Field Work

Norma Rios ’82

Photo by Jon Rou

With a handful of dogs and cats at home, veterinarian Norma Rios ’82 has no trouble convincing her clients she considers pets a part of her life.

 

Norma Rios is a veterinary physician and partner and director of Bay Cities Pet Hospital in Torrance, California. She majored in biology in the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering and earned a doctor of veterinarian medicine degree from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Her job, she says, allows her to combine her love of animals — she has eight dogs and four cats, most of them rescue animals, at home — with her love of science.

1. Otoscope
This tool is essential for examining pets’ ears. The human ear canal is mostly horizontal, but a dog’s is vertical as well. If it gets moist inside, that’s tough to clear up.

2. Petri dish
We use petri dishes to do cultures on urine samples if we’re testing for urinary tract infections.

3. Examining table
The table surface is designed to go up and down almost to the floor, because some dogs are just too big to lift on a table that can’t be lowered.

4. Sharps container
We store used needles here and hire a service to take them away. Believe it or not, there are dogs that want to put their nose in there. Pets don’t feel much pain from our needles because we use very small ones that go just under the skin, rarely in muscle.

5. Ear cleansers
Ear infections and skin problems are about 50 percent of what I see in a typical day. These are topical medications for treating the outside and inside of the ear. The inside of the ear is basically skin.

6. Minnie
Minnie is a miniature pinscher, a breed I love. She is a stray. She was hit by a car. The driver didn’t stop, but one of my clients saw the accident and brought her in for laceration treatment. She’s much better now. We’re hoping to find her a good home.