Tag Archives: Operation

Benedict who?

New Year is almost here. I feel I have come a long way in 2014. Strange to think that less than a year ago, I drew up outside Tu Dyreklinikk and decided it was too daunting to walk in and ask if I could look around. I’m glad I changed my mind. That decision allowed me to meet some wonderful new friends, and has given me the opportunity to return to a life I hadn’t realised I was missing so much.

As I said in my last post, I was pleased that I was not working over Christmas. Jan-Arne was however, and somehow he managed to get himself on the front page of our local newspaper, JaerBladet after a Japanese Akita called Frøya accidentally got hold of a whole fruit and nut bar. Happily for Frøya’s owners, Jan-Arne was able to treat her, and by the next day, she was fine.

The picture at the top of the page is another of Jan-Arne’s patients. Lukas is a young Staffordshire Bull terrier with itchy skin. Feel better soon Lukas.

This week, I have only worked one day because New Year falls on a Thursday. I spent most of yesterday in theatre with Magne and Wivek. As usual I was on anaesthetic duty and it was an interesting day for me as Wivek was trying out a new form of pain relief called Recuvyra. Recuvyra is an opioid pain-killer, which is applied to the skin of a dog under its coat. It lasts for four days, so for operations which require analgesia for a few days, it is a good alternative to remaining in hospital, or coming back in for several days for injections. As always with new treatments, it will be interesting to hear from the clients how they got on. Yesterday’s patient, a sweet little Tibetan Spaniel with a displaced hip, seemed very stable throughout her anaesthetic and contented during the recovery period so I hope that when she went home, everything continued to go well. I remember when I started out in veterinary practice, there was much less consideration given to pain-relief, and very few pain-killers readily available. It’s one area where I feel the veterinary profession has made enormous leaps in progress and it is important for our patients that we keep up.

There were a few things that made me laugh. Obviously my Norwegian is still patchy, as when I asked Wivek how big the bladder dog was, (a lovely Schnauzer which was suffering from stones in her urine) she told me it was about the size of a grape. She was referring to the stones of course. No idea how I would go about anaesthetising a dog that weighed less than a box of matches.

For some reason, I was having difficulty with intravenous catheters, probably because Wivek was watching, and she always makes it look so simple. It’s much easier to find the vein with good lighting, so before I made my second attempt of the day (on the Schnauzer), I walked over and switched on the big overhead light. Except somehow, I got the wrong switch. I confess I was surprised when the light failed to come on, but not quite as surprised as Magne, who suddenly found himself plunged into darkness as he waited for us in the operating room. His face was a picture as he emerged.

The high point of the day though, was the moment when Wivek and I were discussing the Christmas period.

‘I went to see a film yesterday,’ she said, and gazed into the air for a moment. ‘I can’t remember the name of it though.’ She shrugged and then looked down to continue her suturing.

‘Not very memorable then,’ I suggested.

She frowned. ‘Good film, not a good name,’ she said. ‘It was about Alan Turing.’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘The one with Benedict Cumberbatch?’

I have never seen such a blank look on anyone’s face. ‘Benedict who?’ she said. ‘I don’t know his name. The one who played Sherlock Holmes.’

I confess I was astonished. I thought that everyone in the universe knew who Benedict Cumberbatch was. Even if we had woken up the patient and asked her in dog language who it was that played Sherlock Holmes, she would probably have barked his name. So there you have it. If you want to consult Wivipedia, it’s probably better to stick to animals and Norwegian cookery. Whatever you do, don’t consult her about Tom Cruise. For her that would be Mission Impossible.

Anyway, to all of you who have supported me this year, thank you very much. I can hear fireworks outside already. By midnight, the sky will be bursting with light and colour. Happy Hogmanay, and I hope you have a wonderful time in 2015.

 

 

Heartwarming

We do get asked some bizarre questions now and then. This weeks prize goes to one of Jan-Arne’s clients, who wanted to know whether we could do a test to see if his dog was gay as he had failed to show interest when presented with a bitch in heat. Although he was almost certain, Jan-Arne, conscientious to the last, came to check with me and invited me into the room to look at the patient. Of course, there was nothing significant to find.

‘He just doesn’t like women,’ his owner commented to me after I had checked out his pet’s (entirelly normal) testes. It crossed my mind to reply that his dog seemed to like me perfectly well, but he seemed like a lovely man and he had been kind enough to speak in English after all (one of only two non-British clients who chose that path this week).

‘Some men just don’t.’ I replied with a shrug. ‘It’s nothing to worry about.’ Of course, it may be that given another bitch, his dog might change his mind. Love can be a fickle thing.

It has been a week of contrasts and working every day this week has meant I played a full part in all the drama at both ends of the spectrum. It is often the case that when a very old pet is reaching the end of its natural life, there comes a time when it needs a great deal of care. Sometimes just how much is brought home to an owner when they are faced with the decision of how to find someone to take responsibility for their animal during the vacation. It isn’t always possible. Even if you choose to take a holiday where your pet goes on your journey with you, it isn’t always suitable for an animal that is nearing the end of its life to travel at all and sometimes difficult decisions have to be made. The contrast to this has been seen in the number of kittens I have seen this week which have been found and adopted by their finders. The real generosity of some of our pet owners is deeply heart warming.

There was no sad ending for Ludwig, a delightful young Cairn terrier. Ludwig first arrived at the clinic on a Sunday evening, vomiting and in agony. After initially thinking that his pain was abdominal, Marita quickly discovered that poor Ludwig was actually suffering from a testicular torsion. He was given strong pain-killers and his excruciating condition was resolved by careful castration of the affected testicle.

