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Holistic Veterinary Conference

Posted Sunday, October 21, 2007, at 9:04 PM

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Hope you've got a few minutes or you're a fast reader. This is several journal entries so it's pretty long.

October 6, 2007

Greetings From Tulsa OK and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association veterinary conference. Either we’re going to be quacking more than all the ducks in Barnett park or have some very useful tools to help our patients when we get back. What most people who know me don’t know about me is just how much of a freak I am. I have my own conclusions about life and religion and health that I’ve drawn from my passion for reading and learning.

We arrived in Tulsa around 3 pm on Thursday and saw some interesting road kill. The first was a large black boar on, well, the side of the road. Duh!

Both Doctor C and I were really quite hungry and decided we’d like to eat. Her friend C took us to a nice restaurant named Charleston and let me tell you, the trout is outstanding. C tells us she’ll cook us a steak dinner tonight. Then I had a problem as well. I had the worst hungry headache before we got there and the salad did nothing to fix it. I took a bite of the crescent roll and it got worse. The fish helped but I’m a really weird person. Sure, the headache was abating but was still bad enough to make me nauseated. I decided I wanted to go walk outside. Walking usually helps. Unfortunately we needed to get to the hotel/conference to get checked in before 6. So the ladies followed right behind me. The last thing I wanted to have was a 20 minute drive in traffic. I made it to the hotel without the need to pull over and my head was feeling better.

We are staying in a nice hotel called the Renaissance, complete with granite counters on the bathroom sink.

It’s now about an hour before the first meeting begins and the night owl I work for isn't out of bed yet. Why is that? Because we returned to the hotel after midnight and didn’t crawl into bed until 1 am. I’m amazed I’m sitting here writing this. Why aren’t I typing this directly in on the internet? Because the wireless is 12.50 per day and dial up is long distance. And there is no way I’d try typing this on my cell phone. I’ll get more of our experience for you later. I have to get dressed now.

Noon

So far I’ve sat in on introductory to acupuncture and introductory to homeopathic. The acupuncture I could have skipped as I didn’t learn much that I didn’t already know. The homeopathic lecture was fascinating but didn’t have as much detail as I had hoped. Sounds like I would need to take many courses to learn all there is to it. I did learn that homeopathic doctors and veterinarians take a long history about their patient. They like to know everything that has happened and is happening to their patient. I think this is because there may be an underlying cause to the symptoms the patient is experiencing that may not be their first conclusion if they don’t have all the symptoms, not just the chief complaint. Like referred pain. How many people have a back ache and a belly ache at the same time? Which came first the chicken or the egg? There is a new show on tv called Diagnosis X and on their advertisement, they say “What your doctor doesn’t know can kill you.” I like to think of it as what you don’t tell your doctor can kill you rather than their lack of knowledge. The human/animal body is very complex and it’s why both doctors and veterinarians spend so many years in college learning how to fix us. Not every ailment is self induced. Or is it?

A few days back I caught another show on bbc America called You Are What You Eat (see, I do watch too much tv). Look at your diet. Do you eat lots of red meat, processed foods like cheetos and velveta or do you eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Do you sit and type on your pc when you should be out there eating a healthy lunch? Like I’m doing right now. I screwed up bad enough with my diet yesterday. I’m going to find lunch and finish this later.

After lunch I caught the lecture Nutritional Strategies in Chinese Herbal Medicine: Building on the success of herbs with diet change. I’m sure I learned what the vitamins did and the carbs and proteins did when I was in college but add a little traditional Chinese medicine in the mix and you get an entire different perspective on how they heal you or hinder healing depending on what your problem is. It all starts with Qi (or Chi) aka energy or life force, Yin and Yang then you get to figure if you are blocked, excess, deficient, warm or cold. Then you need to know whether the vitamin or food is cooling or warming. Take for instance Vitamin C. Vitamin C comes from fruits and green leafy vegetables and is cooling to the body. There is so much more to Traditional Chinese Medicine that I would need to take yet another lengthy course to learn the whole shebang. Traditional Chinese Medicine is around 5000 years old and I find it truly amazing that modern science is coming up with the same conclusions about the food we eat as they did 5 millennia ago. I learned what causes migraines in this lecture. I’d never had one and hope I never do. Your brain gets shorted in its supply of blood so it sends a signal to the heart requesting more blood which sends more than the brain can handle so the brain gets congested = migraine. Here is where the physiology comes in. What happens when you get hot? Your blood vessels dilate near the exterior of the body sending blood to the exterior of the body to cool it down with ambient air temperature. Therefore, when you feel a migraine coming on, dip your feet in a hot bath, dip yourself in a hot bath and your body will want to cool itself down, sending the blood flow to other places not just the head. Seems logical to me. I’m not sure where the Vitamin C comes in but he said something about taking lots of it. I’m thinking it’s got to be that cooling thing I mentioned earlier.

