Skip to content

About the Doc

Frequently Asked Questions About Doc Truli

Q: Are you a Veterinarian?

A: Yes. Doc Truli is a practicing general veterinarian for small animals like cats, dogs, mice, rats rabbits, pot bellied pigs, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets…etc.  The Doc has also worked as an emergency pet veterinarian, and a swine production veterinarian.  The unique perspective Doc Truli brings to practice combines allopathy (Western medicine) with an understanding of farming and food production, and an appreciation for holistic medicine.

Doc Truli at Butterfly World

Doc Truli at Butterfly World

Q: So, where’d ya go to school?

A: Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania.  With a stop-off at Harvard for extra science classes because I was an undergraduate English, philosophy, linguistics, and art student.  Sciences came after the undergraduate degree…

Q: Isn’t Vet School Harder to Get Into than Med School?

A: Well, yes.  The three years before matriculating at UPenn, I went to Harvard Extension night school, worked from 7-10 am at the Franklin Park Zoo leading an Education Animal Research Project to enhance the animal’s lives, worked at a veterinary hospital which was also a pet store, boarding, and grooming facility from 12 noon until 7 pm, and then took the bus to school or back home.  I also volunteered at the Philadelphia Zoological Park gift shop when I was completing my pre-med credits, which required a 40 minute walk each way through rough areas of Philadelphia, while holding down three part-time jobs.  You do what you have to do.

Q: What Kinds of Animals Have You Had?

A: Well, starting with Charlie, the grey-striped kitten, I’ve had:

grey tabby, long hair grey angora cat, white angora cat, seal-pt himalayan, dilute tortie-point himalayan, silver tabby short hair, mackeral tabby short hair, maine coon, siamese, ascob cocker spaniel, black and white bearded collie {one of first 400 in the US}, APBT, rednose, tan brindle in the sunlight, black and white chihuahua short hair, dalmation, tan chihuahua, goldfish- betta fish- mice- hamsters- gerbils- rats- tropical fish (angels, pearlescent gouramis, silver dollars, weather loach {favorite}, coolie loaches, catfish, horse-face loaches, scissor-tails, neons, mollies), nasty, dirty channel catfish {mistake}, crayfish, snakes, budgies, cockatiel, frogs, guinea pig, rabbit, thoroughbred horse, skunk, potbelly pig, production piglet {Snorkle}.

Q: What’s the Strangest Case You Ever Solved?

A: That would be Brinkley, the Golden Retriever Puppy Who Peed Out the Back of His Leg!  I’m not kidding!

Q: Tell Us About How Roger Tory Peterson Inspired You to Become a Veterinarian.

A: Roger Tory Peterson spoke under a tent at Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, and Doc Truli was hooked!

Questions Almost No One Ever Asks, But They Should

Q: In What U.S. States Do You Hold Veterinary Licenses?

A: Active in Florida.  On hold in Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, as I used to, or thought I might practice in those states someday.

Q: Are You a Member of Any Professional Societies?

A:  I am a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

I am a recipient of awards from the American Holistic Veterinary Association, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Foundation, and the Merck Veterinary Research Foundation.

Q: Do You Have Time for Anything Besides Veterinary Medicine?

Himalayan Cat Loves to Drink from Faucet

VirtuaCat Takes His Morning Post by the Faucet

A: Motorcycle trips (BMW R1200GS, Triumph Rocket III)

A: bird-watching

A: Studying Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Very, very cool

A: Reading Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford

A: satisfying my cranky Himalayan cat’s need for watching water trickle from an active sink faucet, and massaging him regularly

A: macrobiotic cooking and food selection according to Chinese medicine principles

Let me know any other questions you may have.  The comments are moderated, so you can just post them here and I’ll get back to you.

–Doc Truli

29 Comments leave one →
  1. Ludie permalink
    July 5, 2014 2:48 pm

    Hi, I’ve seen that some here have found answers to their cats’ issues. I have a cat named Jesse that I found outdoors, she was part of a stray litter, when I found her she had a high fever and a upper respiratory infection. I brought her inside since it was hot, she seemed to do better but later that night I found her circling around in circles and eyes darting back and forth. She was brought to a vet who wanted to put her down. We said no, and she was sent home with antibiotics, I did have to syringe feed her until she got her strength back. She has since recovered and been spayed. Only thing is when she gets scared she runs in a circle and is a bit off balance. What do you think happened? She is an indoor kitty now. Only thing I could figure is due to the high fever she had a little nerve damage, she eats and plays fine, she’s spayed too. The Vet can offer no explanation, only she is disabled. She has come a long way. Blood tests have come back normal as well. She is a great cat and she is happy, plays and eats well. I am just wondering if you had any idea as to what really happened to her.

