A Visit to the Emergency Vet and Why Billy is “Family Circus” Funny

Last night we took Graham to the emergency clinic for a suspected urinary tract infection.  She’d been having accidents in the house for about a week but last night was the first time we saw blood in the urine.  So we decided to take her in to get her started on antibiotics last night instead of waiting until after work today.  She’s doing fine (she didn’t see the estimate we were given for ultrasound, x-rays, blood panel, urinalysis, etc. so of course she’s fine) and got her first dose of antibiotics last night.

It’s always awkward visiting the emergency vet since you don’t know them and they don’t know you.  Routine questions like, “What does she eat?” can get weird.  Sometimes I wonder if I should just lie and name a popular brand of kibble.  That would be one way to guarantee a hassle free visit.  But I braced myself and answered, “Homemade food”.  The technician then asked, “Is it people food or some type of dog food?”

Well you got me there.  Is it people food?  Dog food?  I hesitated for a moment and the technician chimed in with, “Believe me, I’m not going to judge”.  M’kaaay.  I replied that it was a high protein, moderate carbohydrate diet with added calcium and essential fatty acids.  I thought that was a clever way to avoid the question while providing an answer that demonstrated I wasn’t some dummy feeding my dog moon pies and gum – you know, to reassure the technician that everything was going to be all right, even though I was feeding my dog homemade food of unspecified people/dog origin.

The technician dutifully wrote my answer down on the record then looked up and judged.  She said she was concerned about the high protein, considering Graham’s age (she’s 12).  Billy spoke up at that point, joking that the dogs eat better than he does.  He probably thought this would lighten the moment and prevent me from going into food wonk mode.  The technician didn’t laugh.  But mercifully she shrugged the whole issue off with, “Well if she’s not having any problems, I guess…”  Whew.  Crazy dog lady fit averted.

After the technician left the exam room, I of course turned to Billy, my captive audience for the inevitable protein requirements of senior cancer dogs diatribe that was bubbling inside me.  Because he thinks he’s funny, and because he’s suffered through one too many such diatribes, Billy tried to cut me off with, “I agree with her.”

Isn’t he just a laugh-riot?

34 thoughts on “A Visit to the Emergency Vet and Why Billy is “Family Circus” Funny

  1. Ug, I know how that goes.

    I had to bring in the neighbor’s dog after he ATE A SQUEAKIE TOY right in front of me. I just wanted them to make him vomit before the toy passed into his lower gut and caused problems.

    So they made him vomit the toy and his breakfast – a raw game hen. The attending ER vet came to me with this bag of vomit and I spotted the toy in it and congratulated them on a job well done – whew, crisis averted! But nooooooooo, I had to get a very stern lecture on BONES and how this dog was going to DIE if he continued to eat raw.

    I asked her point blank, “So you’re more upset about the game hen, which would digest, than the toy, which would not.” She said, “Yes, I am.” I stared at her for a moment, then said, “Ok, we’re done here then.”

    I let them keep the bag of vomit.

    1. Perhaps better to have reacted with horror at the sight of the toy AND the food and just be like “My god – thank goodness he ate that toy or we never would have known to save his life! HOW ON EARTH did he manage to catch and pluck a cornish game hen?!”

      1. OMG, what is that dog up to in his yard? Where on earth did he get a small chicken??? Thank you for SAVING HIS LIFE from this!!! *snicker* I did take him home and gave him another game hen – poor lad had lost his breakfast, after all.

    2. Sophia became ataxic, glassy-eyed, and bloated at SAR training.

      She needs to go lights and sirens to the emergency vet straight from training at least once a year, or she doesn’t know we love her.

      We get there and they take her for x-rays. Tech comes out and says she vomited when they tried to rotate her for the film. A LOT.

      “A lot of ‘animal parts.'”

      I tell them I need to see the blurggg.

      Because I need to know if it’s just the ‘animal parts’ I gave her for breakfast.

      (It was not. Those were in there, too. Along with the entire rotting intestinal tract of a deer, which accounted for the bloating, ataxia, etc. At least I HOPE it was a deer.)

      In fairness, they took it rather well when I explained.

