Nov. 3, 2020

Keeping Your Pets Happy and Healthy in 2020 with Veterinarian Dr. Alex Avery

#009 - For many of us, our pets are just as much a part of the family as we are. So keeping them happy and healthy is essential, especially that pets often bring so much joy to our kids.

In this episode, Veterinarian Dr. Alex Avery shares some helpful tips and stories for how to keep your pets happy and healthy in a stressful year.

For show notes, transcription, links, and more visit:

https://www.workinghomeparents.com/9

Connect with Dr. Alex at:

https://ourpetshealth.com/

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Transcript

Dr. Alex Avery:

I think the big job as a vet is not just dealing with the patient, but actually helping the owner through that situation, because it might be something that we've seen, you know, 10s, or hundreds or even thousands of times before, but for them, it's the very first time. And so it can be like you say, it can be really scary. It's uncharted waters. So you need a lot of guidance with maybe, you know, those dealing with those emotions, but also working through what the best course of action is for that particular pattern, that particular family, because there's always more than one thing that you can do for an individual and like working with people. It's just a huge, huge part of my job. And I think something that a lot of people don't really think of when they think of it that they think of you know, cuddling puppies and kittens and dealing with animals day in day out, but actually, dealing with those owners is the one probably the biggest part of the job, really,

Daniel Norton:

that clip you just heard was from today's guest, Dr. Alex Avery, a working companion animal veterinarian, as well as the founder of our pets. health.com. working from home with children is one thing, but it's a whole nother obstacle with pets. And especially through this time and the pandemic we've been through, when your pets are sick, or something is wrong with them. There is a whole nother level of stress involved. We're going to go into that with Dr. Alex today. So if you have pets, or you're thinking about getting pets, this episode is for you.

Bumper:

Welcome to working home parents helping you find stability between client calls, and potty training. Because we're all figuring this out as we go. And now your hosts Amanda and Dan Norton.

Amanda Norton:

Welcome to episode nine. This episode is going to be fun, we're talking with Dr. Alex, he is not only a vet out of New Zealand, but he also works from home building his YouTube channel and podcasts.

Daniel Norton:

Yeah, our pets health on YouTube and ask the vet podcast I'll make sure to link all those up in the shownotes at working home parents.com slash nine. Dr. Alex is a good friend of mine, we've become a good friend, because we've created YouTube videos together over the years and connected through various YouTube creator groups online. And this is exciting for me, there's a gonna be one video that we're going to talk about that we both did together that was sharing the story of my dog buddy and his challenge with vestibular disease. So if you've ever had vestibular disease with your dog, it's a really scary scenario. And it looks like it's the end, but it's not. So that was a cool video. We have also linked that up. We'll talk about that in the podcast. That's just some of the things but we we explore a bunch of different topics here, not just you know, vets, but also being able to work from home. And you know, some of the challenges like what we were doing creating a podcast with, you know, it's a whole nother thing, because I keep saying a whole nother thing. Is that today's that's the theme of what I'm going with. So anyway, I'm just blabbing on.

Amanda Norton:

Yeah, so let's get into the interview. Hi, Dr. Alex, welcome to working home parents podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Alex Avery:

I'm so excited to be joining you, Amanda and Dan. Yeah, thanks for having me on.

Daniel Norton:

We've connected for a long time now, which is pretty cool. Because like we're in New York, and you're over there in New Zealand. And so it's like this distance that we have yet we can be friends, we can be hanging out and chatting on video calls and all that stuff over the years, not even just during this COVID time. So, so cool to be connected with you and and now being able to chat with you on this podcast.

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah, it's awesome, isn't it? It's amazing how distances just shrink. And yeah, we got into this before COVID struck. But yeah, it's fantastic. The tools that are available to us are just unbelievable, which, you know, opens so many different opportunities. And it's almost a challenge then to decide which ones to take and which ones to leave behind. Absolutely.

Amanda Norton:

Yeah. Speaking of everything going on these days. Have you noticed in your practice and increase in pet adoption since the pandemic?

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah, so I've certainly been reading a lot about people taking on new puppies and kittens, you know, rescue shelter dogs and things. So over here, not so much. I think we are in a very fortunate situation where we haven't been so affected. You know, compared to the rest of the world. We had six weeks of, of really heavy restrictions and complete lockdown, but that six weeks compared to, you know what you guys have been putting up with for months and months. We had a little bit of a blip a few months ago or a month ago, but we're pretty much life as normal here. So from that point of view, my daily practices of actors has not really changed much at all apart from Yeah, that kind of six week curbside service that we had to offer. But you're right across the world. A lot of people are bringing puppies and kittens into the house and potentially having quite a lot of problems with that as well, because they've been there not been socialized while they've not been out and about and had lots of problems there. So I think just like any industry, there's been far reaching consequences and implications, you know, for vets, but yeah, that's no different to everyone else. Really.

