This was my weekend on emergency call. Fortunately being on emergency call has become second nature to me. I don’t stress or sit and dread hearing the emergency phone ring anymore. I mostly do errands and have the mobile handy and my brain is wired into emergency mode!
While I have had a cruisy weekend on call in terms of the number of calls out I have had to do, it has been a very emotionally draining one.
The vet on call must also perform saturday morning consults between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
On saturday morning, I had to put down three very old and very much-loved pets. ‘Bert’ the 15-year-old labradoodle, ‘Oscar’ the 15-year-old labrador and ‘Becky’the 22-year-old cat. They all went very smoothly and it was the right time for those beautiful animals to rest in peace. However, the hardest part was watching their families weep and say their goodbyes. I personally feel privileged to do be able to help sick animals make their parting without any suffering or pain.
Back to my Saturday morning, I also treated a dog with an infected nail bed, stapled a small wound on a tiny terrier under local anaesthetic and treated another terrier puppy with severe gastroenteritis. The highlight was re-examining ‘Zara’ who looked so bright and was inhaling the liver treats I gave her! Just before we closed the doors of the clinic, a wild kookaburra was brought it as was found sitting quietly on the ground. I examined it and ruled out any major issues and put it in a cage with a heat pad under it to treat it for head trauma.
At that stage, I felt fairly confident that the Saturday morning rush meant I have guaranteed a quiet weekend.
I was also not dreading the ‘they come in 3s’ infamous vet cliché. I mean I had already put down three beautiful geriatric animals and I could not possibly be destined to do anymore. It just always seems like we get rare things happening in clusters. I have often done a c-section and then in the same week we have done two more.
To my utter disappointment, I woke up this morning with a client calling me and asking me to do a home euthanasia. This poor owner had finally taken the decision to do the right thing by his dog ‘Gus’, a 12-year-old staffy. He had been postponing this decision for a long time and I could tell if I did not show up immediately, he may have a change in heart. I went to his place and the whole family was there and thankfully I managed to facilitate a very smooth parting.
I then called the people that picked up the kookaburra to find out exactly where they got it from because it was full of life and wanted to be released.
It was such a relief to see that kookaburra fly back into its territory safe and sound.
Check out the video of its release below:
For the rest of the day, the phone only rang with owners asking for advise but no major dramas. Just before I was getting ready for dinner, I got an emergency about a lifeless puppy that the owner had accidentally stepped on. I rushed in and I found this toy poodle puppy laying on its side with heaps of blood rushing out of its nose and mouth. The owner was devastated and could not assist me and was crying his heart out. My first instinct was to start treating this puppy for shock and to assess the severity of the wounds.
I dried up the blood to see if the bleeding had stopped but it kept rushing out like a running tap.
I could hear crackles in its lungs and it was struggling to breathe and its pulse was getting weaker. At that stage, I knew that this case was beyond help. It was suffering from a ruptured/twisted lung and I could not fix that. That would require a specialist vet and they are 2 hours away and this puppy simply won’t make it. I recommended putting it out of its misery and in spite of all my efforts to help it along quickly, things did not go smoothly. I could not console this poor owner.
A beautiful puppy lay limp before us due to a silly accident and we both felt helpless and filled with sorrow. I know I did everything I could to help that puppy and have already reflected on what I could have done better. But how will that unlucky owner ever get over trampling his puppy to death. I kept telling him it was an accident. He left looking haunted.
Saddest emergency I have ever come across.
I am praying I have had enough sadness and tears for this weekend…