Monthly Archives: July 2011

Billy Bob, The Pet Goat July 30,2011


Billy Bob, the goat in the photo insert, came into our life about 8-9 years ago. It was Friday- end of the work week for my husband’s crew.  I walked toward the shop to speak to my husband about a job that was in the planning stages. As my husband and I were talking, my eye drifted over to the truck parked under the live oak tree. There in the back of the truck, inside a large cage was a small brown goat. Welllllll- that little goat got my immediate attention and I quickly ended our talk and walked over to the pickup. The little goat began baaaa, baaa as if he wanted out of his prison. He looked absolutely pitiful and I began to think about what one of the workers was going to do with the little goat. As the men were leaving for home, two of the men came over to the truck. Of course, I began asking questions and to my dismay I learned that the little brown goat was destined to become cabrito. Cabrito actually means goat in Spanish.  If you are a Texan, you most likely know that cabrito usually refers to a kind of meat- barbecued young goat meat. Lots of people are completely wild about the taste of cabrito I knew that the little goat was about the right age. My husband’s primary welder was on the receiving end of the goat deal and was about to pay the guy $35 for the kid. A kid is a young goat that generally ends up as cabrito unless it is lucky and happens to be a female that will be retained as a milk goat. People that own several acres sometimes keep a small assembly of goats to use them as browsers and grazers. In this capacity the goat will replace the lawn mower. But to get back to the story- After learning the little goat was destined for a meal, I offered to buy the goat for $50. Having seen the goat I simply could not envision him being eaten and so the guys agreed to let me have him for $50.       



Billy Bob, the goat July 30,2011  I actually had a pen that was/is large enough for the goat where he would have plenty of room to kick up his heels and move about freely. And so the little brown goat became my pet that grew into a very large goat. Presently he dines on coastal bermuda hay, goat pellets, apple peelings, and trimmings from hackberry trees. His treat is a carrot and a hand full of alfalfa hay. Billy Bob is REAL FOND of his treats and runs along the fence and baas until I drop his treats into his feeding pan.                                                             

My pet goat provides manure for composting along with the wasted hay, that he has trampled and “fertilized.” I need help to clean his pen since there is a significant amount of hay mixed with manure. I have two composting areas and the hay and manure are added to one pile in early fall.  By the time spring arrives the compost will be ready to add to the vegetable garden. At the end of April my helper and I clean his pen again and that hay and manure mix is added to the other composting area. That one will be ready to add to the flower beds and fig trees by the end of November. I don’t have to buy manure anymore and I get the added benefit of some really good compost.

I have no idea what breed of goat Billy Bob might be. My guess is that he is of mixed heritage. Part of his make-up is possibly Boar goat mixed with something else. Before goats are sold for meat the males are neutered. The meat has a better flavor if the male does not remain intact. Not intact refers to the removal of the testicles and in ranch or farm jargon people usually say castrate instead of intact or not. Another word that is used is neutered but neutered and castrated have the same meaning.

Post and photograph Yvonne


Just Cat Photos (No.5) July 29,2011

Nellie "Sleeping in a paper plate" July 5,2011

Frankie (one of the 4 foundlings) July 29,2011
Maize “Looking Puzzled” July 17,2011
Coley Age 14 years July 29,2011
Polly One of her favorite places- the desk July, 2011
Carley Sitting on the window sill. July 29,2011



Cat Photos: (4) July 21, 2011

Grayley " I am so bored."


Beasley “I can not believe what I’m hearing.”


Cat Photos (3) July 15, 2011

Kit Kat June, 2011 Dilute "tortie"

Addie July 16,2011 Calico (age 12 years)
Grayley March,2011 (1 of the 4 foundlings in Aug,2001
Nellie (Addie’s sister) March, 2011

Addie: Update July 14, 2011 (Post Op Day 22)


Addie July 12,2011 (POST OP DAY 21)


Addie July 12, 2011 Post op day 21

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Up Date in line mastectomy  Day21 (post op) 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Addie at this time appears to have reached a plateau or so it seems.  Her appetite is not back to where it was prior to surgery but perhaps getting back to “normal” any sooner might be rushing things. Addie prefers Fancy Feast Supreme Yellow tuna fish. She eats about 2/3 of a can once daily and then nibbles on  a mix of Science Diet, Purina One, and Purina EN which is a prescription diet. I can’t afford just Science Diet nor the EN so I make my own blend. I have offered Addie just Science Diet Original but she seems to prefer the 3 brand mix.  

