Most of us who have animals are seriously concerned about their health and welfare, and consider ourselves their advocates . . . but what does this really mean? For me, it means taking responsibility for learning and staying informed about the best ways to care for them. These essays will cover a wide range of issues: pet identification, laminitis in horses, pre-surgical bloodwork, egg-bound chickens, perceiving pain and pain management, heartworm disease, pet hospice care, goat hoof trims, leptovirus, preventive care, homeopathic treatments and more! I plan to interview people who have chosen to learn to care for animals professionally (farriers, kennel owners, veterinarians, trainers) and people who go the extra step personally (foster parents, shelter volunteers).
In addition to the contributions of local animal professionals, I will draw on my own education and experience. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a major in Equine Reproduction, I was a Veterinary Technician II in the UGA Large Animal Teaching Hospital, drawing blood, placing IV catheters and maintaining IV fluids, treating colic and laminitis patients, consulting on equine rider-related lamenesses and giving demonstrations to vet students on rumen fluid extraction. Then I moved to the mountains of Colorado and worked for a small animal/large animal/exotics veterinarian where we not only made a wide range of ranch calls (from dairy and beef production operations to llama hobby farms, including a Bactrian camel breeder), but we also provided small animal surgery and emergency services. Here in California, I’ve worked for small and large animal veterinarians and been the trainer, hoof trimmer, veterinary technician and more at an exotics preserve. My entire life has been spent with horses (raising, training, showing and treating), both personally and professionally. AND I have the most wonderful and very popular ‘patient’, my yellow Lab, Rex (pictured right).
I’m honored to be asked to write these articles. As a confessed advocate for pets and their health, I’m addicted to learning, and am currently obtaining an Associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology. I also attend every conference and seminar I possibly can to keep current on information. Advocating for our animals means just that- staying informed. I know enough, by now, to know that I’ll never know everything.