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Western Veterinary Conference

February 15, 2010

Learning Never Ceases

So, your bloggin’ Doc sat through hours of lessons about vomiting and diarrhea here in Las Vegas, Nevada.

We veterinarians call this “continuing education.” That’s when we sit in a convention hall and listen to professors present their lectures. In Las Vegas, you’d think I could sleep in. And then maybe go to a show, maybe stuff myself at a buffet. No, instead, I left VirtuaCat at home with a trusted friend and schlepped to Vegas in order to wake up even earlier than on a typical workday!

Sometimes lecturers drop true pearls of wisdom. Sometimes I learn something new.

For example: if your dog has hypoalbuminemia (low albumin blood protein) and your vet is working on figuring out why, one reason could be bad skin disease that eats up the albumin protein.

“If the dog’s skin disease doesn’t shock you when you look at it, that ain’t it.”

Good tip.

Or try this crazy story on for size:

A fellow takes his Chihuahua to his vet for acute (sudden) onset of swelling in the brain (called hydro- like water- cephalus- which refers to “head.” Know how an octopus seems to be all head and then eight tentacles? They are called “cephalopods” – which literally means “head feet.”)

So, tons of tests later, including Magnetic Resonance Imagining, the guy remembered that he was moving large 2×4’s in the yard and he swung a piece of wood and thought it hit something and he saw something “brown” go rolling down the hill!

So, this fella knew he smacked his Chihuahua with a 2 x 4 and yet did not tell his vet! The swelling was a bruise. The dog did fine with some painkillers and time.

Then I saw an endoscopy picture of a bleeding ulcer in the stomach lining of a dog with an Ecotrin tablet (a brand of coated aspirin) stuck right in the ulcer crater! Illustrative of the ulcerative risk of aspirin in pets…

Remaining 40 hours of the week to go at the Western Veterinary Conference.

Ah! One last note: if any veterinarians or conference-goers find this post: the conference organizers invented “an app for that!”

I’m carrying only my iPhone. The WVC app shows my chosen courses and my notes app lets me jot my thoughts quietly during lectures. No more notebooks and pens, and no bulky clicky keyboard laptops!

As an aside, I’m also looking forward to the iPad. I have not sprung for a Kindle, although lots of people I know adore their Kindle eBook readers. I read on the iPhone and the computer, but I can’t wait for a slightly larger screen and yet still all my iPhone apps!

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