Sunday, 30 November 2008

The Body Bag

Death is a common sight in the veterinary profession. It may “only be an animal” but l have known extreme behaviour after the pet has died.
At least 2 different family’s l know who have had a suicide after and as a direct result of the pet’s death.
In another case the marriage split up as the husband could not cope with his wife’s behaviour at loosing her dog, she was sectioned.
So while it can have serious consequences it can behind the scenes have humour in, although the humour is usually only apparent later.

At my old job when l first started from 22:00 when l went on duty there was the vet, myself (vetnurse) and until 23:00 we had a receptionist on. After that just the vet and the vetnurse till 8am.
On the night in question it was a very busy Saturday. The vet had a huge Rottweiler to put to sleep. The vet then used the other consult room while the owners had a few last minutes with their family member then left. After the owners had gone l had to run in and place the dog in a bag then drag it up the passage to the freezers. No way l could carry a 45-50kg dog.

The bags are not human body bags they are simply slightly stronger black bags, only this batch was not that great but l did not know that. Those that do nights regular know that day shift NEVER pass anything onto nights except abuse.

I shut the passage doors between the waiting and consult rooms so no one could see what was going on. Grunted pushed and sweated to get the dog in the bag. Waited until the vet took the next clients into consult then proceeded to pull the bag out the room and up the passage. That was the plan.

The reality was
Dog placed in bag .. ok
Check passage doors closed ..ok
Listen to confirm consult ongoing.. ok
Pull bag into passage but it was so heavy it took longer than intended.
Ignore door opening into waiting room as receptionist came down the back and held the door open as she was talking to someone.
Suddenly realise door was open and about to yell quietly “Shut that door” while giving the body bag a hard pull to get it moving.
Clients came out of other consult room as consult had ended early.
Bag split
I went flying backwards waving empty bag.
Clients see “flying” vetnurse give despairing scream slamming backwards into, and sliding down, second set of doors separating ops and kennels area.
Body of Rottweiler lying on floor
Vetnurse flat on back and struggling to get upright, trying to check for broken bones and remember not to swear.
Everyone in waiting room, the vet and her clients in passage and receptionist stares horrified at drama unfolding.
The vet pushed the owners out.
I crawled up the passage on all fours back to the dog (quicker than standing) snarling shut the F**** door at the receptionist.
I managed to pull the dog to the kennel area and solitude while l sorted it.
Vet and vn and spend the night in mix of horror and hysteria groaning and giggling at the looks on faces, and cussing “bloody day shift” for not warning us about the bags.

Yes even in death there is humour

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Christmas - New Pets

A small kitten was dumped at work today. It was lucky as it was dumped at a secure area. This brought to mind something that rescue kennels and vets start to get angry over this time of year.

It is heading at speed towards Christmas and thoughts of presents. There is no way to put this nicely so here goes.
“Anyone that buys an animal as a Christmas, Birthday, or other celebration, at the time of that celebration....needs shooting”

It makes no difference if you get a pedigree or a mongrel. And bear in mind a pedigree is a mongrel that breeds true. A bird or a fish, a cat or dog any animal.

The worst time of year to decide on a new animal as a family member is especially Christmas. The house is in turmoil. Bangs are going off. Guests are in and out the house. The house is meant to be kept clean. Strange food is being cooked and dropped perfect for stomach upsets. Life is one big accident and it happens.

Think of how upsetting it can be for the family with all the arguments that come with the season of “joy” and how you are so glad when it is over and life can return to normal.
Now think of yourself as a tiny puppy or kitten pulled away from their mum and siblings. Maybe but not necessarily bred at a puppy mill (USA) or puppy farm (UK)Just to make some scumball from the lower depths of hell money. Or other animal pulled from a quiet life and cast into the cauldron of confusion.

It is terrifying for them. Then they pee or poo or puke and WHAM, suddenly they are dumped at some rescue home if they are lucky. Very often they are dumped in the middle of nowhere.
They freeze or starve or die of dehydration in a short space of time. Assuming a fox or owl does not kill them.

The old family pet is often unwanted clutter now the "new toy" has arrived and is pushed out to the woods to face whatever happens. Sometimes they are both thrown out onto motorways, or into strange areas on the other side of town.
People think it is a faster death hit by a car, only it isn’t, it is more terror and pain and if they are lucky someone will see them and call for help. If their luck holds they will be found before they wander away or hide away in pain, until they die or are found and put out of their pain.
There is so many healthy animals who can afford to take the old or the injured on.

If you must get a pet then it needs to be at least 3 weeks before Christmas (or birthday or whatever celebration). You need to arrange what will happen over the period when everyone is so busy who will look after it. It needs a safe area, away from guests and secure, lockable to avoid doors accidentally left open. If it is not vaccinated keep it away from others of it’s species.
How will your old pet react to the new one, will they both cope together during all the Christmas stress. If now what will you do?

All this so that you can have a pet for a present, is it worth it?

Friday, 28 November 2008


This is a rant. I ended my locum job yesterday for a medical reason that started about 3 years ago.

I went to my Dr to get a rabies vaccine course as l handle bats in the course of my work. In UK there is some rabies in the bat population, amount unknown but it is there in small pockets. I was told tough there is no vaccine available in the country until at least October. As it was February l had to shrug and leave it.
It was made clear by the nurse that l was not entitled to it anyhow and l would have to pay over £100 when it was, that is a lot of money when things are tight so l left it. Ok my fault for not pushing and demanding it free which other veterinary staff gets from their Dr’s but l dislike the people at my drs so l did not pursue it, l sort of felt my temper exploding and being banned from there so common sense (or not) made me back off.

Fast forward to 90 nights ago I was dealing with an injured bat. I had silicone gloves on but the bat was behaving “weirdly”. It launched it’s self in a furious attack at my finger not the normal fear attack l am used to. I dropped the blanket and bat on the floor and it attacked its self screaming.
I scrubbed my hands with soap and water and we put the bat to sleep. I shoved it into a sample bottle and l started to track down what to do in a possible rabies situation, as we had no protocol.

At 22:00 this is not easy but l did it, l have to admit l am impressed. Many thanks to The Health Protection Agency Manchester for getting the vaccine couriered from Liverpool to my local A & E, National Veterinary’s Labs (emergency line) The Consultant l rang at 23:30 (wont mention her name) but she had been involved in a Rabies case and was very helpful also gave me her name as a battering ram if l need to knock on doors or people. And several other emergency lines for phone numbers to ring.

And a raspberry to the idiot consultant at the Manchester Infectious Diseases Control who seriously told me that it was top secret on what needed to be done and l would have to go in while they assessed me. I am the one that told you where to place your head after it was boiled in a vat of overripe sewage then slammed the phone down.