  2. if the antibiotic doesn’t clear up the leaking AND the blood, please do further tests. I don’t want to scare you, but: As I learned with my 13 year old APBT, blood in the urine of an older female dog very highly correlates with bladder cancer…

    1. Yes, I will. Even though the vet gave us the estimate for all the fancy tests, he said it was most likely a UTI and gave us the option to treat for that first.

  3. Ha! We actually go to the e-vet often enough (mostly due to unfounded worry on our part) they practically know us there (and now i have an aquaintance from high school that works there, so technically someone does)
    i don’t feed Raw, but man alive when are vets going to give it up? I mean- i guess i get her asking if it was people food (like- are you feeding her hotdogs)- but when was the last time someone who fed their pet ‘people food’ actually shelled out the bill to bring them to an E-vet?

  4. I love my vet but the food they want to sell is not food I want to feed my dogs – and the dogs don’t like a very popular brand sold by many vets.
    A friend of mine feeds raw to her pibbles; they are all gorgeous and healthy; one is actually well known by her nickname “Sea Cow.”

  5. If you google cancer and fungus you will find that they are both the same. The treatments for fungus have been found to starve cancer and cause spontaneous remission according to the information I found found. I strongly urge each reader to study this and get the word out not only to all vets, but also to friends and family on facebook, wordpress and twitter! This not only affects pets, it also affects humans. It’s time to stop hiding something that should be easily cured, but is kept quiet because it is a money-making industry.

  6. Read a book called “Raw Meaty Bones”. Its by a licensed vet who practices in Australia, and his war with the Australian Veterinary Association about proper nutrition for dogs and cats. A lot of the same stuff is and has happened here in the United States. Kibble wasn’t invented until the 1950’s, and to sell their product kibble companies started brainwashing veterinarians about pet nutrition. Vets really don’t learn that much about nutrition in school except that “Science Diet is God” thanks to well-concealed bribes and the dissemination of outright false information. The makers of poor quality kibble diets such as Science Diet, Purina and Iams are powerful companies.

  7. Hee. Is it weird that what I really want to know after reading all this is HOW IS GRAHAM DOING????

  8. I have a “dumb” question. How do you know how much to feed your pets when you are preparing their food? I feed kibble (Blue Buffalo because I can pronounce AND identify everything in the ingredients list!), but it’s expensive and I know (or think) that home-preparation would be less expensive. Also, what about home-prepared meals for cats? Do you do this?

    1. Nicci W,

      You may want to swing by Itchmo forums (http://itchmoforums.com/index.php). There are sections there where people discuss homemade foods and various recipes/approaches.

      Right now, I’m homecooking for my feral cats using the Alnutrin supplement and recipes. One of my ferals is apparently allergic to both chicken and turkey, so we’re trying to get him sorted out with beef and pork. Homecooking gives me more control over what he’s getting so I can see how he does with each little tweak.

      1. Thanks mikken! I will check that forum out. Our beloved 10 yr old male house kitteh has occasional, severe bladder issues. It’s only happended twice, where he has become blocked, but we almost lost him both times. Everything I could find regarding the issue pointed to diet and stress. He’s not a very uptight dude, so I tend to think diet had more to do with it. Of course our vet wanted us to feed him Hill’s Prescription crap. The ingredients looked the same as other “shelf food” and had higher levels of ash & magnesium in it than a lot of other “shelf food brands”! I found that the blue buffalo for indoor kitties has the lowest levels of these and also has some cranberry in it! I also feed him the blue basics canned food. He does LOVE “people food” and I am sure would enjoy a diet home-made by his favorite person ;)

      2. Nicci, you might also look at the cat foods from The Honest Kitchen (www.thehonestkitchen.com). Its a dehydrated raw balanced diet food. My cats won’t eat it but they’re picky as heck. I feed the dog versions to my dogs though and they like it. Price wise the dog food is the same or less than most of the higher end store bought stuff though I’ve not done a comparison on the cat food.

    2. Never feed kibble to cats, as they don’t have the thirst mechanism to make up for the dry food. Also, to stick together, kibble has to contain carbs, for which cats do not have the digestive enzymes that we do.

      For recipes, see:

      http://holisticat.com/well-fed/ (the forums include up-to-date commercial food info)




      See also:



      Some commercial canned food analyzed:


      1. You all are the best! I think I am going to make a catalog of all of these links and do a little studying when I have some time… Thanks everyone!