To Marita’s delight, when he returned on Tuesday, as soon as Ludwig saw her across the waiting room, he  launched himself towards her and greeted her with delight. It has often been a source of rueful irony to me, that having loved animals enough to become a vet,  so many of them regard me with at best, suspicion and at worst, fear and dislike.  The only times I have seen this truly reversed was in the emergency clinic. It happened enough to convince me that when an animal comes into the clinic in real genuine pain, and you are the person who gives them relief, then there is no doubt that they feel grateful. I think anyone experiencing this would be left in no doubt of the complex nature of a dog’s consciousness.

I asked Ludwig’s owner if I could take his photo for my blog, and as he was too busy sniffing around the consulting room to pose, Marita picked him up for a cuddle. He immediately took advantage of the situation by kissing her most enthusiastically. Despite the fact that Marita likes him very much indeed, I’m not sure she enjoyed the experience as much as he did.IMG_6515

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6516IMG_6514Still, understandably, she was both happy, and delighted with his reaction. There are few things better than knowing you have done a great job, especially when the result is seeing a lovely young animal make a full and happy recovery. If they like you as well, that really is the icing on the cake.

 

Todays featured image is of Turbo Trine, Irene’s lovely dog, who had been in to have her teeth cleaned.

 

Bottom

Monday morning, Marion and I headed up to Ognaheia. Sandwiches and coffee and some Norwegian scenery. I was feeling good.

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Monday night saw Marita, Jacqueline and me heading into Stavanger for some Continuing Professional Development (CPD). VetScan (the diagnostic imaging company, which carried out the MRI on Lusi) will be starting up in Stavanger later this year, and Stavanger Smådyrklinikk had invited a speaker from the UK to come and talk to us about CT scans. Although it was interesting, it went on later than I had thought, and as I drove home at eleven o’clock, I found myself feeling unusually tired.

Tuesday morning dawned, and I was still tired. I couldn’t really understand this, as there was nothing obviously wrong, so I drove to work, and dragged myself around, trying to find some enthusiasm for cleaning. I realise that enthusiasm for cleaning sounds almost like a contradiction in terms, but usually I find an odd enjoyment in it at work, but on this day I was very relieved when Magne claimed me to help him with an operation.

The patient was a young Yorkshire Terrier, which had an inguinal hernia, and happily for me, her anaesthetic was very stable. It’s always a relief when the oxygen sats remain steadily between 98 and 100 percent. I found myself watching Magne as he carefully worked around the defect, meticulously dissecting away some protruding fat and tying off the larger blood vessels. Having closed the hole, he turned his eyes to me and smiled.

‘What are you thinking?’ he asked.

I confess that at that particular moment, I wasn’t feeling all that well, and what I was actually thinking “I wonder if I passed out, whether Magne would attend to me first, or whether he would stay sterile and just call for someone to help me”, however it seemed melodramatic to say that and my brain seemed stuck. Faced with my dumb silence, he fortunately made things easier for my befuddled mind.

‘What do you think? Is it closed?’ he clarified. With relief, I said I thought it looked good, and he continued with the task of closing up the wound. I don’t know whether  Irene sensed something was wrong with me, but happily she came into theatre and gave me a hand at the end of the op. I was very glad she was there, as I just felt dysfunctional.

Of course, after twelve, I have started to consult. Fortunately the flow of adrenaline did seem to help a little. It was another male dog with urinary tract problems, and so at least, after last week, I felt I had some idea of what I was looking for. Before they arrived, I went into the consulting room that Magne usually uses, and tried to sit down. Somehow as I tried to hoist myself up, the chair slipped away from me, and I sat down very suddenly on the ground. Limping through, I found Marita.

‘Have you broken your tailbone?’ she asked. ‘Do you call it a tailbone in English?’ I was able to assure her that I hadn’t.

‘It’s only my bottom that’s broken,’ I told her. I didn’t enjoy the consultation. I don’t feel it went very well, which I guess wasn’t surprising under the circumstances, but I do know that with Wivek’s help, everything was done very thoroughly.

Wednesday night was really odd. I had felt unwell most of the day, and the night was riddled with weird dreams. At one point, I dreamed that Magne was sweeping the floor, and with admiral logic, I worked out that I must be dreaming. After all, I concluded, Magne never sweeps the floor. Having at some level congratulated myself for my deductive abilities, I went back to sleep and for some reason Magne made another appearance, but this time he seemed to have gone crazy. This time I was more confused. I couldn’t be sure that I was dreaming as although I could be certain Magne wouldn’t sweep, it definitely didn’t seem impossible that he could go mad. With hindsight, the fact that Magne’s irrational behaviour involved turning over a table and sitting cross-legged trying to fish in the underside of it using a rod made of spaghetti might have been a bit of a giveaway. I think possibly I might have been a bit feverish at that point.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t go to work yesterday. I wasn’t looking forward to phoning in, but Irene made it easy for me.

‘Have you got the flu as well? she asked. ‘Dagny has been struggling with it all week.’ I don’t know whether it’s flu, or some other virus, but I am certainly exhausted. So if you have read all this, and it doesn’t make much sense, then I can only apologise that you have wasted the past five minutes. Still, at least I have made it out of bed today. Maybe by next Tuesday, I will be smart enough to start consulting again. For the moment, daytime TV is beckoning. Have a good weekend.