Anyhow l had to have 3 injections on day “0” 2.5ml/thigh and one in the arm. The nurse then pressed the drug indications leaflets into my hands. The “thigh” one said human immunoglobin has been checked for, Aids/HIV, Hepatitis, gooney bird disease, and everything else (you see how the fun is getting going).
The arm vaccine was a different one that could cause from hives to anaphylactic shock, paralysis, death shock etc etc a wonderful list. Given the choice of possible rabies or them guess what l chose?

At regular intervals l have been back to have the arm vaccines (The 2 thigh ones were only needed once)I had one bad reaction with fever and badly swollen arm, another time a swollen arm. I go to A & E who were holding the vaccine at about 6:30am as it is quiet.

Last night due to working down Kenilworth l did not get there till 21:00 after a wonderful trip up the M6 in heavy traffic. The A & E was freezing the doors seemed stuck on open. The coffee machine was bust and the loo out of order. I decided to get a Dr Pepper l know it was a refrigerated machine but out comes a Dr Pepper zero, loaded under the normal Dr Pepper button. I can not stand zero or special sweeteners it is full fat and healthy or nothing. I slumped on the chair reading another Kelly Armstrong book.

Eventually l get called through and given a little cubicle at least it was warmer than the “arctic” the worried face of the sister dealing with it says “You did say the fridge in here minor injuries”?
“Yesss, well that’s where it was before but l did have the last 2 in the main section, l suppose they could have moved it”
Off she shot to look…. Nope not there, we looked at each other blankly. Off she went like a spaniel after a partridge.
Back she came again and said l rang the head pharmacist and she says it changed you only need 5 injections since 2007. I waved the insert leaflet. She read it muttered “you’re right 6” Off she sailed and l trudged along.

By now the 3 way conversation was going on passing me the phone passing it back to her talking to the head pharmacist. Upshot was the HP rang London infectious diseases control who said it was now 5 just the inserts had not been changed.
If they were wrong would l get a phone call and be told you have to have the whole lot again? I do not think the bat was rabid as NLA have never got back to anyone, they usually say if they do not then it is fine. Nice and vague you would think they would put peoples minds at rest.

I insisted get in writing l did not need inj. Number 6. (or 8 if you include the 2 in the thigh) and names of who said what. Nowadays l want pretty much everything in writing as l have a low opinion of the human race. I finally left for home at 23:30.

There is also the matter of one days pay lost and the feeling l let them down leaving a day early.
Yesterday just before we closed for the day they gave me a lovely card all signed and a bottle of South African wine. I had been there 2 months and they had become work family l was all dew eyed and lumpy throated.
3 traffic jams on the M6, freezing cold for 2 hours in A & E, no toilet, no Dr Pepper.

The A & E staff and HPA have been great, my rant is at the A & E Dr who confirmed l had to come back for 6inj. he should have checked as they did not know and had never in 10 years the sister had been there dealt with my situation
The people at my dr’s who said l basically did not count as important enough to have the vaccine when l was a priority and putting me at a lot more risk.
And finally at me for not doing my normal and chasing things down to the end degree and demanding the vaccine instead of getting caught out like l was.

I have applied and received paperwork through to see what’s involved in becoming an official bat handler. I do like them despite them causing a screw up in my life. Now l may as well do more to help the little gits!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Hearts and Books

I was locked into a brilliant book over the last few nights by an author l have not been reading long, Kelley Armstrong and her Otherworld series check her out at

I was reading Bitten. It is about a female werewolf. Not your usual hogwash with terror stricken townsfolk and slashed up humans. Not that there isn’t slashed up people it is just sensibly done, as obscure as that sounds.

Kelly sometimes has her characters interwoven appearing in “person” or named in her different books. This means that they become a large family, but not the Brady Family sort thankfully.
The frustrating thing is that l have finished the book and did not bring another one with me.

It is my last day here tomorrow and can say that l have pretty much loved every minute of it. It has been slow at times but is so calm and no matter how many questions l throw at people they never tire of answering. I just wish l could remember every answer.

In the morning after booking in the patients we tend to have a tea break, it is so civilized. We had a nurse here today seeing practice and she was in shock about it. When she commented to Mike M about how calm and civilized it all was.
He replied that “If it is chaos then how can you think? and if you can not think then mistakes are made”
He is no saint and does have a robust sense of humour but if you can give back as hard as he lobs it then you are fine. He is never nasty just Irish.
I did worry initially at a few things l said may have been going to far, now sod it.. l just lob back as hard. I just wish l was as quick witted.

Wibs has had an ecg. We used her as a guinea pig the other week for the new nurse and l to learn how to run the telephone ecg receiving phone.
She was fine about the crocodile clips being clipped onto her legs, then we put the surgical spirit on them. She had a serious sense of humour failure. Never anything as rude as snapping. I had to pull her off the ceiling though and her eyes left you feeling like you had given her a huge kicking. I wouldn’t mind but she had no broken skin or sting, it is just that it made her cold.
The good news is that the heart worm Wibble had many years ago in Tenerife has not caused any obvious problems.

This practice is so different from general surgery or the emergency vets l have spent the last several years involved with, l love it. Best news for me is that l have been rebooked so l am heading back in the early new year for a short stint.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Veterinary Nursing & Zoo keeping

You know you’re a veterinary nurse or zookeeper when...

After work, all you attract are flies;

Your tan lines wash off;

Your pets greet your shoes and not you;

You never shake hands without brushing your hands on your trousers first;

Your snot is black and not clear;

You get really excited about a good solid poop;

You will eat most anything from the animal fridge as a snack;

You have two for work and one for the real world;

You have more photos of you animal kids than of your friends;

You wash your hands thoroughly BEFORE using the toilet;

You politely decline to shake hands because you know where your hands have been;

New pooper scoop bags, new types of disinfectant and shovels are more exciting than diamonds;

You can be bribed to do anything for chocolate cake;

Over lunch the discussion involves the consistency of faeces;

The casserole at the Christmas party reminds someone of an animal’s discharge and you eat it anyway;

Your uniform has blood, anal gland and poop, stains and fresh samples;

You lock every door behind you;

You can make water run uphill, because architects believe all drains should be in the highest corner;

Talk of animals’ faeces does not gross you out when eating;

You are not fazed by a faecal sample in the fridge next to your lunch;

You can eat a chocolate sunday as soon as you finish cleaning up the parvo kennel;

You look better when you wake up than when you get off work;

Friends and family get concerned you are in an abusive relationship because of the number of bruises and cuts you have all over your body and the fact that it takes so long to try and remember how you got them;

When you can fall in a pile of poop and laugh it off but if your hose stays kinked for more than 2 seconds while you are hosing, or your disinfectant spray bottle or your paper towel rolls off you go mental;

You have eaten things off the floor, after you have logically thought about it and use the 10 second rule;

You use surgical tape for EVERYTHING;

You can carry a full 5 gallon bucket of water without spilling a drop;

When you find yourself becoming defensive over the animals. Especially the really ugly ones;

Monday, 24 November 2008

First Aid Skills

A few years ago the practice l was at had a high reception desk, unless you were standing it was a struggle to see over it.

I did nights and at about 1am we had a cat in that had been in an RTA. The owner and her sister had been out at a party, got home, found him injured, and brought him in. We kept Socks in for obs. but he seemed ok, just shaken.

The pair came up to the desk and l asked the owner to sign the consent for treatment form. Her eyes rolled up into her head and she went down like a fallen brick.
Her sister said some thing like “oh no not again” and knelt down to put her in recovery. I managed to squeeze out from behind the desk. The unconscious owner was lying across the entrance.

She kept coming to then fading out again. The sister said “don’t worry she has a blood pressure problem. The party tonight and now this with socks has just upset her”

After about 10minutes of in and out l had had enough. I said l was going to have to call for an ambulance. The sister was upset as she said it would all resolve. I apologised but l had proper (ok to me proper) patients to see to and this was wasting time.

The sister agreed, not that she had a choice l was dialling 999. When l put the phone down the vet who had been sitting down behind reception listening and not offering to help made his move.

He jumped up
Looked down at the owner lying on the floor still fading in and out of consciousness, more out than in. When he judged she was on a slight conscious mode he said …..

“How do you want to pay your bill… cash or credit card?”

Oh dear god how l wanted the earth to open up and swallow me at that moment. How can one describe the total and utter embarrassment of that situation. I wanted to strangle him. If there had been something handy l would have pulped him with it.

The sister looked across at the vet also shocked and said “l will sort it don’t worry” and paid by cheque.

The ambulance came and took the sister inside their little “room on wheels” and ran some tests, checked her medication and sent her home. The cat went home the next day.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Snow Globe & Music

I know it isn’t December yet and l am not really that Christmassy but some things l do like. I found the snow globe and the music as l like the little drummer boy (song 2 on the juke box) and all the singers have amazing voices l felt that life could do with some cheering up when the gloomy nights pull in.

So for my Folks, Aud(in Zim),Leslie, Glenda a silent friend,Tom who gave me the push to set up my blog and everyone l know or do not know and needs a cheer up may the music and snow globe provide that lift to your life.

(l know the snow globe it is a bit tight on borders sort of like me and my clothes the edges are a tad overlapped?)

Edit.. The juke box does not appear to work on some computers.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Lung Foreign Body

The English springer spaniel bounced into us last week. He had a bad cough and was coming in for a heart lung check-up. His breath was like a charnel house but his teeth were clean.

Mike well experienced with what may be the problem took a couple of x-rays which tipped the diagnosis more in favour with his idea. There was a fuzzy area on the chest x-ray in the lungs which was suspicious.

A general anaesthetic and a scope down the trachea into the lungs confirmed what was happening. Springer’s and apparently Labradors are the main culprits for “foreign bodies” being inhaled into the lungs. They generally cause a cough and can be well tolerated. Often just the cough and no slow down in their lifestyle, oh and the bad breath. Do not mistake it for doggie bad breath. This is putrid and bad teeth/tooth smell is not even on the scale it is so tame.

A set of graspers was pushed down the instrument channel in the scope and the item was caught. It was fairly difficult and at first a few single grains were pulled up. This moved the main plug a bit into a better position and a 5th go the grasper's managed to get a good grip on the full plug. It was slowly lifted all the way out the lung.

If l thought the smell was bad before it got a whole lot worse as the plug arrived in what had been fresh air. The whole lot was shoved in a bottle ASAP so that we could get some more un-putrid air circulating, the plug was put to one side for the owner to see.

The lung was red and spots of pus still remained but would soon settle down.

An hour later the Springer was back to his bouncy self. There was still a bit of a cough but that would go pretty quickly. The plug was an awl of barley. The cough had started in about august which was cropping time (roughly) so that was about a 3 month window of how long it had been down in the lung.

Better photos views in thePhoto album

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Alarms and Dr Peppers.

It was one of “those” evenings tonight. Tomorrow Kenilworth is closed so the Xmas street lights can be turned on, so l decided to get my trip home supplies tonight. For a change l went to Waitrose. It is years since l have had a good mooch and shop there.

I was about to head for a slot when this woman pushed a huge laden trolley in and started to load her car. I snarled and parked a couple of slots down. It was just outside the front doors, great.

I had just got in and walked along the pasties and pies isle when alarms started screaming. Everyone looked round and ignored them, continued shopping. I was looking for the crushed garlic when a little womble in Waitrose clothes came up and asked pleasantly if l could evacuate as that was the fire alarm.
I walked down the isle towards the front door when this idiot in Waitrose managerial gear glared at me, walked up towards me and bellowed “would you put your basket down and leave the shop”.
I was ok till then but that got my fangs dripping. “Would you prefer if l run screaming in panic, leaving my basket as a health and safety hazard or head at a calm walking pace and leave my basket at the door?”
“Oh l didn’t realise you knew they were the fire alarms and were headed for the door”
I was walking down the middle of the isle, heading for the door WTF did he think? Or did he even think do Waitrose demand thinking from managers.
“You moved the door from just over in front of me” l said in horror, “OMG!”
He saw danger signs and legged it at this point.

I decided to wait a bit with the rest of the evictees. It was that or drive off to Sainsburys if l did not go home, then tomorrow would be wishing l had waited. After a couple of minutes a lady walked past me pushing a pram with a child in.
A couple of mobs of evictees stood at the 2 exits. A lady managerial was striding about with phone and looking efficient. And still we waited.
The lady with the pram did another round of the car park.

Wib’s was in the car bored so l got her out for a stretch. She and l are now frozen and l am in sod it l will stick this out mode. If there was a fire then where are the men in red?. As soon as they work out how the damm alarms turn off all will be well.
The managerial lady has been given a reflective top and reading a red file, obviously checking all her points.

18:23 sirens scream in the distance, finally 2 lots of men in red pull into the car park. Fast response 25minutes! I do not know before any one comments where the men in red are from.
My ideal parking place is not any more. Even if l want to say sod it and go home l can not, they have blocked me in.

The lady with the pram ambles past again.
I walk to the other side of the men in reds blue flashing lorries and there is one on folded knees writing on a board. He has a snazzy patchwork leather top on.
I discuss with Wibble if he is writing an odds board, 10/1 no fire found 3/2 will get it out in 5 minutes, 2/3 someone will get to the meat counter and have a nice bit of steak tonight.
The other option is he is writing out a specials board for afterwards. £2 smoked salmon/kg, £2 smoked meat/gms.
By now we are bored and l pop Wibs back in the car, climb into the front and turn on the heating.
The lady with the pram sweeps past us on yet another round of the car park, l am tempted to ask if the park wouldn't be nicer?.

Finally at 18:40 we can go back in. I get a couple of things and look for some Dr Pepper 500ml bottles. There is none, l stare around in disbelief, nope what about the snacks section, can not find one, the minons of Waitrose are busy with other MOP's (members of the public) so give up and get some cloudy lemonade.

Finally get to a checkout with one couple waiting and think WOW my lucky night at last. And wait, and wait. Pickup my bits and go to the basket checkout. My card needs to be put through manually as there was a problem with how the tills were shutdown in an emergency. I walk out get to the main doors and there is the snack section and bottles full of Dr Pepper.

Sod it next time l just go to Sainsburys.

Before anyone tells me yes l know it was a log board the "man in red" was setting up.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Slobber & Phones

Managed the castle this morning, once l got Wibs out of bed. She was so not amused. Snuggled deeper, then when poked cocked an eye at me, finally l evicted her and took her downstairs. Sorted her and the inpatient, this means l stood in the doorway shivering while they “wet the car park”.

When it was time to go to the car, l had a muted argument with her [Wibble] Muted because she is deaf and can only hear certain pitches and muted as l did not want to wake the neighbours bellowing at her. In the end l went and grabbed her and carried her to the car.

Have a lovely bruise along with 2 puncture wounds on the inner section of my arm. A cat we were scanning decided “Ok had enough, l want out”. It got better l spent ages washing slobber slime off my arms. Newfies (Newfoundland’s) are sweet enough, but l would so like them better if they did not bath everything in slobber.

I am looking to get the new C905 Sony Ericsson as my phone upgrade as my Sony E K750 is getting old and abused, it jams as l have dropped it so often, the buttons are sticking.
All was looking good l use this site for reviews. Then l was told today that C905 has a semi touch screen and when using the phone [as a phone] it does all sorts of weird cut outs and things as you accidentally touch the screen with your ear, l was wondering if anyone had it and had any problems with theirs.
The trouble is that we are with 02 business and they have a very limited selection of business phones for some reason.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Phones and Food

I have been trying healthy eating and having the Youngs salmon fillet with veg and potatoes in a sauce for dinner and soup and bread roll for lunch. You sort of become more aware of heart problems when you work at cardiology. It has made me more aware of my normal junk food fare that disappears down my throat. Mind you with the variety of shifts l do it is hard to get into a sensible routine.

I also decided to get more exercise in so get up early and take Wibble for a walk round the castle. We got half way to the castle this morning in the car and it started to rain, l turned round and came home, not that keen on exercise.

Found this it is a good arial view of the castle, we walk round the outside wall as it is closed at 7am. Mind you they don't allow dogs inside anyway.

Had a good laugh at a phone call where l am working they do not use computers for client records, paper is easier. Computers are used but more for databases, reports etc. Not the overweight veterinary computers, they do not need all of that here. This means though that you can not just hoist a file up on the click of a button.

The following is a phone call between a client and l. The confusion happens fairly often.

Client "Hello l am Mrs ....... can l speak to the vet please, l was there the other day"

Me "Yes which one?"

Client "Mike l think his name is?"

Me "We have 2 Mikes Mike J and Mike M"

Client "Oh" then brightly "The Irish one"

Me "They are both Irish"

Silence. I am about to ask if they will just hold while l get the file but they perk up.

Client "The one with the beard"

Me with a gulp "Errr they both have beards"

Slight lift of breathing as panic sets in with the client, yet again before before l can ask to put them on hold.

Client triumphantly "I know the little one"

At this point l manage to ask if l can put them on hold and get the file.

"Little" Mike is not little he is a runner and does cross country and competition, he also runs to work and back every day so is built along the lines of a Greyhound.

"Big" Mike does sea kyaking and rugby so is a bigger build.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The RTA & Franco

I was driving to the kennels one morning. I was setting up to turn left. (In Tenerife driving is on the other side of the road) when WHAM some idiot tail ends me. I was grateful for seatbelts, had l not had one l would have been in the wind shield and in a mess.
I pulled to the right hand side hard shoulder as did the person that rammed me, and half of Tenerife. If an accident takes place there are long lines of parked cars in Tenerife as people park up to go and look, and hopefully for them see blood. Thankfully there was none just shaken drivers.

I was very shaken and as it was going to involve police and explanations, my language skills, normally ok at that moment had gone down to nil, l could not even think of the word for "hello". I was shaking and l guess in a mild shock, l knew l needed help so l rang Elsie who was fluent in spanish.

While waiting for her, the guys from the rubbish (basura) depot, stationed on the section above the kennels, came over to help. They were always very helpful and a nice bunch. They insisted while l waited for the police l go and wait in the depot.

As l walked in l saw Franco the Presa Canario (bull mastiff breed) chained up. He was loose at night and named Franco after General Franco as he was so nasty. Everyone but those that handled him avoided him. He was all business. After he almost killed a couple of would be thieves the basura yard was left well alone. There was better targets.

Down along from him was the German Sheppard about 8months old called Eccle. It was the nearest l came to pronouncing his name, but he seemed happy with the way l said it. Eccle was too sweet to be nasty. I gave him his vaccinations and regular cuddles, treated his cut foot and gave him his medication. I got nothing but slobbery kisses back. Everyone agreed he would not make a good guard dog but they liked him, so he stayed.

As l say, I was upset and defiantly not thinking right. I walked up and started to stroke Franco. There was total stillness even Eccle was heard to draw in a gasp in shock. One of Franco’s handlers saw what was going on but was to far away to do anything. Franco looked at me for all of 30 seconds… then he attacked.

Before anything could register in my head, both of my hands were deep in his mouth and he was ragging his head trying to rip my hands off my arms. Everyone was staring in horror even Franco’s handlers were not sure what to do. *They had not ever seen anything like this, although handlers they fed him and kept an eye on him but were not trained.

The fact he was chained had saved my life, there is no doubt about that. He was an attack dog, trained to work on his own without command and had an idiot in front of him. Normally he would let go when the person who he was eating had escaped, he was bored of their taste, the person was dead or if the person was lucky and the handlers* were around if they could persuare him to let go.

