Disagreement (graphic! I guess…?)

So, today was my first day back at work after a 3 days leave and I happend to have a little bit of a disagreement with one of our patients.

Mind you, I work at a small animal practice and said patient was a cat. Cats are basically the most dangerous animal that you can find in a small animal practice and you’re going to find out why. Don’t worry, though, the scratches don’t hurt, the cat was not hurt and I could’ve definately ended up much much worse.

The worst thing that can happen in a small animal practice, is getting bitten by a cat. Dogs? Nah. A cat bite? OH SHIT! The reason is the canine (yes, cats have canine teeth) in cats are so sharp, when they bite the tooth is pressed in deep and when it comes out, the wound closes almost immediately, because it’s only a very small wound. The tooth however brought gems into the wound and those gems are having the time of their life now infecting your hand. It’s crutial to get antibiotics and proper treatment ASAP, or otherwise you’re in serious danger of loosing a finger. Or two. Or a hand. Untreated infected cat bites can send you into hospital, into severe pain, into huge abzesses and worst case into an amputation.

That being said, if there’s one thing we try to avoid, it’s getting bitten by a cat. After 3 + 1/2 years at our practice, I’ve never been bitte so far. Everything you’re going to see are scratches. Scratches are no big deal, they bleed a bit, they heal, everything’s chill. I just want to post this to show how dangerous my job can be. I love my job, I don’t mind uncooperative or grumpy patients, but it’s not the cute cuddly job people often expect.

I’m not injured that often either. I’m a careful person. It was just one of those days today. And that’s why I’m not a cat person.

Btw, I have a skin condition, that’s why I have a lot of small wounds and scars on my arms. Don’t worry about those, they have nothing to do with animals of any kind.

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Abandoned Guinea-Pig

 

frontalkleinThis little one was caught after 2 days of effort at the edge of a forest by concerned animal lovers. Since they had no experience with Guinea Pigs, they tried to contact the local shelter, but couldn’t get through, so they decided to bring their rescued animal to our small animal practice hoping we know someone. Unfortunately we couldn’t find anyone that fast either and I took him in for the time being.

It turned out this is a neutered male about one year old and he was in total panic when he arrived. It was pretty chilly the day he was caught, he was cold and only 740g. Male Guinea Pigs usually weight around 1kg, so that makes him pretty thin. I have to admit I’ve seen some seriously underweight adult Guinea Pigs at our practice, some barely more than 500g, but those were crutially ill animals. Our abandoned boy was actually surprisingly healthy, but wasn’t fed properly for a while.

Here’s the deal: Guinea Pigs don’t survive on their own in the wilderness, specially not in Germany where it’s too cold in the winter without proper shelter and care. Due to their coloration they’re excellent prey animals, so if illness or weather conditions don’t kill them, predators definately will sooner than later. Abandoning a Guinea Pig equals a death sentence. What I want to say is, this abondoned Guinea Pig couldn’t have been living outside on his own for longer than a few days before he was found, therefore we suspect he wasn’t properly fed for a while wherever he was living before.

He also suffered from an advanced lice infestation. The species of the lice and the heavy degree of the infestation suggest he also must’ve had those before he was abondoned. Where ever he came from: they didn’t take proper care of him.

On top of the lice, he was carrying about 15 tick nymphs around his nose, that all needed to be removed by hand. He also developed a cold in the following days of his capture, had eczema around his anal region and developed an eczema on his ear due to scratching because of the itch from the lice. Unfortunately the eczema on his ear got infected and he needed antibiotics as well as an anti-itch salve for local treatment

The eczema all got taken care of and are long gone. His ear has a little bit of a notch now, but it’s barely noticibale. He got over his cold with a nice warm place to live and a good dose of Vitamin C. He’s under lice treatment at the moment and will receive his last dose later this week, after which he will be going to a Guinea Pig rescue group where he’ll be put up for adoption.

About his weight: well, let’s just say he’s a good eater. Last time I checked he had 873g, so DSC_0003he’s getting closer to normal weight every day. It was a huge relieve that he was eating like a champ ever since day one. Their digestive system is build for constant eating, therefore if a Guinea Pig doesn’t eat, it will develop severe gastro-intestinal problems and dies.  The muscles in their gastro intestinal organs are very weak, so they need to eat in order to push the food through their intestines. This is the reason why Guinea Pigs have to be force fed when they don’t eat on their own and I was prepared to force feed our abanonded Guined Pig, which I thankfully didn’t have to do.

He’s not a picky eater either. So far he’s eaten absolutely everything I suggested to him. As long as it’s food, he will love it, even some veggies my own Guinea Pigs don’t like. I really have yet to find something he doesn’t like to eat, but his favorite are carrots.