My little cat moves freely about the house and as before she loves anything that is high so she has been taking long naps on top of my TV cabinet where she can grab some sun rays in the mornings.  

Dr. Steven Kerpsack’s nurse called today to get a report of how well she is recuperating. It was suggested that I take her in for chest films and an overall thorough exam. If a mass is present I don’t believe there is anything more that can be done. She is not a candidate for one chemo drug due to her heart murmur and I don’t know about the rest of the drugs. Frankly, I do not believe that Addie would survive even one chemo treatment and I have no idea if radiation is an option.  This thing from hell almost always makes a bee-line to the lungs and once it finds its secondary resting place then I think things are down hill all the way from there.  Dr. Lisa Daniel has been one of her primary veterinarians for quite a while so she will be investigating the options for Addie should the need arise.  

I treasure each day that I have Addie in my life and can only hope and pray that my prayers will be answered for Addie to live at least several more years.  

Post: Yvonne Daniel     Photographs: Yvonne Daniel  


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Euthanasias Are Real Downers Sometimes

The week before last was especially difficult for my tech and me. We had 3 euthanasias in just one day . All the pets were under 8 years of age and still up and wagging their tails when we arrived for each appointment. All of the dogs also had cancer.

Both of us cried at the home where the dog was only 6 years old.  The dog was so sweet and trusting- this is the terribly difficult part when I walk into a home where the pet is still fairly active and wagging its tail.  He sadly had cancer (Lymphoma) and the owner had decided not to pursue chemotherapy. The dog also had a striking resemblance to my “baby” dog Marley. Same mix of Sheltie and Shepherd, same sweet brown trusting eyes, and sweet disposition.

Compassion fatigue is a real problem. We don’t usually do 3 euthanasias in one day, but sometimes that is what is on the schedule. I swear I have noticed a correlation between extreme heat and an increase in euthanasia requests. Seems odd as these are all pets that spent  the vast majority of their time inside in houses with a/c.  Because of all the sad cases of late my technician Yvonne and I took a mini-break to go to Port Aransas for the Fourth of July holiday. I felt we both needed a mini vacation from euthanasias just to recoup and regroup.

Yvonne and her husband fished  and visited relatives in a  small town about 45 minutes away. My friends and I laughed and giggled like teenagers as we played on the beach and in the waves.  Frankly it was sooo relaxing for me just to be away from home for awhile.  People and bird watching was enjoyable  There were lots of gulls but I got the biggest kick watching the Brown Pelicans. FYI the Brown Pelican was once on the endangered species list but at this time appears safe from extinction. 

The weather was lovely! High of 92 degrees every day with continuous ocean breezes.  Just thinking about the heat in Austin  (around 100 plus give or take a few degrees) gave me an appreciation of the wonderful weather we were experiencing.  Since the weather was so nice, I was able to swim laps each day in the pool where we were staying.  

 Port A  had an amazing  fireworks show and I got some darn good photos. I can’t wait to find the time to down load those in my computer so I can email pics to my mother and my friends. I know they’ll be jealous- well maybe not. My mother is not crazy about the ocean.  She says the Gulf of Mexico is dirty and there are too many dangers lurking beneath the water. She just likes sitting on the beach and listening to the sound of the waves.

The only unusual and slightly worrisome aspect of the trip was witnessing a man who came screaming out of the ocean not 100 feet from out little beach encampment the first day we arrived. The poor man had a large Portuguese Man O’ War attached to the back of his neck and tentacles wrapped around his face and chest. It was a horrifying to witness the man in extreme pain and distress.  A young man of 18 or so ran up and pulled the jellyfish off but he too was stung severely.

Last Friday, we had three house calls that were nice and relaxing with lovely owners who cared deeply about their pet. Those calls were just what the doctor ordered, for I was feeling good about being a veterinarian again and knowing that I can make a difference, one pet at a time.