Afterwards we went back out to the farm, ate lots, drank a little, played pool, watched a movie. I took a nap and we got back in after 12, again. We talked about the armadillos again. C said she hasn’t seen a live one yet. “There are only dead armadillos. I think they are either manufactured and tossed out on the highway for cars to run over them." we all decided the only ones we see are zombies and after being hit by a car, they can no longer walk around eating people. It could also be aliens. I must have missed that episode of X-Files. I’ll bet somebody has a conspiracy theory about them.

Sunday

Well, I got up, got dressed, ate a little, went to class for an hour (of a two hour lecture) and decided I couldn’t stay awake any longer. The last two nights caught up with me and I spent from 9 am to noon unconscious. I woke up a couple of times and thought about getting up but fell right back to sleep. I still had a little difficulty staying awake at noon but I was getting hungry and since lunch was sponsored. No way I would pass up a free meal. And they are the best convention dinners I’ve ever had. All these holistic people makes for some mighty fine cuisine. I loved the Parmesan crusted cod and the slightly steamed vegetables and the garlic mashed potatoes. The deserts have been divine.

After lunch, I listened to Dr. Bowker from Michigan State talk about horse hooves and happy feet. Did you know horses need sneakers? He says we have them all walking in womens dress shoes. I’ll bet your all thinking he’s crazy. It isn’t so far fetched when he explained the whole thing. Horses need to walk on the soles of their feet, not just the hoof walls. I’ll bet you all pick out the plugs out to their feet. He says don’t do it. It takes three pressure off certain parts of the feet and spreads the pressure out evenly. He gave us this analogy. What happens when you have a pebble in your shoe and you walk on it for a while. That spot on the foot becomes sore. Or like when wearing three inch spiked heels. Where do your feet hurt? I’m sure the men don’t have cramped toes and pain in the balls of their feet. Where does that lead us? More suggestions I’m afraid. Don’t house your horses on concrete, hard dirt or sand. Instead, give them a spot of pea gravel to stand in, or deep loose sand or dirt. Yup, that means firing up the tractor and digging up part of your pasture or the dirt lot and keeping the dirt loose maybe adding a bit of sand if you have a lot of clay, calling the gravel company and laying a deep layer of gravel in a spot. When he said deep, he really said deep. 18 inches deep. Sounds logical to me. These horses put their toes in the ground and stand on the back of their feet. They don’t shift around like you’d think either; they stand their weight equal on each foot and snooze or watch the world go by. As a fellow sufferer of sore feet, I’d love to stand and not have to shift my weight just so my feet didn’t hurt. He also suggest we don’t get their feet trimmed often enough. How does every 4-5 weeks sound to you? I’m sure that’s entirely dependent on how much they wear their feet down. If they stand a lot doing nothing, it might not be such a bad idea. If they are out there working I’d think about spreading that time out. I’m not much of a horse person so don’t take my word for it. If you’d like to contact Dr. Bowker, I can get you his information.

I’m so looking forward to being back online so I can google some of these people.

The last class I attended today was Pet Acupressure Workshop- Healing at your Fingertips. Finally, I got to learn some of the acupressure/acupuncture points. We had two beautiful greyhounds to practice on. Their thin coats made it real easy to find the points. I’m not sure how well a cat or a Newfoundland would do with their heavy coats.

The Banquet was tonight and I had a beef dinner. I know I’m not exactly in cattle country but the steak I had didn’t compare to what I cook at home or whisky creek. As I said before, the vegetables were oh so very yummy. I wasn’t that hungry so I only at about half my meal. I felt a little guilty eating so little of my desert but it was very sweet and so many other people didn’t eat much of it either. The white chocolate twist stick was good, I ate all of it. The raspberry whipped cream and white cake I couldn’t take the sugar content without a little coffee to go with it. For me coffee has always been antagonistic to sugar. I’m going to try to decaffeinate and see how that goes. I haven’t missed my caffeine the last two days. I think I overdosed on it Thursday and haven’t wanted any since. No guarantee I’ll give up chocolate though.

