What a difference the decimal point makes

I’m back at work following a nearly three week break over Christmas. We were fortunate to be offered a house to stay in for a week over Christmas, which enabled us to have a holiday in Dunedin and see the extended family reasonably cheaply. But the house came with a catch:  a small, old, cuddly, ball-of-fur that needed daily medication. Amazingly, this kitty was completely compliant when it came to taking her medicine, unlike our own cat of many years ago.

We had written instructions from her owners – she was having a gel-like medicine that you rub into the inner surface of her ear. Pre-loaded syringes full of the stuff were supplied – we just needed to put the right amount onto a finger tip (wear gloves or you medicate yourself as well as the kitty-cat), rub it into her ear, and it gets absorbed and does its job.  1.5 ml a day. This, when we first measured it out, seemed an awful lot. There wasn’t 1.5 ml left in the currently-in-use syringe, so on the first night she got ‘only’ 1.0 ml.

For the second night, we needed a new syringe. Next to them I found the actual prescription from the vet. The recommended dose. 0.15 ml a day, not 1.5 ml a day as we’d been told. We had given the poor moggie a week’s dose in one go!

Fortunately kitty was still happy and purring by the end of the week, unlike the two students who in 2015 were given 100 times too much caffeine after a botched mathematical calculation for a science experiment at Northumbria University.

The decimal point makes a big difference.

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