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About the Doc

Frequently Asked Questions About Doc Truli

Q: Are you a Veterinarian?

A: Yes. Doc Truli is a practicing general veterinarian for small animals like cats, dogs, mice, rats rabbits, pot bellied pigs, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets…etc.  The Doc has also worked as an emergency pet veterinarian, and a swine production veterinarian.  The unique perspective Doc Truli brings to practice combines allopathy (Western medicine) with an understanding of farming and food production, and an appreciation for holistic medicine.

Doc Truli at Butterfly World

Doc Truli at Butterfly World

Q: So, where’d ya go to school?

A: Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania.  With a stop-off at Harvard for extra science classes because I was an undergraduate English, philosophy, linguistics, and art student.  Sciences came after the undergraduate degree…

Q: Isn’t Vet School Harder to Get Into than Med School?

A: Well, yes.  The three years before matriculating at UPenn, I went to Harvard Extension night school, worked from 7-10 am at the Franklin Park Zoo leading an Education Animal Research Project to enhance the animal’s lives, worked at a veterinary hospital which was also a pet store, boarding, and grooming facility from 12 noon until 7 pm, and then took the bus to school or back home.  I also volunteered at the Philadelphia Zoological Park gift shop when I was completing my pre-med credits, which required a 40 minute walk each way through rough areas of Philadelphia, while holding down three part-time jobs.  You do what you have to do.

Q: What Kinds of Animals Have You Had?

A: Well, starting with Charlie, the grey-striped kitten, I’ve had:

grey tabby, long hair grey angora cat, white angora cat, seal-pt himalayan, dilute tortie-point himalayan, silver tabby short hair, mackeral tabby short hair, maine coon, siamese, ascob cocker spaniel, black and white bearded collie {one of first 400 in the US}, APBT, rednose, tan brindle in the sunlight, black and white chihuahua short hair, dalmation, tan chihuahua, goldfish- betta fish- mice- hamsters- gerbils- rats- tropical fish (angels, pearlescent gouramis, silver dollars, weather loach {favorite}, coolie loaches, catfish, horse-face loaches, scissor-tails, neons, mollies), nasty, dirty channel catfish {mistake}, crayfish, snakes, budgies, cockatiel, frogs, guinea pig, rabbit, thoroughbred horse, skunk, potbelly pig, production piglet {Snorkle}.

Q: What’s the Strangest Case You Ever Solved?

A: That would be Brinkley, the Golden Retriever Puppy Who Peed Out the Back of His Leg!  I’m not kidding!

Q: Tell Us About How Roger Tory Peterson Inspired You to Become a Veterinarian.

A: Roger Tory Peterson spoke under a tent at Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, and Doc Truli was hooked!

Questions Almost No One Ever Asks, But They Should

Q: In What U.S. States Do You Hold Veterinary Licenses?

A: Active in Florida.  On hold in Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, as I used to, or thought I might practice in those states someday.

Q: Are You a Member of Any Professional Societies?

A:  Someone asked me if I was a member of the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association, and if not, why not?  Here’s the deal: if I pay $100-$200 or maybe $250 US$ per annum, I can be a member.

I am a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association because they offer health and liability group insurance as a benefit.

I am a recipient of awards from the American Holistic Veterinary Association, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Foundation, and the Merck Veterinary Research Foundation.

Q: Do You Have Time for Anything Besides Veterinary Medicine?

Himalayan Cat Loves to Drink from Faucet

VirtuaCat Takes His Morning Post by the Faucet

A: Motorcycle trips (BMW R1200GS, Triumph Rocket III)

A: bird-watching

A: science fiction TV, movies, and books (currently Fringe, Doctor Who, rewatching Farscape from the beginning)

A: visiting my nieces

A: satisfying my cranky Himalayan cat’s need for watching water trickle from an active sink faucet

A: macrobiotic cooking and photographing the cooking process

Let me know any other questions you may have.  The comments are moderated, so you can just post them here and I’ll get back to you.