Post  Dr. Lisa Daniel



The Foundings Four Part II

    “The Foundlings Four”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 Someone told me about a  sign man in a small town that was about 12 miles from the city. I spoke with him on the phone and made an appointment to bring my cat’s photo and the information that would be printed on a large piece of sign board that I would furnish. In a few days I met with the man who seemed interested, however, he could not give me a definite price.  I left the sign maker with a photo of Bentley, my name, and my phone number.  My other obstacle was to locate a carpenter who could build a brace for the back of the sign. The brace would stabilize the sign by keeping it upright and in place. I obtained the sign board from the only store in our city that had what I needed.  

 By late July I had not called the sign maker to tell him I had obtained the sign board. I had begun pondering the possibility that I would never find Bentley because he was most likely dead. My hopes of finding the handsome tabby and white cat were dimming by the day. The Dallas newspaper had stories of neighborhood cats that had met their demise at the hands of evil people. Cats were taken and then mutilated and thrown in the gutter or on the lawns in neighborhoods throughout the city. My husband said that Bentley might have died in that manner. With those words, I believed there was no point in continuing my search even though we lived 100 miles south of Dallas,  I felt that no city or countryside was safe from evil people.  Too many awful thoughts of what might have happened to my cat dampened my pursuit. I continued to keep the ad in the newspaper. However, I did not bother to call the sign man to let him know that I had abandoned the lost cat project.

The hot and humid days of August were in full swing. The last Friday of August had arrived and it was my day off  from a very stressful job. I had completed my list of errands by mid-afternoon and had decided to take a nap. I was in deep sleep when the phone jolted me awake. I answered the call and a man began talking. He told me his name and asked if I had found my cat.  I slowly drawled out “no I did not find him. It was a lost cause to begin with.” He then proceeded to say that he had a collection of old cars that were parked near his work shop. I wondered where all of this irrelevant information was going to lead.  He said, “I was working in my shop yesterday and heard what sounded like a kitten meowing. I knew I did not have a cat but the meowing continued. I followed the sound and it was coming from under one of the old cars. I looked under the car and there were 4 tiny kittens. Then I remembered that I had seen a dead cat on the road near my house so I suppose those are her kittens meowing because they are hungry. I put them in a box and took them to the house. My daughter tried to feed them but they would not eat.” I then interjected that they could not eat or drink milk because it sounded as if they were too young. I then told him to get some kitten formula from the vet near him but he soon made it clear that his daughter was too busy and that he did not have the time either. “I don’t know any cat person except you and I know you are passionate about cats.” I attempted to persuade the sign man but he continued to say they were really hungry since the mother cat had been dead for more than 24 hours. I reluctantly agreed to take them “off his hands” later in the evening.  I knew the routine of feeding orphaned kittens. IT IS DIFFICULT, FRUSTRATING,  NERVE WRACKING , AND TIME CONSUMING.

  I was thoroughly disgusted with the man since it was evident that he clearly saw me as an idiot who would go to great lengths to help any cat in need. Well, no matter what he thought, I was then committed to rescue the kittens or they would soon be too weak to save if  they were not already in a precarious condition.

By 5:30 pm I left a note for my husband that his supper was in the fridge.  As I walked outside I heard thunder and saw a huge thunderhead in the northwest.  Soon after leaving our house, rain began to splatter the windshield with lightening and thunder accompanying the intensifying rain. I made my way to a vet clinic that also served as an emergency clinic after normal clinic hours, where I purchased some kitten formula.  From there I drove to the sign man’s house, honked my horn, and a teenage girl  of about 14 or 15 years old exited the house. I called to her, saying that I was there to take the “4 orphans” off their hands. She directed me to the garage and pointed to a cardboard box. She said, “they’re in there. They won’t eat or drink.”  She then gestured to a saucer of milk on the floor nearby. I looked at her in exasperation. “The kittens are not old enough to drink milk. Kittens this young are still suckling.” The girl looked at the floor and responded, “oh I didn’t know that and my Dad said he didn’t want to keep them and that he didn’t know what to do with them and then he thought of you.”  Without speaking,  I picked up the box, opened the back passenger door of my Explorer, and shoved the box across the seat. The kittens did not make any sound. I gave a quick peek and noted that they were huddled in a tight cluster of various shades of fur.  I was angry that I was now committed to caring for these tiny creatures. I told the girl, “I’ll do the best that I can to save them” and with a wave of my hand  I was out of there.  As I drove back home it was still daylight and I saw a rainbow in the distance. I wondered if that was a sign of good luck.

