Death Match: Social Media vs. Rotary

Two weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking at the AAHA National Convention as a part of the BlogPaws veterinary social media track. In a fit of what I can only imagine was perhaps a hypothermia-induced lapse in judgment, Bill Schroeder invited me to co-present for the day.

Bill Schroeder, Dr. Patrick Mahaney, that one person, Tom Collins, Dr. Lorie Huston, Kate Benjamin (courtesy Dr. Patrick Mahaney)

For those of you who don’t know, Bill helms In Touch Vet, a veterinary marketing company that works with 8,000 vet clinics across the country with website design and social media. And I, well, I manage one site, which is slightly less impressive, really. He’s spoken all over the world. I’ve spoken all over the midwest. I’m not entirely sure what he was thinking, but I didn’t want to correct his mistake, so I accepted his offer. And this is why:

Five years ago, there were about three veterinarians on the web. I attended a social media lecture at Western States and they held it in the basement, on Saturday night in Vegas, where a woman with no veterinary experience whatsoever got up in front of the bored looking crowd of 10 and attempted to explain what a “Facebook” was. Now, things have changed. I see more vets trying to get on board. I say “trying” because this is what tends to happen:

1. They attend a lecture, think to themselves, yup, I should do this.

2. Log onto Facebook, become immediately overwhelmed.

3. Back to work / consider asking receptionist to share some pics from George Takei’s page, or worse, post some dull news brief from an academic journal.

End experiment.

Done right, social media is fun, and engaging. I wouldn’t be here all this time later if I didn’t think that were the case (because trust me, I’m sure not making a living off writing on this site.) We’re lucky, as vets: we don’t need 20,000 fans or fans in Dubai or strangers we’ve never met, though I like all of those things; we just need a small and loyal group who support what we do. Being here makes me a better vet because it forces me to concentrate on my communication.

So I got up there with Bill, and he said all sorts of profound things and told some great jokes and showed some compelling slides. I watched. I said a few things, the most profound of which was probably my comparison of Twitter to a one-night stand (it’s not about long term relationships there, and that’s OK), but the one thing that struck me more than anything was: wow, we’re all still pretty far behind the eight ball as a profession. That, and the fact that I should wear lower heels when speaking.

The Fallacy of That One Vet From Michigan

Let me share with you something someone said after one session: a veterinarian, and I won’t guess his age because, well, I never do that anymore, came up to us and said: “yeah, this is great and all, and I’m sure where you are in San Diego everyone’s all into this social media thing (I can’t recall if he used air quotes or not), but I don’t need this where I am.”

So we asked where he practiced, and he said, “Michigan.” Then he said, “Only 2% of my clients use social media. I know this. We have data.” I wasn’t thinking of calling him a liar, since we are an honest profession of course, so I believed him. But then he said this: “So I just think maybe we need to focus on our traditional methods of new client recruitment. Like going to Rotary Club.”

Now look. I like Rotary Club. My father in law is a past president of a well renowned local chapter and the members are amazing. But I think even he would agree, that as a sole way of looking for new faces to come in the door, maybe it is a somewhat limiting strategy.

Social Media: Old People Like Me Use It Too

Then I really pondered what he was saying. Only 2% of his current base uses social media. Who are these people, 98% of whom eschew online interaction? Other than the local Rotarians, I mean. We know, generally speaking, that 67% of US adults are active on social media. According to pingdom, half of all social media users are 25-44, with another 20% 45-54. That’s plenty of middle aged people with pets, I think. More than half are women, who, at least in my practice, show up in the waiting area more than half the time. That works out well.

So I ask myself, does this person live in a small town of Luddites who eschew all forms of web based communication out of a sense of nostalgia? Is there really some place in this country so far off the national average outside of Amish country? Or is he simply handing over, to the clinic down the street, this huge chunk of potential clients who aren’t even aware his clinic exists because they don’t go to Rotary meetings?

Maybe it’s a San Diego thing, but I really can’t comprehend a town where more pet owners  attend Rotary than go on Facebook, or yelp, or any of the other places we now go to find recommendations for businesses. Perhaps, like the good men and women of the Old Mission Rotary, they do both.

I sense from many veterinarians the feeling that the internet, and social media in particular, is overrun with 14 year olds who go onto reddit, post a few LULZ and then get on with their day, none of which involves being the primary caretaker for animals. If that were the case, I would have abandoned ship long ago.

I, however, have spent the last half decade getting to know all of you, and I’m pretty sure that none of us are shopping in Forever 21. I think we’re all pretty solidly Ideal Veterinarian Client Demographic: educated, emotionally vested in our animals, and committed to their well being.

Social media: it’s not just for college kids and Beliebers.

And that connection I share with you all, that sustains me in my moments when I questioned my sanity going into the profession in the first place, is why I wanted to speak at AAHA.

I thought it went well, at least until I saw the first group picture.

Time will tell, I suppose.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Boxer Dog Training

Boxer Dog Training

Boxer breed dogThe Boxer is an amazing dog and is extremely playful, energetic and definitely a handful (in a good way of course). This breed if dog is extremely loyal and when a friendship is built it lasts forever. The boxer is very unique and not for everyone, if you’re a new owner of a boxer you have to be aware that they need a lot of attention and training. They are extremely intelligent dogs which can work to your advantage when it comes to training, but then again can be very disadvantageous as they know how to use their intelligence to get what they want.

 

Boxer dog training consists of training them up to become guard dogs, this is their main profession if you like. People who don’t know boxers tend to assume that they are naturally aggressive when they are in fact the opposite and couldn’t be more playful than any other dog! Because of their good stature and aggressive look, people are automatically assuming this dog could do more harm than good. If your boxer isn’t trained properly then he just might.

 

Because of their intelligence Boxers can be very stubborn but when it comes to training a boxer it can be very helpful. Owners must remember that there will be times when you ask him to do something and he’s going to look you in the face and basically tell you where to go, he knows he is supposed to do what you are telling him but he decides he can’t be bothered and doesn’t. The main thing you have to remember in these circumstances is to be patient. From as early as 6 weeks old you should start your boxer dog training as this will help him when he grows up, socialize him, play with him and teach him, but do it in an exciting way and he is more likely to listen.

 

The main aspect of training for a boxer is socialization. Boxers can be very friendly dogs but they need to be trained to become one. They need to get accustomed to other dogs and people. The best way to do this is training classes. That way your boxer will be trained alongside other dogs.

 

When your boxer reaches 13-16 weeks old it’s time for some serious boxer dog training, this is the stage where he is going to test for dominance, he will nip and try to show you that he is the more dominant one, mainly by not listening to you. You have to be a strong leader at this time, you must show him that him acting like that will not be tolerated no matter what!

 

Boxers are genuinely a lovable family dog and would make a proud pet for anyone, they are dogs that prefer to sit on you lap for a cuddle than anything else. Train your boxer early with some serious boxer dog training and you can be assured you will have a stunning, loyal family friend!

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BREAKING: Hungry, Brilliant Pit Bull SPEAKS, Says “Hamburger”! [VIDEO]

Lily-pit-bullWhen Lily the pit bull wants a burger, she's going to tell you … OK, she'll at least try.  Fine. Maybe she's not exactly saying "hamburger" — but, I'm 99% sure. If a dog were trying to speak, what else would they be trying to say? 

Judge for yourself:

 

What's possibly cuter than pets trying to speak?! Absolutely nothing —

 


This post is brought to you by Betty Chu, an Executive Producer for AnimalPlanet.com and a Guest Contributor for The Daily Treat.

 

 

 


The Daily Treat: Animal Planet

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Clicker Dog Training

Clicker Dog Training

 clicker dogThe newest dog training craze is clicker dog training. A clicker is a small rectangular plastic box with a metal button on top that clicks, hence the name clicker. It’s the type of training that the dog decides whether or not it suits him. There have been a lot of success stories with clickers, but with my dog he just didn’t want to know!

 

Researchers in dog studies believe that the clicker promotes enforced training, without punishment! As we all know when we do something good and get rewarded for it we are going to do the same again, a dog thinks the same way. Dogs learn through consequences, if they do something and it earns them a treat and praise they are going to want to do it again because they like this consequence. If they do something that you don’t like and they get ignored or said no to in a strict voice they know that they aren’t going to get any treats so are not going to do it again.

 

Clicker dog training works in such a way it reinforces good behavior. If your dog sits, click and give him a treat. The next time he sits do the same but don’t say anything to him. He will soon realize that when he sits he will get a treat and hear a click, so when you eventually come to click before he sits he knows to sit. Its not all that confusing when you think about it.

 

Punishment is not used with clicker dog training as researchers believe that although punishment does stop some bad behavior it may also create another unwanted behavior. Punishment is almost always carried out after the dog has done something wrong so dogs see punishment as a random consequence therefore punishment doesn’t really solve anything.

 

Clicker dog training is not only used or dogs! It is widely used for other animals such as dolphins and horses. It is a widely practiced training method and does produce results; if carried out properly.

 

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Ear Infection

A few nice infection images I found:

Ear Infection
infection

Image by Selbe B
I clean my ferrets ears quite often, about every few weeks. I looked at Munchlet today and found this. It is like he has tons of wax. I have never seen this much wax in and coming out of a ferrets ears in just a few weeks. It is in just one ear. The other ear only has a little bit of wax, nothing out of the norm. What could cause something so bad? He usually sleeps on this ear. Maybe it’s ear mites. I’ve never seen a case on a ferret before.

We are in the process of moving to CT and his ear cleaner is currently down there. It was too late to run to the store. I used water to clean his ear out, I felt so bad for him.

UPDATE: After a trip to the vet and a few test is was determined that he has an ear infection, not mites.

Bacterial infection leads to plant death in tissue culture tube
infection

Image by IITA Image Library
Plant death as a result of bacterial infection of yam in tissue culture tube. (file name: GE_TI_005a)

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Bless you, Bad Rap!! I wish there were more resour…

Bless you, Bad Rap!! I wish there were more resources like you out there to help people be responsible with their pets.
BAD RAP Blog

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Pet Food Recall: Jones Natural Chews Co Recalls Woofers Dog Treats

The lastest recall is Woofers dog treats from Jones Natural Chews Co.  The recall is due to the possible risk of salmonella.  There are 245 boxes of the dog treats being recalled.

The statement from Jones can be found here.  The products from the statement are listed below:

Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) bulk 50 count box, Item UPC 741956008169, Lot 2962GPS-Best By 10/22/15 and Lot 2892PAL-Best By 10/15/15

***Woofers in bulk 50 count box may be sold individually***

Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) 1 pack shrink-wrap, 50 count box, Item UPC 741956008657, Lot 3102, Best By 11/05/15.

Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) 1 pack shrink-wrap, 50 count box, Item UPC 741956008183, Lot 2892BF-Best By 10/15/15, Lot 2962PWV-Best By 10/22/15, Lot 2962ASC-Best By 10/22/15, and Lot 3032ASL-Best By 10/29/15.

Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) 2pack shrink-wrap, 25ct box, item UPC 741956008190, Lot 2962ASC-Best By 10/22/15 and Lot 3032ASL-Best By 10/29/15.


PetsitUSA Blog

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OMG SALMONELLA RUN FOR YOUR LIVES

You know, I can’t tell you how many times I had to sit in an exam room with a weeping child, explaining to them over the listless puppy in front of them that I was so sorry, the test came back for Salmonella and the prognosis was grim. Wait, that’s parvo.

Salmonella, while demonized in the media to a bogeyman of epic proportions, is mostly known as an irritating member of the Diarrhea Duo, a pest more than a demon scourge of canines. And yet, with every recall, the anger, the indignation, and the fear rolls in, predictable as a rush on flu vaccines after the first case of the winter.

I get it. Trust me, I get it. The 2007 melamine recall put us all on edge- and rightly so, I might add. That was a terrible event, one I hope never to see happen again in my career.

There are several factors that went into that event that made it extra awful, mainly the scope, the deception on behalf of the suppliers, and the number of deaths assumed to have resulted from the whole debacle. There is no excuse for deliberately adulterated ingredients to make their way into the pet food supply, ever. And now here we are, with yet another Salmonella recall- on a food I’m currently feeding Brody. And am I indignant? Disappointed? Filled with righteous fury?

Salmonella typhimurium, courtesy NIH.

No, not really. But in order to get that you have to understand the ubiquitous nature of Salmonella.

Salmonella: The scourge of veterinary medicine (except when it isn’t)

Let’s put it this way: if dogs were a preschool, Salmonella would be that runny nose snotty kid always wiping their fingers on everything. It’s just kind of there, it’s not there on purpose, but it just kind of happens, and you manage it the best you can. You can peruse pubmed and the various studies on the topic if you want- in fact, NC State is doing research on the very topic of the prevalence of Salmonella in dogs as we speak- the older papers are all over the place, finding 11% to 66% incidence in dogs. A 2002 Canadian paper on asymptomatic dogs fed the BARF diet found 30% of those dogs tested positive for Salmonella, and, as BARF enthusiasts themselves regularly point out, they are not, as far as anyone can tell, keeling over dead of Salmonellosis in any discernible numbers. This despite the fact that in this study, 80% of their diet did test positive for the bacterium.

So why does the CDC hunt it down like Snape chasing Harry through the halls of Hogwarts? Are they that concerned about the comfort and well being of our canine companions? (hint: no.)