  2. Joey permalink
    July 5, 2014 7:07 am

    Hi Doctor Truli,
    I don’t know if this is the right place to post this, or if you’ll even see this at all, but I figured I’d give it a go and ask you anyway.
    I have a 10 year old Burmilla named Nemo – my mum took him to the vet the other day because he seemed to be in serious pain.
    Mum said that she saw him walk backwards, before he dropped down on his side and meowed; only she could pick him up, and had to carry him to the vet that way. His ears were tucked in and his muscles were tensed.
    She said that the same thing happened when he was a kitten (and also happened a few weeks back), and thinks it might be a gassy tummy. When she got to the vet, an x-ray was taken but the vet said she couldn’t find anything wrong.
    He behaves normally in the hours after coming home from the vet… but I’m worried that there might be more of a problem than a gassy stomach. What do you think, Doc?

    • July 5, 2014 8:53 am

      Hi Joey!
      I just saw a kitty that presented the same way. He has a “fit” every 1-2 years. I would be certain to do x-rays, cbc, chemistry panel, urinalysis, feline leuk and fiv test, a quality fecal. If the cat goes outside, deworm.

      That said, i’ll bet the tests will be normal, although maybe not! Can you consult a certified veterinary homeopath? Homeopathic medicine characterizes the whole patient, rather than treating a diagnosis. It sounds like a way his body has reacted his whole life. Very subtle and upsetting.

      Doc Truli

      • Joey permalink
        July 10, 2014 12:05 pm

        Thanks doc!
        He seems to be okay lately, it was just worrying when it happened, because he always gets great reports from the vet! Mum had the vet give him worming meds as well, since they were already at the vet’s, to be safe.

        Do you have any care tips if it happens again? What might be causing these fits of his?

        Thank you again for your reply!

  3. Ludie permalink
    May 31, 2014 6:42 pm

    Hi, Doc Truli I am looking to get started in a vet program, the thing is, I am not sure if I want to go to vet tech or pre vet program. I trust your opinion and I’d like to know what you think? Can you please list some pros and cons of each? I heard that it is easier in the Tech program but I’m not sure if it would really be a life long career or not. Also there are no Vet medical schools in my state. So I’d have to go out of state. I really want to be sure of what I’ll be heading into before I step in too deep. Thank you. Also this is a great blog.

    • June 2, 2014 7:09 pm

      Dear Ludie,
      Pre vet and vet tech are different professions. Vet tech is not an entry point to become a veterinarian.

      Questions I asked myself: do I want to be responsible for life or death decisions? Yes? Become a vet.

      Would it drive you bonkers to follow orders you thought might be against your beliefs? You probably don’t want to be a tech.

      And importantly: do you get straight A’s in school? If not, you may not get into vet school.

      Consider this: a vet tech program might teach how the heart beats in a month. Or a week. At vet school, you get about an hour to figure it out. It is waaaaay more intense.

      Good luck!

      • Ludie permalink
        June 3, 2014 9:21 pm

        Thank you so much for responding. Thank you for answering my first question, I was wondering if I could do that. I do get mostly A’s in school only thing math was not my best subject, and I hear that its needed to be.

    • Ludie permalink
      June 3, 2014 9:22 pm

      I will keep you posted on what I decide.

      • June 4, 2014 1:29 pm

        Good luck!

      • Ludie permalink
        June 4, 2014 5:59 pm

        One more question. If I go for Vet is there a high chance I’ll be able to find a job after I graduate? I am mostly worried about not finding employment after all that work. I saw there were 85 vet tech grads last year and there are only 5 vet hospitals in my town.I live in a rather rural area and my college of choice mandates livestock work in the curriculum. What do you think about that? My college is Murray State University. Thank you again.

      • June 5, 2014 7:16 am

        All the good tech programs will mandate at least some large animal work. I cannot speak to the job opportunities. I am licensed in 5 states because I have moved to take advantage of the best job opportunities. If you cannot move (own a ranch, family roots, etc), talk to the potential employers in your area and follow their advice mixed with your own intuition.

        I have heard several vets say a good tech is harder to replace than an associate doctor. Maybe because techs move around less…

      • June 5, 2014 7:19 am

        For veterinary work, like I said, I have moved often and far.

