We close each episode with a segment called “Scratching the itch.” The segment is designed to highlight something, whether it’s a human interest story, a product or a website that provides relief or just makes you feel good. Hence, scratching the itch. You can let us know through the Facebook group or contact us through the website to let us know what you think about the “Scratching the itch” segment and if you have a suggestion for something we should feature in the future.
012: When it's time - The Great Outdoors and Kitten Videos
Dr. Consla remarks, “There is just something about going outside that gives me point to reset. So I noticed every couple of months, if I haven’t gone on a little overnight camping trip, I start to get a little twitchy. Just being out there it’s a chance to slow down. It’s a chance to disconnect. It can be unnerving sometimes not having cell phone service, but in another way, it’s nice. There’s not notifications going off. There’s something about just focusing on the simple, whether it’s, ‘Hey, I got to go filter water to have something to drink,’ or just, ‘Man, look at the sun shining through these leaves or the way the snow is falling.’ It’s some sort of primal relaxation that I think just gives me pause and a moment to reset. So I would encourage everyone to spend a little time outdoors.
One other thing I’ve discovered as our son is growing, he’s a toddler. Go on YouTube and just search silly kitten videos. I don’t know, it keeps him entertained and it keeps me entertained. We’ve had some good chuckles.”
011: Cushing's Treatment - Storyteller by MHN
For Dr. Oberstadt’s final “Scratching the Itch”, she shares an app that you can get on your smartphone. This app is called Storyteller and it’s by a very talented artist by the name of Morgan Harper Nichols, a poet and artist who has put together a meditative app that has daily affirmations and uplifting words. It’s actually one of the only paid apps she has on her phone. It is a wonderful way of giving you two to five minutes each day to start off with a really positive note. Having some positivity to be able to wake up to every day has been really uplifting. So she would highly recommend the Storyteller app by the poet Morgan Harper Nichols.
010: Cushing's Disease - Testing - Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips
Dr. Julie Buzby’s Toe Grips are an amazing product for dogs that have mobility issues as they get older. What we often find is, especially with bigger dogs, they start having issues getting around on slippery surfaces, so hardwood floors, or anything at home that is just too slippery for them to be able to grip. If your dog can walk better on rugs and carpeting, instead of having to put carpet all through your house, you can use Toe Grips instead. Toe Grips are small, flexible nail covers that don’t cover the entire nail, but they do create an extra surface to help the dog have instant traction on hard surface floors and stairs. They can help these dogs to go places more comfortably than they otherwise would.
009: Cushing's Disease - Where Will You Go, Ricky Jo?
Special guest, Dr. Amy Oberstadt, shares her love of the children’s book “Where will you go, Ricky Jo?” The author is Tom Murdoch. You can find it at a local bookstore or it’s available on Amazon. “Where will you go, Ricky Jo” is a story about an adventurous Chihuahua who is looking to explore the world. This book is near and dear to her heart because Ricky Jo was a patient of hers. It’s a book that is perfect for young children and her son loves it.
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Special guest, Dr. Levinson, shared one good thing to come out of COVID. In the Chicago land area, Paws, which is a no kill shelter, for the first time ever was able to adopt out all their dogs and cats, and they actually had no adoptable dogs or cats in the shelter for a period of time, which was great. I guess all those people spending time at home wanted to bring home some new family members, which I really enjoyed.
007: Atopica - Zoo Animals Get Christmas Gifts
This week’s “Scratching the Itch” is zoo animals opening Christmas presents. I can’t even say that without just having my whole face break out into a smile. I got an email from the Los Angeles Zoo recently. Our family has been members for several years. My daughter loves spending time there. So it’s been a little rough, not having our regular zoo trips this year. The LA Zoo is dear to my heart because I did a rotation there during veterinary school. By the time this episode airs, I will have gone to visit their hospital to consult on a Fennec Fox that has skin issues. Whenever I go, I am thrilled with the amount of enrichment that they take the time to do for all of the animals in the zoo. It really is a testament about how much the keepers and the veterinary staff care about the mental wellbeing of these animals, as well as their physical wellbeing.
So when I opened up this email, it was just a really nice bright spot in my day. I got to watch all of these animals have such a good time exploring the presents that the keepers had gone out of their way to paint and to make look absolutely beautiful. They were filled with all sorts of yummy goodies for each particular animal. So it was really nice to watch and share the joy of them being curious and exploring and having a special reward at the end. I will post the link to the video in the show notes as well as on the website where you can find all of the “Scratching the Itch” segments, if you are in the need for a feel good moment. If you really enjoy watching zoo animals opening Christmas presents like I do, you can go down a very deep rabbit hole in YouTube with zoos all over the world providing Christmas presents to their animals and that made me feel really good. I hope it does the same for you too.
So there’s a lot of stuff on social media among my veterinarian and veterinary technician friends that talk about how hard our job is and ways that we struggle. I don’t always know that enough gets shared about parts of the job that really get us pumped up and get us back to what got us into this job in the first place. Anybody who’s ever worked with me in a derm clinic probably knows that my favorite Derm disease of all time is scabies. One of my favorite stories of the last couple years was actually a scabies case that I had in Indianapolis. We had this little old German lady with her poodle who are both on the older side. They live together and the dog sleeps in the owner’s bed every night and one day they just got really, really itchy at the same time. We measure itch on a zero to 10 scale and they were both 10 out of 10 itchy. Before coming to our clinic, she had been seen by her primary care practitioner, she had taken her dog to the primary vet, she had even been sent to a specialist and had her own skin biopsied two or three times. She was saying that her doctors and her veterinarians were just telling her they didn’t know what was wrong, but they thought it was unlikely that her itch and the dog’s itch was related. She just knew it had started at the same time, she figured they had the same problem.