–Doc Truli

Doc Truli

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. January 5, 2010

    I’m glad you’re doing this blog. Thank you.
    I came across your resources for pet loss support.
    My bouvier service dog, Gadget, died November 19 (less than two months ago). He was dx w/lymphoma in May, went into remission on the MW chemo protocol and seemed to be doing great, then in October, developed MCT. He died of MCT while in remission from lymphoma. It was a brutal six months for me — battling and seemingly defeating one cancer only to have another one show up when we were nearing completion of the protocol, and ravage him in no time. Fortunately, he felt a lot better through most of it than I did.
    I have received some great support from pet loss lists and such, but the relationship with, and loss of, an assistance dog has some aspects that are different than those of the loss of a beloved pet.
    I decided to start my own blog about it. I’ve only got two posts up so far, but it’s been well received. I just thought you might like to know about it if anyone who’s suffered the loss of an assistance dog contacts you.
    It’s called After Gadget. It’s at

    • January 17, 2010

      Dear Sharon, thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I wish you peace and understanding as you attempt to make sense of Gadget’s physical transition away from you (for the time being).
      I visited your blog, and just had to share your pictures with my friend Terri. Her Bouvier, Lance, passed away recently, leaving her dogless for the first time in forty years. She reminisced and revealed beautiful stories about Lance when she saw Gadget’s pictures on your blog. Lance and Gadget could’ve been brothers if you go by looks.
      Keep writing; I’ll keep reading!
      Doc Truli

      • January 17, 2010

        Dear Doc Truli,
        Thank you so much for your kind reply. I really appreciate it.
        The blog has been very healing for me, and getting posts like yours inspires me to keep at it.
        Please share my condolences with Terri. It’s a very hard time. If she wants to get in touch and share photos and memories, that would be nice.
        Yes, Gadget was a very handsome Bouv, if I do say so myself! But if Terri looks at the different pictures of Gadget, she will see, in true Bouv fashion, that his coat changed color quite a bit over the course of his life. When he was young, it was mostly silver and very brindle (stripey), and by the time he died, it was almost solid charcoal gray. (He also lost outer coat to chemo, so it was much softer and less wiry.) There is a pic up now of Jersey, his predecessor, who started out black and ended up charcoal. She lived to be 13.
        Of course, some true Bouv fanciers would be appalled to see some of the pics of Gadget with his coat clipped so short, but we do that for the heat and also in late spring and early fall when the terrible tick/Lyme disease problem here is at its worst. It makes finding even nymphs possible during our nightly tick checks.
        But even with the haircut, in the last few years I have noticed a major shift from always being asked, “What kind of dog is that?” to sometimes being asked, “Hey! Is that a bouvier?” For better or worse, more people seem to know about Bouvs!
        Sharon and the muse of Gadget

        • January 17, 2010

          Hi Sharon! Hope you had a loving day.
          Lance acquired a large lump on his right ribcage. We tested it and found out it was a cancer called hemangiosarcoma in his body wall and extending into his chest cavity. Terri was devastated. Even though she’s a veterinary nurse, and I’m her veterinarian, there was nothing medical we could do for Lance. It was a terrible day when she brought him to me because he was suffering and weak from anemia. I met him when he was aged. He was placid, and docile, and understanding; convenient for me! Sad for Terri. She tells me stories of the days when he bit her friend Dave in the pants because Dave ordered Lance’s friend off the couch, and Lance thought Dave was just a visitor with no right to order anyone around! Lance later saved Dave’s life when a large dog lunged over a fence at Dave. Lance leapt in front of his friend and took the brunt of the attack without hesitation. Lance didn’t even get hurt!
          The Bouviers are difficult, opinionated, steadfast, loyal companions.
          I hope your little one is everything you desire, and a lot of good surprises, too!

  2. January 18, 2010

    Yes, I have unfortunately had quite the crash course in canine cancer in the past year, and hemangiosarcoma sounds like a particularly horrible one — there seems to be nothing to be done for it, and it causes such terrible suffering.
    Lance seems to have been quite the character, and very much a typical bouv!
    It’s true that Bouvs are NOT the dog for everyone. If I hadn’t known what I was doing, able and willing to take alpha role, and worked really hard — and had a job for him — I think Gadget would have been “a problem dog” and might not have survived to his second birthday with someone else. (I got him as a one-year-old rescue.)
    Gadget fortunately never really bit anyone, but he did have to be taught not to “herd” people by nipping at the elbow in the beginning. Also, several years later, after I’d spent two years in bed, with him in my room all the time, essentially, he got VERY protective of me and “our den.” So, he had to be taught it was not his space to guard, and he had to let other people in, including my phlebotomist, of whom he was particularly distrustful. Fortunately, we got over that issue, and I was getting weekly nursing visits the last four months of his life, and the nurses all thought he was great.
    Once, I had an unexpected visit at night from the fire chief (who was just checking on me, but I didn’t know that, or him). So, essentially, a big male stranger came right into the house at night and scared me, and Gadget was the perfect guard dog. He was plastered by my side, barking like crazy and ready to lunge at any provocation. But just holding his ground. Once I realized it was the fire chief, when I told Gadget to quiet and down-stay, he did. And he just watched carefully.
    He really was a little “too brave” at times. Such as when he would go after full-grown black bears. Once he TREED one and had the bear-swipe scratch across his chest to prove it. I called him from the car (I’d gone racing after him, and the van was the quickest way to get there), and he came trotting over like, “Hey! Isn’t this GREAT?!” My heart was in my throat! And the porcupines, oy! (I live in the country, obviously.)
    But when we were out in public or he was in working mode, he would never dream of anything like that. If you want to see us working together in my home, we have two videos up on youtube. Eventually I plan to put them up on aftergadget.
    Here are the URLs:
    I hope you, and Terri, if she feels up to it, enjoys them.
    Sharon and the muse of Gadget

