Monday, November 7, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
However there has to be a state of mind that most who verbally say they are on a diet don't really mean it. First, leading up to one real answer I am reminded of years ago in my veterinary practice when asked how to reduce an over weight dog or cat or any animal. I would ask the client to add up all the food the animal is eating and then to restrict the diet to just half that amount and to return in a week and weigh the creature on our large platform scale to see the results. For some time I thought someone was feeding the animals, "under the table" or that some food must have been available not accounted for as all the reweighed overweight animals had not lost a pound or an ounce. Why? I answered that by the fact that the overweight animals had been eating over twice as much food as was needed for the energy expended. That means that the overweight animal was passing half of the food eaten as unadsorbed nourishment. That meant to reduce the fat pet it was necessary to reduce the food eaten by more than 50%. When I know that everybody knows the answer to the statement, "I'm on a diet to lose weight" when about 95% of them have to know in spite of the statement they are not serious about it. I did not plan it but when at 80 years of age I became a runner the weight situation became important to me. At 5 feet 10 inches the charts indicated I was in a healthy weight bracket with my 183 pounds. In running I began to think of my running with a 10 pound bag of say potatoes on my back. I decided to reduce the 10 pounds and did. Then having improved my running times I wondered about another 10 pounds and leveled off at 150 pounds. After the expected age related slowing in 5 years I began to seriously consider losing another 10 pounds.I'll tell all about how I lose weight whenever I want to shortly. At age 85 began an unplanned for experiment. When about 10 years of age my father brought home a house guest who was visiting Yale University from England. J. B. S. Haldane was famous for many discoveries in science and often had used himself as an experimental animal. With my reducing I decided to do the same. The experiment seemed interesting because I can find no evidence that anybody has ever reported about it. How much weight can I lose and still be healthy? If any reader of this has an answer for me please let me know. Perhaps it was unfortunate that I realized what I had in mind when I told my four children about my experiment because it was like something hit the fan. Were they ever upset! Enough said and now how to lose weight by taking in less energy than required for a days need. I believe a breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast and coffee with a little marmolade on the toast and every couch potaato has taken in all the calories needed for a day. For me a day consists of a 5k run around town and reading and writing. I decided for the most important meal of the day, breakfast, one glass of orange juice starts my day before a 5k organized race or training. For lunch I eat one small yogurt of 100 calories and for supper I eat most anything and as much as I want. Being my own chef since my love died I find I over due the amount of foods I prepare and put the excess in my freezer for a long hard winter here in Brattleboro. I do enjoy chocolate and ice cream so, as far as chocolate and cookies and chips and other finger food I eat it all and savor it before I spit it out thereby enjoying the flavors and consistency of each goodie. I swallow the ice cream. However if my scale does not indicate the loss of weight I desire I do an extra 5k that day and watch the weight fade away and I still feel great. I hope I will be able to report when I pass the tipping point but I must confess I feel so great you may have to read about the results in the Obits.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Sometimes it takes time to define just what a friend is. That was the case with Glover. He would do anything for me or so he said. He was remarkable in his contacts. When my station needed new tires at a time when it was difficult for me to get away he offered to get the tires as a gift- someone owed him a favor. In an hour he was back with the car newly shod. He had told mutual friends that I would do anything for him. That’s how thick our friendship was. He would bring animals to me from owners that no way could afford the necessary services such as inoculations and even minor surgery that I was pleased to perform for needy. Later I found most were not needy.
We were landscaping our new house and he could get just the young white pine and blue spruce we needed. When did we want them? He arrived with a flat bed trailer load with a dozen of each species that were shoulder high young trees. I had expected 10 inch tall trees. He even helped dig holes and plant them.
Then one day I had a question as to his ethics. Would I give him a statement that his pet snakes were harmless as someone had reported him as having some dangerous snakes? He had mentioned to me that he had permission to keep his venomous specimens several of which I had treated and they were deadly species. I asked who had given him permission and he said, never mind and it was forgotten.
One day he came in unannounced with of all things a young male African Lion and asked me if I would keep it for him for a few days until he returned. I was pleased to care for a species I had never had as a patient before. The poor animal had rickets I presumed from feeding the likes of hamburger with no calcium. I had some dead rodents in my freezer for snake food and bought some chickens to feed bones and feathers. A day after his arrival the papers reported the theft of a young African Lion from an auto agency where one had been illegally displayed as an ad stunt and a legal arm of the state of Conn. was investigating the animal’s whereabouts.
