Guest Post from our Newest Veterinarian, Dr. Rachel Cook

Dr. Cook joined our staff this summer, after graduation from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. I have to admit, that I was less than thrilled about having to deal with a fresh, enthusiastic new veterinarian. However, Dr. Cook has been fantastic. She’s smart, articulate, dedicated, enthusiastic (but not annoyingly so), and super, duper nice.

Now I’ll let her do the talking:

Hello y’all!!! I am Dr. Cook, and I am very glad to be writing this post today as a Guest Blogger! I graduated from Texas A&M in May and have been working here at Animal Medical Center of Plano for over two months now. I absolutely love it here and am so grateful to be a part of this practice and your pets’ lives. I have met many adorable dogs and cats in this time and have enjoyed meeting their family members who bring them in to see me. It has been a great two months!

As a new veterinarian, you begin each day wondering what patient will walk through your door… Today, I want to share my “Top Ten List” of what I’ve learned and experienced thus far as a newly minted veterinarian.

10.    Though we never want our patients to be ill with a dire need to see us, there is nothing sweeter than getting to see our patients on a regular basis. I have really enjoyed getting to see my patients on multiple occasions since I started at Animal Medical Center. These visits have included recheck visits and numerous vaccination series. It is such a pleasure to see my patients’ health improve and to build a friendship with them. Of course, the little puppies and kittens are an absolute joy to watch grow up. But I also enjoy getting to see the calm, adult dog or cat who knows his or her place in the world and is just happy as can be.

9.     Some patients don’t love to come to see the veterinarian. AND THAT’S OKAY! Just a part of life. I don’t blame them or discredit that nervousness. But we want every patient’s experience to be a good one when they come here. That’s why we take the time to move slowly with our patients, offer treats, and give a lot of attention to our patients. Some dogs or cats may be aggressive and scared in the clinic, so for some patients, it is best to sedate them for a full examination for their own safety and to reduce the stress that animal may be feeling.

8.     Fleas are crazy this year. Flea allergy manifests as very itchy and uncomfortable skin infections in our dogs and cats. Flea allergic dermatitis is an easily prevented problem. Just the monthly flea prevention (which is easily combined with the monthly heartworm prevention) is all they need! PLUS by controlling fleas, you also prevent your dog or cat from getting tapeworms…. For an animal to get tapeworms, the animal must eat a FLEA which has a tapeworm…. It’s a yucky, convoluted life cycle!

Which leads me to my next nugget of wisdom:

7.     Intestinal parasites are not just an academic topic…. They are infecting our pets and are making their presence known. Intestinal parasites are a common reason for our animals to have diarrhea, most commonly affecting our puppies and kittens who inherit these gross gifts from their mothers or environment. (Thanks, Mom!).  Our younguns should be dewormed at least twice and should have a fecal test submitted to be sure they are free of parasites. A yearly fecal test gives us assurance for our adult animals, but it’s good to remember that our monthly heartworm preventatives prevent many common intestinal parasites! Anyways, although every creature has a beautiful reason for living, I cannot find a good reason for the existence of these disgusting parasites and wish they would just disappear…

6.     Since our animals cannot speak to us directly (though my Boston terrier, Major, definitively communicates with me very clearly), a veterinarian’s diagnostic tools (bloodwork, x-rays, aspirates / cytology using the microscope) are invaluable. I wish that I could just know what is going on with an animal who seems “off” and “isn’t feeling like himself or herself.” But it is often our diagnostic tools that point us in the right direction and paint a picture of what is going on for that particular patient. I have examined multiple cats and dogs for acute vomiting since I started at Animal Medical Center of Plano; these animals had no evidence of any organ dysfunction on their physical examination. However, their bloodwork may show that their kidneys are failing, or x-rays may show that the intestinal is obstructed by a squeaker toy.  Such a crucial, important diagnosis.  I am so grateful for my hospital’s tools that help us know what is truly going on with our patients.

And following that note….

5.     We will be using ultrasound technology in our clinic very soon. Ultrasound is often referred to many people as sonograms as this technology is used by human doctors to visualize babies in utero. Veterinarians are trained to use ultrasound machines to evaluate animals’ gastrointestinal tracts, kidneys and urinary bladder, reproductive tracts (including pregnancy checks), and more. This is an exciting opportunity for our clinic to be able to diagnose more clearly what is going on with our patients.

