I’ve been wondering what to write about all week and after a brilliant day at the vets on Monday, I decided I’d talk about my recent work experience. Seen as it is the most time-consuming part of my application, second to my degree grade.
The past two weeks have revolved around my vet clinic placement, milking at an organic dairy farm, triathlon training, seeing my friends and family and copious amounts of driving across the moor… I love North Yorkshire but it’s a logistical nightmare. To make matters worse my journey has been awarded ‘the most scenic bus route in the UK’. I cannot wait for the tourists to block up the roads, especially when I finish my placements and start to work on the moor (July). It’s going to be a long summer, but I’ll be closer to the £45,000 uni fees I need for the vet course.
An introduction to the life of a mixed animal vet:
Whether they’re assisting with lambing, calving or farrowing, out on the farm or sometimes in the practice if there is an emergency, vets are involved from the beginning to end. Depending on the time of year, animals are being born or being assessed ready for their breeding season. Vets assist farmers during artificial insemination and companion animal breeders with ultrasounds, just like in human pregnancy. Precocial species like lambs, calves and foals are soon up on their feet and fully dependent within weeks of birth, unlike humans that can take up to 18 years. On Monday I had the pleasure of introducing 13 puppies into the world. As the potential caesarean case arrived, so did the morning’s clients… I love a challenge but even I was feeling the pressure of responsibility as I assisted the whelping.
Once they’ve been vaccinated, which can be more complicated than a simple, annual booster and MOT. The local dog rescue finds it particularly difficult to keep track of vaccines as dogs are abandoned at their door. Vets try and sync the vaccines of pets from the same family although it can be particularly difficult. A healthy lifestyle; appropriate exercise, a nutritious diet and routine health care such as teeth brushing, grooming, claws, ears and the beloved anal gland clearing, can be difficult for some owners to implement, especially with differing financial situations. Some animals, like humans, require a little more medical input than others. I’ve seen donkeys being x-rayed, hamsters with tumours the sizeof golf balls and I scrubbed in for a broken cat femur operation, all in the past week! I’ve also seen routine ops such as castrates and I’ve scrubbed but in on a complicated spey. Most vets will take animals away from their owners for blood tests, this isn’t to cover up mistakes or save embarrassment, a lot of pets get extremely stressed at the vets. The scents, other pets, probing and sampling can be a very upsetting experience and a good first consultation is essential for reducing an association of fear being imprinted during the early learning phase. Training young pets by separating their jaws and paws, touching tails and ears can reduce stress hugely and make the vets job easier and safer too.
Thoughts of euthanasia, ‘Marley and Me’ and one of my favourite children’s books ‘Up in Heaven’ come to mind, but not all animals are fortunate to have lived and been loved. Some lives are shorter lived than others. One lady had recently introduced a well-bred labradoodle to her family before discovering it had a life-limiting heart defect that would lead to premature death. The same day I met a 21-year-old dog! A strange phenomenon as I’ve never met an animal older than myself… despite controlled arthritis, a missing eye and fused joints, the dog was by no means ‘on its last legs’ and came back with a blood test to prove it. With numerous kidney and liver diseases kicking in after long durations of tablet use or just ageing in general, diet is essential for prolonging life. Diseases such as Cushing’s, Addison’s, diabetes and cancer, to name a few, are severely influenced by the correct percentages of protein, fibre, carb, fats and certain vitamins and minerals. Some vets unfortunately witness the full circle of life when euthanasia is the last resort. When the 11th hour has arrived, and the owners have come to a decision, the vet can end the suffering of their pet, but it never gets easier or less emotional, on either end.
But not all stories have sad endings and my blog certainly will not!
I was helping vaccinate dogs at the local rescue centre when we were introduced to some rare, non-canine guests; coatis, kinkajous, lemurs and a capuchin monkey! My love for tapirs was stolen by the coati babies (picture below), my new favourites.
Thank you for reading my blog and please check out my latest challenge! I have so many stories of my time at the vets and I cannot wait to be the main character one day instead of the wiling assistant, but I need all the help i can get to afford the fees. I will be facing all the elements in my lovely new trisuit… fully equipped with a tango, biker tan and a sweaty finish I am sure. Macmillan is an amazing charity working with cancer families and with some close family and friends in need so recently, I am determined to give them a decent donation. So please share, sponsor me and wish me luck!
FOLLOW THE LINKS AT THE TOP TO DONATE!
Big loves, the next Yorkshire vet, Evie xx