Research in Japan has shown that having a picture of food on your desk has no effect on your work rate or productivity. Hmm. Ground breaking information, this.
However, a picuture of an adult dog can increase your work rate by as much as 5%.
And a picture of a puppy on your desk can increase your productivity by up to 10%.
Imagine the effect of having a real puppy on your desk....
I'd say that would be a reduction efficiency of about 100%. Until the puppy fell asleep, at which point, having cleaned up the pee, blown the hair off the keyboard, repaired the chewed up mouse cable and spent 10 minutes sighing while silently cooing to yourself about how cute he/she is, you might be ready to start.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Q: With bonfire night approaching quickly have you any tips for helping my 9 year old border collie/spaniel cross cope with the sound of fireworks? We keep him indoors, but the noise has him shaking uncontrollably.
A: Keep him indoors during the evenings. Make sure he has a microchip for identification, wears a collar and ID tag at all times, and give him plenty of exercise during the day.
Back at home, give him a large high carbohydrate meal before the fireworks are likely to start, and provide him with a comfortable place to hide away, such as under furniture or even in a cupboard. Close all windows and doors, draw the curtains and turn on some music to muffle the noise outside.
Remember the golden rule of training: you reward with your attention the behaviour you want to encourage, and make every attempt to 'reward' undesireable behaviour by ignoring it.
So when he's a gibbering wreck as yet another rocket goes off in your show-off neighbour's garden, do not sweep him up in your arms and tell him what a good boy he is. You can of course allow him to come to you for comfort.
Do not even consider punishing him for his fear.
See if you can distract him with games or even a few training exercises and strongly reward any more normal interaction with you. Give him problem solving toys like a Kong stuffed with tasty food. Consider inviting one of his braver buddies round for a sleepover, invest in an Adaptil pheromone diffuser and a 'Sounds Scary' noise phobia CD (www.soundtherapy4pets.com) well in advance.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
I have just read the above letter in today's Sunday Times, and I just have to respond with the following account of my dog. Please feel free to forward to Mr Reinhard.
My heinz 57 dog, (looked like a cross between a small German Shepherd and a fox!) developed a hacking cough. My first thought: kennel cough, the vet thought the same. A month later, still had a cough so he said lets try more antibiotics, then, when still had a cough: anti-inflammatories etc etc. Lets check for a foreign body lodged in his throat. Nope, not that. During the course of the next 8 months, I changed vets 3 times, as no one was coming up with a suitable diagnosis or treatment. The dog had x-rays and even a scan. Cost a fortune. Meanwhile the dog still suffering with a dreadful cough.
So a friend said try a homeopathic approach. I thought a bit ridiculous, but friend explained what the vet had done for her dog. I was a bit reassured when I checked the vet out to discover that homeopathy is an additional certification undertaken by a conventionally qualified vet. So went to said vet. He took a long history of the dog, which took over an hour. He learned much more about the dog and his personality than any other vet I've been to. I asked a lot of questions about homeopathy and what 'medicines' would be best. Vet said it sometimes takes several goes to get the 'treatment' exactly right, "but when it's right, the results are really dramatic". He then came up with a plan and I went off, more than a little skeptically, I have to say, with a couple of small bottles of hocus-pocus.
Well, within 24 hours, the dog stopped coughing. It was dramatic alright. Now, I don't know whether the dog would've stopped coughing spontaneously anyway, but I do know the dog doesn't know what a placebo is.
Oh and by the way - I have a first class honours degree in Chemistry and a MA by research, so I know all about scientific method; but I have no idea how homeopathy works or if it does. I only know 3 conventional vets failed to cure my dog in 8 months and one trip to a homeopathic vet cured the dog in 24 hours.
Sincerely, Sam Ray
Monday, September 10, 2012
Now here's a thing. according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, if we all keep on eating the way we do now in the West, with 20% of our calorie intake coming from animal proteins, there will not be enough water for us all by 2050.
Which is not very far ahead in my children's diaries.
There's a whole bunch of numbers coming up, but stick with it, it's important.
