Dog and cat owners have no problem finding veterinarians in their area to see their pets. Heck, even horse owners have no problem finding a trained professional to address their animal’s health and wellness. But what happens if your pet is a reptile? Who can you go to, and whom can you trust, when your reptile is sick? Who has the background, knowledge and experience to give you guidance to ensure you’re feeding your reptile properly, and providing it all the essentials it needs to thrive? That’s where a reptile vet can help. Of course, finding a reptile vet isn’t such an easy task. And when you do find one, how do you know he or she is right for your pet? Here are 3 tips on how to choose the right reptile vet for your animal.
- Ask other reptile owners. Perhaps the best way to find a trustworthy reptile vet is to ask other reptile owners who they go to. Referrals and recommendations are the best and most trustworthy method. You may also look for your local reptile society membership (if one exists), who can point you in the right direction.
- Talk to the vet about their background. Many vets treat a wide variety of animals, but the chances of them being proficient in reptile care is slim. Make sure you talk to your potential vet about his or her specific experience with reptile care.
- Ask about their special training. It’s sad to say, but there are vets out there who lie about their experience with reptiles. This can result in mistreatment of your reptile. That’s why it’s important that you ask for their specific credentials and training. If you think you’ve found a vet who has enough background working with reptiles, then ask them for referrals from current and past clients.
Despite being considered exotic, reptiles make wonderful pets. But they also need a good amount of care to ensure they remain happy and healthy for the duration of their lives. This will often times require the expertise of an unique reptile vet, who is specialized in helping you feed and care for your reptile properly, while being able to discern health concerns early on. If you have a reptile and are in need of a reptile vet, come discover why so many people put their trust in The Unusual Pet Vets. Visit them online at http://unusualpetvets.com.au/ to learn more.
Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. This post is based on my own personal experience and what Dr. Google has told me, and nothing more. Please don’t wean, or worse yet cold-turkey, any type of medication without consulting your physician.
I’ve watched and supported Dan through gradual and cold turkey withdrawal from several SSRIs and SNRIs (ah, the “joys” of having a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia which is really masking what is probably Cushing’s Disease – you wind up with perplexed doctors who try one drug routine after another with you in an attempt to successfully manage the relentless pain, sleep disorders, and anxiety), and now I myself am going through Zoloft withdrawal after cold-turkeying the drug after my last dose, which was last Monday. For a bit of background, I had been taking 100mg of Zoloft daily for about a year; and prior to that I had been taking 50mg of Zoloft for about four months. There are a couple of reasons why I have decided to stop taking Zoloft, as well as a couple of reasons as to why I cold-turkeyed rather than tapered. But let’s get into how to best handle the shitty symptoms that make you want to crawl into a hole and remain unconscious rather than be conscious during the lengthy withdrawal process:
I didn’t notice the “loss” of Zoloft until Thursday evening – Day 3. After a seemingly normal day I was suddenly blindsided by a bout of horrible nausea and vomiting. It took three attempts to take an anti-nausea pill because I kept throwing it up (aside: gastric bypass surgery and the subsequent random vomiting that goes along with that has trained me in the “art” of holding back vomit until a convenient and private location can be found, but SSRI-withdrawal-nausea doesn’t play around!). On Day 4 — Friday — the nausea had all but subsided, but in its place has been nearly-relentless dizziness, lightheadedness, vertigo, and fatigue. I think I have slept more in the past 72 hours than I’ve been awake. And when I am awake, I am dizzy, shaky, and somewhat unsteady – in addition to my head reeling and having an unpleasant sensation of my head being stuffed with water-soaked cotton, I’ve been having random muscle tremors and spasms, and have been clumsy — dropping things, miss-stepping, etc. Needless to say I don’t want to injure myself, my family members, or cause damage to our home, so I’ve been keeping away from the kitchen and all of its various dangerous appliances and accouterments.
Depending on how long you have been taking an SSRI, what your daily dosage is, and your individual sensitivity to both the medication and the sudden loss of it, you’ll find that the common SSRI withdrawal symptoms — nausea, vomiting, dizziness, vertigo, headaches, fatigue, body aches, etc. — can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to a couple of months. For me personally, given my history with Zoloft, I’m hopeful that I’ll fall into the average range of two to three weeks of withdrawal symptoms. Dan’s experience has been about that, and he’s been on everything from the common SSRIs (Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Klonopin) to the newer SNRIs (Cymbalta, Lyrica, Effexor) with various benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium, Buspar) tossed in for good measure.