He’s very shy and is not used to being handled by humans. He won’t eat out of my hands and will take any chance to get away whenever I handle him. Fortunately he’s a very good boy and not aggressive at all, he never tried to bite me, even though he’s been though stuff like getting injections at home. That’s the good (and bad) of being taken care of by a vet tech: you won’t see the vet often, but your caretaker will do stuff the vet otherwise would. During his first week he required injections, daily wound care and very close inspections, which is not exactly helping to build trust.

I know it will be hard to let him go, because he’s a wonderful Guina Pig and a real beauty as well. He’s an English Crested, but I suspect there’s some kind of long haired breed mixed into him as well, because his fur is a bit too long for a purebread English Crested and it’s crazy soft. Now that he’s feeling good and got rid of most of his problems, it reflects in his fur: it’s super soft and shiny.  A healthy animal has a healthy coat.

Since I have a group of two females and a neutered male, I can’t introduce him into my group and I don’t have enough space to keep a second group, therefore he will need to go. I’m glad I found a good rescue group and I personally know the woman who will take him in until he gets adopted, so I have a very good feeling about it. I hope he will find a good forever home with many friends to keep him company. He definately deserves it.

DSC_0001 kleinEven though he was abandoned, he was extreamly lucky to be found in time. His overall condition was actually not that bad, despite of his parasites, being underweight, having some eczema and developing a slight cold – it could’ve been much worse, to be honest. I’m gald I was able to foster him back to health relatively fast. Finishing his lice treatment is the last step he still needs to take in order to find a good home, but other than that he’s doing amazing and he got used to living with me surprisingly fast. He already feels right at home, yawning and chilling out right beside his water bowl (that he absolutely loves for some strange reason), so I’m sure he’ll get used to his forever home fast as well. With enough patience he’ll realize humans aren’t that bad, either.

I took him on my own account and paid for his treatment out my own pocket (I get special prices at out practice since I’m staff, though). I’m not asking or anything in return. I’m just happy to be able to give him the best start possible for a new life. I definately would’ve kept him if he was a female or if I didn’t own a male already, but since I need to let him go, I’ll stay in contact with the rescue group where he’ll be going to and make sure they’ll find him the perfect home he deserves.

Koi

I recently started watching youtube videos about Koi, those insanely expensive carp from Japan. I think after hours and hours of experts explaining beauty and breeding, I think I roughly got the general idea. I’m still a hopeless amateur, of course, I don’t even know a fraction of what there is to know and I couldn’t evaluate the beauty of one Koi against the other even if my life depended on it. I just wanted to know how Koi are bred, how they are raised. I understood some of the citeria for beautiful fish, but that doesn’t mean I’m able to apply this very rough knowledge of mine.

That being said, let’s continue.

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Doitsu Kohaku der Konichi Koi Farm

In a way it’s no different than breeding a pure bred dog: you’re aiming to produce a creature that has very certain features we consider “beautiful”.  Breeding Koi does seem much more… heartless than breeding a dog or a cat. A carp lays thousands of eggs at once, a dog will have probably something between 3-10 puppies depending on the breed and how lucky the breeder was.

Therefore, you have a whole lot more babies to choose from when breeding fish and let me remind you this is entirely about beauty. You have this huge pool of offsprings and this is still a business. Businesses function after the laws of demand and suppy. People want beautiful Koi. A Koi that is not up to the standard is something nobody wants. It’s worthless to the point that you can’t sell it. People don’t want big ugly fish and Koi are big fish. Therefore, raising thousands of fish that are not up to the desired standard is a waste of money.

When breeding dogs, even the ugly ones usually somehow find a home and on average you will need to find homes for round about 5-6 puppies. That’s a whole lot easier than finding homes for 5-6 thousand fish of undesired color, pattern and body structure. As you can imagine, Koi are being selected very very strictly. Farms don’t want to waste money on raising ugly fish nobody wants. So what happens with the undesired fish? I’m not 100% sure, but I read somewhere the undesired ones from early selections are used as food for the bigger ones.

A beautiful Koi is being treated like royalty, an ugly Koi (which is most of them) is not

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Karashigoi der Konichi Koi Farm

even worth living. I understand why Koi farmers do what they do, it just seems very extreme, especially at the stage of the very early selections where most of the Koi are being selected out. After they’ve reached a certain age and size and survived a few round of selections, farms will keep the “Tategoi” (the best ones) and sell the rest off, but they can’t do this at the early selections.

Breeding Koi is basically a game of luck you play with nature. You produce a whole damn lot of something in the hopes of getting a substainable amount of good individuals, a couple of great ones and maybe one champion. The rest, the thousands of siblings not good enough, are an unwanted byproduct.