I didn't realise that 70% of global freshwater use is for agriculture.
That somewhere between 30% and 50% of food is currently wasted between harvest and consumption.
That if the world population increases to 9 billion by 2050, world food production will have to increase by 70% to feed everyone.
And there won't be enough water available to sustain that.
UNLESS we reduce the proportion of animal-based foods we eat to just 5% of calorie intake.
Then we might just be OK, providing we sort out water saving and food distribution to limit wastage.
I can confess that World Water Week passed me by this year (it ended on August 31st), but the message is clear enough.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Hmmm, so Jeremy Hunt is the new Health Secretary.
And his views on complementary medicine?
Here's the text of an Early Day Motion he signed in 2007:
That this House welcomes the positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals; notes that some six million people use complementary treatments each year; believes that complementary medicine has the potential to offer clinically-effective and cost-effective solutions to common health problems faced by NHS patients, including chronic difficult to treat conditions such as musculoskeletal and other chronic pain, eczema, depression, anxiety and insomnia, allergy, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome; expresses concern that NHS cuts are threatening the future of these hospitals; and calls on the Government actively to support these valuable national assets.
Many people seem to get very animated aboutthe subject of homeopathy, either with wild excitement about the seemingly amazing improvement in their symptoms after homeopathic treatment or with a dose of wild apoplexy triggered by... well what is it exactly? Is it a fear that homeopathy might actually work despite the apparent nonsense of increasing potency with increasing dilution?
Across the world there are millions of people who feel better after being prescribed homeopathic remedies. In India, for example, over 100 million people use homeopathy as their sole method of healthcare, but despite that, the 'anti' brigade still argue that it's all about the placebo effect and is a massive delusion. But I'm a big fan of the placebo effect: if someone has the temerity to feel better, that's fine by me.
We use homeopathy alongside conventional medicine because there are times when our patients show changes and improvements in their health with homeopathic treatment. And now at last the Health Secretary, charged with the task of sorting out the NHS, seems to be relatively open-minded on the subject.
Watch this space...
Sunday, August 12, 2012
The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine has published a paper revealing that between 2004 and 2010, human injuries from 'exotic pets' resulted in hospitalisation for an average of 300 days per year... from a total of 760 medical consultations, 708 hospital admissions and 2121 hospital bed days.
It says that 376 of these hospital admissions were due to being 'bitten or crushed by other reptiles'. Bitten or crushed? By other reptiles? How big are these guys? And what precisely is an OTHER reptile?
I'm begining to wonder if these people up to something we weren't aware of when we set our exotic animal clinic?
Some of you will be aware that we have recently taken on vet Tim Hopkins who, apart from his work with cats and dogs, has a Masters Degree in Wild Animal Health and has a special interest in small, furry, scaly, fishy and feathered creatures. He came in on Friday, for goodness' sake, with a silly T-shirt tan from having spent the previous day down in Worthing taking swab samples from the indigenous population of sand lizards, looking for myxoviruses.
Nothing if not obscure.
You will be pleased to know that he has now been fully kitted out with protective equipment against possible crush injuries from OTHER reptiles at the clinic, not wishing to add to the already alarming national total of 1340 hospitalisation days racked up due to this particular type of injury.
He would just like me to point out that this is the Hyde Park, not the Jurassic Park, Veterinary Centre, and he is really quite good with hamsters, snakes and fish.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Richard Whitelock, the orthopaedic surgeon from Davies Veterinary Specialists who consults at the Hyde Park Veterinary Centre every Thursday (when he's not on holiday) also seems to have an interest in smaller versions of larger and more exotic animals when he is on holiday, it seems.
Moses the elephant (here at her home in Malawi) was found floating all alone on the nearby river. She has a congenital deformity of the flexor tendons of her hind legs, making walking very difficult for her at the moment.
They have constucted some padded casts to help support her legs while she grows into her tendons. Lets hope she does well...
That's Richard kneeling down, by the way. Moses is the one with the visible trunk.