        The vet industry has published guidelines, like a veterinarian per 5,000 people, assuming half have pets. So you can figure if your town is saturated or not. Plus figure in if anyone will be retiring when you’d be on the market.

        Mixed animal expertise sounds invaluable in your town. You never know when someone to start an organic goat farm and needs a vet!

      • Ludie permalink
        June 4, 2014 6:00 pm

        P.S. The link to the story of the golden retriever puppy is broken.

      • June 5, 2014 7:13 am

        Fixed. Thanks.

      • Ludie permalink
        June 5, 2014 3:54 pm

        Thank you for explaining this all out for me. The local vets do not have the time or patience to answer my questions.

  4. Sarah Balcom permalink
    November 4, 2011 8:58 am

    I am a veterinarian myself (and was an anthro/music double major as an undergrad – go liberal arts degrees in medicine). I would like to know if I could use Purdue’s story for a university class I am going to be teaching in the Spring about veterinary medicine. I think it would be a great way to introduce students to bone healing, complications, and ischemia. I would like to use it with your permission.

    Sarah Balcom

    • November 6, 2011 11:11 am

      Dear Sarah,
      Yes, you may certainly use Purdue’s story and pictures for your class. When you have it ready, can you send me the syllabus? I’d love to see how you integrate the story into a formal teaching environment. Please let your class know VirtuaVet is the source material, as it is copyright limited for distribution.
      Doc Truli

      • Sarah Balcom permalink
        November 7, 2011 4:41 pm

        Great! I really appreciate it, and I do try to always make sure that I give credit where credit is due and I will put a copyright statement on the material. Perhaps you’ll get some new readers for your blog. How could I privately send you a copy of my course syllabus? The class is called “Introduction to veterinary science and practice” and will be a 200 level course for the prevet/premed crowd. While I can’t teach them all of veterinary medicine in one, 3 Cr hour course, I hope to teach them something about thinking like a doctor rather than just memorizing every factoid that comes there way.

  5. Daria permalink
    November 18, 2010 6:30 pm

    Where do you practice? I would like my Sarah and Barney to meet you. Barney is in need of a serious diagnosis. He has had a rapid weight loss and suddenly very weak hind legs he was diagnosed with Hypertension and Hypercalcemia but no underlying cause. I am medicating him but am afraid I am just masking something that might and should be treated. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated he was such a playful, strong and strapping little guy less than a week ago. Is there a recommended veterinarian in the area of Philadelphia and yes I have been to Penn but want to know a doctor like YOU! Read some similar stories to Barney’s on this site.

    • November 19, 2010 12:25 am

      Hi Daria,

      I’m sorry to hear that Barney doesn’t feel well. As you know, hypercalcemia can be hard to track down the cause. 50% of the time in cats, no cause is found with the current state of the art. Hypertension can be the same way. Sometimes we just do not find out “why.”

      I really haven’t met anyone quite like me. You are, however, surrounded by very, very knowledgeable veterinarians at UPenn. Dr. Meryl Littman, an internal medical specialist at UPenn, graduated from Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania like I did, and she was a wonderful teacher and mentor. She’s easy to understand and super compassionate. I’m not certain if she is on sabbatical, but perhaps you could call and request to see her for a follow-up or second opinion. Since UPenn is a teaching hospital, you still see the student, the intern, the resident, and the specialist.

      You live near UPenn’s main competition, the largest private veterinary specialty hospital in the US, Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. The CEO, Dr. DeCarlo was one of my anatomy professors at UPenn. He went on the found Red Bank and the rest is history!

      I’m in Florida. If you think Barney would be able to make the trip, you can email me at I would absolutely love to meet you and Barney!

      Doc Truli

  6. Kristina permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:45 pm

    Hi Doc Truli,
    I know you have heard this a million times, BUT I rescued a 2 year old chihuahua from a very abusive home. We already had a 2 1/2 lb male, and it took our Chloe a few weeks to trust us, and not hide. Her previous owners told me she would not go into heat until December. When she put some weight on, I thought it was from not being fed properly (she was devouring food when we got her). Imagine my surprise (and horror) when puppies started coming out! Luckily, with the help of the internet, Chloe had 3 boys, and 1 girl. I already have homes for all the puppies (even though I am quite attached to them!). The problem is Chloe does not seem like she is filling up with milk. I have been supplementing the puppies with a little puppy formula after they finish nursing. They are all gaining weight, even the tiniest little boy. Is there anything I can do to help chloe produce more milk. I have given her some goats milk, tums, tons of water, wet puppy food, I am trying everything! The pups are 4 days old today, I am up all hours making sure they are good, full, and warm, but I am so worried. My little boy was by far the tiniest when he was born, and his umbilical cord was bleeding a lot, but my little runt puts up a fight. I was putting him on Chloe first, keeping the other pups away so he could feed before he siblings crowded her, and his is gaining weight, but is still so tiny. I just want to make sure I am doing everything ok. Going to a vet at this point (unless it is an emergency) is not an option financially. I will do what I have to do though to save each of them. I truly am in love with all four of my pups, and very happy to know when they are old enough, my family will taking them, (except my little one) so I get to see them all the time! I have already sent away for vouchers to get Chloe and the Dad sprayed and neutered so there will be no more pregnancies. BTW~I see you were at Butterfly World, I live not far from there in Coral Springs, small world!