At moments like this the world clears and everything goes into slow motion.
I knew that he would not be able to come forward due to the chain, and he would want a better grip at some point. So l put my weight backwards and stood as still as the ragging would allow. The only sensible thing l could do, given the stupid thing l had just done. Not easy though when a 50+kg bull mastiff is doing his best to rip your hands off.
As Franco tried to get a better grip his mouth opened enough that my backward leaning weight pulled me free.

I stumbled backwards pouring blood from both badly bitten hands and lower arms. This broke the tableau around me and everyone came running. I yelled to everyone NOT to blame Franco leave him it wasn’t his fault, it was mine. His handlers were trying to calm him without getting bitten. Elsie had turned up just as it exploded and l was yelling at her to translate. She was trying follow what l was saying, speak to the lads and examine my hands to see how bad the damage was.
As things subsided Franco was pushed off to sit in his kennel growling and licking my blood off his lips.
Elsie herded me back to wait in the car for the police, l was still yelling not to blame Franco over my shoulder. The basura men went off shaking their heads at the confirmation l was weird.

I had just placed my backside in the car, l am told l was white as a sheet. Elsie was trying to find something to stem the blood when the police turned up. I had seen them around town in the past and they had looked round the kennels. Many police and Guardia civil did. They looked at my damaged and bleeding hands and you could see the wheels turning in their head. The car was hit from behind and l was pouring blood from my hands and arms but there was nothing to cut myself on and no blood in the car just around the car.

Elsie chimed in trying to be helpful that the dog bit me. I was now in a fairly deep shock and remember saying over and over don’t you go blame Franco it wasn’t his fault it was mine.
Of course there was no dog around which added to their confusion, had l been able to l would have laughed but nothing seemed real.

The police decided that l was not worth speaking to. They wanted a nice simple report not lunatic babbling females, invisible dogs and bleeding hands so went to speak to the person that whacked my car. They asked Elsie to get me to the hospital if she wouldn’t mind. I never spoke to them again nor did they ask me for papers etc.
I found out later from the Basura guys that the Police booked the person behind me for dangerous driving. (driving to closely and driving to fast)

The basura men continued to help and kept an eye on my car while l was at the hospital and one of them checked that all the dogs in the kennels were ok and had water. They were always brilliant, which is more than l can say about the general council workers (bar 2) based at the lower depot, but that’s another story.

At the clinic yet another argument, the Dr said dangerous dogs and l let loose. Not the dog’s fault it was mine.
“No no he and the nurse were saying it was the dogs fault”
Don’t you dare blame him he was doing his job… Elsie tell them l won’t have Franco blamed”
There was a little crowd gathered now and poor Elsie was getting flustered again trying to explain what had happened to the crowd, calm me down, and translate my ravings. I did not need a translation back for what the others were saying. "Loco" (crazy) featured strongly.

I have this feeling the clinic were pleased to see me go. The nurse rammed an anti tetanus into my backside, but l didn’t feel a thing. My hands had a decoration of steri strips patterning them. The Dr wanted to do more, but l just wanted to get out and check my dogs, so we compromised and l had a list of antibiotics, with instructions to keep my hands clean and if they broke down or looked nasty to go back asap. They didn't exactly look nice at that point, but he did not see the humour in my comment when l said that.

Hub came over to help that day as did Judith and Elsie. We managed to get things sorted. It took about a week before l could hold anything, great for dieting. Even then it was sore as hell, but l couldn’t sit on the side so started to work again. I felt that my helpers had enough to do without trying to run their lives and the kennels while l sat around feeling sorry for myself and giving them orders.

I am pleased to say that Franco was not blamed, it was all allowed to die down. I think they were too scared to do anything as they would have had to deal with me, and there was probably doubt on my sanity!!.

Franco and l would look warily at each other from a distance. Me thinking of his teeth Franco wondering if he could do a better job if there was a replay.
I gave him and Eccle a bag of treats by way of apology for bringing confusion into a nice normal morning.

Many thanks to Judith, Elsie, the basura men, and all those who helped me out that week.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Weekend Chill Out

I am having a weekend off no work, catching up on emails and spending some time with my other half. Went to the parachute centre up Cark in the lake district today.
Wibble had a good run round with the other dogs that were there, hub fell out the plane in a 6way that did not manage any points, l supped coffee and read my book.

I have just uploaded some more photos . Most do not connect to any blog l have written, there is one of the cat pacemaker in situ (x-ray) the rest are just general photos they are in the "Veterinary Nursing" album.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Llama and Suds

When l was at Tenerife Sur zoo on one particular day the male llama had a skin problem that needed a check. Bidel, one of the male keepers and l had to hold the llama for the vet to examine.

At some point my other half turned up as he was having as quiet day and was standing chatting to Paco (zoo owner and manager). Bidel and l cornered and grabbed the llama and the vet examined him, muttering under his breath. When he had done he moved out of the way to talk to Paco. At this point, the idea was that Bidel and l would push the llama sideways and run like hell out of spitting range.

All went to plan, we pushed and l got half way through my initial leap when Paco shouted my name. Paco and everyone else denied he said anything, l have always called them liars. I KNOW what l heard, and there is no other reason l would have done what l did.
I stopped, thinking OMG what has happened, l spun round and said “Yes?”
The llama was waiting just for that moment, it was only about 3 feet away and it could not miss. he spat and got me full face.

The thing about llamas is that they are members of the camelid family (camel), if you upset said member they spit at you. Spit is actually to neutral a term. The stomach contents l am sure, are especially rotted into a fetid mess that is stored for moments such as this. I can not believe anything would actually want to let that lot go through it’s intestines.

The putrid mess was blasted into my nose, mouth and hair. It rolled down my face. More was sucked into my nose and mouth as l choked and at the same time tried to stop breathing. The fetid journey continued down my top. I tried to brush it off but this just ground it into me. Gravity sucked at the mess and it travelled down my legs to the ground.

By now Paco, hub, vet and Bidel were rolling hysterically and complaining about the smell. I turned and headed for the animal kitchen, snatched the bottle of washing up liquid, hurdled a hedge to get to Maria the gardener who looked wide eyed at the stinking choking female, who was trying not to throw up. I grabbed the hose, pouring washing up liquid and water over me.

I took at least an hour to get the bulk of it off. I did not care about water waste (normally l am fussy about water) or that people were looking in bemusement at me, under a hose, surrounded by soap suds, while a group of people now including Maria passed helpful advice while trying to stop laughing. Several members of the public stayed and joined in with the group.

It took about a week or so for me to stop getting wiffs of the smell. I don’t know if it was real, or just a memory of the smell. I do know that the dogs were not keen on coming near me for the first couple of days. I slept on the settee as l did not want to ruin the bed and bedding.