They care because people get Salmonella. The final tally from last year’s Diamond incident was that 49 people were sickened, 10 hospitalized, none dead. The CDC stats, when they have them available, average out to about 35 or so people a year getting documented cases of Salmonella from pet food. 35 out of the 42,000 reported cases a year. That’s 0.08% of the documented cases being due to pet food, for those keeping score. The actual number of Salmonella cases, most of which are never reported (how many of us had one of those “OMG I ate bad Taco Bell” mornings and never reported it?) is estimated to be about 29 times higher. Death rate from acute Salmonellosis? Less than 1%, actually quite a bit lower than even that unless you are very young ,very old, or immunocompromised.

I know you all love infographics. I’m too cheap to hire a graphic designer, but nonetheless I made you all a pie chart because I know everyone loves a good pie chart.

We swim in a sea of Salmonella

We know, we know and this is well documented, that raw meat is a common source of Salmonella. That is why my mother freaked out, loudly and with great horror, if there was any chicken juice on the counter not promptly blown into oblivion with bleach. “SALMONELLA!” she would scream, wielding Lysol like Excalibur against the foe. But as we’ve seen with a recall from The Honest Kitchen earlier this year, it’s not just meat that can be the problem- their recall was actually due to a batch of parsley that tested positive. It’s in the raw ingredients for pet food and the raw ingredients for our own foods. Peanut butter. eggs. chicken. milk.

So what’s the deal? If you want to make a list of the affected brands in the last 5 years, it goes far and wide. Almost everyone has been affected at some point or another. Is it that every single manufacturer, regardless of their commitment to quality control or lack thereof, is just gross and negligent? In certain cases, like the Diamond recall, where there was a well documented failure to maintain adequate facility standards at the manufacturing plant over several months, I would say yes- they screwed up royally.

But in most cases? I would argue that many manufacturers- at least the ones who do it all in house and are transparent enough to invite journalists in – follow very high levels of quality assurance. The testing process in a plant following adequate GMPS is thorough; the production process is extremely effective at getting rid of pathogens during the cooking process. And even with that, even with everything done properly, sometimes Salmonella happens, just like sometimes you get an infection post-op even when your surgeon followed meticulous sterile procedures.

In yesterday’s Natura case, we are talking about one single sample that tested positive.

So now what?

If you’re looking for an excuse to stop feeding commercial food and this seems like a convenient one, go forth with my blessing. Please find someone who knows that they are talking about (I love the nutritionists at BalanceIt) to help guide you.

If you, like the vast majority of the pet owning population including myself, have decided to take your chances with this vile scourge, this baleful bacterium, I give you this long and complicated process to minimize your risks of contracting Salmonella:

1. Wash your hands after touching pet food.

2. Don’t buy your kid a live chick for Easter.

Source: CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/)

3. Avoid pot pie, mind the beef, don’t eat cookie dough with raw eggs (screw that, I’ll take my chances), don’t be old.

P.S. I thought this goes without saying, but just in case there was some ambiguity: good lord, if your food lot gets recalled, yes, do return it. That’s what recalls are for.

The end!

 

Disclaimer: I’m not a CDC public health expert, nor do I pretend to have the vast reservoirs of knowledge that many food safety pros do. That being said, I’m going out to dinner tonight with my good buddy, veterinarian, MPH and CDC employee Dr. Carrie, so I can pass on any questions to her you might have. 

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Pet Q&A: How should I treat my Pit bull mix with chronic demodectic mange?

Pet Q&A: How should I treat my Pit bull mix with chronic demodectic mange?
Demodicosis or demodectic mange occurs when there are excessive numbers of demodex canis mites in the hair follicles. The mites are generally obtained shortly after birth from the mother. In most dogs the number of mites is very small and no clinical
Read more on NorthJersey.com

Keeping an eye on mange
Mange is a skin disease caused by parasitic mites that animals carry with them their entire lives, but only cause a problem if the dog is subject to high stress, or if the dog's immune system is compromised for some reason. Dr. Christine Miles is the
Read more on Mint Hill Times

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Plants That are Harmful or Can Injure Your Dog

If you’re a dog lover, thoughts of long evening strolls and outdoor recreation with your dog fill your head. In fact, you may have already started to create new fond memories. Given that, the last thing you want on one of your nature walks is for your canine companion to be sidelined by an injury. Unfortunately, many pet parents don’t realize until it’s too late that there are menacing toxins lurking in the plants of both cultivated and wild landscapes. Plants that you are used to seeing in public parks, your neighborhood and perhaps even in your own backyard can lead to devastating effects. First up are four plants commonly used in landscaping that are actually toxic to canines.