    • September 15, 2010 3:55 pm

      Hi Kristina,
      Wow! 4 puppies in a first Chihuahua litter is a ton for mom to handle. I would hand feed the puppies Esbilic, Puppy Milk Replacer (from the pet store, vet’s, or buy online.) If you get the powder and mix it fresh, you save tons of money, but the mixing is a little technical (there’s a guide chart on the package.) It also comes in pre-made cans. For little Chiwas, it might be affordable for you and a lot easier to get the liquid pre-mixed. Do not keep formula open or mixed past 2 days, or it might spoil or grow bacteria that are bad for the puppies.
      For mom, keep feeding Chloe puppy food, and giving access to lots of fresh water. DO NOT GIVE CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS anymore! (Like the Tums.) This is a common misunderstanding most people have about dogs making milk. If you give extra calcium, you change the hormones in the body and the calcium balance goes off kilter, causing bone weakening in the mom, and LESS calcium for the pups. (Strange but true). It would be perfectly normal if Chloe just cannot produce enough milk for 4 puppies, especially as they grow. You will have to supplementally feed them every 2-4 hours to take the burden off of Chloe. There’s no way to force her body to make more milk than the powerful natural drive she has from the puppies nursing. So let the puppies nurse on Chloe as well as getting a boost from you if they are still hungry.
      Sometimes, tiny Chihuahuas need every 4-6 hour feeding until they are 8 or even 12 weeks old to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Chloe will be ready to be spayed when the puppies are weaned at 6 weeks old.
      Good Luck! I’m glad VirtuaVet could help you help Chloe be a better mom!
      -Doc Truli
      P.S. I told my niece that anyone who finds a new kind of animal, bird, or insect (like a butterfly), can name it anything they want! So she spent the day at Butterfly World trying to discover a new species of butterfly so she could name it “Flower!” Too cute!

  7. July 17, 2010 12:55 pm

    Hi Doc Truli!
    I think VirtuaVet is One Lovely Blog, and to prove it I’d like to pass the One Lovely Blog Award on to you. Will you accept this honor? Read about it here:
    Sharon at After Gadget

    • July 25, 2010 4:47 pm

      Thanks Sharon!
      Keep writing, Keep loving, and Keep as Healthy as you possible can!
      Doc Truli

  8. January 18, 2010 2:15 am

    Yes, I have unfortunately had quite the crash course in canine cancer in the past year, and hemangiosarcoma sounds like a particularly horrible one — there seems to be nothing to be done for it, and it causes such terrible suffering.
    Lance seems to have been quite the character, and very much a typical bouv!
    It’s true that Bouvs are NOT the dog for everyone. If I hadn’t known what I was doing, able and willing to take alpha role, and worked really hard — and had a job for him — I think Gadget would have been “a problem dog” and might not have survived to his second birthday with someone else. (I got him as a one-year-old rescue.)
    Gadget fortunately never really bit anyone, but he did have to be taught not to “herd” people by nipping at the elbow in the beginning. Also, several years later, after I’d spent two years in bed, with him in my room all the time, essentially, he got VERY protective of me and “our den.” So, he had to be taught it was not his space to guard, and he had to let other people in, including my phlebotomist, of whom he was particularly distrustful. Fortunately, we got over that issue, and I was getting weekly nursing visits the last four months of his life, and the nurses all thought he was great.
    Once, I had an unexpected visit at night from the fire chief (who was just checking on me, but I didn’t know that, or him). So, essentially, a big male stranger came right into the house at night and scared me, and Gadget was the perfect guard dog. He was plastered by my side, barking like crazy and ready to lunge at any provocation. But just holding his ground. Once I realized it was the fire chief, when I told Gadget to quiet and down-stay, he did. And he just watched carefully.
    He really was a little “too brave” at times. Such as when he would go after full-grown black bears. Once he TREED one and had the bear-swipe scratch across his chest to prove it. I called him from the car (I’d gone racing after him, and the van was the quickest way to get there), and he came trotting over like, “Hey! Isn’t this GREAT?!” My heart was in my throat! And the porcupines, oy! (I live in the country, obviously.)
    But when we were out in public or he was in working mode, he would never dream of anything like that. If you want to see us working together in my home, we have two videos up on youtube. Eventually I plan to put them up on aftergadget.
    Here are the URLs:

    I hope you, and Terri, if she feels up to it, enjoys them.
    Sharon and the muse of Gadget

  9. January 5, 2010 9:53 pm

    I’m glad you’re doing this blog. Thank you.
    I came across your resources for pet loss support.
    My bouvier service dog, Gadget, died November 19 (less than two months ago). He was dx w/lymphoma in May, went into remission on the MW chemo protocol and seemed to be doing great, then in October, developed MCT. He died of MCT while in remission from lymphoma. It was a brutal six months for me — battling and seemingly defeating one cancer only to have another one show up when we were nearing completion of the protocol, and ravage him in no time. Fortunately, he felt a lot better through most of it than I did.
    I have received some great support from pet loss lists and such, but the relationship with, and loss of, an assistance dog has some aspects that are different than those of the loss of a beloved pet.
    I decided to start my own blog about it. I’ve only got two posts up so far, but it’s been well received. I just thought you might like to know about it if anyone who’s suffered the loss of an assistance dog contacts you.
    It’s called After Gadget. It’s at

    • January 17, 2010 6:40 pm

      Dear Sharon, thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I wish you peace and understanding as you attempt to make sense of Gadget’s physical transition away from you (for the time being).
      I visited your blog, and just had to share your pictures with my friend Terri. Her Bouvier, Lance, passed away recently, leaving her dogless for the first time in forty years. She reminisced and revealed beautiful stories about Lance when she saw Gadget’s pictures on your blog. Lance and Gadget could’ve been brothers if you go by looks.
      Keep writing; I’ll keep reading!
      Doc Truli

      • January 17, 2010 8:20 pm

        Dear Doc Truli,
        Thank you so much for your kind reply. I really appreciate it.
        The blog has been very healing for me, and getting posts like yours inspires me to keep at it.
        Please share my condolences with Terri. It’s a very hard time. If she wants to get in touch and share photos and memories, that would be nice.
        Yes, Gadget was a very handsome Bouv, if I do say so myself! But if Terri looks at the different pictures of Gadget, she will see, in true Bouv fashion, that his coat changed color quite a bit over the course of his life. When he was young, it was mostly silver and very brindle (stripey), and by the time he died, it was almost solid charcoal gray. (He also lost outer coat to chemo, so it was much softer and less wiry.) There is a pic up now of Jersey, his predecessor, who started out black and ended up charcoal. She lived to be 13.
        Of course, some true Bouv fanciers would be appalled to see some of the pics of Gadget with his coat clipped so short, but we do that for the heat and also in late spring and early fall when the terrible tick/Lyme disease problem here is at its worst. It makes finding even nymphs possible during our nightly tick checks.
        But even with the haircut, in the last few years I have noticed a major shift from always being asked, “What kind of dog is that?” to sometimes being asked, “Hey! Is that a bouvier?” For better or worse, more people seem to know about Bouvs!
        Sharon and the muse of Gadget

      • January 17, 2010 10:30 pm

        Hi Sharon! Hope you had a loving day.
        Lance acquired a large lump on his right ribcage. We tested it and found out it was a cancer called hemangiosarcoma in his body wall and extending into his chest cavity. Terri was devastated. Even though she’s a veterinary nurse, and I’m her veterinarian, there was nothing medical we could do for Lance. It was a terrible day when she brought him to me because he was suffering and weak from anemia. I met him when he was aged. He was placid, and docile, and understanding; convenient for me! Sad for Terri. She tells me stories of the days when he bit her friend Dave in the pants because Dave ordered Lance’s friend off the couch, and Lance thought Dave was just a visitor with no right to order anyone around! Lance later saved Dave’s life when a large dog lunged over a fence at Dave. Lance leapt in front of his friend and took the brunt of the attack without hesitation. Lance didn’t even get hurt!
        The Bouviers are difficult, opinionated, steadfast, loyal companions.
        I hope your little one is everything you desire, and a lot of good surprises, too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: