It feels so surreal to have my best mate Elin & her fiance Sverre over from Norway… Elin and I practically lived together in our last two years of vet school. She went back home when she graduated and is mainly a large animal vet. They are only here for 4 days but we are going to make the most of our wonderful reunion. Say hi to Elin:
I have been unable to blog for some time. I have been working myself to the bone.
Unfortunately my losing trend kept going and I had to put down ‘Zorro’, one of my most lovely ongoing geriatric patients.
I used to refer to him as Zorrito. He was so special and used to help himself to the back of the clinic and enjoyed the huge fuss we used to make of him. He will truly be missed by us all. I present to you this video footage of him doing what he does best; putting a huge smile on our faces.
I also lost the battle with ‘Hamish’, a 2-year-old siamese, that was attacked by the same owner’s rescue staffy. This tough lad really put in a good fight and did not want to give up but he kept bleeding 5 days post his attack and it was time to let him go.
On a more positive note, ‘Poa’ is a trooper and keeps getting the spring in her step after each time she bleeds out through her stomach.
She has been to the specialists twice and after each procedure, she bounced back.
Unfortunately she has a rare gastric condition that we can only manage and there is not cure. Her desire to live and enjoy life never ceases to amaze me. ‘Poa’ came in with her bro, ‘Harvey’ to visit me last week. So adorable.
Obviously I am looking forward to having a few days off to recuperate emotionally and physically.
I was on emergency call last weekend and it was insane. I treated almost every species of animal in one day.
Friday night started with the emergency treatment of ‘Hamish’ after he was munched on by a staffy when he had escaped the house. I got him stable then had two other call outs which turned out not to be true emergencies but over the phone they sounded critical and needed veterinary attention. I am never happy to say: ‘No I won’t see your animal because it doesn’t sound like an emergency’. My reasoning is some clients are not good at describing the ailments of their pets and can be way off, either exaggerating or simplifying what is going on.
I admitted Star, an 8-year-old Chihuahua cross, with a huge abscess on her head for surgery the next day. As for Jasper, an 11 month old male domestic short hair, all he needed was antibiotics & pain relief for his cellulitis affecting his hind leg. I secretly hoped the busy Friday meant things may cool down for the rest of the weekend. I was wrong!
I got woken up at 7 a.m. Saturday morning to check out a down cow. The owner was worried she may have a rotting calf inside her.
She had calved two days ago and he suspected she may have an unborn twin.
On arrival, Moon, the pet cow, was laying flat on her side, grunting and looking absolutely dreadful. I conducted my exam and found that she did not have a twin and most likely was suffering from milk fever (low calcium). I gave her the antidote-4:1 fluids (contains heaps of calcium) in the vein & under the skin and we positioned her sternally and she perked up a lot. She was still not out of the woods but her rapid response was a good sign. This is Moon munching on some food later that afternoon.
I then had to go into the clinic to check my 4 hospital patients and get ready for Saturday morning consultations. One of my patients was going home but the other two were still very critical and the last patient was booked in for surgery later that day.
Consults begun and I had to admit two more patients for further workup.
I finished consults and delved into our surgeries and workups.
I knocked out ‘Star’ and cleaned up her abscess and then proceeded with a much-needed dental. I simply could not ignore her dental disease and thought it necessary to do after I sorted her abscess out. Check out her very festy mouth only but beware it ain’t a pretty sight and can ruin your appetite.
Around 4ish p.m., I had to go back to the down cow and give her more fluids. I went home, had 15 minutes to inhale some food and go back to the clinic and start discharging patients. I also got a call to go check out an alpaca but it was a long drive so I suggested they pick up pain relief instead to tie them over the weekend. It was a fairly warm day and I wanted to be close to the clinic if any snake bite emergencies came up. Every minutes counts for those snakebite patients and me being 25-30 minutes away on a property was a risk I wasn’t willing to take. I offered them to bring the alpaca in for me to examine but they didn’t have a float.
Anyhow, when I came back to the clinic, I got a few people knocking on the door, one with an injured baby magpie, another with a run over turtle and finally a really odd lady. Both the poor magpie and turtle needed to be put to sleep as they had very nasty wounds that I could not repair. As for the odd lady, she was knocking on the clinic window and I approached her without opening the door and said: ‘How can I help you?’. She lifted her hand to show me her wounds and said:
‘I have been bitten by a dog, can you give me a tetanus shot?’
I was shocked and replied in a very cool manner saying: ‘I am sorry but I only treat animals, you need to go to a hospital’ and gave her directions.
Took an hour or so to conduct all three discharges. Then I had to reassess my in hospital patients and they were not looking so well. Heidi, my snakebite cat, was actually the most stable patient. Poor Heidi is pictured below paralysed from the venom.
Snowball and Hamish were fairly critical. When I finally got home, I got called out again to check Lewis, a 15-year-old cat, with breathing difficulties. Thankfully he was not as critical as I thought and we managed to treat him medically and send him home and he was booked for full workup on Monday. When I got home Saturday night, I had not typed a single history as it had been so hectic and I simply collapsed into bed and hoped that I would not get any call outs on Sunday.
Sunday morning, I get a call at 8.30 a.m. with a very distressed owner concerned that her cat was flyblown. I recommended she cleaned her up and I would see her later that day. While I was checking on my patients at 10 a.m., I kept hearing a knock on the door and the owner of that flyblown cat had arrived earlier than we had discussed. I let her in and before I let ‘Shadow’ out to examine her, the owner said wait, I need to say something: ‘I can not deal with this and I can not afford it. I am a single mom and barely have money to feed my own kids, I would like you to put her down’.
Obviously the owner was simply having a melt down.
I know how hard it was for her to utter those words but these are words that I can never really digest well. I became a vet to save and treat animals, not to put them down when it simply suits the owner to do so. I took a step back and said: ‘I need to assess your cat and decide if this is a viable option. I do not routinely put animals down just because you ask me to.’ Out comes this beautiful morbidly overweight 6-year-old tortoiseshell with a severely matted coat and some diarrhoea that has attracted the blowflies. Shadow’s unkept coat is what predisposed her to being flystruck. Of course I refused putting her down and got the owner to sign a surrender form instead.
The owner was very appreciative that I gave her the option of surrendering the cat. I guess the dilemma in this situation is I am not teaching owners to be responsible. I gave her a way out and burdened myself with the task of finding a new home for an adult cat. Honestly, I am more than happy to wear it and sleep with a guilt-free conscience. I then sedated ‘Shadow’ and Judy (our lovely groomer) came in at 6 p.m. on the Sunday to help clip and clean her. She recovered well and I am going to be driving her to pet haven’s no kill shelter next week. This is a funny picture of Shadow’s stunned face post sedation.
Wow I hope I haven’t bored you to death. I just miss blogging so much and have heaps to share with all of you. I have taken a few days off work to spend with Elin and Sverre.
Being the nerd that I am, I will also be attending a behavioural seminar (4 hours each session) on saturday and sunday whilst juggling my plans with our much-anticipated guests.
Elin and I usually catch up on each other’s personal lives but then we always end up talking about vet stuff. We swap and share our experiences including documented photos. She teaches me all about large animals and I teach her about smallies and birds.
Well I better run off and look after my husband, pets and Scandinavian mates…We have heaps planned from fine dining to a tour around a true aussie sheep farm, to massages and etc.
I leave you with a picture of Elin, I & Kris (another dear friend) back in our uni days.