Amanda Norton:

Yeah. Because I've noticed on Instagram and Facebook, everybody's like, I have a dog now. And people who don't ever consider getting pets are because of the pandemic, and their kids are home all the time. And now they're home to train an animal. Yeah, a lot of people are getting these animals. And yeah, like, so what, what would you expect to be an issue with the socialization, like you said, because, you know, it's not like you can bring your animals to dog parks right now, and some are doing that, because we have been a little bit better with the virus here. But can you give us some ideas of how this could affect the dog training or the cat, you know,

Dr. Alex Avery:

yeah, you can try catch. A lot of cats, I mean, in the US, especially cats are kind of indoor indoor animals. And whereas in the UK, and certainly New Zealand, they do tend to go out to more more often. So harness training cats is a big thing. But dogs so I think if we're thinking of, you know, raising a healthy dog or cat, we think of, you know, vaccinations, parasite control, all that kind of thing. But actually, the biggest cause of death and re homing in dogs under the age of three is behavioral problems, which is huge. So, you know, shelters are overwhelmed with dogs that are badly behaved, or we say that badly behaved, but they just haven't been given those experiences in their early stages of life. So it's really important, they're kind of brains are like sponges for the first, you know, up to about 16 to 20 weeks of age. And so they're just taking in sucking in all of this information, accepting it as normal learning their coping strategy, so that if they do come across something that they haven't come across later on in life, they've already kind of know how to how to deal with that. So so that's really the big thing, if they're not given that opportunity, then they're more likely to become scared of really, very little at all, maybe aggressive, that kind of thing. The other thing people need to be aware of is that they need to have exciting, interesting lives as well. So if they're just locked up at home, it can get a bit boring, especially if you know we're working from home, sure we're there. But we're still, we're still working, we're not showing them lots of attention. And maybe there's limitations in where we can take them out for a run to burn off some of that energy. So as an alternative to that we can give them like different puzzle toys, food treats, you know, having actual scheduled play sessions as well, is really beneficial. So there's a few things that we can do kind of despite the situation, but the important thing is to be aware that we actually need to do it in the first place and actually focus a dedicated time and put a lot of effort into that. And that that that will pay dividends later on to have a happy, well socialized dog who's a very well integrated member of the family.

Daniel Norton:

Yeah, I mean, I'm thinking to parents working, I mean, people working from home, they've got dogs, animals, or whatever, and you're on all these zoom calls all the time, if you got a new puppy or something, and they're barking, and it's loud, that you got a lot of stress added in in that area. So I could see there being a lot of issues, then in just ownership of an of an animal if they're barking so much. Yeah, maybe potentially having to give back.

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah, so crate training, you know, something that would be great for that kind of situation, your dog is, you know, very happy to go in the crate, you know, you get them happy to go in the crate, they know that that's their kind of quiet time. But equally, you can't just shut them in the crate. And you know, for the whole day, that's not going to work, they're going to, you know, need to get laid out, they're going to need to have that interaction, like I say, and that's all, you know, older animals as well as the younger animals, because it's a big stress for old animals, even if they are, you know, well integrated. They've been in the family home, they're part of the family for a number of years, that change in our schedule. So suddenly, we're all at home working from home, or the kids or, you know, homeschooling or whatever that changes schedule can be really disrupting for cats, that is actually a really big cause of stress, especially dogs too. But cats get really stressed by any change in routine. And you get all kinds of problems with spraying and, you know, destroying things. And yeah, all kinds of issues there. So yeah, I think we need to be mindful that their lives have changed, just like ours.

Amanda Norton:

Good point. Oh, didn't even think of that. Yeah, um, can you tell us about an experience with the case at your practice that was super challenging for you, but then something that you learned from it?

Dr. Alex Avery:

Well as so many, so yeah, I mean, we, we say, you know, we well, it's a bit of a cliche to say that life is about is different every day and I mean, like many jobs, there's a certain amount of routine that we do and you know, there's a lot of vaccinations routine health checks are very important, but they, you know, they are a routine and can sometimes get mundane if you're doing them back to back day in, day out. But yeah, we do definitely get some big cases. I guess, one that I think of earlier in the year, we had a little cat who had Potentially swallowed some string, and was vomiting. And we couldn't really work out why the X rays were a bit inconclusive. But where it was suggestive of that, so we went in there. And this some piece of string, it actually got wrapped around the base of their tongue as well. So you couldn't see it, it's quite difficult to look in the very back of a cat or a dog's mouth because that, you know, they're chewing and their tongues massive, so it kind of obscures thing. So we only saw that after we'd Nisa ties this cat. And then yeah, we had to go in and obviously remove that. So that involved a reasonably lengthy surgery we had to make, I think it was four different cuts into the intestines to remove this big long piece of string. So it just kind of like spreads out all the way through the intestines, what happens the intestines try and kind of move it along, just like they normally would a piece of food, but it's not going anywhere. And it almost cuts through like a bit of a cheese wire, through the intestine. So it can be really dangerous. Thankfully, this young kid that hadn't got to that stage, but we had to then place a feeding tube, because understandably, you know, this week, cat wasn't going to want to eat for a few days afterwards. So anticipating that and without wanting to knock out again, a few days later, we had to place that feeding tube, and then it was a case of nursing it through, you know, that post op period, which is, I guess, the learning here, I mean, it's not so much a new learning, but the big takeaway is that it's a real team effort. So you know, where, you know, as a vet, obviously, I'm the one doing the surgery, but my nursing team are doing the anaesthetic, they are doing the ongoing feeding. So it's a big team effort. And we're we're not able to get through the work that we do without, you know, without that team events by myself, I'm not completely useless. But you know, there's very little that I can can actually do without having that team behind me. So yeah, that was a great example of, you know, the team team pulled together, and the capital through and I think four days, five days later, went home and post check, it was absolutely fine and bouncing off the walls again, which is really rewarding. And those are the fantastic rewarding cases that we will remember.

Amanda Norton:

Oh, wow. That would it that would be so terrifying as a pet owner to hear how this happened. And, and to feel that guilt. Like Yeah, you ever experienced, like having to like almost counsel these these pet owners? Like, it's okay, it happens like, yeah, I'm really close to the pet owners and stuff like that. Yeah,

Dr. Alex Avery:

you do not actually one of my, one of the things that I enjoy most about the job is getting that interaction and building those relationships with, with the pet owners. Yeah, I find that you know, very rewarding you, you kind of learn what they want, they learn kind of how you practice medicine and surgery and things. Um, so yeah, I find that really, really beneficial. And, yes, I think the big job as a vet is not just dealing with the patient, but actually helping the owner through that situation, because it might be something that we've seen, you know, 10s or hundreds or even thousands of times before, but for them, it's the very first time. And so it can be like you say it can be really scary. It's uncharted waters. So you need a lot of guidance with maybe you know, those dealing with those emotions, but also working through what the best course of action is for that particular pattern that particular family. Because there's always more than one thing that you can do for an individual. And that's going to be based on, you know, the expertise and equipment that are available, the the financial implications of whatever plan that you do, what they're able to manage at home with regards medication or rehabilitation or anything. So, yeah, I like working with people. It's just a huge, huge part of my job. And I think something that a lot of people don't really think of when they think of it that they think of you know, cuddling puppies and kittens and dealing with animals day in and day out. But actually dealing with those owners is the Well, probably the biggest parts of the job ready,

Daniel Norton:

right? I can imagine because of how emotional it is with a pet because well, one you get so attached, but the life is nowhere near as long as human would be so often you're, you're dealing with grief, I think that's the hardest part of being like a pet owner having a pet, especially when you have kids. Because when it comes to that point, where were they if you have to make a decision to put your pet down or whenever anything happens. It's it seemingly happens so often, even if it's like 12 years, or,

Dr. Alex Avery:

well, that's a big life event isn't a big life event. So you remember it?

Daniel Norton:

Yeah. So I imagine you must deal with that often.

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah, it's, um, you know, thankfully, not a daily thing that we're having to do. But you know, every every week, you know, at the very least, it's gonna be one or two euthanasia sort of thought. So yeah, it's very, very common. Yeah, and it's challenging to go through and the challenge can also be you go from putting, you know, a beloved family member to sleep, euthanizing them and then the very next consultation is someone's bringing a brand new puppy and they're super excited and you know, it's going from one emotional you know, low to an emotional high and trying to you know, not kind of dragging your your down feelings, you know, into that next puppy concert for example. So, you know, that is a definite challenge with the, with the job and a lot of people find that, yeah, find that difficult. I mean, when you're when you're talking about losing a pet and yeah, having a kids involved does add another level of complexity because you're trying to deal with your emotions and explain what's going on to them. It is important that, you know, especially if you've got an older pet who's maybe starting to suffer from a few medical conditions, actually, you know, involving your children in the conversation around, you know, what's going on what the medication is, what the likely prognosis is, obviously, you know, you can have age appropriate language and age appropriate conversations. But, you know, we'll sometimes get people who bring in their pattern, it might just be a small pocket pattern, you know, a little hamster or something. But, you know, cats or dogs when people go, Oh, you know, they were, you know, they weren't well, and that can save them or something like that, which wasn't necessarily the whole truth. Or some people say, Oh, no, they've, you know, they've run away and they've not come home. And so they're not even, you know, they're not getting that closure. If you're talking to them early on in life, you know, early on in the game, our kids, they're so resilient. And actually, they don't enjoy going through that process at the time, but it makes for much greater resilience later on in life when they you know, because inevitably, as we go through life, we lose, lose people that are close to us. So if they've had those, those early experiences, then it actually sets them up much better for those inevitable losses later on in life when they're when they're older.