I arrived home at dusk. The rain had stopped. The air felt like a wet blanket: hot and humid from the rain. I placed the box of kittens on the floor of a spare room. I then prepared a hot water bottle which I wrapped with a large towel. I placed several layers of newspaper in the bottom of the box,  added an old towel, and then the hot water bottle that I had wrapped in a towel. I then went outside to look for a framed piece of wire mesh which I had stored that would fit over the top of a medium size box. I then put another old towel over the lid.  This  set-up would keep out drafts of air. Well so far so good.  I had placed the kittens in a shoe box while I assembled a new home for them.  I was working quickly so that I could get some formula in their very empty stomachs. As I placed each one on the warm pad, I noticed that they made very little movement but each one managed a weak hiss: still remants of being born feral. I prepared the formula per directions in warm water, got an unused syringe (without the needle of course) from my pet supply cabinet, sat down in a chair, reached inside for a kitten, pried the little mouth open and pushed in  just a tad of formula. In a matter of seconds the kitten grabbed the syringe with its front paws and drank 3 ml. I then reloaded the syringe and fed the other kittens.  All four of them took the formula with an amazing gusto. After feeding each kitten I dipped a cotton ball in a small clean stainless steel cup of warm water. Young puppies and kittens that are orphaned require cleansing of the genital area which imitates the care that the mother gives to her young. This routine must be done EACH AND EVERY time the kittens are fed. During the wiping of the genital area the kitten will urinate and sometimes defecate during the wiping process. IF THE GENITAL AREA is not stimulated the kitten, if very young will not urinate or defecate. This routine is a necessity as well as burping the kitten since they are taking in air as they suckle. Burping the kittens is done in this manner. Hold the kitten in one hand in an upward position and with the free hand, gently pat the kitten on the back until you can usually hear a faint burp. This also is of VITAL IMPORTANCE. 

 Several problems arose while raising these kittens. Constipation,  diarrhea, and bloating (due to the kitten not burping) were all encountered. Feeding time is the most important aspect of raising a kitten or puppy. This is the time you evaluate the stool for the proper consistency. Also I had to watch for bloating of the stomach and lack of appetite. My veterinarian instructed me to give a teeny dose of Pepto Bismol  for a bloated stomach. At least twice the kittens were put on antibiotics to knock out an intestinal bacteria. I made at least three trips to my veterinarian when one or more had either diarrhea, constipation or bloat.  A round of Amoxicillin, subcu fluids, or Pepto Biz fixed the problem each time.  All of this seemed to be a never ending chore but I was determined that I WOULD successfully raise the four kittens. 

I worked the evening shift at a local facility and fed the kittens as soon as I got home and then would feed them again at about 2:30am and begin feeding them again by 8 or 9am. I managed to give the kittens 5 feedings in 24 hours which is not ideal but they were thriving. In an ideal situation, the kittens should have been fed about every 3-4 hours but I could not take them with me to work and I did not have anyone that could come in to feed them while I was gone.

After they were about two and one half months old, the critical stage for the kittens had passed. By then I was becoming attached to them- Each one had their own distinct personality. By three months of age I decided on names for them. The Siamese mix female who was more demanding of food and loved being held was named Carley. The gray long haired female for obvious reasons became Grayley. Two males were left without names and I finally chose the name Frankie for the handsome long hired tabby and finally there was the short haired blue gray tabby who I named Beasley. I have no idea how or why I chose those names but the names seemed to fit each kitten.

Ten years later and the four foundlings are a prominent part of my life. Each time I go to sleep generally all of them are beside me with one sleeping near my head. These four cats are the most affectionate of all my cats and I am thankful that I have them in my life. I have often believed that Bentley was lost so that these cats could become part of my life. Of course, all of this is purely hogwash but maybe there really is something such as fate and destiny.

