Surface Creek Veterinary Center June 2019

June 2019 970-856-4474

SCVC Pawprint

Sunshine, Felines, and Awns Can you believe summer is here already? We’re excited to usher it in with this new iteration of our newsletter. Thank you for joining us! Ah, summertime on the Western Slope. We always knew we wanted to live in this part of Colorado, and though it hasn’t been an easy road, through a lot of hard work, a lot of good people in our lives, and God pulling us through it, we’re here. And we love it. We’re so glad to be raising our kids in rural Colorado. When we moved out here, we joked that we chose to live in the middle of nowhere, but in many respects, it’s more forward than any big city we’ve lived in. You can’t beat being 46 minutes — to the minute (we’ve timed it) — from skiing, 15 minutes from fly fishing, or going on a mountain bike ride just out the back door. When things aren’t going your way, you can always hop on the tractor and plow the fields. Somehow, when you feel stuck, your brain can always get a reboot on the tractor. Our kids love the open space and the sheep, cows, and alpacas. I guess they inherited our love of animals, huh? SUMMERTIME ON THE WESTERN SLOPE

Thanks again for joining us and have a happy June!

Summertime brings warm weather and mountain biking, but it also brings some potential dangers to our pets, particularly cheatgrass and other awns. These tricky little seeds get stuck in pets’ fur and find their way into and underneath their skin. We notice them especially affecting dogs, but they can get caught in any animal’s fur, and they’ll continue to move forward, going as far as the nasal passage and lungs in some severe cases. If you notice any red areas on your pet or if they won’t stop licking or scratching a particular area, reach out to us. If an awn burrows deeply into your pet, it can cause a lot of harm, so the sooner we can treat it, the better. You can read more about what to look for and how to prevent awn-related issues inside the newsletter. Oh, and to all our fathers out there, whether your kids are human, canine, feline, or bovine, happy Father’s Day! They grow up so fast, don’t they?

We’ve grown our little community here, from our patients and their loving parents to the felines who’ve taken up residence in our clinic. We call them our Island of Misfit cats — one- eyed Peek-a-boo; Stevie, who won’t let anyone touch him but Dr. Susie; and little old lady Louise, who has the voice of a smoker. As sad as it is to think about, we’re at the point in Louise’s life where we’re discussing her next steps, and to be honest, we’re at a bit of a standstill. Even when you’ve studied animal medicine, it’s never an easy answer with elderly pets. If any of your pets are approaching or in this stage of their lives, know that everyone here empathizes with you. We love our animals as much as you do, and we want to help you figure out your options and find the one you feel best about. When it comes to making tough decisions, we’ll help you make an informed one. When you’re ready to discuss the next steps for your fur babies, we’re here for you.

Until next month,

P.S. June 2–8 is Pet Appreciation Week. As if you needed another excuse to love on your pets! Go ahead; get them that special flea prevention formula or nail trim they’ve been begging for! Dr. Susie and Dr. Jeff


Whether you know it as cheatgrass, Junegrass, foxtails, or Downy Brome, these bristly parts of plants like to stick to fur, and it can mean trouble for your pets. This is a topic we bring up each summer because of how many cases we see of pets hurting from awns. The hairy, bristle-like stickers grow from many grasses and varieties of wheat, and you’ll often see them dangling from your pet’s fur after they’ve been running around outside. In the worst cases, these stickers burrow into an animal’s skin and can eventually find their way inside. We’ve seen cases where awns have made their way into the ear canal, chest, and even along the spinal cord. Because of awns’ structures, they’re made to move forward into whatever they stick to, so once they’ve found their way in, they’re not coming out on their own. The area may become infected, and an abscess may form. You might notice your pet scratching at one particular spot. When this happens, they will require vet intervention and, in severe cases, surgery to remove the awn. Luckily, you can reduce the risk of awns hurting your pet. After they’ve been outside, especially in areas with long grass in the summer, do a quick scan of your pet, visual and tactile, for any awns that have stuck to them and remove any you see. (This is also good practice for ticks.) Between the toes, the belly, the armpits, and the backs of the legs are the most common areas awns stick to. Brushing their fur with a grooming brush may also help remove these offenders. Long, shaggy hair is going to give awns an easier surface to stick to, so you should also consider giving your pet a haircut for the summer. Plus, it’ll have the added benefit of helping them stay cool. Managing the Risk These Stickers Pose to Your Pet AN AWN BY ANY OTHER NAME