Daniel Norton:

That's interesting. Yeah. I mean, we did a video about this with you, we A few years ago, about vestibular disease with you know, dog, it's, you know, a Yo, explain if you can, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Alex Avery:

So, diseases. Yeah. When they, when they basically lose their balance. I mean, like I say, it's almost like an extreme vertigo. We don't really know why it happens. It comes on very suddenly. And it looks, I'm incredibly like a stroke, which is exactly its body, isn't it? Your dog? That's exactly what some Yeah, what he looked like, yeah,

Daniel Norton:

yeah. So dealing with things like that to where you just don't know what's happening, that those things can be incredibly difficult with within, you know, older dogs or whatever, any any age, really, but I know that that tends to be more older dogs. And, you know, I had a situation with with my dog a few years ago, and, and he had the vestibular syndrome, we didn't know what it was, and he was in the, you know, we thought we were gonna have to put them down. And I read a blog that kind of explained someone else going through the scenario. And they waited like five days before they made their decision, and the dog was able to stand up and came back and everything pretty much became normal. That was so inspiring to me that, you know, I had reached out to Alex and said, like, hey, I'd love to do a video together where I could explain the story. And you can kind of give the, that that side of it. And we we chatted back and forth. And we've actually done a number of videos together between our two channels. And, and it's cool looking back at it. Now I'm going to link that up in the show notes, that particular video. It's on our pets Health, Dr. Alex channel. There's a lot of people that have gone through that same scenario that I did, and they're finding, you know, encouragement through that it's so cool to read. I remember one night recently, I was going back through it. And it was almost like, like making almost like emotional, a little bit reading to see all these people that are like, Okay, I have hope. And that's such a hard scenario, especially if you got kids and a family and your dog this way.

Dr. Alex Avery:

And I think there's one thing you know that because we've got to write those a Clive did a few kind of videos on vestibular disease, and I think it's great that people can, you know, hear exactly what it is. And you know, these are the different options, and this is how to take care of your dog. But actually listening to somebody who's had that experience is, yeah, I mean, it makes you feel like you're not alone. And yes, and there's hope, like you say, and yeah, that video. I mean, the, the feedback from it is fantastic. Because, yeah, like say it's such a dramatic looking disease, actually, you know, so many people go in thinking that this is my final trip to the vet, but the chance of recovery is actually incredibly good. So but but it's one thing for us as vets to say that and people look, you know, and you think, Wow, this looks really bad. You just you just you know, saying that because you don't want to let me know how bad it is. Well, actually, you know, having someone say their experiences of exactly that thing. Yeah, it's really, really valuable. And people get have found great comfort. I know. That's awesome.

Amanda Norton:

So I read your bio, and learned that your wife is a dairy vet.

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yep, that's right. Yep.

Amanda Norton:

That is so great. And then you have two kids, six and seven years old.

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yep. So we, we met Yeah, met at vet school, and got married kind of three years after graduating. So and then we went, yeah, then we kind of went traveling around the world. So we are from the UK originally. And we decided, well, let's see the we've always enjoyed traveling, but it's either we settle down to a mortgage and you know, that's, that's, you know, that's the end of traveling opportunities or we'll we'll go around the world and yeah, so we did that we'd went through Asia for I think it was six months or so and settled in New Zealand for it. It was only ever going to be for a year. We knew that it was a place where that's we're very lucky with our profession there. There's a lot of career opportunities across the world. So we knew New Zealand we didn't have to take any extra exams and there was plenty of jobs. We thought, well, we'll we'll kind of restock the bank account and then work our way back home after it after a year and Yeah, we ended up not really leaving so we had both our both our kids in New Zealand So Tom came along first and then Lucy afterwards. But we did try to move back to the UK but kind of we'd been yeah New Zealand who kind of got under our skin and and we quickly came back. So we've been back for nearly four years now. So yeah, both of us have X which is its own challenge with on calls and working nights and all that kind of thing in emergencies. But yeah, we love it. Love it, I hear for that for family life. It's fantastic. The outdoors, the sport focus, the schools are great, and we've got we're just live in a small, small little town and, and the school is fantastic. And there's so many different opportunities over here as well. And, and I guess at the current time, we're quite lucky to be kind of isolated in the middle of nowhere in the in the Southern Ocean. Really?

Amanda Norton:

That is amazing. How do you balance your time with your family and your work life? Cuz like you said the on calls happen and those are so unexpected. And they always happen at like, probably the like the worst time. You're probably like ready to go to bed? And then oh, I gotta go back to the office or Yeah, go to somebody.

