, but it is promising. In theory it should work by giving patients antibodies against COVID-19 while their body makes its own antibodies. I think it‘s worth a try. Stay tuned for the results of the current clin

Fertility assessment - Blood work results

Do you recall my post on AMH and maternal age? Well, AMH is a marker of ovarian reserve. It's level is directly associated with the number of follicles (or eggs) that are left available in the ovaries. It's a marker in the blood that can determine how well your ovaries will respond to stimulation prior to oocyte (egg) collection. This may be for IVF (in vitro fertilization) and embryo transfer, or for storage of eggs if a woman has a health condition requiring storage of eggs. We know that fertility decreases with age. A woman is born with all her eggs and does not make any new ones. When I was a research student between my first and second year of veterinary school, I wrote an article inter

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