Cat Bite Fever

Zoo officials put a stop to fertile felines In March 1987 Alan called me to place a birth control implant in Sasha, the female Bengal tiger. The implant dispensed a birth control drug to prevent the cat from entering her usual estral cycling, stopping her from going into heat for two years. Zoos all over the world already had too many tigers. Many different subspecies were interbreeding, resulting in a dilution of the original genetics. New cubs became a maintenance liability, costing the zoo money to feed and grow tigers not wanted elsewhere. We decided to perform the operation next week. Tuesday I drove to the zoo after lunch. Alan showed me the implant. It was a capsule made of silicon-im

Bladder Stone

Chloe came into the office peeing blood and licking her vulva. X-rays show a bladder stone. A rock-hard bladder stone forms from minerals in the urine when a bladder infection happens. Chloe, a fluffy Poodle-terrier mix has been leaving dribbles of bloody urine here and there on the floors. Plus, she's constantly licking her vulva. She was bright, alert, and happy, but did stop and lick a lot. I was able to feel the hard bladder stone simply by squeezing my fingers together on the back half of her belly. Abi helped me collect a few cc's of urine to see what the problem was. Next, I ordered x-rays. X-ray of Chloe's abdomen. This view was taken when she was lying on her right side with her hin

Restless Tail Syndrome

Dr. Rory Evans was petting a large gray cat, a spayed female standing nervously on the table top in front of him. "It says here you need an exam for Yoyo to start a script for gabapentin, Mrs. Smith," Rory began, reading from Honey's intake notes. "I'm surprised because I use gabapentin as a pain killer for dogs. What makes you feel Yoyo needs this?" "To calm her restless tail problem, Doctor Evans." "What do you mean restless tail? Cats swish their tails a lot," Rory explained. "But Yoyo's tail moves all the time. It's keeping her from getting a full night's sleep. Dr. Abernathy put me on gabapentin because of the memory loss episode last year. What surprised me the most was that the drug a

Doctor Heal Thyself

Mary arrived in a half hour. I was agitated, pacing the room back and forth. A nurse gave me an injection to slow me down and stay on the bed. The surgeon came in. He was called from home and was still wearing a brown leather jacket. He appeared to be a world war two airplane pilot. He introduced himself to Mary and me as a hand specialist. Once he left the room, Mary remarked the staff probably makes up these specialties just to help the patients feel better, opining yesterday he had come in to help someone as a foot specialist. But she was wrong. He had proper credentials to perform the meticulous surgery which lay ahead. The surgeon returned sans the jacket checked out the x-ray and told

When Testicles Go Awry

Sorry guys, but men have some of the smallest testicles in the animal kingdom Compared to many animals, human males don’t have very big test


Alan from the Atascadero Zoo called me to check on Chiquita. One of their spider monkeys had stopped eating and developed diarrhea. She looked horrible when I examined her, appearing weak and listless, about to check out. The zoo had no facilities to treat her properly. I needed to bring her to my house for convalescence. Because she had diarrhea, I sent a stool sample to the lab for identification. The lab would run a sensitivity test to tell me which antibiotic was the most efficacious. Placing Chiquita in a portable dog kennel, I brought her home and asked Mary if she could help me with the monkey's treatment. She told me we needed diapers and drove to town to buy some for newborn childr

Ostrich Hatch

Here's Big Hen later in the season setting upon a clutch of eggs. The male, which protects its own territory, digs a nest in the ground and mates with a number of females. But in the end, only one female will sit on the eggs; she knows her own clutch and will get rid of eggs belonging to other females. Here's the old fashion barrel type incubator we used for our first hatch outs. Here is the hatcher. Unlike the incubator, four hour rotations are no longer necessary, so the egg is moved here about day 40 so the hatchling can be monitored carefully. Welcome to the world! See that knobby bump at the tip of the nose? This is called the egg tooth. That, along with the bulging neck muscles the bi

Burro Lift:

“We got 580 out, and the Park Service originally told us there were 300 - it was a staggering operation completed two months ago with every

Ostrich Veterinarian

After incubating for approximately 42 days, an ostrich egg is usually ready to hatch. Every ten days during the incubation period we pulled each egg out of the incubator for candling and weighing. Candling is used to look inside the developing egg. Using a special light box, we candled the eggs on days 10, 20, 30, and 40; the developing embryo can be seen to grow through the candling process as it develops. It's important to check the air space at the top of the egg is checked; typically it increases in size as the moisture leaves the egg through the pores. Every ten days a pencil line is drawn it to record the changes. Remember that fading chick problem? As I continued to search high and lo

Wine Master

Mary and I arranged a flight to Steamboat Springs when she was asked to sing at a wedding in for Ed and Mary's daughter. We arranged our tickets to fly out of San Luis Obispo on a commuter jet into San Francisco where we would transfer to the bigger plane to take us to Denver. It was in the fall after we had married, but I needed to finish my grape crush. Mary was working at a vineyard in San Luis and, a few days before our Steamboat trip, she called me one afternoon to let me know one ton of Chenin Blanc grapes was available for me at no charge. The grapes had already been picked, but there was a problem connecting the grapes to the potential buyer. I had been making homemade wine since vet