Dr. Alex Avery:

It's, yeah, it's a challenge. Like, I guess with Yeah, cuz we do a lot we do a lot. But since since Tom was born, I've only I kind of went from a five day week to a four day week, and I've only worked a four day week. So again, that's one of the other benefits of the job, there is quite a lot of flexibility maybe with with working days, and hours in cities as well. If you're a vet in the city, you can potentially do you know, like after hours or your your shift work might be you know, you can you can get that fit that around family life. So, yeah, I do a four day week, my wife does a three day week with a with both kids now in school, she has started to kind of increase her hours just while they're in school, and then on holiday times kind of cuts back again. So you know, we're very fortunate for that. One thing I struggled with this, because I do a lot of the online stuff is is kind of coming home and then you know, you put the kids to bed and then it's straight on to the computer. And your mind is always going well I need to do this. I need to do that. And weekends, you know, that kind of continues as well as I'm sure it's the same for you guys. You're thinking I've still got that podcast to edit or you know that that blog post to rides. So it's trying not to steal? Yes, steal time from your family, which I do struggle. I go through phases where I'm very, very good. And the phones away, it's you know, it's not out with me. And then other times where, you know, my mind is wandering a little bit. So that's a bit of a constant, a constant battle, but trying to be just mindful. Yeah. mindful that if that is happening to put a stop to it, I guess. And yeah, my kids are pretty good at telling me they get that get that screen away. You're not allowed any more screen time than we are. So yeah, yeah. So I think the balance is pretty. Yeah, we've got it pretty reasonable most of the time.

Daniel Norton:

Right? Well, it and that's the thing, I think up here that nearly all of it works in an office, but you you create YouTube videos, you have a podcast, yeah, you have a lot of content you create online, and that people around the world are finding helpful not even just your local, the people locally to you. So in that sense, you are a working home parent, even though you you probably I mean, I think we do most of this stuff in an office or?

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah, so I mean, most of the most of you know, my day, my day job is always in, you know, going to the vet's office and yeah, that's where everything, everything happens. But yeah, otherwise, it's a case of coming home. And, yeah, I've got the computer setup, you know, well, I've got the the background for the videos, so I'm all ready to go. And it's just a case of trying to work and you know, batch production is a real friend. So, you know, for example, where we're talking now, kind of the end of October, and I've pretty much got all of my podcasts and videos until the end of the year, you know, filmed and done, they're still waiting to be edited. But you know, that part of it is done. What I've also what I've also found important was is taking breaks. So with the content production is a bit of a hamster wheel that everyone is aware of. And batch production does help to a certain extent with that, but there's still that I just need to check everything's optimized for, you know, for publishing, you know, whenever it's scheduled for and given a double check. So I did take confirm last year, I took kind of six weeks off around Christmas and the whole of January. And I've also took take the whole of July, I think it was off as well, just to have a bit of a break and switch off. And yeah, I'm kind of looking forward to my break again at the end of this year. So I think that's really important. And actually, you know, you hear it from people, you know, your, your downloads and things won't suffer and they didn't so you know, I think it was valuable. And even if they had I think from a long term sustainability point of view, it's really important to look after yourself as well. And I'd be the first to admit that I don't do enough exercise normally and yes, I spent too much time in front of the computer, but I think having that scheduled time off is is really important. I can just shut everything down and not and not think about it.

Amanda Norton:

So true. That's so healthy for us. What kind of activities do you do with your family in your breaks when you guys are on a month Off break or you know, just even during the weekends when you guys just have some family time some downtime.

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah. So, yeah, it's been great like with the kids getting to the age that they are. So six and seven are soon to be eight, we've kind of almost started to get our old lives back, which sounds, you know, a bit resentful of them when they're younger, but you can kind of do all the things that you used to that you used to enjoy. So we always used to do a lot of hiking. Um, so we call it tramping over here in New Zealand, there's a lot of back country huts as well that you can stay in and network of tracks and things like that. So we've started to do that with the kids. And we have over the last couple of years can take them on a few shorter ones. But just a couple of weekends ago, we went in and it was a just a short, I think it was nine or 10 K to the hearts. It's a real family friendly hotness. So one that's renowned for people going on their first tramp, so with family and they were a load of other kids there and it was by a lake and yeah, they absolutely loved it. And they had loads of other kind of friends to make and, and play with. So that kind of thing is really good. We spend a lot of time on the beach as well. We're about an hour and a half from our nearest kind of, you know, beautiful golden sand surf beach. And again being New Zealand, there's no one else that lives here. It's really quiet. It's um, you know, beautiful. So I'm getting back into surfing which I used to do in the dim and distant past. And otherwise it's just you know, kind of Saturday sports and things So Tom plays football Lucy started netball swimming as a popular one. Yeah, so we definitely don't struggle finding things to things to do but we do try and get outdoors a lot you know, and that's even just like a bike ride or walk around the block. But yeah, we spend a lot of time outdoors when the when the weather allows.

Amanda Norton:

That's awesome. What is netball?