If you ever upset a member of the camelid family, get the hell out of there and do not look back, no matter what.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Blog Photo Question

Just got in from a CPD on analgesia excellent meal, brilliant speaker. I drove past the Holiday Inn 6 times as the flyer sent out to the practice from the company doing the talk that it was at the Marriot hotel. In the end l went into Holiday Inn to be told ohh.. no we bought out Marriot hotel 2 years ago.

I took pages of notes, rare for me but this was to well put and memorable not to take notes, asked a lot of questions, not rare for me, and will be bending a lot of vets ears over what we have been told tonight.

Having a quick coffee before bed, l logged on to have a quick mooch as no TV.
Does anyone else have problems with photos in their blogs? I keep loosing them and having to reupload. It is driving me nuts, any help appreciated!.

On that note l need to go fall asleep, my eyes are open with matchsticks.

Curry Contest

This is not about animals, just about lightening lifes load. It was sent to me some time ago by a friend. If you can read this whole story without laughing then there's no hope for you. I was crying by the end.

Please take time to read this slowly. For those of you who have lived in Natal, you know how typical this is. They actually have a Curry Cook-off about June/July. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the Royal Show in PMB.
Judge #3 was an inexperienced food critic named Frank, who was visiting From America.

Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a Curry Cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking for directions to the Beer Garden when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Natal Indians) that the curry wouldn't be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted".

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2 -- Nice smooth tomato flavour. Very mild.
Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy s**t, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These people are crazy.

Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of chicken. Slight chili tang.
Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who Wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver! They had to rush in more beer When they saw the look on my face.

Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse curry. Great kick.
Judge # 2 -- A bit salty, good use of chili peppers.
Judge # 3 -- Call 911. I've located a uraniums pill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drain Cleaner. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting pissed from all the beer.

Judge # 1 -- Black bean curry with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a curry.
Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Shareen, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. That 200kg woman is starting to look HOT...just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong curry. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2 -- Average beef curry, could use more tomato. Must admit the chili peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Shareen saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher.
I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw them.

Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetarian variety curry. Good balance of spices and peppers.
Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I am definitely going to s**t myself if I bad smell and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Shareen. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone ice-cream.

Judge # 1 -- A mediocre curry with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. (I should take note at this stage that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably).
Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with curry which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least, during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing- it's too painful. Screw it; I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending. This is a nice blend curry. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced curry. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the curry pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor man, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot curry?
Judge # 3 - No Report.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

11th Hour 11th Day 11th Month

In Memory of all the Rhodesian servicemen and civilians that gave their lives and health as a result of the Bush War, you did not loose, your courage shone through. Politicans and the world overwhelmed you.

For all those who have died or suffered since the murderous regime took over a lovely country and destroyed it. In the hope that sanity and (MDC) will overcome zanu-pf.

We are African, not because we are born in Africa, but because, Africa is born in us.


Listen to the voice of Africa, scattered to the winds.
The pain of nature ploughs furrows into the silence.
The grain of sadness is sown,and the tears of regret water it.

Walk quietly, least you trip and fall, in the fields of sadness.
Beware you do not splash, through the streams of regret.
Hatred is the blood of Africa now

Reach out and grasp the soul of Africa
Hold it close to your heart, let it feel the beat of life.
Let drops of your emotions trickle into the dust, to show that love lives.
Speak out, let the world hear that one voice can still speak.
Let the world know, that those that destroy have not destroyed all.
And show that one person, CAN make a difference

© CL vn 24-6-03

Monday, 10 November 2008

The Cat Pacemaker

Before l start a disclaimer...Sorry if anyone is looking for correct medical terms and words to describe operations or conditions. I am not into those and rarely use them. I like simple talk that anyone can understand, and anyhow, my spelling and grammar (better add word that before Curley pulls me up yet again) is bad enough as it is


We had the cat in today for his pacemaker. It is very rare for cats to have a pacemaker fitted. If they are at the stage they need a pacemaker then their hearts are usually to badly damaged to have one fitted.
Cats also clot very easily and throw thrombus (blood clots) a condition that is often critical in them.
Only a few cat pacemakers have been fitted in the USA and this was a rare one for the UK.
Dogs have pacers fitted fairly regularly and generally do very well on them. They have different type of blood (yes it is still red though)that does not clot as easily, and a better heart physiology to tolerate pacemakers.

This appeared to be one of the rare cat hearts that was suitable for a pacemaker. His exact age is unknown as he was rescued but possibly about 10-12years old. The owner was given a very guarded prognosis and all the possible options covered but she elected to go ahead.

Despite the initial worry from the vet about how puss would react being sedated, as opposed to full anaesthetic, to have his temporary pace lead placed via the jugular he was a star, just lay quietly.
It was a bit fiddley as the jugular is so small but Mike (The vet) is very experienced and with fluoroscopy to guide, it went smoothly.
Once the temporary lead was in place he was given propoflo for his anaesthetic and surgery began.

Surgery took about 2.5hrs (including prep). The surgeon made a midline incision in the abdomen and entered the chest through the diaphragm. He attached l believe it is called a unipolar lead (single pad lead) to the heart. This lead fed from the heart back through the diaphragm to the pacer. In cats this is placed in the abdomen. Puss had steady stats all the way through. It was one of those near perfect anaesthetics that you wish for and do not always get.

Recovery was uneventful and within about 3 hours he was awake and having some food. He had a swipe at me at one point when l was trying to sort his food bowl out.
I was giving him another check when the secretary came in, to see how things were going.
I shut his kennel door and was saying “He is…”
At this point puss gave a half mewy cry and crashed. I bellowed for back up as l got him out the kennel and he was being worked on within about 40 seconds of the initial crash, despite about 20 to 30mins of attempted resus we lost him.

A very s**ty end to what started out as a positive day. Why Puss crashed is unknown. The vet came up with a couple of ideas but with no autopsy there is no way of knowing.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

In Remembrance


Today is Remembrance Sunday l decided to ‘Remember’ the unsung heroes of war and peacetime. The animals that have often been used and loved or in many cases abused.

Like the tank dogs of the soviet nation during the Second World War, trained to carry mines on their backs and taught that food was under tanks they were sent out after Germans.

Animals of all species have been used in wars and caught up in them. Some are recognised, carrier pigeons, dogs, a cat and many other’s have been awarded the famous Dickens Medal, which has been described as “The Animals Victoria Cross”.
All too many other animals are forgotten by people and history. The dolphins and other marine and land mammals being trained for covert or general work. Canary's and small birds were used to look for gas and Pigeons carrry and other birds are trained to help humans.