    3. I think as a rough starting guide, you could put the same amount of fresh food in the bowl as the amount of kibble/canned food you put in now. Then adjust over time according to how your pet is doing. I don’t have any kitties (but I love them!) so I can’t comment on homemade food for cats except to say I’ve read lots of woes from cat owners on this topic.

    4. The book I use is Strombeck, ‘Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets.’ It’s an older book and I don’t know if it’s still in print, but it should still be findable. Aside from (fully cooked) recipes designed for ordinary kitchens that are fairly easy to modify, it goes into nutritional specifics of each ingredient & the logic behind the recipes (hence the easy modification to fit in new knowledge & other ingredients), primary pitfalls with cat diets, and has recipes designed for a number of common health issues. All in all, I’ve found it an invaluable reference.

      1. Hmmm, a quick search of Amazon shows its availible, but the cheapest version is $52, so I think I’ll have to pass on that. I’d love to have that kinda reference availible, but I don’t have that to spare for the moment.

        I’ve had trouble switching my cats to a raw diet, but both will eat home COOKed foods of various types.

      2. You beat me to this by one minute Eucritta! I didn’t realize Dr. Strombeck’s book was out of print. That’s a shame. It’s a wealth of info. I’ve slept with it by my bedside for years.

      3. Sweet!!! I’d not gotten that far in my search yet (I can hit amazon quickly enough from my phone at work, but anything else I prefer to do on my computer at home). Thanks!

  9. Thank god my vets office handles their own ER stuff, course I STILL get that question if it happens to be one of the vets I don’t usually see. I feed mostly raw, though thankfully they don’t question me TOO much over it, though that might be because I’ve already got a reputation for being that “weird dog lady” for my insistance on strange breed dogs and non-standard vaccine schedules, so they may just figure it goes all hand in hand.

  10. Well if you don’t feed your pets pet food you could tell the vet it is because to you don’t want to feed your pets other pets: EPA Document Proves Euthanized #Dogs & #Cats are Rendered & added to #petfood http://ow.ly/8nDx2

  11. Conversation while working at the e clininc, pet had raging v/d.:
    Me: What does Fluffy eat?
    client : only her food
    Me: Does this include table scraps ?
    Client : no
    Me: Did she eat anything unusual?
    Client: only the sliced deli meat . that’s what her “dog food” consists of.
    Me: ‘K
    Dog was treated for mild pancreatitis and did fine.
    Perhaps when asked “Do you feed table scraps ?” the answer could be – no , I DO feed a wellbalanced homemade diet. ‘Cause , afterall, it’s not “scraps” .

    1. See it’s people feeding their dogs diets that consist entirely of sliced deli meat (Is that stuff even actual meat? It’s confusing to me.) that make it hard for the rest of us.

      1. I don’t think sliced deli meat would be an ideal diet by any stretch, but having said that, my inlaws had a cat who refused to eat ANYTHING but diced turkey meat from the deli. And I do have to say that he was 17yrs old and in good health till he developed cancer and had to be put down.

      2. Ruth – I never argue with success! Was it diced turkey MEAT or was it that stuff they slice into sandwiches? I honestly don’t understand those hunks they slice for sandwich meat. What are they?

      3. Most deli meat (my understanding, which comes from watching to much Discovery channel so take with a grain or two of salt), ARE real meat BUT for at least SOME of them they grind it up, and mush it all together to make nice forms for the folks at the deli to slice from. Which ones, and how much, and what not I couldn’t tell you. Though it would explain why some of them are clearly in the same form as you’d buy and cook yourself, and some are such nice/neat round slices….(roast beef for example is generally as it would be if you were to buy your own giant roast and cook it and slice it yourself, turkey and chicken seems to vary a bit, not sure on the rest).

        As for Stewey (my inlaws cat) they would buy sandwich slices from the deli counter (a pound or so at a time), and dice them up into little bit size pieces for him to eat. Not sure how much he’d get on a daily basis or the like. They had to put him down about a year after I met them when the cancer became to bad to manage without surgery.

  12. I love Billy because you do. I think all of our respective partners should found a support group for spouses of rescuers, so they can feel safer in numbers when we want to bitch-slap them like Shiva!

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