I just realized it’s after 10:20 and I should be tired. I am a little tired but considering I had a 3 hour nap today, it may be a while before I get to sleep. I’ll try because I don’t want to miss anything tomorrow. The lecture Beyond Barf almost sounded a little to strange for me so I looked it up in the proceedings book and it’s actually about designing a balance diet for dogs and cats. Sounds like somebody is reinventing the wheel. I think I’ll go to The Dynamics of Disease: Origins, Articulations and Resolutions instead.

Monday

Is it really Monday? I’ve lost track of time and I have a hard time believing it’s Monday already. Dynamics of Disease was so not for me. I sat through the first hour and after 10 minutes I decided it was a little too far out for me. I’ve learn much new age and other religions in my quest for self improvement but holey cow what that stretching the imagination. From what I understand, if we didn’t have disease, we wouldn’t have something to live for. To me, that sounds like everybody is hypochondriac to some extent. Why would we need a disease to live when diseases make us miserable and sometimes kill us?

After I gave up on that, I took in a few practice management lectures. All the lectures I’ve sat in so far to day haven’t had more than 10 people. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t informative. I’ve wanted to see more management (staff meeting and better client patient relations) in our practice for several years. How many practices have regular staff meetings, staff evaluations, practice evaluations, guidelines for this, that and the other thing? I think a better question would be a comparison to those who do and those who don’t. Our practice is one of those that don’t. I think our clients, patients and wages suffer for it. I think I’ll talk to Dr. C about it on the way home and see if I can get a couple hours a month to have a mandatory staff meeting. Usually things are verbalized on the fly and passed on by word of mouth. The doc’s surprised me last week. They called me into the office and we decided to change a policy. I jumped up and typed it out and posted it underneath the work schedule and changed the euthanasia release form. I feel honored that they included me in the decision making and that I followed through with what we really needed to include in a staff meeting (but I didn’t want to wait for 3 years). Perhaps I should come up with a standard agenda for staff meeting, get the doc’s involved in an in-house continuing ed hour.

The other management lecture was about motivating your staff. I need one about motivating you doctors. Should I throw them snickers when they do something right? The incentive/reward ideas she suggested were great. She has her staff doing personal ce hours that they can turn in and get into a drawing for a massage or something they need. The more CE they acquire, the more likely they are to win that massage. I’d to that for a massage. Heck, I’d do that for an oil change or a free bag of dog food. I’ll think more about this later.

Tuesday

I started off the day with Canine Range of Motion, Stretching and Body Work. What is that you ask? Think of this as physical therapy for your dog. It’s to help those with spinal problems ie geriatric pets with bad disks, athletes with injuries ie partially torn acl’s, and post surgery recovery patients ie acl repairs. The best part? We got to practice with the greyhounds the next hour. After that we learned the Tellington Touch method. Ttouch was created by Linda Tellington-Jones as a way of “promoting the well-being of animals through reduction of stress, pain and fear, deepening relationships between human and animals and helping to promote clear communications, influencing positive behavioral and postural changes for the body, mind and soul.” We learned some touches that I’ve been doing from instinct for year but hadn’t realized that they were part of the ttouch method. Linda Tellington-Jones also came up with some interesting names for them such as Noah’s March and Tarantula Pulling the Plow. One of our greyhounds was pretty stressed and we practiced on her and she calmed down. What a remarkable concept. To calm down a stressed pet just by petting them a certain way. There is more to the the Ttouch than touching and you’re welcome to visit the website. http://tteam-ttouch.com/whyTTouch.shtml

Finally, we learned some Exercises for the Canine Athlete, Geriatric and Somewhere in the Middle. I never thought about what pilates could do for your dog but modify the moves a little and bingo, you have an ideal exercise for your dog with a bad back. They showed us a video of a little dog that had injured its rear leg and even after surgery to repair it refused or forgot how to walk on it. They used Ttouch and exercise to teach her how to use her leg again. It took a year but she was also a 12 years old dog.

So, would I go back? U bet. It may be several years before I get the chance and have one close enough but yeah, I’d go back. The food was good, the lectures were enlightening and I was so nice to get out of McCook for a while.



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