“I need a doctor!” One of the veterinary technicians said as she rushed a dying kitten into the treatment area. She locked eyes with me as I looked up from reading an ear cytology slide. The kitten has been dropped off by a good samaritan that had found it on the side of the road. I took the kitten and placed it a table on a blanket. It was a hot day, and I could tell the kitten was dehydrated with tacky gums and a long skin tent time. Its eyes stared dully ahead, and it took labored breaths. I could only imagine what extent of dehydration and acidosis it must be in. It could not be more than 3 or 4 weeks old by the look of things. Its abdomen was quite enlarged, further confirming my suspicion that it was part of a stray litter and was probably ridden with intestinal worms.
I had to act fast, especially considering we probably were already working with negatively accrued minutes. We tried to find a vein on the forelimbs and hindlimbs, but the kitten was so dehydrated that it was not a productive pursuit. I put some fluids subcutaneously to attempt to salvage the situation. I also put some corn syrup in the kitten’s mouth to try to increase its probably rock-bottom blood sugar. The kitten hardly responded. Time was beyond lost. The kitten’s pulses were becoming weaker by the second. We made the decision to euthanize the poor kitten to prevent further suffering.
When you are the Doc, you need to make spot decisions. You will be dealt absolutely rotten hands with minimal chance of success. You still need to try while keeping in mind the best interest of the patient. It is up to you to relieve pain and suffering to the best of your ability.