Some Christmas-Time But Non-Christmas-y Cautionary Tales

Happy Holidays! Most wonderful time of the year, right? Not so much if you ask your friendly neighborhood veterinarian.  The months of November and December mark an inexplicable peak in the number of euthanasias we perform.  Not super sure of the cause, but for some reason, old  pets don’t fare well over the holidays.

If that isn’t cause enough for a jolly veterinary demeanor, I got a letter last week from a giant internet image provider whose name I won’t mention because they would probably threaten a law suit over that. Their name starts with “G” and ends with “Y” and rhymes with “petty”.  I had posted a picture of a flea on our clinic website. I made what I now realize is a huge mistake in judgment by just searching for an image of a flea via Google and cut/pasting it into the post.  Of the hundreds of images I could have picked, I got some super private, über copyrighted one that only this company owns (granted, there was zero indication as such on the image).  I totally understand, I made a mistake and corrected it by removing the image and offering to pay fair market value for this flea picture. However, they declined and insist we pay a hefty ransom or be sued.  According to my husband’s IT guys, this is a tactic that this company uses to boost revenue. They are “fishing” for unsuspecting shlubs like us to grab their images so they can sue us.  It seems that December is “target veterinarians” month for this company because I got a call this week from another vet suffering the same fate.

Lesson learned.  The purpose of that tale is mostly to warn you guys about the dangers of unauthorized use of copyrighted images online. (And partially to vent a little to you guys, my merry, small band of readers. I’m pretty embarrassed about the whole debacle.)

Since I’m being quite the “Debbie Downer” (Copyright “Saturday Night Live” Character??)

Here is another, more important, cautionary tale for you. This one is actually a veterinary topic:

Beware of potato chip and other snack bags.

I can personally think of several pets of clients and friends who have suffocated due to these bags.  The other day I woke up and heard this incessant crinkling sound.  I followed it to the guest bedroom, where my 1 year old terrier mix “Nixon” had her head buried in a now empty bag of salt and vinegar chips.  She was happy, happy, happy to be polishing up the unbearably tart remains.

Since I can't download any pictures off the web, this is a staged reenactment of the described events. No animals were harmed in the making of this picture.
Since I can’t download any pictures off the web, this is a staged reenactment of the described events. No animals were harmed in the making of this picture.

Problem is that the dogs are so happy that they don’t notice that they are running out of air, and they quietly pass out and die with nary a fuss.

Thank God I got there early. The bag was my husband’s (nobody else likes those chips), and he’s not a fan of Nixon’s, so after accusing him of trying to kill the dog (which he wholeheartedly denied) I educated the family about proper chip bag disposal.  The incident also reminded me that I have been wanting to post about this topic for a long time.

Here is a Facebook Link to a page on the topic with more information, plus lots of sad stories to wallow in, if you would like to be further depressed.

Just to end on a happy note, here’s a link to an old blog I wrote on the Veterinary 12 days of Christmas. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

Happy Holidays/Season’s Greetings/Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanza/Happy Solstice, etc.!  May you get some rest, purchase all the right teacher gifts, not run out of tape or wrapping paper,  minimally argue with family, and not gain too much weight.

PS: If you subscribe to this blog and are getting a flood of updates on old posts, I’m having to go back into my archives and remove any possible unauthorized images. Sorry for the subsequent inundation.


One thought on “Some Christmas-Time But Non-Christmas-y Cautionary Tales

  1. Ack! I sure didn’t know that potato chip bags were a danger. I have one that’s crazy for potato chips so from now on I’ll be extra careful when disposing of empty bags,

    As for the euthanasia rates this time of year, I’ve heard several vets mention this oddity. One school of thought (at least in regions where it’s cold this time of year) that it’s the seasonal change and pets that are on the brink of something awful, go over the edge when it gets cold.

    Re: flea picture
    Have you filed a complaint with the FTC or whoever has authority over websites?

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