Pete The Moose Needs Our Help

Those of you who live on the east coast are probably already familar with Pete the moose.  For those who don’t know the story, Pete was attacked by dogs when he was five days old.  Thanks to the wonderful nursing care of David Lawrence, he survived the ordeal.  Today he is the picture of health.  Unfortunately,  the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife wants him and the other deer and elk that live in his area destroyed.  They claim it is to prevent Chronic Wasting Disease.  As a veterinarian, I find this preposterous.  None of the animals in the vicinity show signs of the disease.    

To see this handsome moose and learn more about him, please check out  I signed a petition asking the Vermont Department of Fish and Game to reconsider their decision.  It has no medical basis.  This Christmas season, I invite you to sign the petition and help in any way you can.  If you live in Vermont and know a legislator or the Governor, please speak up on Pete’s behalf.  Thanks and have a blest holiday!     

Holiday Kitten Update

I realized today that I have not posted an update on the kittens in a long time.  Sorry!  Myka (the tabby) and Jerry (the short hair black) continue to thrive in their new homes.  No one wanted the long hair black kitten because of his shy personality.  When around a potential adopter, he hid.  When I gave him to a stranger to hold, he tried to get away.  So my husband and I decided to make Keanu a permanent part of our family.  I think that was his plan all along.  It just took awhile for us to get it.

That brings me to the buff kitten.  I placed him in a wonderful home only to have him boomerang back because he didn’t get along with the resident cat.  He is dominant.  He runs right up to other cats and goes nose to nose with them, even if they are hissing.  And MJ you were right about lynx points being large.  He is huge!  At five months of age he weighs over eight pounds.  His feet are enormous.  My husband and I named him Mauka which means towards the mountain in Hawaiian. 


Shortly after we decided to keep Mauka and Keanu, we lost our beloved 17 year old cat Genevieve.  Although they will never replace our precious girl, the kittens helped us through the grieving process with their unconditional love.  Who could resist these adorable little faces! 

Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life – Read The First Chapter

For the past year, I spent most of my free time writing a book called Coated With Fur:  A Vet’s Life.  I turned it over to the editor for the final time last week.  What a relief!  A friend told me writing a book is like living in the desert and they keep moving the oasis.  That description sums up my experience to a tee.

Coated With Fur:  A Vet’s Life celebrates animals and the amazing bond we share with them.  Set in a veterinary practice, the book chronicles my experience in the first year of owning a clinic.  It recounts joyful stories such as saving a dog’s leg to the agony of euthanizing a long-term patient.  It examines the unexpected when a snake gets stuck, scaring the society ladies in the waiting room.  In the end, readers will possess greater appreciation for life and the animals with whom we share this planet.  

If you would like to read the first chapter, surf over to  Since this is my first book, I would like to get your thoughts about the chapter.  Please leave comments at my e-mail address included at the end of the chapter.  Enjoy!    

Contest – Design The Book Cover

For the last year I’ve been working on a book titled Coated With Fur:  A Vet’s Life.  The book celebrates animals and the amazing bond we share with them.  Set in a veterinary practice, the book chronicles my experience in the first year of owning a clinic.  It recounts joyful stories such as saving a dog’s leg to the agony of euthanizing a long-term patient.  It examines the unexpected when a snakes got stuck, scaring the society ladies in the waiting room.  In the end, readers will possess greater appreciation for life and the animals with whom we share this planet.  

Now I need your help!  The book is written and at the editor for the final time.  So cover design becomes paramount.  From today through 5:00pm MST February 1, 2010 I invite anyone interested to unleash their creative talent on this endeavor.  We need art for the cover!  Please e-mail your submissions to  You may also write with questions.  On the back cover I anticipate utilizing the picture of me and Tigre seen on the home page of  To give you a sense of the book, I posted a draft of the first chapter on the website as well.

The winner will receive acknowledgment in the book’s credits, $500.00 U.S. and five complimentary hardcover copies of Coated With Fur:  A Vet’s Life.  The winner must execute a contract affirming that it is original art and assigning all rights related to the work to Kristen L. Nelson, D.V.M. and Veterinary Creative, LLC.  No further compensation or royalty will ensue beyond that listed herein.  Please see the Terms Of Use at the website for complete contest rules.