Glover was nowhere to be found and I phoned the authorities who arrived promptly.
Having no idea how to care for the Lion they asked if I would care for him until they could resolve the case. That Lion was the size of a beagle dog and had a huge appetite and we could almost see it growing from day to day. A week passed when one day I returned from lunch and there was a van with the logo and letters of our local TV station and Glover hugging the critter and giving a lecture about how he had become the owner.
So I was left with a hot lion as it was announced the creature may have been the one that disappeared from a roadside nature center shortly before it came to me. That was the last contact I had with Glover but not with some of his kindness. A year later a tire salesman arrived to ask his whereabouts as he owed $200 for a set of tires for a station wagon.
Then came a horticulturist who was looking for Glover to collect $300 for trees Glover had purchased from him. As far as the lion, my help called Tiger, a friendly client checked around and convinced the Bush Gardens in Florida to adopt him and a large wire crate arrived to send Tiger there. By thwen he was the size of a Great Dane. So ended my adventure with a “friend” I have not heard of since.
Next time poison ivy anyone? 652 words
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I still, 6 or so years later smile when I think about that incident.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Poor oldest daughter, Carolyn had more than her share of encounters with skunks and hear is one of them. It was at a time when I had descenting of skunks as one of my surgical procedures. The patient was an adult that I was not usually asked to deodorize but this one was for a zoo where the director wanted to display it.
For that procedure I had my help set up an operating table with all the instruments and anesthetics etc. necessary outside my Clinic. The surgery was well underway with a few curious visitors watching. Among them was 7 year old Carolyn who was no stranger to viewing any of my surgery looking over my shoulder. I should mention that the scent glands, two of them are located on either side of the animal’s anus and are almost the size of the yolk of a chicken egg
in a large polecat.
The surgery involves the careful dissection of the glands to be removed and as I proceeded I ruptured the sack of one and the yellow contents were projected right over my shoulder and into poor Carolyn’s eyes. She screamed and clutched her face. I quickly grabbed a handful of cotton, wet with water but could not pry her hands away from her face and ran into the building and phoned a close friend Dr. Bill Lattanzi who was head of pediatrics of a human hospital. He told me to get Carolyn down to the hospital immediately. “She could be blinded by it.”
I rushed back and there was Carolyn playing by a pile of sand with a toy shovel. “How are your eyes, Carolyn?” I asked to which she said, “They’re OK Daddy, they stung for only a little.”As a reader I am sure you know why I recall that incident and I am glad to recount it for no other reason than to dispel any fear of blindness from such an encounter. I should have recalled the numbers of dogs that had challenged a skunk including many of my own and never was the thought of blindness considered.
Next time: Chiropractics for a nominal fee. 362 words
It was on that beautiful first real spring day of the year and I would work on my day off to get my garden in shape by spreading manure from a pit into my trailer to put on it before digging it in when I felt something happen to my back. Ouch! The real pain didn’t amount to much until the following day when I began to look for help. I knew I could count on a friend at the Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Ned Shutkin, a Professor of orthopedics for advice. “Go to bed for 6 weeks and it should be alright.” He explained that backs can be like a shoelace that with little movement like a shoelace that can break can cause great pain or like a piece of paper folded that is OK while intact but when it finally brakes is a problem.
I had a month’s appointment. No way could I go to bed for 6 weeks but I did take it easy and did suffer with virtually any movement at any time. There were stabbing pains from trying to get up from lying or sitting. Two weeks of suffering when one morning after feeding my flock of sheep I strolled away to look at the garden area that would not be tilled that spring. I didn’t have any idea my ram would follow me and so was surprised when he charged and butted my back side at the base of my spine. It was a well placed butt that tossed me into the air and down in a heap.
There was terrible pain again and I was convinced in my own mind that my back had been half broken and now that ram finished it off. After hobbling home I lay down for a while when my wife called me to lunch. Strangely there was no pain on rising and walking up a staircase to lunch but I had been convinced that my back had to be worse from the butt.