Azalea – Rhododendron Species
A typical choice for landscapers due to its hardiness and lovely flowers, these unassuming ornamentals contain a toxin which can be lethal, even in small amounts. Both the plant’s leaves and nectar are known to be harmful if eaten or chewed by your dog, and can cause drooling (often a symptom of nausea), vomiting, weakness and collapse. If greater amounts of its toxins are ingested, it can lead to severe poisoning, possible coma and even death.

Oleander
Widely recognized as one of the most poisonous plants in the world, even minute quantities of Oleander can trigger a fatal response. Unlike the Azalea, every part of the Oleander is toxic, from flowers to roots. If dogs should chew on any part of this plant, they could suffer varying degrees of illness, including upset stomach, abnormal heart functioning and possibly even death. Beware of the sap, which can irritate the skin and eyes, as well as the leaves, which retain their toxicity even when dried out.

Sago Palm
Most commonly used in planned landscapes where climates tend to be hot and dry, Sago Palms are nevertheless popular all over the U.S. While the whole plant contains harmful chemicals, it’s the seeds that contain the highest levels of toxins. Estimates currently put the percentage of animals that die after eating the seeds of the plant as high as three out of four. The incidence of Sago Palm poisoning in dogs and cats has risen 200% in the past few years, although dogs seem to enjoy the flavor of the plant and the seeds more than cats. Ingestion of Sago Palm can cause vomiting, diarrhea, liver failure and seizures.

Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemums are popular ornamentals blooming late in the summer and early in the fall. While beautiful, their flowers contain a natural insecticide. If a canine chews on the Chrysanthemum blooms, the insecticide can cause excessive drooling, vomiting and diarrhea.

If your furry one is exposed to any of these toxic plants, please contact your veterinarian immediately. As is often the case in toxins and poisons, the sooner your pet receives treatment, the less likely they are to experience dramatic, and sometimes fatal, reactions.

And now here is a common weed that can cause a great deal of grief for your pets.

Foxtails
Weeds that resemble the tail of a fox, Foxtails are considered a widespread nuisance in most states, especially west of the Mississippi. Prevalent from late spring to early fall, they become more dangerous in late summer when their seeds dry. When the seeds are released from their pods, they are covered in barbs like little fish hooks, making them potentially very dangerous to your dog. If she merely brushes up against the Foxtail plant, the seeds can become snagged in her coat. Worse, the seeds can pierce the skin, or even be inhaled!

As a result, Foxtail seeds can become lodged between a dog’s toes, in their ears or armpits; they can be inhaled or swallowed and latch onto the interior walls of the nose or throat; or, they can stick to the eyes. Obviously, all of these circumstances can be very painful. Perhaps most frightening, the seeds are so small that they can be difficult to locate, and, if embedded in the skin, have been known to migrate to other areas of the body, resulting in severe infections.

If the Foxtail seed becomes infected under the skin, it may result in a visible, inflamed and painful lump. Commonly these lumps are between the toes, and are painful enough that your dog will repeatedly lick or chew the raised area. If a seed becomes lodged in your dog’s nose, she will likely sneeze, violently and over-and-over, and may even repeatedly paw at her face. If the seed latches to or in her ear, she will likely shake her head side-to-side and/or scratch incessantly at her ear. In the case where a Foxtail becomes stuck in or near the eye, you’ll likely see lots of repeated squinting, tears and redness; you may even see the foxtail poking out!

If you see any evidence of an encounter with a Foxtail, take your dog to the vet immediately. If you notice a red bump in between the toes, soak the paw in a mixture of lukewarm water and Epsom salts. This will help to ease the swelling until you can be seen by your veterinarian. Keep in mind that the longer you wait for treatment, the more difficult it is to treat an embedded Foxtail seed, so time is of the essence.

The best way to prevent Foxtail incidents is with an ounce of prevention. During hikes, keep your dog away from grassy weeds, and check her paws after walks. In addition, you should consider brushing her coat while using your hand to feel for any raised areas, checking inside the ears, in between toes, under armpits and throughout the belly and groin area. If you find a Foxtail in the coat, carefully pull or brush it out. If your dog has thick or long hair, consider getting a ‘Foxtail Clip’, a term applied to trimming away the hair between your dog’s toes. And, if you live in an area where Foxtails are common, remove them from your yard (be sure to exercise caution and carefully bag the weeds).

By using a little common sense and being aware of your surroundings, summer walks can be fun and free from environmental injuries. Then, you can get back to making some wonderful, new, summer memories together with your dog outdoors.

The Perfect Pet Food Blog

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