Saturday, April 30, 2011

A What?!?

So, I am out of the hospital for a brief time on my lunch break when I get a call from work. Would I be willing to take a look at a porcupine? Okaaay.

The good Samaritans brought this porcupine in and I am pretty sure my eyes likely bugged a bit. He was slightly larger than I thought he’d be; 26lbs to be exact. We gently tipped the plastic bin over onto the rubber mat so we could safely wrap him up. I wore my raptor gloves to do the exam. Unfortunately I quickly learned the future of this animal. All four of the incisors were broken off. Without these teeth, they cannot survive even if we were to send him to the rehabilitation center.

The staff immediately brought the anesthetic machine over so we could mask him under and humanely euthanize him. Other injuries were found once he was pronounced.

I did take my time looking him over because I have never been this close to a porcupine before. The pads of his feet weren’t as tough as I thought they would be and his belly was so soft. I did a double take when I saw some of the quills start to glisten. I wish you could have seen the look on everyone’s faces when I told them that the lice were abandoning ship.

On behalf of the porcupine, I am grateful to the good Samaritans for bringing him in so he didn’t have to suffer any further.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Body language of my special needs dog

One of my passions in veterinary medicine is behaviour. I have always enjoyed helping owners learn to live with their anxious, aggressive and/or compulsive animals. Well, almost eight years ago I got a graduation gift, an English Cocker Spaniel puppy.

Within two weeks, I knew I had my hands full. Kodak was showing signs of four different aggressions – impulse control aggression (aggression to two legged family members), fear aggression (aggression to men and young children), territory aggression (no one was allowed to take anything from him) and interdog aggression (to all dogs). My poor boy had to endure so much anxiety based on his genetically induced abnormal neurochemistry. You can imagine how heavy my heart was as dogs do not fully emotionally mature until they are three years of age. He was 11 weeks old!

There is nothing like living with a special needs dog and monitoring his body language. Over the years I have taken many pictures. The one I am showing here has many pieces of information.

Parents, this is very important body language that Kodak is showing. If you see your dog exhibiting this look, do NOT let your children of any age near him/her!

He is showing the whites of his eyes (whale eye) and his pupils are dilated (his fight or flight system is activated). His paw is on top of the roll. There is a slight wrinkle of his upper lips spreading out his whiskers. As well, there are wrinkles between the eyes. At this angle you cannot see how tense the rest of his body is. If approached, there is a very good chance he would bite since he is so anxious.

This is where I have two choices, take a picture and leave him to chew one of his favorite things, cardboard, or try to take it from him. Obviously, I chose to back away; thereby respecting his body language. The adorable tail wag was more than worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The joys of lunch loss

As much as I love my lunch breaks, sometimes part of the job description is to just fantasize about them.

A dog that had a laceration on its right hind leg came in late one morning. We were not expecting the severity when she was dropped off. It was long and wide. When I enquired as to the activity level of this dog, I was told that it is impossible to keep her quiet. Not going to lie, I was excited that I was going to be able to use my cool stapler!

The edges were freshened and we were lucky enough that no flaps were required to close the defect. I closed it in two layers to make sure the incision was as strong as possible. The stapler is a pretty neat tool. It significantly decreases closure time (this incision only took 30 seconds to close). As well, it is the strongest suture so in an active dog it is a huge help.

Now, if only she could tell us how she did this to herself!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Case number three

Although I know it is a coincidence, it always feels like cases come to me in threes. I wasn’t even expecting it when I initially entered the room to yet another goofy retriever on Friday. (Bailey’s owners are going to need to enter my support group as well.) He bounced around as usual during the physical.

I had a radiograph taken because I was concerned about his esophagus. How his owner described his retching sounded like I needed to rule out megaesophagus (big and floppy esophagus). What none of us expected was to see a stone in his stomach. I asked for a lateral view to be taken of the abdomen. Feel free to count the stones.

Luckily the stones were small enough to induce vomiting. We figured they would “fly” out. The amount of hay was unexpected! There were a few almonds and quite a few leaves. After a while it started to smell like silage in the treatment room. I kind of felt like a CSI agent when the yellow thing came out and discovered it was a fourth place ribbon.

After the third application of apo-morphine (this is not the fun kind of morphine – we only use it to cause vomiting), four stones plunked on the blanket. The repeat radiograph showed the stomach was much less distended and the stones would be able to pass on their own.

Some days all I can do is shake my head!

Case number two

My patient, Mack is a goofy teenage dog whose owners are getting a little frustrated. Sometimes I feel like I should run a support group for those of us who own teenage dogs. They do the darndest things.

Since Sunday, he just hadn’t been himself. As he liked to chew, we decided to do a radiograph. The gas pattern we found indicated a stuck foreign body. So, for a second day in a row, we performed emergency surgery.

What I didn’t expect was to have to make three separate incisions. One into the stomach where I found plastic and “stuff” in the pyloric sphincter. One in the duodenum and the other in the jejunum. The ones in the small intestines looked like little aliens trying to break out.

When the owners came to visit Mack after surgery, they recognized the plastic as the bottle of ear medication he’d eaten recently. Who bloody eats ear medication?

It comes in threes - Case number one

Case number one was this past Monday. A female dog came in for a physical exam since she had been vomiting for the past couple of days. She appeared stable enough until I palpated her abdomen. Holly was incredibly painful because her bladder was the size of a baseball! I immediately had a radiograph taken which showed multiple stones in the bladder and one stuck in the urethra.

There are only two options when faced with a case like this and I only liked the first one which was surgery…..

The bladder looked like a water balloon about to burst. Getting all the stones out took some time. There were so many different sizes. The one stuck in the urethra has given me a number of new grey hairs. I may have done a happy dance when I finally got it out.