Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dr. Tammy's Manic Monday

I've worked nearly 20 years of Mondays as a veterinarian and to this day, it's my least favorite part of my work week. Not only is there always a rush first thing in the morning with client's who conveniently "forgot" we were open on the weekends, there usually is a literal flood of transfers of patients from the emergency clinics. The 8 am doctor is usually swamped and by the time I get in there at 10 am it's chaos at it's best. 

There are the usual dogs and cats that have been sick for at least the last three days and of course NOW it's an emergency to their owners. Each and every single one feels their pet is sicker than the rest and should be taken care of first. We have a basic triage system at our hospital. Each patient is given a stability check. If they are deemed stable to wait, they will wait their turn. If they are thought to be critical, they move up the list. Even appointments have to be delayed if an emergency walks in the door. Most folks understand that, but there are those chosen few...you all know the folks I'm talking about. The ones who come into the lobby crying and screaming "My BABY! My Baby is dying and I need a doctor NOW! Lawdy Jesus, save him. He's got the epilepsy and he's been having seizures for the last three days straight..." When asked why they waited to bring their precious in, our ears are assaulted once again. "We ain't got no money! You have to save him. You took an oath!"

Yeah, I do see those kind of clients more often than I care to admit, but today was a mixture of emotions I hadn't felt in a while. Two good Samaritans brought in a stray Chihuahua they found on the side of their street. This poor dog was in severe shock after being hit by a car. He had a broken back leg, broken pelvis, fractured ribs creating what is referred to as a flail chest, and major head trauma. These wonderful people took the time to carefully transport this older dog to us so we could end his suffering. He had no microchip, was not neutered, and had no collar or tags. He would have died along the side of the road, alone and afraid if it wasn't for these two men. From the bottom of my heart I thanked them for helping this animal die with dignity. 

I wade through the next several drop ins and appointments until I come across one where the owner wants to talk about a weight loss program for her cat. You see, he's just a little larger than your average cat. He tops the scales at just over TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS!!! Holy Guacamole!

This cat doesn't like to get very active at home and he feels he's run a marathon just getting from his litter box to the couch every day so he's not thrilled with the idea he has to earn his keep. After going through how many calories he is to get TOTAL per day and an exercise program for him, my staff took over to draw blood from him for his Senior Wellness panel. Well, let's just say the blood draw went very well, but not the collection of urine. He was much too big to even feel his bladder and the our needles weren't long enough to reach it through all of his body fat. Ugh!  (yes he could have been a twin to the one shown in the picture!)

Besides all the pets with major diarrhea issues over the weekend, multiple pets came in with broken nails. Not one of them broke them outright. No, they had to be partially broken so that we have to let them grow out some more in order to cut them back. At least they were all good spirits about it. Cookies go a long way with the bouncy Pitbull who keeps trying to lick your glasses off when you are placing the padded bandage on his front foot. And of course, let's not forget the wrestling job we have to go through to get the E-collar on! LOL

We didn't get any patients ingesting their owner's marijuana stashes today, but one energetic boxer decided to polish off half a chocolate cake around 8am. What time did his owner actually bring him in you ask? Well, 2:15 pm. That would be beyond the window we have to induce vomiting and he really should be admitted to the hospital for intravenous fluids and a seizure watch. What were we allowed to do? Subcutaneous fluids and activated charcoal. That's it. Hopefully that will be sufficient. I guess we will find out more by morning when the dog is transferring from one of the emergency clinics for convulsing all night long! 

Sometimes we get patients in because their owners are actually going through some medical issues of their own...the psychiatric kind. I had one of those today. This very nice woman insisted her cat was covered in bugs that were burrowing under her skin creating these horrible sores on her body. We went round and round about it and finally I got her whole story out. The owner had been off her own meds for too long and was actually self medicating with Goddess knows what. One thing she was doing was coating her body in Desitin. She thought she would put some on her cat and did, but luckily she thought better of it. Desitin has zinc in it and can cause serious life threatening anemia if it's ingested by a cat. Oy! 

Finally I got the woman to listen to me when I told her that her cat was healthy and only had a flea allergy. I also told her that her home was infested with fleas since they were also biting her and she was digging the shit out of herself. She agreed to call the exterminator again in the morning. 

Today was also the day of the "land shark." I'm sure you've heard the term from me from time to time. It's used in the veterinary field to describe the little dog that introduces itself to you with a snapping jaws. Wouldn't you know that all of my land sharks today were chihuahuas? One of them even lunged at me as I was leaving the room. Well, I went right back in and the dog backed up cowering behind the owner. I took the leash and walked him back out. Ha! He was more than okay to be my friend then. Stinker!  

I had one cat today that made it's way onto the land shark list. All claws and teeth this one. Of course he was on his "best" behavior with me, but as soon as my staff took over for testing, he turned into the Tasmanian Devil! What the hell? He even launched himself around our treatment room daring my technicians to catch him long enough to give him his tapeworm medication. Whew!

One last thing before I end for the day. I know many folks like to keep a bowl of fresh fruit out on their tables or counters. If you have pets, it's probably a good idea to be sure you don't include grapes in those bowls. Grapes and raisins can be very toxic to dogs and cats. If they eat enough for their body, they can end up with kidney failure. How much is too much? No one knows. The amount varies from pet to pet so it's best to just keep grapes and raisins safely locked in the refrigerator. 

For cats, make sure you keep any and all lilies out of their reach. Not all of them will cause kidney failure in cats, but many do. Two in particular, the Easter Lily and the Tiger Lily will cause kidney failure if any part of the plant or flower is eaten. Peace Lilies will cause horrible gastroenteritis...yeah tons of vomiting. So do yourselves and your inquisitive cats a favor and don't have these flowers/plants around.

Well, that's it for me. Another Manic Monday under my belt and I'm wiped out. Time to head to bed and rest up for Terrible Tuesday! LOL  

Until next time...
~Dr. Tammy

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