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Matthew Sisk: Pros and cons of pet paperwork
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I became a veterinarian, in part, because I love animals.

I would rather spend time with a dog or cat than with most humans. Many humans agree this is the best course of action for me.

Still, there are parts of veterinary medicine that I detest. Enter paperwork.

Yes, it’s essential for good record keeping, and thus for good continued medical care. But I am not a fan.

So, you can imagine my dejection that the next interaction with Leia is via fax machine. She’s still in the sunny climates of South Florida, but she had a medical issue last night.

The emergency facility that treated her has now faxed us the record of her visit. This is not only thoughtful on their part, but is essential for Leia’s continued health care moving forward as her signs might recur or even have permanent lasting effects.

Leia was fine for her first two weeks in the Florida Keys. Then mom went to dinner and came home to a bungalow apparently decorated with projectile kitty vomit. At first, her owner assumed this was another hairball. But then she realized the volume of fluid Leia lost and became worried. Off to the all-night emergency clinic they went.

On vacation, risks to your pet are increased. Stress is higher, but exposures to risk factors can be hard to estimate.

Did she eat a piece of the rug? Did she gnaw on a toxic plant that the owner didn’t know was poisonous to cats? Did she pick up a parasite that isn’t common in her hometown?

It turns out, mom poisoned her. Not in a malicious way, but in an effort to keep her healthy.

You see, Leia has a pink nose. Her mom was worried she’d get sunburned lounging on the porch. So she applied sunscreen. Leia licked it off, and the rest is messy history.

The product didn’t contain anything highly toxic, so long-term problems aren’t expected. Leia was treated and released.

Luckily for her and her family, this was the low point of their vacation.


Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at