Dr. Alex Avery:

Oh, netball. Okay, sure, yeah. And netball had to describe that. So it's like, um, it's almost like a sport like basketball. It's played by women. Predominantly, I think there are a few male teams, but you can't you can't actually run with the ball. So you kind of catch it and you have to stay still. And the players I've been like, my understanding of netball is pretty limited. But yeah, like, like a version of basketball. Really?

Daniel Norton:

Cool. Nice. That's cool. Yeah, I whenever I think of New Zealand, it's always I always see like, it looks like a fantasy land. Like the way. Yeah, well, especially coming from us New Yorkers. We're not upstate New York, or like close to the City, New York. Yeah. So just seeing all that stuff always looks so amazing. Because I've always thought about, like, I need to get out there. And eventually,

Dr. Alex Avery:

yeah, it's amazing. And I think the big thing is that, you know, because there's so many parts of the world and the states has got some spectacular national parks and things. But it's just the proximity to everything, because we're a long thin Island. So for example, where we live, we live kind of just as the just as the mountains are starting. So where, you know, like I say, an hour and a half to our nearest, you know, beautiful beach, although we're only about half an hour from the coast, it's just not a safe part of the coast to swim in. And then, but we can be in the near ski field in an hour and a half the other way. So you know, we've got mountains one way beach the other way. And it's just that contrast, so you don't have to travel far to yet get a complete contrast, which is maybe very different to other parts of the world. But yeah, I mean, it's, it's beautiful here, and yeah, we'd love it.

Daniel Norton:

That's amazing. And right now you go you're coming into like your summer.

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yep. So the weather's getting good. We did. I think we had a frost a couple of days ago. But hopefully that'll be our last one. But yeah, the sun shining, and I think it's looking like it's gonna be, you know, maybe touching 20 degrees today. So it's a beautiful spring day. And yeah, love it.

Amanda Norton:

So great. What made you start a YouTube channel? Because, you know, it's like, like you said, you have a full time job, you work. You work long hours, I'm sure. With that. And what made you jump into that? Because that is that's definitely a lot.

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah, I think if I if I'd known how much work it was gonna be in hindsight, I maybe wouldn't have started. But the thing with the thing with being a vet is that we, you know, will, we deal with a lot of there's a lot of misinformation online, there's a lot of really bad information. There's a lot of people who are, you know, letting people know that their experiences with their pet, which in itself isn't bad, but they're not aware of actually, all the intricacies, they're not aware maybe that their pet wasn't a typical case. So for example, with buddy, if actually most, most dogs didn't recover from that condition, but buddy, did you know, then potentially, you'd have been giving people false hope by giving that story. So, you know, there's a lot of things like that, and there's a lot of the anti Vax movement, pet food as a huge, you know, huge topic that, you know, generates a lot of different opinions. So trying to deal with a lot of that, you know, can get frustrating and, and I recognize that there's actually not, you know, most facts don't have time to put the content out the ID by any stretch. So, you know, there's a lot of this alternative information, which is often misleading. It's not necessarily done on purpose from that point of view, but, you know, it doesn't give the full picture. It's not evidence based. It's not based on fact and experience and work. working knowledge of how how animals work and how, you know, we normally need to go about doing whatever we're doing. So I could have recognized that gap. And then because the kids were getting older, and they were both on my Lucy, it was when Lucy started kindy. So I went from having to, you know, full time parent to having a few hours to myself, I thought, well, you know, what, four, four days a week? So I'll have a morning where I can, you know, I can't can't be too hard to do a few bits and pieces. And yeah, it quickly spawned into every every evening spent, yeah, doing doing work of one description. So yeah, that's really why I started it just to try and get some good information to people so that they can make up their own minds based on high quality evidence based information. And it might be that their conclusion is the same, or they completely disagree with what my kind of opinion would be. But if they've had that information, then they're making an informed decision, rather than one that's not based on all of the facts. Because the other thing is, and it's the same with anyone, I don't know if you've seen them, other than the Netflix program. Is that the social experiment, the latest one yet? Yeah, so really, you know, really good. And it goes with every kind of everything that we look at online, it's very easy to, for social media to just be that echo chamber where you know, you look at one topic, it's maybe a bit of a mesh, Nishan marginal topic, but you'd like that post, and you automatically get fed. Everything else that just leads your opinions to become more and more extreme. And I imagine you guys are going through that with the elections and things at the moment. The build up to that. Yeah, let's not, let's not talk. You know what I mean? So so you know, the same, the same is in the pet world. So yeah, I started the YouTube channel. And that's been always been my focus, because there really was nothing or those, you know, there's a couple of that's you put a few videos, but there's nothing that had a good body of work. And that was really showing up well in search. So yeah, that's why I jumped into YouTube, and then figured, well, I can take the audio from that and put it on a podcast, which has since changed to a podcast specific kind of format. And then you obviously need then need a blog, but then you have to write the blog post as well. So yeah, it's

Daniel Norton:

a snowball.

