The Curtis-Wulforst Pets
It has been a couple of weeks, which usually means working on a new post. This time, I have been scratching my head, not knowing what to talk about. I debated on a more educational topic regarding fleas, or why you should feed your cat canned cat food, but I just wasn't in the mood for that. Next, I tried to think of something funny or interesting, but most of my stories have something super gross that might not be suited for all audiences. So, I think I have come up with something..... the stories of the Wulforst pets.
Maybe you think that veterinarians have well-behaved, super awesome, best-ever animals with no problems..... we don't. We usually end up with broken, abandoned, neurotic, medical disasters. We love them to death and always have great stories to share about their problems.
During my last year of vet school, Aaron and I took on a difficult Basset Hound, Murray Christmas. He was a puppy (maybe 6 months old) when he came to us from a family member. He was biting the kids, biting the adults, food aggressive, dominant aggressive, and not to mention, super stubborn. I remember one time we yelled at him for something..... he went over to the door, dragged over one of our shoes, stood over the shoe, and urinated right inside of it. He would pick up our kitten Squishy by the scruff and drag him all over the floor like a dust rag. His natural enemy is the chicken, and unfortunately has decreased our herd number. He has had multiple foreign body surgeries. He even fell off a 1 story deck and had multiple injuries. He is still food aggressive and dominant aggressive to this day, and we have learned to avoid as many triggers as possible. He will be 14 years old this year, has gone through 9 or 10 lives, and is still as stubborn as ever, cute as ever, and still pees on the floor.
Squishy the cat is our little orange poster child for the front page of our website. I bought him and his sister from the breeder because I didn't think they were going to make it. I wanted to try to find them homes, if they turned around. They were loaded with parasites and he was so puny and lethargic. The first week of his life, we called him BLAH. He had no personality, just slept and recovered. Now, he is my little buddy. He sleeps with me at night and always jumps up into my lap to be snuggled. Charlie and his friends just carry him all over the house, and he even sits still for Preschool Pet Days. In the office though, he goes into fight or flight mode. If he needs blood work or diagnostics, he needs sedation. If I need to medicate him, it has to be hidden in food, or else I won't be able to pill him or inject him. He is a 14 year old Persian cat, and I am lucky he only has a few issues at this time (multifocal liver cysts and polycystic renal disease).
Pasquale is the gray and white cat on the website. I adopted him from a rescue group I was working with in NY. When he was a little kitten, he looked like Stewie from Family Guy. He had a smushed flattened head, stumpy little legs. He actually has congenital hypothyroidism, which is very rare in cats. He is on a thyroid supplement and has had minimal medical issues, except for inappropriate urination and mild food aggression. He is actually frightened by the sound of his own urine stream. If it's too loud, he will start running. We have many boxes around the house, cut out storage containers for litter boxes, non-scented clumping litter, Feliway spray, canned cat food, etc. He is so much better since starting Prozac, but will likely be on it forever. He still has urinary accidents, but they are much less frequent. I sometimes feel like the cleaning crew for a men's locker room - we have a dog that pees, a cat that pees, and not to mention the 4 year old son who thought it would be cool to pee in the cats litter box. So I am on constant pee patrol.
Our newest rescue is Abbi, the 3 yr old Great Dane/Boxer Mix. We adopted her about 2 months ago from a client that found her running down the road. I hope I don't mess this up, but her owner was a rapper from L.A. Abbi is a runner and had gotten out multiple times and was picked up by animal control. He just couldn't contain her, so he let her go. She is super sweet, playful, tolerant, gentle with food, let's Charlie sleep on her belly, but's she's an escape specialist. She has gotten away from us 2 times in the last two months. The first time, I was right there, and able to jog behind her in flip-flops until she slowed down to smell something. The second time, we thought we lost her. She had jumped one of our fences and went into the woods. She was so scared that she wouldn't let us get near enough to her to get her collar. She is also way too interested in the goats and chickens, I think she believes they are super cool squeaky toys and has almost knocked us over trying to get at the livestock. She comes to work with me every day and is an awesome guard dog.
So, overall, we all have our own issues too. I have clients ask about house training advice - I do my best to answer them, but I haven't mastered that with my own pets. I have clients ask about getting their pet to stop eating stool - again, I recite certain treatment plans, but I have been unable to master this with Murray either. Do your best, put in the effort, ask questions, and don't feel stupid for asking. Unfortunately, some problems are difficult to solve, but hopefully we can make them much better for you and your pet.
Dr. Wulforst, Riverside Veterinary Clinic, Knoxville, TN