In the kennels today was a cocker spaniel I had seen a few weeks ago because it had been vomiting. Earlier in the day it had a foreign body surgically removed and was going to be sent home when it started eating again without vomiting, confirming that the operation had been successful.
This week was the first week I had been in now that the consultation times have been lengthened from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. The vet I was talking to told me that although these were slightly more expensive, they were rarely overrunning leaving clients waiting for less time. Also, the vets often had time to write up notes and make phone calls if consults were short, saving the vets having to stay at work for hours into the evening to do this.
Three cats which had been recently rehomed from an RSPCA cat shelter were brought in for their second vaccinations. One had previously had fleas and as a result had lost lots of fur. Although the fur was regrowing quickly it still looked very scruffy. Another cat had a grade three heart murmur. The vet tried to listen to the cats heart so that its condition could be monitored but it was purring so much that this proved difficult. After trying various techniques to distract the cat to stop it purring, including holding cotton wool soaked in spirit to its nose, running a tap and tapping its head, the vet still could hear just enough to confirm the heart murmur.
Another cat was brought in because it was vomiting, however the owner had not noticed the vomiting coinciding with eating or any other possible causes. The vet discussed feeding it a bland diet and suggested that a blood test could be taken to discover any underlying causes. We took the cat out to the kennels but as soon as the box was opened it made a dash for it. Eventually, after the nurse had thrown a towel over it, the vet scooped the cat back up but it was now too stressed to attempt to take a blood sample so was returned to the owner with the advice of changing the diet and bringing the cat back in if no improvement was made.
A miniature schnauzer was brought in for its kennel cough vaccination which was administered as a nasal spray. The vet also did a general health check and found that although it was given a dental in September, plaque was already building on its teeth. She explained that some dogs are prone to bad teeth for no obvious reason and suggested that the owner should try brushing the dog’s teeth.
A dog was brought in with a hurt leg although when the vet examined it their did not appear to be any obvious problems apart from a possible slight swelling in the knee. The dog was excited and the adrenaline produced from being at the vets was probably masking any pain or injury. Therefore, the vet prescribed anti inflammatories to be given for one week and instructed that the dog must rest for two weeks even if it seems to have recovered beforehand. It was important that exercise was slowly built up from this stage whilst the injured limb regained strength as was it equally important to reduce the amount of food being given. Not only would the dog be burning less energy but it was already overweight. The vet explained that in a dog of an appropriate weight you should be able to feel its ribs and see its waist.
A 12 week old puppy was brought in for its first vaccination. After being given it, the owners were told that it could not come into contact with unvaccinated dogs until two weeks after the second vaccination, which would be given between two and four weeks after the first.
A cat was brought in with open wounds which were weeping pus. It had been in a fight previously leaving it with wounds which became infected and developed into abscesses. The cat had now been in another fight which had opened up the old wounds. They were now badly infected so the vet cleaned them thoroughly before prescribing antibiotics and anti inflammatories as well as giving them a buster collar to stop the cat licking the wounds and disrupting the healing process.
Between appointments, I asked the vet about what can be seen in a blood test. She told me that among other things, it was most common to look for a high white blood cell count, indicating an infection and high calcium levels. High calcium is a possible indicator of cancer as some cancer cells mimic hormones produced in the parathyroid gland which control the levels of calcium in the blood. As a result, calcium will come out of the bones and into the blood. I asked if this could cause bone problems but the vet told me that it would not as the absorption of the calcium from the bones did not effect the structure of the bones themselves.
The final consult of the day was an emergency after a cat had been hit by a car. Its paw was degloved and it had a seriously broken leg. Furthermore, it was likely that bruising had developed on its lungs and it had a graze on its head. Its heart was beating rapidly and its pulse was very weak. Along with its high temperature, this revealed that the cat was going into shock. It paw smelt bad, suggesting that the injury was infected and at least 24 hours old. To save the cat, they would have to act immediately, putting it onto an intravenous drip. There was little hope of reconstructing the paw and although there was the option of amputation, this would be hard for the 14 year old cat to cope with as it was a front leg. This combination of factors resulted in the owners made the hard, but probably kind, decision to have it put to sleep.