With all of that said, here are my so-far-tried-and-true tips for minimizing the misery that is SSRI Withdrawal. Keep in mind that cold-turkeying an SSRI isn’t recommended not just because of the significantly more pronounced withdrawal symptoms, but also because there is a very real risk of seizures and the like. Only cold turkey an SSRI such as Zoloft if you absolutely have to, or if you absolutely cannot stand the idea of dragging out symptoms over the course of months it would take to taper from 100mg to 75mg, from 75mg to 50mg, and so on and so forth:
- Sleep it off: if you can, sleep as much as you can. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule, but don’t hesitate to go to bed an hour earlier, get up an hour later, and grab a mid-day nap. Chances are you’re going to feel sluggish and fatigued, so it won’t be hard to grab an extra hour or three.
- Take anti-nausea medication: OTC remedies such as Emetrol and Dramamine will help with the nausea; you can also ask your physician for a small prescription of Phenergan or Zofran (Dan and I are fortunate to have a lot of both left over from surgeries) for a stronger, longer-lasting antidote for the horrible nausea and vomiting that can accompany SSRI withdrawal.
- Take an anti-histamine: I haven’t done this myself, but I’ve read on more than one forum that a double dose of Benadryl can help with nausea and head fog.
- Keep Tylenol and Motrin close at hand: headaches suck, so kick them to the curb with Tylenol, Motrin, or even Excedrin (bonus: the included caffeine might chase away some of the continual drowsiness).
- Give yourself some extra energy: take or increase your daily regimen of vitamins B-6, B-12, and D.
- Take the edge off: take the edge off absolutely horrid symptoms with an SSRI, or a benzodiazepines such as Ativan or Valium. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but a small dose — such as 1/4th of your normal SSRI dose or a full 1mg of Ativan or 5mg of Valium — may get you over those especially hard humps. Just be sure to use this as an absolute last resort, or else you’ll drag out the time it takes your body (most notably your brain) to successfully withdrawal from the SSRIs.
- Ease body aches: use hot and cold compresses to ease head, neck, and back pain.
- Stay hydrated: this one should be a no-brainer, but it can be all too easy to forget to drink an adequate amount of liquids when you feel like a pile of re-fried shit. Keep a water bottle close at hand and sip, sip, sip all day long. If nausea and vomiting are persisting, switch to Gatorade or even Pedialyte to make sure you’re adequately hydrated with a proper balance of electrolytes.
- Tell trusted family and close friends: no one should have to go through this kind of thing alone. While you may be the only one dealing with the physical and emotional side effects of SSRI withdrawal, it will be helpful to have the support of household members, and even close family and friends who are willing to stop in and spend time with you. And, you’re going to be a bit of a mess physically, and emotionally you may be a mixture of irritable, weepy, and numb – it’s best to give those who live with you a head’s up not just for your sake, but also for theirs.
Finally, and most importantly: please do not taper or cold turkey an SSRI, SNRI, or similar medication without first checking with your doctor. These drugs are no joke!
Busy schedule + laziness + not a lot of gas in car = I forgot to pick up some medication refills last Monday. On Friday, I realized I was on day four of no Zoloft. This was a day after the vomiting and nausea began (and fortunately ended), but before the dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, and general feeling of “ick” kicked in.
For several weeks now I’ve been tossing around the idea of tapering off of my 100mg daily Zoloft; once I realized I was nearly at day five of a cold turkey I said fuck it, and I’m doing my best to stick it out without caving and running to Target for that prescription refill. But there are things I want to go away, and things I want to come back, that are motivating me to stick out the accidental Zoloft Cold Turkey Situation. If the average withdrawal from this particular SSRI at this particular dose after being on it for about a year is about two weeks, then I’m nearly halfway there, which means my symptoms should, at worse, not get any better – but they shouldn’t get any worse.
Things I want to go away:
- lack of sex drive
- stomach irritation
- quick withdrawal symptoms – by day 3 of a missed dose I’m nauseous and vomiting, and I don’t want to live a life where I’m watching the clock to make sure I get a drug into my system or else risking feeling physically ill
- the associated negative stigma surrounding mental health and people who choose to take an anti-depressant to help manage depression and/or anxiety
Things I want to return:
- feelings — both positive as well as negative — that tip the scales at more than a 3 on a scale of 1-10 (in other words, I’m sick of feeling like I’m on constant mute)
- my sex drive
I’m halfway there now. Cheer me on! Nothing weakens my resolve faster than DAYS of dizziness and vertigo. Fortunately I’m also quite tired and sluggish, so on my “off” time I’ve been napping the time away (sorry, Daniel).
