We had a litter of 5 (healthy!) kittens visit us the other day, and it was so much fun! Our mascot and my pooch, Devon, LOVES the little ones, as you can see if you click on the link below!
I wanted to take a moment to address some of the most difficult decisions an emergency clinician faces, every single shift he/she works. How do we provide the best, yet most cost-efficient care we can to patients for whom we have just met? How do we instantly imbue trust into the strangers who bring them to us seeking help? In human emergency medicine, a battery of tests are often performed in an effort to reach a diagnosis quickly (x-rays, full blood work, and possible advanced imaging such as a CT scan). Any idea how much those tests cost? Well into the thousands, if not tens of thousands, in a human emergency hospital.
Veterinarians clearly do not have that luxury. I would say that at least 80% of the patients we see in an emergency setting have gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhea, refusal to eat, abdominal pain), and each and every time I have to decide just on the basis of my physical exam whether to treat their signs alone or perform additional tests to be sure this “one out of ten case” doesn’t have just an upset stomach, but a life-threatening condition. Sometimes I’m right in encouraging owners to pursue additional tests or hospitalization, and yes, sometimes I’m wrong. Maybe some particular patient would have gotten better if I’d just treated the signs and the owners took them home. But I’ll tell you, what keeps us up at night isn’t questioning the times we did run a test, but the times we didn’t, and because we didn’t, we sent a critical patient home and did not provide the care that may have shortened a hospital stay or saved a life.
When I opened this hospital, I made a point of ensuring that owners didn’t feel like “money comes first” here. (I have been told some veterinary emergency hospitals require a credit card upon entry to their facility before they even see the doctor!) Yet if we don’t get paid, we can’t stay open to help the next patient that walks in the door. It is a difficult balance, and one that I doubt we will ever be able to circumvent. But I want you to know we try, and we think about it, every time.
She spent the night with us this week for monitoring after surgery to remove stones from her bladder. As you can see, her pain medication was making her feel very goooood! She did great overnight- she was very affectionate and adorable. Best wishes to her on a speedy recovery!
He is a 10-year-old Akita who came in Monday morning with that much-feared condition known as “bloat”. Fortunately, he was stable upon arrival and got to surgery right away. He was home in 24 hours and recovering wonderfully! He was a really good patient! All large-breed dog owners, be aware of the signs of bloat (unproductive retching, distended abdomen), as quick intervention is a key component to survival!
This is Yango, who had to have some bladder stones removed in an emergency surgery, as they were preventing him from urinating normally. We got to see him during his recovery the other day, and he is doing great!
He was outside yesterday minding his own business when he was cornered by a couple of other dogs, who gave him some pretty deep wounds on his neck and front leg. He was a trooper, though-such a great patient! He got the award for the day!
We had two visits this week from some old friends who are vastly healthier and happier than when we first met them. The first is our beloved kitty Tigger, who spent 8 whole days here just about a year ago as a very sick little kitten. The second is the sweet Olive, who was picked up on the streets of Torrington in terrible shape, but our nurse Jen saw the incredible dog she could be and adopted her into her home. Aren’t these “then” and “now” pictures amazing?
This little guy (we named him Moose) came to us just before Christmas, rejected by his mother, very underweight, and critically ill. We were able to successfully revive him, but his family couldn’t afford the cost of his ongoing care and monitoring, and therefore surrendered him to us. He has been fostered by one of our staff members since then, and even though he is still so small, he is doing great! He was able to go to his permanent home this week. Good luck Moose! You are a survivor!
We’ve had a lot of them this week, but this boy reminded us all that age is not a disease, and older pets can amaze us too. This is Charlie, a 17-year-old (yes, 17!) dachshund who spent several days with us this week. He had surgery for a foreign body and has made a remarkable recovery! Here he is yesterday just starting to feel better. You are incredible Charlie- we wish you the best!
This guy tried to swallow a needle, but we were able to retrieve it before it went too far! Warning to all cat owners out there: it is not uncommon for them to try eat a strand of thread with needle attached!