How much is a teaspoon?

Syringe (2) This is a question that I have long known to be a mystery to many people.  When I ask for a teaspoon of poop for a stool specimen, I receive anything from a smear on a kleenex to a coffee-can full.  I have a feeling that these people rely on food-products that don't require much measuring in the recipe.

Today I was presented with a little pup having some problems.  The owner told me that she had "wormed it" a few days ago.  When I asked what she had used, she was much better prepared than most folks, whose answer is "I got it at Wal-Mart". [I really must spend more time in the pet-care aisles of discount stores.]  This lady, however, had brought not only the bottle of stuff, but the medicine-dropper she had used to dose it.


Teaspoon (2) "I dosed him for 10 pounds." [Sure, he only weighs 7 pounds, but that's safe enough.]  The bottle says 5ml  (one teaspoon) per 10 pounds of body weight.  "Here's the dropper I used."  "How many of those droppers did you give him?"  "Just one." Well, let's just see how close that was to 5 ml (or "one teaspoonful", and whose teaspoon do you use, anyway?)  Not too close.  It takes five of these droppers full to equal the 5ml teaspoon.

Spoon(2) Interestingly enough, your basic cheap tableware, AC/DC, regular teaspoon holds the full 5ml.  It's a close fit, and it will spill over the edge with the slightest tilt, but it will hold it.  It's lousy for medicating the pet, but it does hold a teaspoonful. 

This medicine dosing thing: you need to follow directions, and you need to know how much your pet weighs, and you need to know how much is a teaspoon.

3 thoughts on “How much is a teaspoon?

  1. Sheila says:

    We have a similar problem in human medicine practices. Parents have all manner and sizes of “teaspoons” in their kitchen, and do not always know that directions for a “teaspoon” of medicine refer to a particular size spoon. I have had parents bring in tablespoons, soup spoons, and even serving spoons to show me what they are using to dose medicine for the child. So, I tell the parents to get a medicine dropper at the pharmacy, usually only costs a dollar or two. I have found a medicine dropper or syringe (without the needle) more helpful in getting the medicine into my dogs and cats. (especially cats…they are terrible spoon-takers)

  2. Sheila says:

    Perhaps I should clarify… when I said medicine dropper, I meant one of those specifically marked with both ml and teaspoon levels, not the eye dropper your client originally brought in. If the client asks the pharmacist, he/she will know what to sell.
    Also, I have known veterinarians who hand out those non-needle syringes with liquid medicine for clients to measure the 5 ml.

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