Yéiitsoh Unleashed

“Yep, big storm. Yé’iitsoh has been unleashed from Mount Taylor.” “What is Yé’iitsoh?” “Yé’iitsoh is our devil spirit, the most malignant of all our bad guys. His father, Sun Bearer, Jóhonaa’éí wrapped him in zigzag lightning, and sent him to earth. During the time of creation, the earth was the home of many different types of evil creatures. Yé’iitsoh is the worst, though. He lives in a cave on Mount Taylor, dressed in flint armor, carries a large club, and sallies forth from his home in search of human prey.” — Yé'iitsoh Omen, Jim Aarons By Axel Rouvin | Wikimedia Commons Rory and Katie were relaxing in their room at the El Tovar overlooking the Grand Canyon. “This sure is a treat. Thanks,

Hopi Copper Mine

The storm intensified as they drove back to Grandview point. “Someone’s waving Rory, pull over.” They were just past the turnoff to Grandview Point. “Backup.” Rory rolled his window down to better see the man who had stopped them. He appeared to be a hiker in distress. He was wearing khaki shorts, hiking boots, sunglasses, and a dirty white straw cowboy hat. Rory rolled his window down. “What’s wrong?” he yelled. “A terrible accident! My wife is down there; she fell off the ridge. I need help!” “She fell over the edge? Where?” Rory saw the distraught, weeping man nod and point to the parking lot behind him. “Get in.” “I was setting up my tripod to take a picture…” “In the rain? Weren’t you w

Cowboys Ride the Iron Horse

At the Sacramento station we boarded the eastbound Amtrak to Reno, meeting Barb and Earl and Janie and David there. I stored my luggage, and found a set of seats in coach for the family, settling in for a second day on the rails. "I want to go find the others," I decided. "Do you want to come?" I asked Mary. She declined to follow me to find my friends, feeling watching over the kids was more important. Without such childcare worries I hurried off to the observation car, the place where the parties happen. The red-colored hills outside Sacramento began showing patches of white as the train climbed in altitude, and rain showers became snow flurries. A massive snowstorm had been dumping on the

Peyote Teepee

Peyote is a small cactus that grows only along the Rio Grand in an area of northern Mexico. The dried top known as the mescal or peyote button is the part eaten. Participants ingest between eight and ten buttons at a sitting. “The Chichimec were the first to discover and use the root they call peyotl, and those who are accustomed to eat and drink them used them in the place of wine... Those who eat and drink it see visions either frightful or laughable... It is a common food of the Chichimecas , for it stimulates them and gives them sufficient spirit to fight and have neither fear, thirst, nor hunger, and they say it guards them from all danger.” — Safford 1916: 401 This is a layout of a typ

Teepee Paraphanelia

Katie followed Crowbear to the central tepee. It was the tallest one and twice as big as the others. Following divine dictates, the door was on the east with a line drawn from the middle of the door to the western side. The line followed the path of the sun as it travels from east to west. As in any tepee, the fire logs were set in the center, evenly bisecting the east-west line. The four-inch high crescent-shaped dirt altar was built perpendicular to the east-west line at a point halfway between the fire and the western edge of the tepee. Three young men extended the packed dirt platform to five feet on each side of the midline with shovels and hands. The altar shape of a crescent moon foll

Pumpkin, the Icteric Kitty

The next morning Rory came in late because he was still learning the art of performing an intravenous drip on himself. Honey met him at the door holding an orange cat. “Hey, Doc, how are you?” She asked. “Good,” he chuckled, seeing the cat in Honey’s arms. “What do you have there?” “It’s Pumpkin. Steve Derks dropped him off. He’s taking Janice to a doctor in SLO for her back.” “What’s wrong with Pumpkin?” Rory asked. “He quit eating and is turning orange. He looks like that bottle of Ceftiofur I made up last night. And he’s orange inside as well as outside.” “What do you mean?” “Look!” Honey exclaimed. Opening the cat’s mouth Rory understood. The inside of the mouth was no longer pink. It wa

Left Displaced Abomasum

Surgery is needed when the cow's fourth stomach rotates to an abnormal position. Start thinking of a left displaced abomasum if you hear a ping on percussion over the brown oval region on the cow's left side, especially if you feel a fullness high in the oval, where the hollow we call the paralumbar fossa is located. Rory walked around his patient noting the left paralumbar fossa, the caved in space between the cow’s ribs and pelvis was empty. It’s the space where the rumen is supposed to be. He placed his hand in the fossa feeling for rumen rhythm and tone. A fossa is a depression behind the ribs, and this recession was deeper than usual because the rumen was not full. The cow was not eatin

Cow Tipping Secrets

Below is an excerpt from Yéiitsoh Omen Chapter10 when Rory flips a cow upside down to perform a stomach surgery. “What to do Doc?” “We need to cast her, flip her upside down so I can right the displacement and relieve the pain of the bloat by untwisting the abomasum. Then I’ll suture it in place, anchoring it with a unique toggle pin so it doesn’t move back again. Next I’ll give her IV calcium and glucose, and finally, we'll clean out the infected juices and tissue left over from her calving." He picked up the casting rope and walked to the cow’s neck, on her right side. ‘We’re going to tip her over. I’ll position the rope on her. You go on the other side, Jen, and I’ll hand the line off to

Dinosaur Tracks

"Hi Katie,” Rory said over the phone. “I'm leaving Flagstaff in a few minutes. I'll be there in an hour and a half. Where can I meet you?" "At the dinosaur tracks. Do you remember seeing them?" "Yeah, it's the place with the t-rex painted on the shed, right?" "Yep right off the highway, you can't miss it. I'll be waiting with bells on." "I'd rather have you with nothing on," he joked. "Me too, soon baby," she promised. She was running around doing last minute rallying for the spay and neuter clinic happening tomorrow. Now she could arrange her last stop west of town at the tourist attraction and bring him home for lunch. That was her plan for her man. Rory was on his way back to Navajo count

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