The Incredible Dr. Pol (the job I wanted)

October 20, 2011 by · 28 Comments 

National Geographic is actually doing it; they are bringing back a modern day James Herriot! Here comes the premiere of The Incredible Dr. Pol, Saturday, October 29, at 9 and 10 pm ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD. (I wanted to be the Dr. Pol for Nat Geo but by the time I replied to an email about the search for a vet I was way too late)

From Nat Geo:

“An expert in large farm animals and pets, with a “you name it, and we’ll treat it” attitude, this house-call-making veterinarian has seen it all.  Dr. Pol works 14-hour days to help the diminishing population of family farmers survive by playing an integral role in keeping local farmers’ livestock healthy and in turn, their businesses profitable. He’ll travel across rural Michigan to care for every family pet and head of livestock in need of his expertise and kindness, treating numerous patients, including horses, pigs, cows, sheep, alpacas, goats, cats, dogs and even an occasional reindeer.

With such a busy practice, we are on call right alongside Dr. Pol as he treats a variety of cases, including two dogs with faces stuck full of porcupine quills, sick horses that may need to be put down and a pig with an abscess that needs to be drained.  We’ll also get a front-row seat as Dr. Pol examines a cow to check for pregnancy by reaching his arm into the rectum and feeling the ovaries.  For local farmers, while many of these animals are their livelihood, others are a part of their extended family. “

I remember this lifestyle – I started out my practice in a rural farm practice treating everything from the performance horse to the dairy cow to the show goat to the feeder pigs to the farm dog. It was a fun part of my veterinary career. I look forward to watching this show and having fond memories of what the veterinary life has to offer and then realizing how happy I am to be doing what I am now.

Check out this video – I remember palpating cows! When I was a student I had gone to California to the large dairy’s there and I had palpated 300 cows in one day!

The Incredible Dr. Pol: Vet and Wild

Premieres Saturday, October 29, at 9 p.m. ET/PT—Special Premiere Time

Dr. Pol receives an emergency call from a client who finds her horse down and fears he may not make it. Suffering from a spinal cord injury, he decides to give the horse a cortisone shot. Will he survive? Dr. Pol’s son, Charles decides to extend his visit to help his father with the work overload. His only request—to palpate a cow. But trouble creeps up when Dr. Pol and Charles perform an emergency futotomy, an intense procedure to extract two dead fetuses from a cow in hopes of saving the mother’s life.  And, the clinic celebrates its 30th anniversary with a special pig roast with old friends, former employees and longtime clients.


Equine Parasite Management

October 16, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

If you have been paying attention the last year or so you have been hearing and reading that here in the US we have developed some resistant parasites in our horse population. How did we develop these resistant parasites? Well to be honest our deworming protocols. In our zeal to have a clean worm free horse population we have instead developed worms that are resistant to treatment. :-(

SO what to do? There are reports everywhere saying we should deworm regularly only with ivermectin, and others saying we should only deworm after testing to be sure our horse has parasites, and others still saying use a rotational deworming program but base it on the time of year rather than just every 30 or 60 days. However very little information is out there on how to actually prevent your horse from being infected in the first place. Well it is a matter of equine parasite management.

In equine parasite management one needs to first consider the actual risk of your horse being infected by parasites. The risk for a horse stabled and fed inside a barn and turned out by itself in its own personal dry lot is going to be much less than another horse that is kept in a small pasture with 5 other horses. With a horse in the environment as the latter, it is going to be near impossible to prevent infection from parasites, so one has to be dedicated to management of the pasture to prevent an overabundance.

The rules of equine parasite management –

  1. Clean up the manure in the pasture/turnout – a minimum of once a week this reduces the amount of eggs being delivered to the pasture and also the larva.
  2. If you feed hay and/or grain, feed inside the barn or at a minimum in a bunk off the ground and in an area separate from the pasture. If you do feed in a bunk outside place the bunk on a concrete pad or limestone. Clean feed buckets and bunks regularly.
  3. If possible divide your pastures and rotate the usage allowing a rest period to help kill off parasites.
  4. Test each horse’s manure regularly (once every 2-3 months) for parasites. One horse can be a high shedder and be the main infector and another have a very low parasite count. Knowing the high shedders will help you manage those individual horses and keep them separate from the rest of the herd if possible. Also you can treat the horses that shed and treat each horse as an individual which actually helps the entire herd.
  5. Deworm any new horse prior to introducing them to your herd.
If you use these five steps you can lower the risk of your horse being infected with parasites, then you do not have to worry about what you have to do with the deworming schedule or if you have to rotate or what product you have to use, because you will have a lower risk of parasite infection.

Other Sources for deworming and horse parasite control

Two Horses, Adjoining Pastures–Two Wildly Different Deworming

The worm load for the mare? Very small–only 34 (which is the number of eggs per gram), which makes her a “low shedder” of worm eggs. According to thi.

A Chilling Thought About Horse Deworming Schedules | MyHorse

Like you, I’ve read many conflicting horse deworming schedule reports. And it seems that for every horse deworming program based on a rotational drug.

Every Horse Boarder’s Nightmare: A Young Horse’s Death from Severe Worm Damage and the Ten Commandments of Parasite Control

From the very day that newly-initiated horse owners pick up their crisp new how-to horsecare book or go to that first horse health lecture, the first commandment of horse health management echoes in their ears: Thou shalt worm thy horse religiously.

A cute video explaining the new concepts for deworming –


Eggzamin Superworm – Drug Resistant Parasite in Horses. Time to rethink our deworming strategies.

Dog Chocolate Toxicity Revisted

October 16, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

It is that time of year again it’s Chocolate season! It starts with Halloween and ends at Christmas. This is where us humans gain several pounds due to good food and even better candy. Chocolate is a favorite of mine and truly a favorite of many. However our dogs should not be indulging in chocolate, it is toxic to them. Depending on how much your dog weighs and how much your dog eats will decide whether your dog will be OK, have gastrointestinal symptoms, have seizures or even die.

It is the theobromine that is in chocolate that is really toxic to dogs and certain chocolate is much more toxic than other types. Depending on how much theobromine is in the chocolate will decide on how toxic. For example White Chocolate has very little theobromine and it takes quite a large amount to be toxic in dogs, in comparison baking chocolate or real cocoa is highly toxic to dogs, because it has a lot of theobromine.

Usually I tell people to go to the cool interactive chart offered several years ago by National Geographic – it still available here – National Geographic Chocolate Chart

However this year a fellow veterinarian, Dr Marie from offered me a free Chocolate Toxicity Calculator to put right here on my site. So thanks Dr. Marie!

Calculator provided by Ask A Vet Question.