Far before humans had written histories, we had dogs. From hunting and shepherding to playing and relaxing, our early ancestors had canine companions by their side, and their appreciation shows. As storytelling developed around the world, our four-legged friends became important characters. Here are a few ancient legends for the historical dog lover. T ARASCAN SPIRIT DOGS Many Mesoamerican cultures featured dogs prominently in their myths and legends, especially in regard to the afterlife. One of the most notable of these comes from the Tarascan state, an empire that rivaled the Aztecs. The Tarascans believed canine spirits would search out the souls of lost humans and guide them safely out of the mortal world. Leave it to dogs to create ghost stories with happy endings. TUIREN THE WOLFHOUND In Irish folklore, Tuiren was a beautiful woman to be wed to Iollan Eachtach, but this love made Iollan’s fairy sweetheart jealous. In an attempt to ruin the young woman’s wedding, the fairy turns Tuiren into a hound and gives her to Fergus Fionnliath, a renowned dog-hater. This cruel act backfires when the Irish wolfhound wins over Fergus, teaching him to love not just her but all dogs too. In fact, the man is crestfallen when his hound is revealed to be a human. Tuiren’s nephew, the hero Fionn, cheers Fergus up with a new puppy! Good Boys of Antiquity DOGS IN ANCIENT LEGEND

We’re here to help prevent awns from harming your pet, and we offer

grooming designed to discourage awns from sticking to your pet’s fur. Give us a call if you notice a sore spot on your pet you’d

YUDHISHTHIRA’S STRAY The Indian epic “Mahabharata” is thought to date back to the eighth or ninth century B.C. and tells the story of two warring families. Toward the end of the tale, prince Yudhishthira and his family begin to ascend the Himalayas to reach heaven, and a stray dog joins them on their journey. One by one, Yudhishthira’s companions fall, until only the prince and his furry friend remain. When the god Indra finally appears to offer Yudhishthira passage into heaven, he brings bad news: The dog cannot come with him. But Yudhishthira refuses to abandon his dog, explaining that he could never leave such a loyal, steadfast companion. Anyone who’s turned down a great apartment offer because they don’t allow pets can relate.

like us to look at or to schedule a grooming.



Get to Know Dr. Jeff

Since veterinary school, when there is a cat nobody can handle, people turn to Dr. Jeff. He credits his cat-prowess to being “that little kid hanging in a tree with cats.” Dr. Jeff worked at an animal refuge at one point and cared for the big cats there, watching them and learning to “see what they’re going to do before they do it.” He’s loved to observe cat behavior since he was a boy, and he still loves it today — he just knows a lot more about them and is licensed to help them now.

If Dr. Jeff had his druthers, he’d be off in Africa, sitting in a Land Rover watching the big cats and observing feline behavior. But, he’s also pretty content to be here in Colorado caring for your pets, mountain biking, and driving tractors on the weekends. He may have taken the long route to becoming a vet, but it’s how he figured out that this is exactly what he wants to do. As he says, “I’ve been lucky.” We think we’re

While many people are surprised at his ability to read feline behavior, to Dr. Jeff, cats make it clear what they want. “They televise all their behavior. It’s just non-verbal,” he says. In his last year of vet school, Dr. Jeff was awarded the Student of the Year from the American Association of Feline Practitioners, officially recognizing his “captitude.” Of course, he likes taking care of all animals, and since Dr. Susie works with many ruminants (alpacas, llamas, sheep, goats, and cattle), Dr. Jeff is happy to be the resident go-to doc for your dogs and cats.