Koi are extreamly beautiful fish. Chances are very high I will never have a Koi pond, but I can’t help being fascinated by these carp. The strict selections, the harsh nature of their breeding, the insane care the good ones receive, it’s all part of the fascination of Japan’s (and maybe the world’s) most beautiful fish.

Pet Facts from Germany

I’m working as a veterenary nurse/technician in training in a small vet clinic in Germany and after I watched some veterenary videos on youtube, I decided to tell you guys some facts about pets in Germany.

  • 20% of german households home a cat and 14% home a dog, making cats the most vs000291-europaeisch-Kurzhaarpopular pets in Germany. The most popular breed of cat is the European Short Hair. The most popular dog is the Mixed Breed – I’m not kidding.
  • Germany has 100% no kill animal shelters. Here in Germany it’s forbidden by law to euthanize an animal unless it suffers from an incurable desease that cuts down greatly on the quality of life of the animal.
  • You need to pay taxes for a dog, because they leave their feaces wherever you’re walking them and that sh*t needs to be cleaned up by someone. You don’t need to pay taxes for cats – living 100% inside or not doesn’t matter at all.
  • Our shelters are anything but empty, sometimes overpopulated, but if you want to adopt an animal from a shelter, pe prepared that you will have to come several times to get to know the animal and convince the people from the shelter that you can provide appropriate living conditions and care for the animal, be it a great dane or guinea pig.
  • Germans have a serious helper syndrom when it comes to animals. Since living conditions for pets are generally pretty good here compared to many other countries, there’s a lot of people trying to help animals in countries with worse conditions by bringing them to Germany. However, many people also see this practice with great concern, due to three main reasons: 1. Our shelters are full as they are, we have more than enough pets waiting to be rehomed on our own. 2. Imported dogs often come with deseases that’re naturally not seen here, leishmaniasis for example. 3. It doesn’t help the situation in the country of the animals origin at all.
  • The practice of neutering and spaying is very common over here and many people who don’t want to breed will neuter/spay their animal to make life easier and less stressfull for themselves and the animal. However, if you go very strictly by law, you’re actually fordidden to remove an organ unless the animal suffers from problems with it. Thislaw is usually interpreted very… open minded.
  • If you want to own a dog taller than 40cm or heavier than 20kg, you will have to pass an exam that will test basic knowledge. I did hear rumors one state is panning on having everyone take this exam, regardless of how tiny the dog is. I totally support this, because of the high amount of aggressive little dogs I see every day at our clinic – our small muzzles are much more in use than out big ones.
  • Ever since the early 2000s there’s been a new stricter law regarding the ownership of AMERICAN_STAFFORDSHIRE_TERRIERdog breeds that’re classified as potentially dangerous. Every state has it’s own laws, but you can generally say that if you own a dog from these lists you will have to pay higher taxes, need to provide special requirements in terms of the housing situation of the dog and you will have to pass a special test. The dog might also need to have it’s race determinded even though it’s a pure breed. Races that usually fall under these laws are e.g.: Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bullterrier and to a lesser degree e.g.: American Bulldog, Dogo Argentino, Rottweiler. Since the Stafford was a pretty popular breed prior to these laws, after they became effective german shelters were run over with Staffs and Staff Mixed Breeds.
  • It’s forbidden to cut off the tail or any other body part off the animals body for beauty reasons as it has been common practice in several breed of dogs like the Boxer or the Dobermann. Recently there has also been a case in court where it was forbidden to breed canadian-sphynx cats, because their havily reduced whiskers for beauty reasons are considered an act of animal cruely as it leaves the animal handicapped. … so why is it still allowed to breed pugs or cavallier king charles spaniels?
  • There are many places you can take you dog with, even restaurants and shops might allow you to take your dog with you.
  • Exotic pets like different types of snakes, bearded dragons or spiders and turles are on the rise, but they’re still very far behind the “classic” pets.
  • Cute rabbits and guinea pigs are still considered typical pets for small children and Kaninchen_20090127_0023often given to them as presents, even though I personally think they’re unsuited for children. They’re very afraid of humans and don’t like to be petted, need a special diet that is often messed up and die very easily if not provided with proper care. In the past decade the overall knowledge of the average Joe on how to keep such an animal has greatly improved. There’s still a lot that needs to be done for the smallest of pets, though.
  • There are still people left who believe a female dog needs to have a litter of puppies at least once, before she can be spayed safely. This is nonsense.

I guess that’s it for today. Of course there’s also acts of animal cruelty in Germany and it’s not always as rosy as it seems to be. We have problems as well, but we try to work on them, but like ever there’s much to be done.

My Guinea Pigs Anton, Patti & Rosi

My Guinea Pigs Anton, Patti & Rosi