I suddenly realized my back was better. Not perfect but without pain. After mulling that situation over I did not want my friend, Dr. Shutkin to think his theory of the shoelace breaking was valid so I wrote him a letter. After telling him what had happened in the last paragraph I said,” For a nominal fee I will permit you to send some of your better patients through my sheep pasture.”
I had my usual garden.
Next: More ramming.
My ram was a stout Cheviot in case you know sheep and seemed to be proud of the many lambs he sired. Off and on he lost favor and this is one of those times. It was shortly after World War II when new cars were just starting to roll off assembly lines and my father had ordered a Plymouth all metal station wagon a year before. It was the first all metal station wagon made and after Yale U. he would get the first one in our area.
He looked forward to the delivery and when it came he had to display it to our Veterinary Clinic help one of whom was outside in the sheep pasture. I was also witness to the proceedings. Dad got out of the vehicle and as he admired the new car so did our ram. That ram put his head down, seeing his reflection on the shiny side of the car charged right in front of Dad. Dad was furious and chased the ram who, on the other side rammed that side, too. Talking about adding insult to injury.
He said, returning to the dealership where he had picked up the wagon only an hour before the crushed vehicle drew a crowd all with gales of laughter.
Next: A cat that overstepped a windowsill. 223 words
My next patient was a feline I had seen recently this time with a lame rear leg. Mrs. Blank began with a history of she and her husband having moved to the University Towers, a new building and they have an apartment on the top, the 18th floor. The cat was reclining on the windowsill basking in the sun when Mrs. Blank, seeing it stepped forward to bring it in and to close the window. The cat hopped off the window sill away from Mrs. Blank.
In horror she rushed to the staircase and elected to run down stairs where she found the cat limping up the front steps of the, “Towers.” She brought the animal right out for an examination. There was a miner fracture of a rear leg that was no problem and no other injury I could find.
I suppose since cats are said to have 9 lives I should have assumed this was not the 9th life but it is an example of the resilience of felines. I assumed the cat had broken it’s fall by an awning or at least some shrubbery but with the newness of the structure the landscaping was still solid dirt. Somehow I can visualize the cat spreading its four legs and acting slightly like a parachute landing without more injury.
Another curiosity about this case was that the cat was as new to the building as were the residents and that cat must have remembered having been carried into it through the front door. The Blanks had moved from a distance. Coincidence? I have to wonder.
Next: A beautiful Timber Rattlesnake. 272 words
As I look back on my life see many examples of the results of poor education that I think should be told. I suppose some stupid actions are because of teaching such as the bible story of the evil snake. One example concerned me as a teen ager. We had moved to the country when I was 10 and suddenly the great outdoors became a most exciting place. Among other things the snakes interested me and in particular the common Black Racer. There had to be hundred of them as I could look and find many examples in a short time.
A friend of mine stumbled on the hibernacula of those snakes one spring when the occupants were coming out for the first sun after a long winter if inactivity. He rushed home to tell another friend and together with boxes of shotgun shells and their guns shot every snake that appeared. From that day until recently I have not seen or heard of one Black Racer in our Town.
Another case of poor education concerned Eastern Timber Rattlesnakes, a few of which Vermont may still have. It concerned a den in the northwest corner of Conn. The head preparator (taxidermist) of Yale’s Peabody museum wanted some specimens to study individual scales of which he wanted to paint plaster models of the snakes for display after which we would return the snakes to their hibernacula.
On arriving we found long tree branches with large fish hooks tapped to the ends obviously for hooking the snakes from number huge flat rocks where they could be dragged out and killed. Those creatures high on a mountain were no danger to anyone but I suppose the returning hunters could brag about their contribution to mankind or they could sell the rattles and hides.
Between our catching and releasing the snakes is about what this contribution is all about. I kept one beautiful light phase of the species in my “snake house” and many friends wanted to see it. A week after returning I took a friend in and there was not one but 10 Timber Rattlesnakes. The snake, about which I had not even considered pregnancy, had delivered her brood of 9 beautiful young creatures.
To keep track of their eating habits I separated each in a round fish bowl with a screen top and lined them up in a row on a book shelf. That night a 10 foot long Burmese Python escaped and in its exploration of the snake house crawled behind the fish bowls and knocked each crashing to the floor.