Post  Yvonne

Addie: Update July 6,2011


Addie July 5, 2011 Addie loves boxes and high places


Addie July 6, 2011 In her favorite place, near the laptop


Today, Addie appears to be feeling better. Her activity level has increased such as moving about more and grooming herself. I have been offering her several varieties and brands of cat food. She finally began nibbling on Nestle Purina NF which is a food that I am feeding  (2) of my cats whose kidneys are slowly playing out. She likes canned Fancy Feast and dry Hill’s Science Diet so I fed that to her initially until she became finicky about her food. It is a real test of my endurance and determination to get her back to where she was before this “thing from hell” ‘reared its ugly head.   

As I write this post she is reclining on part of my computer and I have to move her head to tap the backspace key. I don’t mind at all when my cats are lying on the computer- I just move them out of the way for I know they like being near me. The computer gives off some warmth and I think, slight to moderate warmth is soothing to cats. Just about all of  my cats will lie on the computer if given the chance.   

Each day I check Addie’s suture line and today I noted there are 2 small spots that are red and oozing slightly. I have applied BNT ointment that my veterinarian prescribed just for this possibility. So far, Addie has not attempted to lick these areas. If all goes well I think her sutures can be removed by next Monday or possibly this Friday.   

FYI: The ointment consists of: B= Baytrill (an antibiotic), N= Nystatin (an anti fungal), and T= Triamcinolone (a steroid). This ointment really works for all kinds of wounds, hot spots, ear infections, etc. Simply put, it is good stuff! It is shipped to me via UPS after my veterinarian calls in the script. A compounding pharmacy in Goldswaite,Texas formulates the ointment. It might be interesting to know that a pharmacist must have additional schooling in order to be a “compounder.” Compounding means to take a medication consisting of a powder or it could be a liquid and then turning it into a different form for application.  I think the pharmacy also probably must have a special license for compounding. I just know that this method has been a life saver for people and their animals. I want to add one more example.  A pet owner who can not give their pet medication by mouth can now rub certain medications on the inside of the ear (not in the ear canal) of their furry pal and get virtually the same benefit.   

Post Yvonne Daniel          Photographs  Yvonne Daniel   

Mammary Tumors in Cats Part V July 4,2011

Addie (suture line) July 4th, 20111


Addie               Feeling better” (post op) day 14              July 4, 2011

Addie, yesterday July 4th, seemed perkier. Her appetite had increased some. I had been leaving cat food out in several places- Hill’s Science Diet Original and Nestle Purina EN, hoping that she would like this mix. I more or less had to follow her from room to room to see if she had decided to eat a few bites. So I was happy when she actually began nibbling on some dry food. I had offered her canned AD and EN but she was not interested. It seems as if healing from the drastic surgery takes more time than I had expected. It was major surgery in the sense that she had 4 breasts removed plus the lymph glands on the left side. I was giving her Bupenex 0.1mg subcu but I think the med dimmed her appetite and it certainly caused her to sleep almost all of the time. But, maybe not. Animals, at least cats, I think, know how to cope with their pain. I gave her Bupenex for pain when I noticed that she was breathing faster and she was purring. I’ve read that cats cope with pain and illness by purring and I really got to see this in Addie. I gave her pain medication only when she exhibited the behavior that I mentioned.    

I began giving her Ringer’s Lactate 100 ml subcu for dehydration last Friday. Giving her the fluids was a real test of patience. Overall I could see a difference in how she was feeling. The next day after the first round of fluids she began to nibble a few bites. The Ringer’s was given for 3 days and I feel it made a difference.    

At any rate she did not require pain meds yesterday nor today. Overall she is slowly getting back to the cat she was prior to surgery- just minus four teats and a lymph gland.     

At this point, there is no way of knowing if she is cancer free internally unless I choose to have a vet do an  MRI or an ultrasound. I have no idea what these cost but I’m sure these tests do not come cheap nor what the average person would be willing to shell out or pay to keep their pet around for a few months or up to several years.    

So to sum all of this up cost wise, put away a dollar or two every day or more and don’t touch your pet fund. Leave it in the bank and continue to add to your fund until you need it for something major.  You will be glad you did. I know, I am.    


