Today in the kennels were a couple of dogs being sick. The first was guessed to be just because of an upset stomach as no other cause could be found. However, they could not tell if it was improving because it would not eat in the kennels. Eating is one of the best health indicators, therefore they were going to send it home for the night to see if it would eat at home. If it would not then it would have to brought in again for more investigation to be done. The other dog being sick was only two years old but had already had three operations to remove stones it had eaten. This was the most probable cause of it being sick, however, the x-rays which had been taken had not shown any stones. Therefore, the vets were exploring the possibility of other foreign bodies obstructing the digestive tract. To find out if there were obstructions caused by objects, such as socks, which would not show up on an x-ray they were taking multiple x-ray images over a period of time on which they could observe the movement of gas through the intestine. If gas in the digestive tract was to seen move throughout the intestine and out of the body then it would show that there was probably not an obstruction. However, if the gas did not pass a certain point it would indicate that there was a foreign body obstructing its path. Barium sulfate, used in a barium meal can confirm this movement. Barium sulfate is insoluble, therefore it is safe to use as it will not be absorbed through the intestine wall whilst it is dense enough to block x-rays and therefore show up on a radiograph. The vet showed me several pictures in a textbook, giving examples of barium meal used to highlight the intestine as well as x-rays of foreign bodies in dogs’ stomachs including a corn cob and some buttons.
During the consultations today, a dog was brought in with red and inflamed eyes. The vet looked at them using an ophthalmoscope and could immediately see that the cornea of the eye was smooth meaning that it could be concluded that this was a case of conjunctivitis and there was no need to use fluorescein although I had initially thought this would be necessary. They were prescribed antibiotic eye drops and if no improvement was seen they should bring the dog back in.
A cat which had been in a car accident was brought in for a check up. After the accident, it had been brought in with extremely shallow breathing and in a lot of pain. X-rays revealed that it had a ripped diaphragm. The liver had moved into the thorax and was obstructing the ability for ventilation to take place. The cat had to be operated on immediately to move the liver back into place and stitch the diaphragm back together. The cat was recovering well and rapidly improving.
A dog I saw in the kennels two weeks ago who had his toe removed due to a cancerous lump was brought in for a check up. The bandaging was removed and I could now see that the entire digit had been cleanly removed. It had healed well and although it would take the dog a little while to get used to walking on, it would be much better than the malignant, uncomfortable tumour.
I have previously noticed that when doing a general check up, many vets tap the chest around the stethoscope whilst some do not. Therefore, I asked the vet why this was done. She told me that when tapping you could hear the sound resonating around the chest. If it was a clear hollow sound, this indicated that the chest was clear from obstructions including a build up of mucus or fluids. She used the example of the cat who had ripped its diaphragm. Tapping around the stethoscope here would produce a dull, muted sound because of the liver in the cat’s chest. She told me that some vets only do it when necessary whilst others, like herself, did it in most check ups in order to create a habit of it.