The water for the snakes and for my wife, Dorothy’s Gordon Setters was in the snake house and she had entered and left half a dozen times walking within inches of at least one young rattler with disturbing it. We returned 12 healthy well fed rattlesnakes instead of the three. Dorothy lived to tell the tale. A new water supply saved the marriage She even visited the snake house when necessary.
Next: an unlikely treatment. 509 words
The 10 week old Old English Sheepdog was presented for a second opinion. It had what was called chewing gum spasms of recent onset. His veterinarian in neighboring Milford had recommended euthanasia. I had seen hundreds of similar cases in which the disease, Canine Distemper ended with the dog dyeing in a grand mal convulsion. The chewing gum spasms invariably led to death.
Historically that was the tail end of the cases of a dread disease for which science had only recently developed a successful vaccine . Over the years I had tried everything without success as treatments for that plague. However during those years of trying to help owners of liters that I knew were doomed an owner would mention that a puppy out of the sick litter had been given or sold and it was OK.
I swallowed my pride and getting the names and address of three over a month’s time I phoned each owner to, first find if their puppy was still alive and if so about its health. Then I asked what they did as a treatment if anything. Each time the voice seemed almost apologetic in telling me that it was an old family remedy to give raw eggs and whisky. I thanked them and thought of black magic and mysticism. After that third time and I had read in an old veterinary book that that was one suggested treatment for Distemper I began to wonder if there could be any scientific reason for there to be anything therapeutic in raw eggs.
Since the chicken egg is one cell it’s the cytoplasm that all cells in man and beast have in common. That substance has to be of great importance but how? As far as my client with his Old English Sheep Dog was concerned I was reluctant to even mention raw eggs and whisky as a treatment. Who wants to be thought of as a, “quack?” I looked at that wonderful puppy and asked if he, the client would consider something that I could not see how it could possibly be of help and he said emphatically he would try anything for his puppy.
That owner became a fantastic booster for the life of that Sheep Dog even offering the dog as a blood downer. After that case I suggested it to three others with equal success about which time limits more discussion. Deep in my heart I have to wonder if raw egg white may have other therapeutic use in our dogs and for that matter for humans, too.
Coming soon: A frustrated good deed. 437 words
Animal Anecdotes 35.
Having kept colonies of raccoons, ‘possums and skunks word spread that I might be helpful
advising about native wildlife in my practice. One case was memorable because of the effort and
the eventual outcome. A young raccoon was brought to our clinic found in a hollow tree recently
felled. The helpless creature was found by a helpless human who left it with us not knowing what
else to do with it. My wife and I nursed it for a few days before we found another foster mot
The following spring the no longer little animal was presented with a request for us to release it back to nature which we often did with rescued animals. I put it in a holding crate and fed it for several nights and then left the door open for freedom and continued offering food.
At that time we held a social affair under a large tent on our lawn and one guest speaker was interrupted in his talk when the released raccoon decided to join the gathering. The raccoon, without fear of humans had an affinity for women’s’ hand bags and went from one to another in its rummaging. The speaker was Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman who said, “This is the first time I have been upstaged by a raccoon.”
Three years or so passed and one night on arriving home there was a paper bag with a Dog collar in it. There was a note that the raccoon that wore the collar was treed by a coon hunter’s dogs in a neighboring town and was shot. I had overlooked removing the collar from the animal released years before. For their reasons the previous caretakers had an engraved tag, “Gift to George Whitney” on the collar.
Next time a dog with an eye problem.
Animal Anecdote 36.
Queeny is a case I will recount to you that is an example of so many reasons that veterinary medicine is so rewarding. The devotion of some owners and the devotion to a pet’s good health as well as the fact that a noble pedigree is not necessary. Then, too the cooperativeness of members of the human profession and still another I shall save to the end are some reasons.
Mrs. Blink was an elderly wife of a recently deceased elderly veterinarian with a middle aged female mongrel like some farm dogs named Queeny. Queeny had a corneal ulcer. The cornea being the front clear layer of the eye. I used injectable antibiotics as well as every eye ointment I could think of and finally convinced Mrs. Blink to allow me to suture the lids together to prevent the possible defoliation of the cells that were perhaps rubbed away by the blinking lids. A week later and the condition was no better.
