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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nuts, hysterical, pee-in-your-pants funny.

I had tears streaming down my face watching this.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Horner's syndrome

So, littered streets and consumption-junction (Toronto's public transit) irritate me. Now you know.
Back to veterinary medicine. A big, friendly, middle-aged, black lab was presented to me the other day with an "eye problem."
Indeed his left eye was affected but the problem was not of the eye per se, but rather of the sympathetic innervation to the
Let me illustrate: If I scared the s--t out of you, your sympathetic nervous system would kick in. Your heart would start to race, your blood vessels in your muscles dilate to allow more oxygen to reach them, your eyes pop out a little, your eyes (lids) are wide open, and your pupils are dilated - all for "fight or flight."
Forgetting all but the eyes, Horner's syndrome involves a disruption of the sympathetic innervation to the eye(s). So what ensues? This dog had a droopy eyelid, a constricted (or miotic) pupil, a sunken eyeball and a mildly-protruded third eyelid (we don't have that one).
Ok, that was the easy part. A syndrome is not a disease but rather a constellation of clinical symptoms that results from a disease. My job is to find out what is causing this dog's Horner's syndrome.
Many of these cases are idiopathic. That is to say, there is no discernible cause to the disease. Most resolve by themselves. This is somewhat comforting. Another important place to look is the middle ear, through which a portion of the sympathetic branch runs. Dogs with a middle ear infection often have Horner's syndrome. Other causes include spinal diseases such as a "pinched nerve" from a disk, or a spinal tumor. Even hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) can cause Horner's. This guy's thyroid is normal. So far, it looks idiopathic as I cannot find a cause. I took x-rays of the tiny spherical bones at the base of the skull (called tympanic bullae) as these may show evidence of a middle infection. I've sent those radiographs to be interpreted by a specialist in radiology.
The good news is that this dog has no clue he has Horner's. He's happy as a clam.

A cat with Horner's syndrome. Note the third eyelid protruding (the cat's right eye).

Monday, July 2, 2007

Don't litter

Upon witnessing a man throwing his half-eaten, wrapper-clad, chocolate bar into the street today I turned to him and foolishly asked, "Is the street a garbage can?" He gave me a dirty look after which I turned around and entered a furniture store. At the cash, I noticed that he followed me into the store and asked, "Were you talkin' to me?" To which I bravely replied, "Yes, I was." He asked me who I was to which I replied, "I live in the city." He then turned around, sat at a table on display in the store, rolled a joint or cigarette, and walked out. How ironic: a piece of trash littering the street...
I was both upset for having put myself in physical danger (the guy was nuttier than the chocolate bar he lobbed into the street), yet proud to have defended the city's streets.
And just this morning I took particular note of the state of Queen street while on the streetcar: the amount of litter on the sidewalks was astronomical. It was so deeply offensive and upsetting. How can Toronto evolve into a beautiful city if its inhabitants are so willing to keep it despicably filthy?
Here's the solution: "Litter Marshals." These city workers would roam Toronto streets, parks, the streetcars and subways and fine those that are caught littering. Their salaries would be paid from funds collected from the tickets/fines handed out by these marshals. Hefty fines should deter the trash not to litter. A good city-wide ad campaign may also help.

The only problem that this poses is that the trash who litter probably cannot read the sign.