pretty lucky to have him at Surface Creek Vet Center.

lients Spreading the Word Thanks so much to these clients who referred new clients to us the past two months:

INGREDIENTS No. 1 Dad Hash Browns

Carrie and Neil Gardner Kim and Doug Taylor Dawn and Phillip Plymale

Deb and Doug Christner

Inspired by Bon Appétit

David Starr

1 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, or 6 tbsp ghee

Shanda and Bart Pullins

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 russet potatoes (about 1/2 lb.), peeled

Pinch of cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

Charlie Fiddes


Lavern Dawson

Bill and Gidget Dillingham

Christina and Wayne Frazier

3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter (or ghee) to medium-high. Add potatoes and cook until a crust forms underneath, about 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, break up potatoes and continue to cook, adding more butter (or ghee) if potatoes begin to stick. 4. Cook until golden brown and crisp, about 8

1. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until foamy. Reduce heat if needed to avoid browning. Skim off white milk solids to make clarified butter (ghee). Transfer to a bowl and reserve. (This step won’t be needed if using ghee.) 2. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate potatoes. Transfer to a large bowl of cold water and stir until water becomes cloudy. Rinse potatoes under cold water, then squeeze out liquid using cheesecloth or a kitchen towel, removing as much moisture as possible. Season potatoes.

Misti Koehn

Carol Nations

minutes. Drain on paper towels; season with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Serve.





Dr. Jeff’s and Dr. Susie’s Thoughts for June inside this issue

1 2

Dogs in Ancient Legend

Nothing to Awn About


Team Member Spotlight: Dr. Jeff

Clients Spreading the Word


A Few Dads Who Went Above and Beyond the Call of Duty


GREG ALEXANDER: COULDN’T BEAR TO SEE HIS SON HURT While camping in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in June 2015, Greg Alexander awoke to the sound of a nightmare. The screams of his son intermingled with the roars of an unknown assailant, beckoning Greg to his son’s tent. There, he found his son Gabriel being attacked by a bear. The bear had his son by the head and was dragging him away. Greg jumped on the bear’s back, desperately trying to take attention away from Gabriel. Amazingly, it worked, and in the end, the bear ran away. Gabriel was left with serious cuts to his head, but thanks to his dad’s heroism, the two were able to walk away from that campsite and back to their lives together. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to take a leap of faith or fight a bear to be a hero in your family’s eyes. Just be yourself, show some support, and do the best you can. Happy Father’s Day, everybody.

Kids often look up to their father as one of their greatest heroes. There are the long drives to sports tournaments, the late-night movies, and the sweets when Mom isn’t looking. We probably all have some reason to look up to our dad as one of our biggest influences. It’s Father’s Day this month, a special time of year when we take a moment to think about the sacrifices the father figures in our lives have made for us. Most dads are pretty great, but some go above and beyond the fatherly call of duty. Let’s take a look at some heroic dads who risked everything to keep their families safe. BRAD LEWIS: OVER THE LEDGE teetering on the balcony’s ledge, 12 feet above the ground. Thinking fast, Brad grabbed his son just before he fell over, both taking the plunge while Brad protected his son with his own body.

Life can change in a split second, and how you choose to react in a moment of peril can define your legacy forever. Few people know this as well as Brad Lewis. When Brad and his young son, Oscar, were deeply entrenched in an intense Nerf battle, he surely didn’t think the situation would turn as dangerous as it did. When a few darts missed his father and landed on the balcony, Oscar ran after them but soon found himself

Just as he’d intended, Brad absorbed most of the blow. While Oscar sustained serious wounds, his father’s injuries were more severe. Brad was left fighting for his life in the ICU, with severe fractures to his skull and vertebrae. Thankfully, Brad is expected to make a full recovery and has made serious strides since the accident. He and his son will live to play another day.


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