Veterinary medicine has always fascinated me mainly because you never know what you may see. Yes, there are routine visits, but every now and then you get a patient that you’ve never had to deal with before. So far on small animal surgery, I’ve had a few of those patients.
The first patient came in the middle of the night. A dog with a sudden onset of hind limb dysfunction needed back surgery. Unable to use those legs, she had to be carried around and couldn’t express her bladder on her own. At least three people were needed to do this, and she would get very feisty during the process. Every time you tried to move her she would try to snap, and she wouldn’t take her medications by mouth easily. But by the end of her stay, she was much happier, especially when she was reunited with her owner.
The next dog had a large draining mass in his groin area and prepuce. Due to the drainage, he could potentially infect other patients. So he was put into a special room and every time I worked with him, I had to gown up in a blue suit with gloves and booties. That might not sound difficult, but every time he was brought outside he had to take a ride in a special cage. This was a huge task due to the fact that you needed two people to move the cage and another clean person to open the doors. After mass removal, the diagnosis was squamous cell carcinoma. Despite that poor prognosis, he was probably one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever seen.
Small animal surgery isn’t anything that I would expect to do long term, and as a large animal-oriented student I thought that I would be miserable doing all this small animal work on patients with poor prognoses. While I wasn’t expecting all the extra work, I’ve had fun doing it and I certainly was sad to see each of these patients go at discharge.