Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Owl of a Day

I may have one of the least boring jobs you could possibly imagine. This week we received a call regarding an owl that was caught on a barbed wire fence. My tech student, Lindsay, has worked with wildlife at the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre so she went to get it. In order to bring it in, the wire had to be cut on either side of the owl.

This was a very lucky owl. Generally when they get caught in barbed wire they will often twist so much that they will also cut tendons and ligaments. The wire was only caught in the skin of one of the wings. The area was cleaned, pain medication given and fluids injected under the skin.

After everything we did, it was still not a happy camper. Whenever we checked on it, hissing was heard from inside the carrier. Hopefully it will be happier at the rehab centre.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Medications have needs too

Recently I saw one of my patients because he was suffering from a relapse. This cat has an ulcer on his upper lip called an indolent ulcer. Basically, he started having an allergic reaction to something (unknown at this time) and it caused his body to attack the tissue of his upper lip. Over the past year we have been able to control the ulcer with periodic antibiotics and oral steroids.

You can imagine my surprise when I entered the room to find the ulcer had eaten away approximately 3-5mm of tissue from the upper lip. At the first sign of a flare up, his owner grabs the medication to prevent this sort of thing from occurring. His owner couldn’t understand why the medication wasn’t working this time.

Luckily, his owner brought the medication with her. The antibiotic that helped in the past was out of its foil packaging. There are certain medications that must be vacuum packed and protected from light in order to keep them stable. Unfortunately, once they’ve been exposed for 24 hours, they are unusable. In this instance, humidity in the air breaks the medication down so it will not work and potentially be unsafe.

We will be doing a recheck in the next week to see how he is responding to the new medication. I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It is NOT spite!!

Here is a conversation I have many days of the week.

Me: So, Rover is here for his annual physical and vaccinations. Do you have any concerns about him?
Owner: He’s a really great dog but he hates it when we leave him alone in the evening.
Me: Why do you say that?
Owner: He always picks one of the kid’s beds to urinate (or some rendition of that word!) on to spite us.
Me: Have you considered that most cases of inappropriate urination are caused by a medical condition?

We then continue the chat while I do a physical exam. In most cases I recommend a urinalysis. However, there was one case where I didn’t bother doing a urinalysis and went straight to a radiograph because I could actually feel the stones in the bladder. We postponed the vaccines and scheduled surgery for the next morning. The bladder literally “popped” out of the incision for me to fish out seven stones. One of the coolest bladder surgeries I have ever done!