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah, if I was going, if I could give myself one piece of advice, kind of going back, it would be just focused on one thing and ignore the rest until you've got everything down. Because, yeah, definitely, I mean, my growth of the YouTube channel is not as I think is not as good as it could have been. You know, that that? Yeah, if I'd if I'd focused on it, 100%. But, you know, I've started everything now. And I enjoy doing all of the little different things that I enjoy learning new skills and things. So yeah, it's been a wild ride, for sure. Yeah,

Amanda Norton:

I've enjoyed, literally, I think it's every week, since I subscribe, you really do post every single week, if you're so diligent with it, and I get so excited because I learned so much from it. I know some of my friends have told me they are using it because they just got a new puppy because of the pandemic and everything. And they're using it for to help train their pets. And some of them were saying, like, if it wasn't for Dr. Alex, I probably would have just given my dog back to my friend. To me. Um, yeah, I was told because my, she said her dog was growling at the kids. And she was like, Oh, this is not a good sign. I'm thinking of just, you know, giving the dog back. Um, but she's like, but I saw this video. And it really helped me just get more confident in my training and to teach the kids to also be a tool and an asset into the training process of the dog because you got to teach the kids how to train the dog to like, they all have to be in it. So she was so encouraged. So thanks to you, they kept the dog. And they love that. dog is a wonderfully well trained dog. So, um, so yeah.

Daniel Norton:

Yeah, well, I mean, I think that, that, that shows like, Hey, if you're listening and you've ever considered, should I maybe write a blog? Should I maybe make a podcast? Should I make a YouTube channel, write a book, on top of all, or using, you know, the expertise you have on top of all the other things? You know, looking at what Dr. Alex has done with our pet's health, that that should be an inspiration. That is possible, right? It's possible to do even with kids, I mean, even even with doing that, but you have the opportunity now, to help people all the way on the other side of the world that you might not even ever know or realize that you get.

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah, I mean, those connections with other people is I mean, it's a bit like working as a vet, you know, it's those people relationships and actually connecting, you know, like with you guys is, you know, is one of the great joys that I get from the whole project. But you're right. I mean, there's no, you know, there's no limitations to what you can do. And I think we all have, well, maybe I don't feel like I've got a lot of extra time now. But, you know, we all turn the TV on for a couple of hours in an evening and it doesn't, you know, it doesn't take much if it's something that you enjoy, and it's you're passionate about, then yeah, putting a podcast together or, you know, writing a few pages of that book that you've got in you as you know, there's actually a joy and his positive use of your time rather than you know, looking back into thinking, Well, what did I do every week? And, you know, sure, at different stages of life, you've got a brand new baby, and you know, you're by yourself and that kind of thing, then that's not going to be possible. But yeah, it's it's Yeah, recognizing where you can spend that time. And, yeah, just taking baby steps. And if you're in it for the long run, then it's amazing what can happen and how things will snowball, and you never know the opportunities that are going to present themselves just by putting yourself in that situation as well.

Daniel Norton:

One question I would have in that scenario, right, you got, maybe you're doing a bunch of things, you've got a lot of stuff going on, you're working. If you got kids and all that, and you get a new a new pet, what would be like one, one tip that you would give to a family? Or what would be like what one piece of advice that you would give

Dr. Alex Avery:

for bringing in like a new a new pet into a scenario where there's a lot of Super buisiness with kids in in a house, I think you need to be realistic about what life is going to be like in the time that needs to be put in the very beginning. So it should never be a whim decision and off the cuff decision. And actually, on my podcast, I've just spoken to this amazing person about bringing a new puppy and the Christmas gift situation because, you know, we're coming into Christmas. And unfortunately, on Boxing Day, every year, there's always the first newspaper article saying puppies abandoned. That was given as a gift the day before, and you know, happens without fail, which is this is heartbreaking. So it's being Yeah, I mean, what up? Yeah, I don't have one one tip for you dying? There's so much I could say. But yeah, I guess being realistic of what's involved of the costs involved with having a pet as well. You know, and then I guess the one tip would be going to see that and listen to what they have to tell you. And ask lots of questions about what needs to happen and what the best thing is, because how to manage that, you know, whether it's a dog or a cat or puppy, or kitten, an older senior animal, they're all going to have different kind of unique requirements that will help them fit in optimally with your family and your situation as well. So have that honest discussion and have a good relationship with your vet and come to our pets health as well. Yeah,

Amanda Norton:

I was gonna say yeah, where can our listeners connect with you? So our pets health? Do you have a blog or anything that you usually connect with other?

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah, so if you go to our pets health.com, then that's really that's got links to everything, you'll see the videos embedded on the blog post, which will take you to the YouTube channel, there's the the navigation to the podcast. If you're on social media, then Instagram is probably where I'm most active at the moment. That's one thing where I've tried to, you know, I tried to be everywhere to start with, but actually I've just narrowed things down, and I'm not really doing Twitter anymore. You know, not on Facebook that much. So Instagrams where I'm not there yet, but if you punch in our pet's health, and it'll probably I'll probably come up somewhere pretty close to the top.