To give an idea of the destruction wrought on horses. (Thanks to Veterinary Review for the figures) There were 6 million tones of fodder shipped to the Front during the First World War, yet the horses still suffered malnutrition and neglect due to the horrific conditions that man and animal shared.
Between 1916 -1918 approximately 58,000 horses were killed, nearly 3000 were victims of poison gas.
At the end of the war they were sold off to other countries. To prevent this many cavalry officers shot their own horses to spare them further misery.

The above figures do not take into account other wars around the world where animals serve/ed before or after the great and second world wars.

There is the peacetime serving horses and dogs. Especially police dogs who often give their lives. Although serving horses have become victims of war like the horses caught in the horrific IRA nail bomb attack in the 80s in London or have been attacked in other ways in their line of work.
Search and rescue dogs that may work near home or be sent worldwide to zones of destruction to work in terrible conditions.
Guide dogs and other guide animals that allow their owners and handlers to live almost normal lives despite often sever handicaps.
Even our own pets who are family members and have been a part of our lives and in being so bring a depth that may be missing otherwise.

In Thanks and Remembrance of Them All

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Pacemakers and Strange Goings On

I got a phone call yesterday (Friday) at 10am. My old practice (one that wanted me for this Saturday night) it was 2 nurses down 1 on the 13:00-23:00 shift and the other for 15:00 – 22:00 that night.
As l was half way down the country, and wouldn’t be back till late. I was able to cheerfully say nope no can do.

Had a lovely but insane dog in for clinic Friday morning, going through to the consult room it pulled so hard it was walking on its back legs. The front paws swept the brochures, cards and bell off the reception desk in one sweep. The room had a blizzard of business cards fluttering about.
A little terrier stood under a chair with a look of distaste at such manners.

It was a busy interesting afternoon. We had a clinic for dogs due their annual pacemaker check for any developments or changes in heart rhythm as well as pacemaker function and battery depletion. The pacemakers have an average life of 10years.
During a break while we awaited traffic hold ups to spit out clients, we had a great slide show. Well had a great, from a morbid point of view.The pacemakers that are used in dogs and cats are human ones and the people that run the clinic are human nurses. They had a slides of problems that humans with pacemakers have encountered over the years.

I am crossing fingers we may have a cat in on Monday to have a pacemaker implant, won't say more in case it doesn't come off.

A Pacer implanted in a dog and A Pre Implant Pacer

Had an interesting experience Thursday night and while some may scoff others may understand so I decided l would put it up anyhow.

One of the vets brought up about the spirit (ghost) if or if there isn’t one here as it is an old Victorian house. He said that other nurses had sworn there was and was very noisy.
Now l figured there may or may not be something having a few feelings but you have too allow for imagination.
It is an old house and so l expect it to be noisy at night, there is not the normal daily bustle and noise to cover it. ‘Spooky’ feelings are bound to apply, in an old Victorian house, that’s how the horror and docutripe TV programmes (most haunted type) work.

Overnight at the house doors clunk shut. Despite the fact that l go round and made sure all the doors are shut every night, doors still clunk shut, bangs and creaks, pipes knocking and all types of noises. I reason it as the house settling.

I told the vet that there is a great (nice) spirit at my old place who was really helpful on nights. I had also asked him (spirit) to please not slam doors or have talking going on as l am happy for spirit to be about but it is the thought of strange humans on the premises that worries me.
Since l asked that, l never had another door bang or hear strange voices but others do still hear all of that.
I have had help, like flashing lights in ICU when a critical patient needed me and a few other happenings that were to strange to pass for normal.

Thursday night after we had our chat there was NOT a sound. No doors clunking shut, no creaking, no bangs, no rattles, nothing, nada grave quiet.

In the morning I said a thanks to whomever, it was a lovely peaceful night. You may scoff, but what other reason there could be?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Dangerous Dog

I decided to put up about a dangerous dog incident l was involved with at the start of the year. The dogs behaviour is not unusual for what is faced when we get calls for dangerous dogs, if anything the animals are getting worse not better.
Several times we have been told the ARV have been activated but as far as l know our drivers have managed to get the animals before they were needed. I am sure it will come soon though the way things are going.

There was a phone call about 1am from the police for a pit bull that was locked in a bedroom and out of control. The owner had been arrested just before new year, he had been bailed that day, about 5 days later. Normally people inform the police that they have animals and the animals are taken into care, this cretin did not think to do so.
He had gone home via a bar and at about midnight tried to break into his own house. A neighbour heard him breaking in and rang the police. The cretin tried to take a swing at them and got a nice pair of shiny bracelts, the neighbour mentioned the dog. There was no point getting the cretin to try and catch it as he couldn’t handle it and was scared of it, hence wanting it put down.
He signed a handwritten consent for destruction order and was hauled off someplace deep, dark, smelly and full of cockroaches (well ok, it would be nice if he was thrown into a place like that).

The vet asked me to go with the driver P. (same driver as the “Midnight Snake Hunt” episode). He said it would be safer and easier to put it down at the house than taking it back wards and forwards from the house and then putting it down back at work.
I loaded up with a bottle of rompun (sedative) a lot of needles, big syringes and a bottle of pentobarb (to put the dog down with).

By the time we got there someone had tazered the dog and managed to get it into the human cage section in a police van. This was a mixed blessing. We did not have to try and grab him in an open space like a bedroom, but he was now round and pumped up on adrenaline. Had he been left in the bedroom he may have been easier to handle. That however is an unknown and the situation was now the one to deal with.
He was not happy, in fact it was fair to say he was murderous. About 30kg to 40 kg of mainly pitbull possibly crossed at some point with bull mastiff, mind you that was immaterial, he wanted, and was fully able to kill.
I did check up if l should take it back into work with the van following us but the vet was just going into a major op, l was told stick to plan A.

The van the dog was in had a cage affair at the back. The inner door was a slider and the outer (back) was an standard pull open door. It made life easier, the door could be slid slightly open for P. and the police dog handler that was also there to try and get their dog grabs on the dog. Sliding meant he could not slam into it like an exocet missile and get the door open.
When they had their front end sorted I was to open the back door and inject him while they held him.

Simple enough except the dog had worked out dog grabs. He ducked his head, swung his body around, opened his mouth and grabbed the loops, slammened into the doors and made clear he was not stupid enopugh to get caught.
He also got his jaws onto all 3 metal dog catching poles at various times that P. and the dog handler had between them. They were mangled, that necessitated emergency fixing.
And a quick prayer from me, that when they did grab him he would not break free, swing and get me when l shoved a syringe of Rompun into him.

Some plod (none to bright) muttered tazers. P. and l heard him, l have an idea that my snarl and and P. comment made him think that maybe the pitbull was not as angry as we would be if they did that to it again.
The poor dog was in for a bad enough end as it was, we were dammed if it was going to be made worse. No dignity here as it was, anger and fear were the way he was going to die. No one, was going to add the pain of tazers to that.