Post  Yvonne Daniel                 Photographs  Yvonne Daniel   

Mammary Tumors in Cats: Part IV July1,2011


Addie 7/1/2011 Trying to scratch after removal of E-collar.


Addie 7/1/2011
Addie 7/1/2011 (Day 10 post op) Healing of in line mastectomy

 According to research, cats are more susceptible for a teat to become cancerous if they have kittens, several heats or are not spayed before the age of 6 months. In general, mammary tumors occur at 9 years old and above and is seldom found in younger cats. The “books” reccomend getting your cat “fixed” before their first heat cycle. It seems that hormones going willy nilly play a part in this disease from hell. Among all cats, the Siamese, Persian, and the calico cat (which is not a breed but a color pattern) in that order, have a higher rate of developing cancer.     

Authorities in veterinary health suggest that your cat should be inspected monthly just as humans should perform regular self breast exams. For the exam, stand your cat up and palpate under the arms and in the groin area. Next palpate each breast- there are 4 teats on each side. Next roll your cat on each side and exam each breast and then lastly try to put your cat on its back and manually and visually inspect each teat (breast). Do not forget that there are 8 breasts to examine. At this time you can again examine each arm pit and then exam each groin area.  Examining your cat is not that difficult unless you happen to own a cat with a nasty disposition. If you can not examine your cat and if you can afford monthly vet visits, then by all means take your cat to your vet and be present when the examination is done. Watching your veterinarian examine your cat will give you some direction on how it is done.     

If your cat is unwilling to allow the exam, then begin getting them to warm up to the idea that exams mean lots of petting and treats. Reward your cat with a tasty treat each time you handle your pet. Some cats just need to become familiar with being touched in the underbelly area. While most cats enjoy a belly rub, some cats do not. So this is where the treats come in handy.     

Well , by now you are saying rubbish to all of that. “My cat is most likely safe from getting a mammary tumor.”  Well folks, it is more common that you think and it affects dogs also. About one cat in 4,000 will develop a mammary tumor. The trick is to find that thing from hell when it is very small. Any tumor under 2cm appears to have an advantage of being eradicated by surgery if it is not present in the lymph nodes. Actually a tumor in its infancy of less than 2cm has a better outcome of giving your cat a longer life. BUT my veterinarian told me that even the “little” tumor might have already metastasized to a vital organ, generally spreading to the lungs first.     

Some information that I read gives a prognosis of up to 4 and 1/2 years after surgery BUT providing it has not spread to other internal tissue. If the tumor is greater than 2cm, the survival rate greatly diminishes. So all in all mammary tumors are the “pits.” A veterinary oncologist can give your cat a round of chemo but again results are mixed with the survival rate of  2-4 months or perhaps a year or two if your cat is lucky.    

Several factors come into play such as cost, if the tumor has spread, and if your cat can physically handle chemo. Not all chemo drugs are suitable for cats. Yes, the drug might knock out the cancer but one drug is known to “fry” the kidneys  meaning that renal failure will kill your cat before the cancer does (in most cases).  Surgery here in Texas runs around $1,400 plus x rays,  labs, and an echo cardiogram if your cat happens to have a heart murmur (my cat did but it was not severe enough to prevent surgery). Perhaps an ultrasound or MRI will be suggested if you have the $$$$  and if the  surgeon wants to rule out the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. So when all of that is added up, you are looking at near $3,000 or more. Chemo therapy is really costly and will run thousands of dollars.  Lab tests are done with each treatment which really sends the cost up.    

Addie’s surgeon did not suggest an ultrasound or MRI for he felt is just was not necessary. At this point I wish that I knew approximately how long my little cat will live but then again maybe it is best that I do not know. I just enjoy her each and ever day that she is alive. My worry now is that her appetite is poor and I hope it is related to the healing process.  More updates are coming.    

Today, Addie, only ate a few bites of canned AD.  I gave her 75ml of Ringer’s Lactate for hydration. I plan to give her B-complex sub cu in the morning in an effort to stimulate her appetite.    

Addie has slept on top of a chest of drawers for most of the day and is till there as of this writing (11:28pm)    

Post Yvonne Daniel            Photographs Yvonne Daniel