There are so many talented and gifted artists in the world.  I am eager to see what you design!  Please share this request with any artist you know.  Also, please accept my deep appreciation.  -Kristen L. Nelson, D.V.M.

MRSA in Pets and Therapy Dogs

This week I listened to a webinar by Dr. David Aucoin entitled “Emerging Antimicrobial Resistance MRSA to MRSP:  A Growing National Problem”, sponsored by Bayer HealthCare Animal Health.  Methicillin Resistant Staph aureus is usually a reverse zoonosis.  That means pets get infected by people.  If infected, most pets will clear themselves of MRSA within two weeks if not reinfected by a human.  The bigger problem in veterinary medicine is Methicilin Resistant Staph psuedintermedius (MRSP).  At a commercial veterinary lab sighted by Dr. Aucoin, 1 out of 7 dog skin cultures grew MRSP while only 1 out of 50 grew MRSA.    

Since treatment is difficult with either of these staphs, prevention is the key.  If you know you carry MRSA, wash your hands well before touching any animals.  Wear gloves if treating open wounds and skin problems on your pet.  These bacteria may live on inanimate objects referred to as fomites.  Disinfect equipment and surfaces often. 

Since MRSA is common in human hospitals, therapy animals have a greater chance of contracting this bacteria.  To minimize the risk, keep pets off of beds and chairs.  Have patients wash their hands before touching a therapy animal.  Watch the pet closely for health problems after visits.  If skin problems develop, contact your veterinarian so they may culture the infection before treatment. 

Ally of the 101st Airborne On ABC News With Charlie Gibson

Watching tonight’s newscast, I saw a wonderful story on Ally.  She was found as a quite young and abandoned puppy.   Without the kindness of our soldiers she surely would not have made it.  The 101st Airborne in Afghanistan adopted the little pup.  It sounds like she won them over fast and made a great contribution to morale.  The report indicated that she even stood in formation and was inseparable from her Army family.  It stands to reason that having dogs in units gives those in uniform something wonderful to focus on.  It helps them look beyond themselves and the difficult situation they must endure.  I write to suggest the military greatly expand and in a deliberate manner, the presence of dogs in units. 

Studies show the human-animal bond is medically beneficial to people.  Animals improve our mental state.  Think of the benefit to troops to hug or pet an animal after a difficult firefight.  Animals also improve a number of physical measures such as blood pressure and stress.  The military is beginning to understand this and currently has therapy dogs in use in certain theaters.  Obviously it is no one’s goal to put animals in harms way.  But the number of animals euthanized each year by Humane Societies and shelters suggests that the only hope for many animals might be military service.  I believe a greater use of therapy animals in the military should be expanded.

What the 101st Airborne did for Ally is both beautiful and a natural human reaction.  What is more amazing than adopting her in the field are the efforts so many took to bring her back to the States when the unit shipped home.  I applaud Pilots N Paws and everyone involved in this touching story.  Thanks too to ABC and Charlie Gibson for sharing this good news.  Go Army!


Name The Foregin Body

Last summer, I examined a dog for lameness.  The owner noticed something in the dog’s back paw and brought her in.  Look at the pictures closely.  Name the foreign body and describe how you would remove it.


Diagnosis:  Lawn Mower Spring

According to the owner, the foreign body is a spring from his lawn mower.  The end of the spring appears to have penetrated the outer aspect of the dog’s paw and then continued to ‘screw’ through her toe.  The spring cut through her skin down to the tendons.  I cannot imagine how painful this must have been.  She almost lost her toe.

The most important principal to follow in removing any foreign body is to first “do no harm.”  After placing the dog under anesthesia, I planned to cut the spring into pieces before removal to minimize damage.  Unfortunately, the spring was tougher than my bolt cutters.  I bent a pair without leaving a dent on the spring.  I had to slowly thread the coil back out of the toe.  After it was removed, I flushed the wound, sewed up the lacerations and bandaged the foot.  The dog went home on antibiotics and pain medication.  She seemed much happier when she left, even with a bandage on her foot.