Anatomy: The parts can get confusing

Anatomy: The parts can get confusing

Oct 01, 2006

Violet Shade is one of my most colorful clients, and I mean that literally. Every time I try to explain something to her, she becomes so embarrassed that her face takes on a crimson glow. Such was the case when I tried to explain why her cat, Pansy, couldn't get pregnant.

It seems that she had gotten quite a bargain when she purchased Pansy. The breeder had been unsuccessful at getting the cat to produce a litter, so after a year of trying, was willing to sell the cat to Mrs. Shade at a reduced price. Now after just a few weeks in her home, Pansy seemed to develop a new problem. Violet noticed some sort of discharge and foul odor coming from Pansy's back end. Naturally I suspected a pyometra.

My diagnosis changed upon entering the exam room. There was no mistaking that odor.

You see, Pansy was a Tomcat, and he was pretty ripe. I took a quick look. How could anyone at this point in time still call this cat Pansy? Mr. Baseballs would have been a much more appropriate name.

I started explaining the problem to Mrs. Shade. Her face went from crimson to fuchscia, then from fuchsia to magenta. I felt like I was watching the chart on the wall at the paint store. She went home alone. Pansy stayed with me for know...uh...little operation to...uh stop things he thinks about.

As it turned out, her anatomy lesson was not to be my last on that particular day.

The very next office call was Hugh Mustadonit, and he was hopping mad.

"You know doctor," he said. "This dog never goes out unless I'm with him. The only time he has ever been away from me was when he was neutered here last year. So, I'd like you to explain how he got this big cut on the back of his ear. It looks healed now, so it must have happened back when you had him. Did you people think I wouldn't notice it sooner or later?

The valued client (flaming ignoramus) proceeded to show me the normal split that all dogs have in the back of the ear pinna. I explained his mistake, showed him that both ears were the same, and even brought out my own dog for show-and-tell. He vowed to get a second opinion elsewhere.

There was no time to worry about him though. I had to hurry to see my next appointment. It was Mr. Cifer, and he was proud as a peacock. It seems that his dog Tally was mighty pregnant with eight pups on the way.

"I already have seven of the pups spoken for Doc," he announced. "You can have number eight if you want."

At this point, I had to warn him that the number of puppies was yet to be determined.

"She's having eight, Doc," he said. "Can't you see she has eight things underneath, one for nursing each pup. Nature always works these things out you know."

I tried explaining his error, but I may not have been successful. Mr. Cifer embodied not only the pride of the proverbial peacock, but the intelligence as well. (Actually Tally had a better chance of understanding the math involved. After all, her teeth had calculus).

This day of anatomy reminded me of a letter I got recently from Dr. Iva Seenit-Allnow, a colleague from Florida. It seems that she had been treating a cat that suffered from quite a variety of puncture wounds concentrated about the tail base and lower back. The owner of the cat, Mr. Pierce Influx, was equipped with the proper instrumentation to administer the ointment. He had to learn seemingly difficult concepts, such as: remove the cap before squeezing the tube. And, stick the tip of the tube into the wound before squeezing the gooey stuff.

By the time he was sent home with a tube of Wound-a-Log Ointment, he seemed to have the instructions down pat. His telephone reports were good. All the wounds were healing, except one. Twice, he stopped for a new tube. Then, after a month of treatment, he came back to have the remaining wound checked. The others had healed, why not this one? Dr. Seenit-Allnow entered the exam room to confront the wound that would not heal. Mr. Inflx pointed it out to her. It was the anus.

Dr. Obenski owns Allentown Clinic for Cats in Allentown, Pa.