  3. July 17, 2010

    Hi Doc Truli!
    I think VirtuaVet is One Lovely Blog, and to prove it I’d like to pass the One Lovely Blog Award on to you. Will you accept this honor? Read about it here:
    Sharon at After Gadget

    • July 25, 2010

      Thanks Sharon!
      Keep writing, Keep loving, and Keep as Healthy as you possible can!
      Doc Truli

  4. Kristina permalink
    September 14, 2010

    Hi Doc Truli,
    I know you have heard this a million times, BUT I rescued a 2 year old chihuahua from a very abusive home. We already had a 2 1/2 lb male, and it took our Chloe a few weeks to trust us, and not hide. Her previous owners told me she would not go into heat until December. When she put some weight on, I thought it was from not being fed properly (she was devouring food when we got her). Imagine my surprise (and horror) when puppies started coming out! Luckily, with the help of the internet, Chloe had 3 boys, and 1 girl. I already have homes for all the puppies (even though I am quite attached to them!). The problem is Chloe does not seem like she is filling up with milk. I have been supplementing the puppies with a little puppy formula after they finish nursing. They are all gaining weight, even the tiniest little boy. Is there anything I can do to help chloe produce more milk. I have given her some goats milk, tums, tons of water, wet puppy food, I am trying everything! The pups are 4 days old today, I am up all hours making sure they are good, full, and warm, but I am so worried. My little boy was by far the tiniest when he was born, and his umbilical cord was bleeding a lot, but my little runt puts up a fight. I was putting him on Chloe first, keeping the other pups away so he could feed before he siblings crowded her, and his is gaining weight, but is still so tiny. I just want to make sure I am doing everything ok. Going to a vet at this point (unless it is an emergency) is not an option financially. I will do what I have to do though to save each of them. I truly am in love with all four of my pups, and very happy to know when they are old enough, my family will taking them, (except my little one) so I get to see them all the time! I have already sent away for vouchers to get Chloe and the Dad sprayed and neutered so there will be no more pregnancies. BTW~I see you were at Butterfly World, I live not far from there in Coral Springs, small world!

    • September 15, 2010

      Hi Kristina,
      Wow! 4 puppies in a first Chihuahua litter is a ton for mom to handle. I would hand feed the puppies Esbilic, Puppy Milk Replacer (from the pet store, vet’s, or buy online.) If you get the powder and mix it fresh, you save tons of money, but the mixing is a little technical (there’s a guide chart on the package.) It also comes in pre-made cans. For little Chiwas, it might be affordable for you and a lot easier to get the liquid pre-mixed. Do not keep formula open or mixed past 2 days, or it might spoil or grow bacteria that are bad for the puppies.
      For mom, keep feeding Chloe puppy food, and giving access to lots of fresh water. DO NOT GIVE CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS anymore! (Like the Tums.) This is a common misunderstanding most people have about dogs making milk. If you give extra calcium, you change the hormones in the body and the calcium balance goes off kilter, causing bone weakening in the mom, and LESS calcium for the pups. (Strange but true). It would be perfectly normal if Chloe just cannot produce enough milk for 4 puppies, especially as they grow. You will have to supplementally feed them every 2-4 hours to take the burden off of Chloe. There’s no way to force her body to make more milk than the powerful natural drive she has from the puppies nursing. So let the puppies nurse on Chloe as well as getting a boost from you if they are still hungry.
      Sometimes, tiny Chihuahuas need every 4-6 hour feeding until they are 8 or even 12 weeks old to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Chloe will be ready to be spayed when the puppies are weaned at 6 weeks old.
      Good Luck! I’m glad VirtuaVet could help you help Chloe be a better mom!
      -Doc Truli
      P.S. I told my niece that anyone who finds a new kind of animal, bird, or insect (like a butterfly), can name it anything they want! So she spent the day at Butterfly World trying to discover a new species of butterfly so she could name it “Flower!” Too cute!

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