Daniel Norton:

Right. And your podcast is called that cool that?

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yep, that's right. Yep. So that's just um, so that was like this, start off just taking people's questions, and there is the option to leave your question there. But I've also started bringing on expert guests as well. So to bring a different flavor and to bring their experiences about, about things that I'm you know, not so not so knowledgeable on because I think it's important that we all recognize where our limitations are, and that there's always going to be people who know more than you in specific areas. So I've got some great guests lined up.

Daniel Norton:

I love that so people could still leave a question on

Dr. Alex Avery:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So most of the episodes are question question related. Say those Yeah, like, say the link on the website. And you can just download your question, and that'll be Yeah, be answered on on an upcoming episode.

Daniel Norton:

Yeah, I love this. Okay. Just before we wrap up, what's the big because we're New Yorkers, and he likes to watch these, like vet shows, like Dr. Pol, and stuff like that. Mm hmm. What's the difference between, like, what's the big? I mean, obviously, there's big there, but like, what's the big there's been like the vet work you do and then like a dairy vet.

Dr. Alex Avery:

So I guess we are as a companion animal fat, I'm much more focused on the individual animal side as clearly it was all about the individual animal. So if they're on you know, they're on well, their preventive health care, you know, it's massively important, but we're focusing on that individual. The difference with a large animal that production animal that is its is, I guess, is that they're a production animal that so they're focused on not that they're ignoring kind of health and things like that. That's a huge obviously, that's a huge part. And that's the main focus, but they're looking at it from a herd level, often. So it's to say, Well, why is so okay, this might this problem might have developed in one cow, okay, well, we can fix that one cow. But if it's happening in four or five or six, then actually what systems do we need to change to, you know, to make sure that it doesn't happen to more so kind of that taking that herd approach? And also when it comes to optimizing production, you know, those different things so, you know, in increasing growth rates, you're looking at things you're making decisions based on what's happening to an awful lot of different animals rather than just on an individual. Yeah, I guess maybe that's the the difference in your obviously going on farm and You're doing so you're doing a lot of different different types of jobs that we wouldn't really do and companion animal practice. It's been a long time since I've seen any cows or horses. I did do that for my first my first job. I was a mixed mixed practice vet for three years, which I loved. So I did about 40% of my work was cattle and maybe 10% was horses. But yeah, that was a number of years ago. So I probably know a dangerously a dangerous amount where I don't know enough to actually make a difference, but I can kind of remember all the wrong words and phrases.

Daniel Norton:

Yeah, I can't imagine working on an animal that big. Yeah, it's pretty

Dr. Alex Avery:

scary. Sometimes the big bulls, especially like, who don't get handled much there. Yeah. I mean, unfortunately, they were tragic accidents that do happen never yet, but you know, it's just, if you're doing it on a day in, day, out, day out basis, then you learn to read their body language, just like you know, you're saying with the with the puppy that's maybe showing a bit of aggression. You know, they're probably letting you know that they're stressed beforehand, but we just need to be aware of what that body language is telling us.

Unknown:

Yeah, definitely.

Daniel Norton:

Well, I love it. So much. So much good stuff right here, especially for all the pet owners that are that are in the audience. So

Amanda Norton:

thank you so much, Dr. Alex, this was so great. I really look forward to seeing more videos. Is your wife on the channel sometimes with you at

Dr. Alex Avery:

all? I don't know. She's not nice, nice camera shot and yeah, she's never done any. She's never done anything with pets as well. So. Okay, yeah. So she wouldn't be the biggest use but she's a great cheerleader behind the scenes and certainly, you know, helps keep me motivated when, you know, you're feeling a bit low. So yeah, no, it's been lapsley. pleasure. Thanks for thanks for having me on. It's been a Yeah, great, too. Great to chat.

Daniel Norton:

Well, that was episode nine, there was so many great takeaways. And if you want to connect with Dr. Alex, make sure you check out his website, our pets health.com. We'll also put all the links and everything else in the show notes at working home parents.com slash nine. So if you want to see the links, and to his YouTube channel, podcasts and all of that, you could check it out there. And hey, if you like this episode, and would like to get more of it right into your favorite podcast app of choice. If you haven't already. Don't forget to hit subscribe. And we'd love to hear from you. Leave us a review on Apple iTunes, honest review. Love to hear what you think about the show. And you can even leave us a voice message over at working home parents.com there's a little button to leave us a voice message. Maybe it'll spring on a show. Maybe you'll hear it an episode about what you request or ask or let us know what you think we'd love to hear from you. Well, thanks for listening. We look forward to talking with you in our next episode. Thank you

Bumper:

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