4.     When an animal has a growth / tumor / mass on its body, many of these masses have the potential to become cancerous and even scarier, to metastasize (invade other parts of the body). The best thing to do in these situations is to remove this tumor surgically. After surgery, we submit the sample to a laboratory which examines each part of the tumor to identify what type of tumor it is and if any of the tumor remains in that animal’s body. Let me just say it for the record now::: there is nothing more satisfying than having clean borders on your histopathology submission. This means that there is no detectable tumor remaining in the patient’s body. AMEN! That is our goal every time we go to remove a growth.

3.     Anal glands are just pesky little sacs of nonsense. There is no good reason for them. Maybe they are used for scent, territorial marking, and communication…. Or maybe they exist to get sprayed onto my lab coat from time to time. Animals should normally express their anal glands on their own without any trouble. But some animals (typically our smaller breed dogs or sometimes an overweight patient) don’t completely express their anal glands as they should. Problems with anal glands are diagnosed upon physical examination by your veterinarian. But at home, if your animal has an anal gland problem, you can watch for your dog or cat licking near their rear end more than usual, scooting their rear and dragging it on the floor, or even just looking more towards their rear end.

2.     The most frequent reasons for animals to come to the veterinary clinic are EARS, SKIN, AND GASTROINTESTINAL issues. These types of illnesses are very common for our pets! Just a few diagnostics to understand if any type of infection is going on with that patient, the appropriate therapy, and time makes these cases very rewarding to treat.

And Last but not least: 1. Each day, at Animal Medical Center of Plano, we strive to be better veterinarians.  This means that we are always talking about disease processes, medications, and interventions and what works best in our patients.  On a daily basis, I enjoy my discussions with Dr. Sharp, Dr. Carroll, and Dr. Brewer. You can find us reading, researching, and attending Continuing Education, because we want to do the best for our patients.  Thanks to this profession, I know that every day I have the opportunity to learn something new. Science is always advancing, and it is my intention to always stay with it.

I truly am living my dream, and I enjoy each day with my patients and their families!  I look forward to more experiences (and maybe a few more “Top Ten Lists” Letterman style) here at Animal Medical Center of Plano! Thank you for welcoming me into the practice!


8 thoughts on “Guest Post from our Newest Veterinarian, Dr. Rachel Cook

  1. I can tell you must be awesome already because you have a Boston Terrier. My boy Dutch turns three on 9/17 and he has had such great care at AMCOP. The blog is very informative. Thanks!

      1. Native Texan and Boston Terrier lover even better!! It is great to know another wonderful professional is there to help care for our babies.

  2. “Hello y’all!!!”

    One can tell you’re from Texas. 🙂

    As for living the dream, you must not have had the client from hell yet. Although most of us hard-core animal people strive NOT to be the client from hell, I’m sure there are a few in Plano.

    “The most frequent reasons for animals to come to the veterinary clinic are EARS, SKIN, AND GASTROINTESTINAL issues.”

    Hopefully, eventually, the most frequent reason for a clinic visit will be a checkup. I’m a firm believer in trying to catch things early so the problem is easier to address. After all, I’m the one that took a cat to the doctor because she was “meowing funny.” (She was fine.)

    At any rate: Welcome!

    1. First off, I will never refer to you as TheOldBroad, but that made me laugh.

      You know…. Born and Raised Texan! WHOOP!

      I am with ya on catching things early and our annual (or biannual visits for senior pets) visits. That’s the best medicine!

      Thank you for your welcome! Very happy to be here!

  3. Do you know what breed the white dog with the spots is? He looks just like my dog that we rescued from a shelter. We have never seen another do like him. That dog is his clone other than the fact that mine has a couple of random brindle spots on him.

    1. I’m not sure which dog you are referring to, as there isn’t a pic with this post. Dr Cook has a Boston terrier in her bio pic & she is hugging a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on our Facebook page.

  4. I have known Dr. Cook for longer than most people and I can attest that she truly is living the dream, also commonly called between us as LTD!

    I know she will look after your pets just like she does her own Major who is one spoiled little Mister. Keep up the great work Dr. Cook! I just wish you lived closer to my 2 dogs so you could take care of them as well.

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