Pets survive the summer holiday
PAWS AND CLAWS: Crikey these short weeks have been a challenge.
Both hospitals have been fully booked and on top of that we have had several major critical cases to deal with. Some with great outcomes and some not what we would have hoped for.
Some of the saddest cases for us to handle have been the dog attack victims. It is just plain brutal and devastating and shocking to be honest.
Micro is a little feline victim who amazingly made it back home with one lacerated chewed leg and another broken leg. She is a little survivor. After stabilising her condition with pain relief, warmth, antibiotics and some much needed IV fluid support, she was looking much better later the same day.
It is important to treat the immediate life-threatening problems first and stabilise a patient before tackling what we call secondary issues, like broken legs. Secondary, I hear you say. Well, yes they are, because a broken leg won't result in death in the short term, but shock and blood loss will. Micro's chewed leg was our next problem to sort.
Wounds like this or road accident wounds – the same as "gravel rash" in people – are called "open" wounds. Another open wound would be the hole left when an abscess bursts, leaving a large open area with loss of skin. These can't be stitched closed because of either the large skin defect or contamination by road debris or dirt, or because a bite wound will always become infected and to stitch it closed will only trap all those bacteria inside. It might look nicer all stitched up, but three days later it will start to fester and leak pus.
So little Micro's leg was gently shaved to remove all the loose hair and dried blood and debris. Then we gently washed the open areas with a dilute antibacterial solution. This has to be done gently, because any high pressure washing will further damage the tissues and force bacteria and debris further into the tissues. Dilute solutions are used for similar reasons, as strong antibacterial washes also kill off healthy tissue.
Over the next two weeks Micro's skin will do the rest and gradually close the defects by itself with no help from us, other than some antibiotics and occasional cleaning. The location of the defects high on the inside of the thigh made it impossible to bandage, which in a lower part of the leg would be another treatment option with daily changes.
Two days later and we got the drills and hardware out and fixed her front leg with a stainless steel plate and some screws. In two weeks' time, little Micro will be almost back to normal and saving his other eight lives for another day.
We also had the usual chocoholic dogs. Thankfully, only one greedy monster had me standing outside waiting for the vomiting drug to work. Watching that certainly puts you off chocolate milk. The other two dogs had only eaten a few small chocolate eggs, so no problems there other than a bit of hyperactivity, which may be normal for them anyway.
One great outcome was our four-legged friend who decided that slug bait was tasty.
These cases take a lot of care, patience and attention to detail. In many cases, including this one, we have to keep them anaesthetised (induced comma-like) for at least 24 hours to control the violent muscle activity and seizures. After 24-36 hours, we gradually reduce the anaesthetic drug level and watch to see whether the effects of the poison have worn off or reduced to a manageable level. Amazingly, our four-legged hoover was feeling much better after an anxious day and a half and we all breathed a sigh of relief when our patient stood normally and several days later the blood tests showed no long-term effects.
In among these emergencies were the usual cat abscess, dog stitch ups, health checks, lame dogs and lots of other funny stories – all crammed in to two short weeks and two busy weekends.
And just a very special thank you to two awesome couples who went out of their way to bring in two cats at night that weren't theirs. One had been hit by a car and another was found very sick. It is uplifting to see people doing good things and these two couples deserve a huge thanks and recognition for caring.
Have an awesome break and Happy New Year and thanks to everyone for all your friendship, support and another year of rewarding and funny times from all the crazy crew at Andersons.