The Case Of The Quiet Husband

Dr. John Kaya
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Wednesday - September 16, 2009
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What do Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan and Nancy Drew have in common? The answer: They all would have been great veterinarians.

In order to help our furry, feathery, scaly friends, veterinarians need to be awesome detectives. Sleuthing is part of the job. Our patients do not communicate verbally, and their human counterparts often fall short in the vital information department.

What I’m about to share with you is completely and utterly true. It happened before my very eyes. In fact, appointments such as this one happen way too often. As usual, the names and furry faces have been altered to protect the innocent or, as in this case, the not-so-innocent.


“Rusty” Wilson was a 5-year-old male dachshund that lumbered into our hospital with a very sore stomach. Since early that morning he vomited five times and had three bouts of explosive diarrhea. As my 2-year-old daughter would say, “eeeuwww.”

Before I entered the exam room, our veterinary technician Helen got a weight and temperature. She also attempted to get an accurate history from the owners. According to Helen, the Wilsons did not give Rusty any treats. Hmmm ... really? Oftentimes an upset stomach can be traced back to the pet getting some type of tasty morsel. As I prepared to enter the exam room, I could not help but think that it was my turn “in the kitchen,” and you can be sure I was going to turn up the heat.

My line of questioning went something like this:

“Did you give Rusty any treats? What about leftovers? Could he have gotten into the rubbish can? Are you sure he didn’t get any unusual food? This information could be very important to helping Rusty get better. Are you sure no treats?”

After 10 grueling minutes of this inquisition, I was tempted to play “good cop, bad cop” except for one thing: I wasn’t a cop.

As I probed the Wilsons with these questions, I couldn’t help but notice that Mrs. Wilson did all the talking and Mr. Wilson sat anxiously on the edge of his seat. His face had a worried look on it, and I could tell he wanted to say something. Aha! He must be the guilty suspect.

Suddenly, as I started again with the questioning, Mr. Wilson stood up, pointed at his wife and declared, “She gave him pizza!” You could see the relief on his face after telling the awful truth. This look of relief soon turned to trepidation as Mr. Wilson realized what he had just done. Mrs. Wilson shot me a look of shock, and then proceeded to give Mr. Wilson the “stink eye.” (Mental note to self: Don’t ever tattle on wife, as it could be detrimental to my health.) At this point, I thanked Mr. Wilson for telling me the truth. With proper therapy, Rusty would be better in no time.

Whew! Detective work can be tough. Oftentimes our patients are the innocent victims of circumstance. If offered a piece of pepperoni pizza, Rusty would gladly eat it. Wouldn’t you? So the next time you gaze at a juicy piece of Portuguese sausage, eat it and spare your pet the foul stench of volatile diarrhea. If you don’t, your gruesome act may be exposed by the harsh justice only found on the Wild Side.

Case closed.

Pet tips:

* Table food can be very nutritious and beneficial to your pets. Just make sure it’s healthy.

* Contact your veterinarian for hints on what types of food to avoid for your pet.

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