Friday, August 31, 2012

National ProZinc Shortage - Is the PZI Generic Okay for your Diabetic Cat??

Trouble in Diabetesville
Shortage of ProZinc causes a scramble for feline insulin. 

Update - As of September 12th, ProZinc is available again in limited supplies. 

I own a busy cat practice, and we have a lot of diabetic cats in the practice.  Most diabetic cats require insulin injections to achieve good control of their diabetes.  Years ago, most veterinarians administered a type of insulin called protamine zinc insulin (PZI).  This insulin was derived mainly from cattle.  It was 90% beef, 10% pork in origin.  Cats respond well to bovine insulin, because the molecular structure of feline insulin most closely resembles bovine insulin; they differ by only one amino acid.  When recombinant human insulin became available, the demand for PZI insulin in humans disappeared, and it was not feasible for companies to continue to produce PZI insulin solely for use in domestic animals.  Veterinarians began using recombinant human insulin to treat diabetic cats.

Currently, there are several types of insulin products available for cats with diabetes.  Every practitioner has their own personal favorite.  Some people use insulin glargine (brand  name Lantus), while others prefer  a type called protamine  zinc insulin.  When Lantus became available, there were high hopes that this relatively long-acting insulin could be given only once daily.  Alas, this turned  out to not be the case.  Cats on Lantus still require twice daily insulin.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

No Holding Back: Top Nine Things that Cat Owners May Not Want to Hear from their Cat Veterinarian

As a cat veterinarian for over 20 years, I’ve noticed a few common themes to some of the questions and comments I get in the examination room.  Cat owners are amazing people.  They love their babies.  They want to protect their babies.  They want to know what the heck is up with their babies?!  It is an ongoing struggle trying to understand and communicate with feline creatures.  I decided to collect some common questions/comments and address them all in a blog post that I think my veterinary colleagues might relate to as much as my readers can.  I hope you can appreciate my tongue-in-cheek tone to some of these issues.  (Vets and Techs, did I miss any?  Let us know in comments.)

No Holding Back: Top Nine Things that Cat Owners May Not Want to Hear from their Cat Veterinarian

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Exceeding Expectations


As a veterinary practice owner, I’m constantly trying to find that happy balance between being a veterinarian, and being a businessman.  If I had my druthers, I would love to just practice veterinary medicine and devote myself 100% to the cats, and not have to worry about hiring and firing and inventory and revenue and  marketing.  But I’m also a control freak and I like to be in charge of my own life, and the only way you can really do this is to be your own boss.

Whenever I read business magazines, they’re always talking about “exceeding your customers expectations” as the key to a successful business.  It’s a phrase that’s been overused to the point where it’s become a groan-inducing cliché.  I always felt that this phrase didn’t apply to veterinary medicine the way it applies to other businesses, like a bank or a restaurant or the air conditioner repair guy.  With veterinary medicine, the expectations are already set very high: you’re expected to be able to diagnose what is wrong with the patient, and then prescribe the appropriate treatment so that the cat hopefully gets better.  Clients don’t come in thinking you’ll have no clue what might be wrong with their cat, and then are pleasantly surprised that you figured it out.  It doesn’t work that way in veterinary medicine.  Usually, the exceeding of the expectations occurs at the front desk, where the receptionist goes out of their way to fit you into a busy schedule, or in the treatment room, where the technician agrees to cut all 50 tablets into quarters to make it easier for the client.  When it comes to the medical part, the expectation, especially at a feline specialty practice, is that you’re the experts.  If you can’t figure it out, then no one can.  It’s a heavy responsibility, but it’s what vets (the motivated ones, anyway) thrive on.

Last week, however, we had two instances where expectations were exceeded, but this time, the expectations happened to be mine, and the exceeders were some members of my staff.  Perhaps it’s cheesy to toot our own horn, but what happened last week was cool, and it’s my blog, so I’m sharing.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Travels in China: Shanghai Day 4

MY TRAVELS IN CHINA: SHANGHAI DAY 4 

Dr. Arnold Plotnick of Manhattan Cat Specialists, loves to travel and loves cats.  So off he went... East... way way East... to China.  Over the course of the next few weeks, we will share the cultural and kitty cat highlights of Dr. Plotnick's trip.

(Continued from Day 3, pt 2)



Our last full day in Shanghai begins in Pudong, the neighborhood across the Huangpu River, where all the fancy skyscrapers are.  We decided that we weren’t going to spend lots of money going to the observation decks of all these gargantuan skyscrapers.  I live in NYC; I’d been to the World Trade Center observation deck a few times in the past, and the Empire State Building, and I’ve been in the CN tower in Toronto.

They all start to feel the same after a while.  But I certainly do like staring up at them from below.  The three biggies are the Oriental Pearl Tower, a huge space-age monstrosity.


There’s also the Shanghai World Financial Center, which  looks like a giant bottle-opener.  It has the world’s highest observation deck, on the 100th floor.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Travels in China: Shanghai Day 3 (part 2)

My Travels in China: Shanghai Day 3 (part 2)

Dr. Arnold Plotnick of Manhattan Cat Specialists, loves to travel and loves cats.  So off he went... East... way way East... to China.  Over the course of the next few weeks, we will share the cultural and kitty cat highlights of Dr. Plotnick's trip.

(Continued from Day 3, pt 1)

The Yu Yuan Bazaar is the city's largest Flea Market


Its narrow lanes are dotted with over 100 shops 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Travels in China: Shanghai Day 3 (Part 1)

My Travels in China: Shanghai Day 3 (Part 1)

Dr. Arnold Plotnick of Manhattan Cat Specialists, loves to travel and loves cats.  So off he went... East... way way East... to China.  Over the course of the next few weeks, we will share the cultural and kitty cat highlights of Dr. Plotnick's trip.

(Continued from Day 2)


Lots of very interesting things on tap for today.  Our hotel is in a part of town called the Old City, and so far we’ve explored many other neighborhoods, but not our own just yet.  The Old City is rich with history.  It’s bound to be a very interesting  day. We start with the Confucius temple.


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