Thursday, August 16, 2007

Animal Stars of the Medical World

While I adore our princess kitty Layla and the ever-cheery Sophie the Airedale Terrier, I can't claim that they have any special talents other than providing endless amusement and generating rapid-camera responses to their antics. As a life-long sucker for cute, furry animals I'm completely non-biased (hey, I've named mice and logged their 'family trees'). As long as it has fur and is reasonably cuddly, count me in!

I've been quite impressed by some recent discoveries and I expect you will be too. Would you ever think that this sweet little boy has dangerously low blood sugars that are detected by a specially trained whippet? Kerri M. at Six Until Me interviews the little mister Demarco and his dog, Chino. My mom has been diabetic since 1982 and has had a few scary low blood sugars. I can't imagine being the parent of a young child and trying to interpret the typical young child behavior from that of a child with fluctuating blood sugars. Try to imagine distinguishing a "I'm teething and it hurts" cry from a "I'm wet and my diaper needs to be changed" cry from a "Please give me some sugar now." cry. As if parenting wasn't already hard enough!

If you keep up with the news, you may have heard about Oscar the Death Cat.
No, I'm not referring to ancient Egyptians beliefs...I'm referring to the modern day kitty who apparently has an uncanny knack of curling up next to nursing home residents in the hours preceding their deaths. Some critics have called the New England Journal of Medicine article a 'puff piece' and quite logically underscored a comment from the Yahoo! version of Oscar's fame:
Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal behavioral clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa’s article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar divides his time between the living and dying.

If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it’s also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person, Dodman said.

I don't know about all you critics, but this is one cute and cuddly thing that I don't want cuddling up to me!

1 comment:

Jen said...

I've run across several patients whose pets have tuned them into something wrong with the person's body, like a tumor or something. Scoff if you must, but it's interesting!