Scabies is one of those diseases where I just hear the history and I light up cause I’m like, I’m going to be able to help you so much today. This dog was a classic scabies case. Once I came into the room and did my physical exam, there’s a test called a pinnal pedal response where if we scratch the dog’s ear, it makes it the dog’s foot go crazy, just swiping at itself. We look for crusting on the tips of the ears and the tips of the elbows. This dog was a crust factory on its ears and parts of its face. When we look for scabies, we don’t always find them. We’re actually mostly dependent on the history to make the diagnosis, but about 30 to 50% of the time, we can find them on a scrape. I think this dog had just had them for so long, this was the most scabies I had ever found.
The lady had been seeing human and veterinary doctors for, I think, three to four months before she came to see us. She was very on edge and just looked tired and defeated and was so sad coming into the office. It made me so happy to just have a quick answer that I could give her. There aren’t very many quick answers in dermatology. The owner, at the dog’s first appointment, had welts and scabs and skin lesions all over her own skin. One of the places that scabies tends to affect people is the bra line and the waistline, so she had them all up and down her arms and legs, but I asked if it started at her bra and waistline and she was like, yeah, do you want to see? I told her I didn’t need to. Even by the four week recheck the dog was looking much better, the owner was just looking so much better and was so relieved. Anybody who gets into medicine, I think human or veterinary medicine, wants to make that kind of difference in somebody’s life. One of my favorite scabies superhero stories where I had the answer that just turned it all around. That’s why scabies is one of my favorite diseases.
That’s wonderful. It’s certainly a very literal interpretation of the “Scratching the Itch” segment. I apologize to any listeners who will now be scratching at their arms and torso for the rest of the day.
Today’s “Scratching the Itch” is some recent legislation that was passed in the November 3rd, 2020 election. Voters in Denver repealed the city’s 30 year pit bull ban. Denver is another major metropolitan city that is joining a nationwide trend to repeal legislation banning pit bulls. Breed specific legislation does not have science to show that it decreases the incidence of bites and many critics of breed specific legislation say that it discriminates against communities of color.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has been opposed to breed specific legislation discriminating against responsible pet owners and their dogs. Breed specific laws can be difficult to enforce, especially when a dog’s breed can’t be easily determined, or if it’s a mixed breed. Proponents of the measure to repeal the pit bull ban of Denver say that the breed-specific ban has cost the city of Denver more than $5.8 million. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommend strategies for dog bite prevention, including enforcement of generic and non-specific breed, dangerous dog laws, placing an emphasis on chronically irresponsible owners, prohibiting dog fighting and encouraging neutering for dogs that are not intended for breeding.
Today’s “Scratching the itch” is a shout out to moms who are veterinarians. Since becoming a mother, I’ve joined a Facebook group of remarkable women who are veterinarians and mothers. Over the years that I’ve been a part of this group, it has grown to over 14,000 members all across the world. It’s a really special place to share stories that are unique to women who are doctors, as well as mothers and provide support in many different forms, whether that’s through shared laughter, sadness, or just having someone to be there for you to talk to at any given hour of the day.
One story I read recently warmed my heart and I reached out to the mother to ask her if it was okay for me to share this, and I hope it warms your heart as well. She had struggled with being able to produce milk for her first baby and as she approached her delivery date for her second child, her anxiety about being able to nurse her child was overwhelming. She reached out to the veterinary mothers group and asked if any other moms had some extra breast milk to spare. The result was a deep freezer, fully stocked with breast milk that a local veterinary mother was unable to use because her baby was sensitive to dairy and she had been eating dairy when she produced that milk. That veterinarian donated an entire deep freezer full of milk to a veterinary mom in need. And the best part? That mom in need got the breast milk on her birthday.
003: Environmental Allergies - Fear Free Pets
Today’s “Scratching the itch” is a website called Fear Free Pets. This website has a lot of great resources for minimizing stress in pets, and it’s geared towards pet owners, veterinarians and veterinary staff. I’ve included a link in the show notes to a specific article on their website regarding giving injections. The article is primarily geared towards veterinary technicians administering vaccines, but all the information is completely relevant for pet owners giving allergy shots at home to make it less stressful for the pet and the owner alike. You’ll very likely hear me talk about resources from Fear Free quite a lot on this podcast because creating a positive experience for my patients and my clients is a crucial part of how I practice. I would encourage you to look at today’s show notes on the Your Vet Wants You to Know website for a link to the Fear Free website and the specific article on giving injections. You can also find Fear Free certified veterinarians and veterinary practices in your area by searching the directory on their website.
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Some of us have been isolating recently due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. If you like to travel as much as I do, I’m sure it’s been hard having the same view from your window over and over again. That’s why this episode’s “scratching the itch” is window swap. This website, window-swap.com, offers you a much needed change of scenery. It features video from different windows all over the world, transporting you, if only briefly, from that same space you’ve been isolating in since March of 2020 to the other side of the county, the other side of the state, your country, and all over the world. It costs nothing. And there’s no risk of being infected or spreading infection when traveling. If you’re lucky, you may even see a cat enjoying the view there too.