As part of my food animal medicine rotation, I spent my first week on ambulatory and on-call duty. As someone who is interested in food animals, I like the idea of not knowing what may happen and when. I don’t like doing the same thing over and over so being on call has always been exciting for me.
While I didn’t get called in during the week, the weekend was a different story. On Saturday, I helped a pig in labor by pulling out 3 piglets. On Sunday, I got called in three times. Two of them were for calves that were having respiratory issues. One was in very bad shape. She was down and couldn’t move. She had a lot of fluid in the lungs, couldn’t suckle, and had a temperature well below normal. In addition, the fecal material in her rectum was dry and tacky and she wasn’t passing any of it. After giving her fluids and antibiotics, her prognosis was still extremely poor and she didn’t make it through the night.
Later in the evening, we got called out for a beef cow dystocia. The cow had been in labor since the morning and the owner’s daughter was a small animal vet. She didn’t have the supplies and abilities to help. As a food animal student, I was the first one to go in and try to figure out how the baby was oriented. As I reached in, I felt a nose and sharp teeth. After applying chains and some external pressure, my friend and I pulled the dead baby out.
At the moment, I am certainly glad that my time on call is over. Still, despite being tired, it’s opportunities like these where I learn the most. No matter what I do, I can’t be fully prepared for what pops up, and each time I have learned so much by being guided by the clinician who allowed me to do practically everything.