I attended my first ever Webinar last night on the subject of nutrition in acute gastrointestinal disease. An interesting experience, not least because the lecturer, Ava Firth, is a friend and someone I used to work with in the UK at Vets Now. Wivek also linked up to listen. It was announced that 300 people round the world had signed up, which I thought was pretty impressive. Ava is very practical and always relevant so it was a worthwhile use of my CPD time.
She was talking about gastro-enteritis, amongst other things and it struck me that I haven’t seen a single case of Parvo since I have been working here. This scourge, which is an ongoing cause of distress in every area of Britain (and I believe, the US) has never gained a foothold here, though I believe there have been a couple of sporadic outbreaks. As Ava commented, Parvo often affects puppies and is therefore intensely traumatic, both for the owner and the vets and nurses who have to carry out their care when (as they often do) they require hospitalisation. I wondered when I began consulting here, why they had no oral rehydration treatments available (up until now, most cases I have seen have been treated with anti-emetics and pro-biotics). Ava definitely managed to remind and (re)-convert me though. I will be asking Gerd if we can buy some Oralade, even if only for the many dogs we seem to have in with foreign bodies. It’ll certainly be a more up-to-date solution than the current recommendation of giving fishballs to sick pets. I confess that is a nutritional suggestion I have never come across outside Norway.
Speaking of foreign bodies, I saw a competition somewhere last week for radiographs of “most amusing things swallowed by a dog”. I think the oddest thing I ever found inside a dog was half a pair of knickers. Since coming here, there has been the odd natural product such as pieces of wood and pine cones. There has also been a teat from a baby’s dummy, which I believe is quite common. But the latest feeding frenzy seems to be… tampons. Wivek removed two from a dog’s stomach only last week. There was even one a few months back where the string had caught around the dog’s tongue and it had to be retrieved under sedation. Sadly none of these things show up on radiographs, so we won’t be winning any competition, but this special canine enthusiasm is just one of the more interesting international differences I have noticed.
It hasn’t been the best week for me. Two weeks ago, I saw an ear, nose and throat doctor. I have had tonsil stones for years and although it has gradually been getting worse, I’ve lived with it so long that I didn’t think much about it until I thought I saw a black speck on my left tonsil. With a long history of melanomata, I had to get it checked out. By the time the ENT actually got round to seeing me, the fleck had disappeared (perhaps it was a blood blister), but to my shock, he said I had to have my tonsils out. I was relieved however when he said there was a six to nine month waiting list: plenty of time to get used to the idea. My shock was much greater when an appointment arrived on Wednesday for the 13th May.
Fortunately, Wivek was there to listen to my wailings. One thing that interests me is that from comments I have seen on the internet, the most up-to date recommendation is to eat rough crunchy food afterwards(think toast and cornflakes). I was disappointed that the old fashioned jelly and ice-cream was no longer on the table. Happily it seems Norway is behind the times in these matters, and so the recommendations here are still for soft non-warmed foods. Wivek did point out that it was fortunate that we had a nutritional webinar coming up, which would obviously answer all my questions. Sadly tonsillectomy wasn’t one of the topics covered. I expect though, that fish-balls will not be on my eating list. That would be a step too far.