I’m always on the lookout for new places to shop, and new fashion ideas. While I may not always have the budget or the body type to accommodate the places and ideas I find, I nevertheless have quite an extensive list of bookmarks. The newest one I added to my list is Zaful. Zaful promises a huge selection of collections and individual pieces that fashion-forward ladies will love. Zaful focuses on finding and delivering the latest trends, and staying hip, upbeat, and modern – but still keeping classic fashions available as well.
Here are a few Zaful items that I’ve added to my wishlist:
Fancy Lady Sweater – $25.12
I’d pair this with sparkling leggings and my no-shame-in-admitting-to-them-being-knockoffs wannabe-Ugg boots.
Forever ‘Til the End Black Sweatshirt – $36.64
as pictured, I’d wear this with a pair of skinny or bootcut distressed jeans and a pair of hot pink flats.
Broken Hole Skinny Jeans – $35.66
because you can never have too many pairs of jeans!
Tiny Floral Print A-Line Skirt – $22.12
I don’t currently have a top to coordinate with this skirt, but I love its print so much that I’d figure something out.
Starry Pattern Skinny Leggings – $18.52
ugh, MUST. GET. THESE.
Tetris Skinny Leggings – $20.09
AND THESE TOO, because TETRIS!
Platform Chunky Heel Lace-Up Ankle Boots – $30.16
Who doesn’t need a good pair of butt-kicking boots?
In addition to all sorts of clothing (including intimates and swimwear), Zaful also has a pretty decent selection of jewelry (here). I love unique earrings, necklaces, and rings especially, and Zaful’s got it all.
Interested in checking out Zaful? If you’re a blogger such as myself, consider their Affiliate Program (here) as a way to earn some revenue while promoting the fashionable items you love! But even “just” for shopping, Zaful offers great prices, flat-rate and standard shipping, and excellent return and exchange policies to ensure you’re completely satisfied with your purchases. Visit Zaful.com to learn more.
Disclosure: I received compensation for this post.
What started as flank pain shortly after Christmas has slowly evolved into continual low back pain. If I’m lucky, it stays in my lower back. But I’m running short of luck lately, so I’ve had the fun of experiencing both referred nerve pain/discomfort (pains in my shoulders, arm “sockets”, arms extending down to my wrists, hips, and legs; and also right foot numbness) and the associated muscle aches and pains one would have with a spinal fracture AND a retrolithesis of L5 on S1 which also causes nerve pinching. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that about two weeks ago, I broke down and asked Dan to take me to the ER. This was after I had seen the urologist, who sent me back to my PCP, whose lackey (our family physician office is also a teaching one, so we often get a resident rather than an actual physician; also, our particular physician deals with “chronic” patients who have chronic issues, so he is in somewhat high demand and it’s next to never that you can get an appointment with him unless you schedule one at least a week in advance) set me up with a referral to the practice’s networked orthopedic specialists.
I saw the urologist on a Tuesday morning, and my PCP that evening. It was Wednesday night, after eight hours of unanswered messages and unreturned phone calls to the doctor’s office that the pain in my back, left shoulder, and arm “socket” were so bad that I couldn’t take it, so to the damn ER we went. They did a shoulder x-ray to rule out any physical problem, and after the obviously negative results the somewhat abrupt attending ER physician finally listened to me and realized that it was just shitty back pain and a pinched nerve causing the horrible pain. They gave me a shot of Toradol since I can’t take NSAIDs orally (ulcer; also, gastric bypass surgery doesn’t just reduce the size of your stomach to a small pouch – it also reduces the amount of blood flow to it, so even if I didn’t have an active ulcer I still need to steer clear of NSAIDs), which helped a bit, as well as some Tramadol.
I saw the orthopedic specialist last Friday, and she ordered x-rays, didn’t say what all she saw on them, but noted during an extensive physical exam the overall muscle tightness in my back and shoulders, as well as something she has a term for that essentially means the nerves for my left leg are being adversely affected – my left leg is weak, and I wasn’t able to respond effectively to push/pull/lift/strength tests. A couple of days later I saw my PCP (again), and he ordered topical Lidocaine patches. These things are awesome – they don’t take away the pain and muscle tightness completely, but they certainly help!
The orthopedic specialist set me up with an MRI for February 4th, but due to our health insurance company not providing authorization in time, it was pushed to today. I showed up 15 minutes early, but because MONDAY and JUST MY LUCK, the machine was malfunctioning. The tech spent about 30 minutes trying to get it up and running for what would be a 15-minute scan, then gave up and rescheduled me for Wednesday.
So, I continue to bide my time, and deal with this shitty back pain and associated muscle pain and referred nerve pain that makes everything from my kidneys to my bladder to my hips to my arms (right now, my right one) hurt. Whine, bitch, moan. Rinse and repeat. :/