Sunday, May 4, 2014

Who Needs Math at a Vet's Office?

My dog Sandy is not a Siberian Husky. But don't tell that to the veterinarian's assistant.

This morning, on our regular walk, I noticed that Sandy had a worm in her poo. I am very sorry for writing two posts in a row that mention dog poo, but that's just how it goes sometimes. Be glad I didn't take pictures. It was long, white, wiggly, and busy. Having been unceremoniously dumped from its old home, the worm's little head was poking around in the air searching for a new set of cozy intestines.

That called for a walk to the vet's office. This is Nepal, so you don't call to make an appointment for a week from Thursday and bring the dog over for lab tests. You just walk over, minus dog, unless the dog is really sick. (Roundworms don't count around here. That would be like going to an ENT doc for the sniffles.)

An assistant was on duty. This is a rough transcript of the conversation, helpfully translated:

Me: My dog has worms. I need to get some de-worming pills.

Vet's Assistant: How many kilograms is your dog?

Me: Oh, I'm not good at converting from kilograms, but she's 25 pounds. You can convert it on the calculator.

Vet's Assistant: (Ignores calculator. Hands over three huge pills) Give her these.

Me: Wow, they're big. One each day?

Vet's Assistant: No, all at once Put them in some ground meat.

Me: That seems like a lot at once.

Vet's Assistant: Yeah, they're for 10 kg each.

Me: But she's only 25 pounds.

Vet's Assistant: 25 pounds. That's like 25 kg.

Me: Uh, no it's not.

Vet's Assistant: She must be a really big dog.

Me: No, not at all. She's a regular local dog. Do you know how to convert pounds to kg?

Vet's Assistant: (laughs, smiles, looks vaguely at calculator) Ha ha.

Me: Ha ha. Because I think three pills is too much medicine for my dog.

Vet's Assistant: Ha ha. Give it with some meat, she'll swallow it all that way.

Me: I think I'll go home and do the conversion myself.

Vet's Assistant: That'll be 150 rupees.

I went home and did the conversion. Well, first I asked The Teenager, who is quite possibly the worst student in his school in Math, and might be even worse than I was, which is some kind of world record -- and who, this being a weekend morning, was still in bed and not happy to be asked a mental math problem. "If Sandy is 25 pounds, how many kg is that?" said I to the sleepy teenager. "Mmph grrr. That's about 11 kg," he groused, and rolled over.

Indeed. And it turns out that 25 kg is around 55 pounds. Which is the weight of a Siberian Husky. So that's who should get the three pills. For reference sake, in case anyone stumbled onto this blog while training to be a Veterinary Assistant:

Siberian Husky.
I mean the one at the bottom
of the pic, with the fur and all.

Sandy. Not a Siberian Husky.

This is a cow. It is heavier than 25 Kg.
It goes "moo" and blocks traffic. That's how you know it's a cow.

Sandy has now had her de-worming medicine (adjusted for her actual body weight), ably administered by The Teenager. Think he can get a summer job as a vet's assistant?

1 comment:

Hana - Marmota said...

I don't know about summer jobs in Nepal, but I know that for very rough from pounds to kg conversions, you can divide it in half. A pound is a little more than half a kilo, so it's actually even less (like here), and of course the more less the more pounds you're working with; but the halving is an easy way to get an approximate idea. :-)