I have four ginger kitties; Sunny, Shine, Skyy, and Snowflake. They are all beloved rescues. Sunny has been struggling with a chronic urinary tract infection for the past several months. Even though, as a kitty “mom” I knew something was wrong. As a retired nurse, I suspected a bladder infection. The vets, however, would not give him antibiotics without a urine sample. With the overuse of antibiotics, I do understand their caution. It was just hard to get one from one kitty when I have four cat boxes. I finally was able to get one when he started spraying. He did end up with a diagnosis of a severe bladder infection causing him to need a catheter and strong medications. They suspected the very expensive grain-free cat food I had been feeding my cats and placed him on a special diet. Nevertheless, he is now on antibiotics for the fourth time.
I like my vets. I have taken my fur babies to them for almost 20 years. What I realized was that, like human medicine, veterinary medicine seems to have morphed into the trust in tests and technology over observation, knowing our patients, and trusting that they (and their families) know more about what is going on with their bodies than any “expert” could possibly know.
I have been aware of this worship of technology over human knowledge, wisdom, and intuition in our human medicine. And now I am witnessing what appears to have become the norm in our veterinary medicine as well. I don’t think this is a good direction for any of us to be going in.
At the same time, I just realized that I have become part of the direction as well. My lessons are coming through my fish tank. I have five glow fish, two snails, and two catfish. When algae started taking over my tank, I was advised by a young man at the pet store to feed my fish only a small amount once a day. It just seemed that they were hungry every time I walked past the tank. So I was feeding them twice a day. My glow fish seemed to be doing great. But I kept having to replace my catfish. I finally googled why catfish die in aquariums. Right before my eyes —overfeeding fish and too much algae is a major reason for catfish dying. They have to clean it up. I finally heard it. I cleaned out my aquarium and took the feeding advice of the young man in the pet store. Now I have very active (which I assume is happy) glow fish, catfish, and snails.
Being a nature lover, I have been priding myself on taking good care of my animals, plants, and yard. Have I been perhaps a bit over-indulgent with both my kitties and my fish?
My aquarium reminds me of us humans in our environment. In the natural world, we tend to thrive. When our environment is polluted (perhaps from the abundant lifestyles we have grown so used to?), we are not well. Our bodies are our messengers, telling us when something is not right.
I am always talking to my patients about this. Yet I had the same message right before my eyes. We really do teach what we need to learn ourselves. Nature (and our bodies as part of nature) are always communicating with our minds, giving us feedback about when we are thriving and when we aren’t. In our culture of abundant and fast-paced lifestyles and dependence on technology, I am wondering when I am going to do this.