I had a secret weapon in that on the mornings of the last Sundays of each month a Dr. from Yale’s department of Ophthalmology, Dan Albert came to my clinic and checked out any eye problems I thought he would be interested in. Dr. Albert made several suggestions as to medications none of which were effective. Finally he suggested a medication that had to be administered every 30 minutes day and night might do the trick but who would do that through the night? I told him he didn’t know Mrs. Blink because she would do exactly that if asked.
The eye responded slightly and looked better than for the last year of my treatment.
Dr. Albert was away and sent another Dr. in his place. The question of steroids to encourage healing had been considered but that would not be indicated if an infection was present. The new Dr. said the eye seemed to him to be healing and I administered the first dose of three times daily on a Sunday morning. Monday morning Mrs. Blink rushed Queeny in with the eye in worse condition than when first presented. More treatment and the eye improved-slightly.
Those were the days of the beginning of contact lenses and Dr. Albert suggested we try one in Queeny’s eye. He mentioned the value of that lens was $75.00. In one week the eye’s infection was gone and I removed the contact lens (with difficulty as I could not find an edge) and Queeny’s eye blinking was gone. The scar took over six months to almost disappear. That last reason for veterinary medicine to be rewarding is the satisfaction of the successful outcome of a problem case.
Birds that dunk donuts. 452 words
Animal Anecdote 37
An important activity in and around our house was to keep our bird feeders supplied. Fat and seed and fruit brought a myriad of common birds and not infrequently less common ones. We had a third of an acre pond next to our house my bride, Dorothy named Lake George because I logged t he swamp and brought in a huge bulldozer to dig the pond 12 feet deep.
Over the years we had rainbow trout and small mouth bass at another time. I wondered about catfish and a fisherman friend brought 5 river catfish he caught in the Connecticut River that I wondered about until one day in a tulip poplar tree across Lake George was an Osprey working at eating a large fish. My field glasses helped me identify a large catfish. Its hide was so tough the bird took over an hour working at tearing the tough hide of the fish and while working at it for over the hour put on a rare demonstration of dedication to eating.
Another observation of a happening on Lake George was in one early winter when the pond had frozen enough for my walking on it. I chopped a hole so the water loving birds might utilize it. One of the foods we offered the birds and a squirrel or two were old stale pastries. The donuts would be broken in four pieces. Dorothy called my attention to the birds picking up a piece of stale donut and taking it to the water hole and dunking it and flying off to feed.
I didn’t know that some birds are donut dunkers. 269 words
Next time, how many raccoons might we have at our feeders?
Animal Anecdote 38.
It seemed plausible that some wildlife such as raccoons and or skunks and or ‘possums were cleaning up any leftover pastries nightly left at our bird feeders. We had a tile surface patio outside the lower level of our split level home between Lake George and the house and I decided to throw enough light on it to spy on the food steeling in the night.
A local “day old” pastry store offered 5 boxes of their culinary delights for $1 and I bought 5 planning to use it to feed the mystery food stealers for 5 nights. It was great to see the jelly roll disappear in minutes into two medium size raccoons. The next night I put 3 offerings including a crumb cake and a dozen donuts and a strawberry pie.
It was barely dark when the previous night’s visitors came and decimated all the offerings and while they were working on the pie two more joined the group. I returned to the pastry shop and bought $3 dollars worth and that night put 5 offerings out and sat anxiously awaiting the arrival. In short order there were 8 raccoons including a mother and three of her young.
My curiosity got the best of me and I invested in $10 or 50 boxes of the goodies. Night after night the numbers of raccoons multiplied. After a couple of weeks I realized it did not matter how many boxes I put out in the evening it all would be gone in a couple of hours. Many would come out of the darkness, grab a donut and rush back into the darkness making counting difficult.
One evening I counted 60 of them feeding at one time. Of course we invited friends and neighbors in to see the feeding of the raccoons. I was reminded of many years ago when a friend and I drove an old car West during the summer of 1938 where we experienced the “feeding of the bears” in Yosemite National Park where over 300 bears came nightly for a repast.
Thinking what an amazing sight the Raccoons feeding were I contacted friends at the Yale University Peabody Museum only to be told that 2 years before they had fed raccoons in their yard and a short video about it was featured in one of the nature TV programs. Did you ever wonder how many raccoons you might attract with old worn out pastries? Don’t try it as your neighbors will raise cane with you for attracting so many varmints in town. 425
Next: Can I catch it from my cat?