It took a good 3/4hour of fighting to get the loops onto him. By now there seemed to be a hell of a lot of police standing round, they must have had a boring night, or wanted to see someone eaten.

I pulled open the door, eyeing the loops on the dog catchers to see if they looked secure. I planted about 8ml+ of Romun into his backside as best as l could, given that his backside was moving all over as he fought to get free of the grabs and get to me he came off the needle a couple of times and l needed to reinject.
I backed off and locked the door, he broke out of the loops at about the same point. There is a god! He let me get out the van and shut the door first.

We sat back and waited, 20 min. later there was no sign of any effect he was so pumped up with everything. I rang the vet to confirm worth giving more as usually there is no point on adding as it won’t have an effect. The message passed back was go for it given what was happening another dose may or may not work, but unless tried we wouldn’t know.

This time it took about 10min to get the dog, not sure if it was a slight slowing down on his part or just better aim with the grabbers. I put in several more mls of Rompun in and thankfully he did not get off the grabbers this time.

By now he had had a huge dose of sedative and we sat waiting. The reason l did not use the pentobarb straight off is that if something had gone wrong and l self injected or injected someone by accident if the dog got free while l was trying to get the needle in then l would rather not be using a drug that can kill.

Finally about 20min later he went down enough that when the grabbers went onto him he chomped at them but did not stand up. Now there was no point in top up’s of Rompun and it was time for the final injection.
I decided that veins were out of the question. I could not get anyone to raise one l wouldn’t risk that, and my tornique was no good as he was to concious. Trouble was l could not leave it longer in case he started to fight off effects off the drug. I opted for an injection into the kidney. Due to the blood volume going through the kidneys it can be better than a vein. On dogs they can be hard to find if they are fat but his build made it easy. In under a minute he had died.

It was so bloody undignified and scary for him. I wished eternal hell and damnation on the owner, yes the dog was dangerous but only thanks the human race.
Not all pitbulls are nasty, it is just that they are generally owned by people who have them to prove how tough they are. In fact l belive that the dog that holds the most championship medals for various tests about 17 is a pitbull. The championship medals include hearding ducks and cattle, searching in fact a whole gamut of tests.
The dangerous dog in question could have been and often is a German Shepherd, a Rotweiller or any other full or even cross breed. So long as it is big, nasty, unmanagable and has big teeth it uses then the &*%$** are happy.
The other type of dangerous dog is owned by a well meaning nice family who do not understand dogs, have self trained it, if any training was done on the dog and it turns on them or someone.

P. had just got back to work after an operation and was not going to try and help lift the body to our van, I would not have been happy had he tried. This left the 15 or so police (all males) standing round watching and chatting.
I considered asking for help but decided that as none was a gentleman enough to stepforward and offer to help l was dammed if l would ask for help.

I picked the dog up carried him to our van and placed him down as gently as l could. It did not matter, he was dead, somehow it seemed the best l could offer him after all he had been through.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Photos and Shifts

The bangs are going off around here but due to Wibbles deafness she is sleeping peacefuly. As sorry as l am for her lacking hearing it is great that she is not a quivering wreck.

I decided to get the photo album started and have some photos in already. As they go into the blog l will copy to the album with a note of the blog they follow on from, and comments on the photos that may be of interest. (please feel free to add comments on the blog or photos - Hint!!)
The link to the photos is just under my profile on the right

I decided that l will not make the photo album a place of gory gratuitous photos they will only go up if there is a blog for them If no blog then a good reason.
Like the photo of Bruce in the Rescue section. He has no special story, he was a lovely dog with a sad ending and an unknown history. This is my way to show he had a place in life, as much as others with stories.

Still have loads of photos to digitize but have at least made a start on the task. Pity when l took them camera phones were not in, nor were digital cameras. Just good old paper, well digital cameras were about but were very expensive.

I have taken several great photos at the practice and "da Boss Man" is fine about them going up. I will pop them on when l get home at the weekend. He isnt a bad bloke. I have just nicked his other double butter and sultana scone for my desert, to be fair he said he did not want them to help ourselves. I had no option but to rehome them.

On the subject of work l feel guilty because l said no to covering the 17:30-03:30 shift this saturday night. Got a phone call last night about 22:00 from the head nurse at my old/regular practice.
I have not had a proper break for several weeks of working away from home. And working at least one day over weekends. I am in need of a couple of days for myself, to catch up on life that has been shoved into a corner.
For once common sense won over the feeling l have to say ok to working and overrode the feeling that l was letting people down by saying no.
Having said that l may end up feeling bad and offer to do the shift anyhow (has happened like this before)

Through a major series of cock ups the HN had just been rung by the late shift nurse who told that her flight is booked and there is no one to cover her 3 shifts The reason the HN did not know about the holiday was she had been off work with a damaged leg.
The comment from the gods to the staff not to bother the HN had been over uninportaint items, holidays and cover do not fall into this, still it is immaterial now as Rome is burning.

I knew about the holiday several weeks ago, and was told that the nurse did not want me to cover as she did not want to use holiday time, just do swops with other night staff, that way she did not loose holiday.
So l left things that if l was wanted call me. She didn't and l booked work all the way through until the end of November at the present job. Not that that has stopped me working at my old place on weekends just it is catching up on me, l seriously need some unwind and me time.

Due to a change in the rules at the practice they can only take on locums if 1) the locums work as a ltd company 2) the practice pays the locums and does their tax and ni 3) the locums go through an agency that take the tax and ni.
This has put a huge dent in the pool of available locums most of us are self employed. I am also one of the few locums that does not mind working nights or weekends.,

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Happy 91st

I would like to wish my Dad a HAPPY 91st BIRTHDAY today. Thanks Dad for being you and for being my Dad :-)

Monday, 3 November 2008

Toxic Flea Treatment

They buzzed down the back. “You have a Bob Martins on the way” These inspiring words mean that yet another person:
1) Has not read the warning on the dog flea treatment box.
2) Tried to treat their cat on the cheap with supermarket/pet shop products
3) This will now cost them either several hundred pounds and/or the cats life or both.

Bob Martins produce 2 types of flea treatment one for cats for use on cats, the other for use on dogs. The dog’s one contains Permethrin. There is a warning on the packet but for some reason people do not “see” it.
I should say that it is not just BM that use it but the name has become the byword for the problem.

Premethrin is a neurotoxin that works by damaging the nervous system. When used on cats it causes anything from tremors, staggering to severe seizures and for many death is the outcome. It is very slow to be metabolized from a cats body so it is a case of supportive treatment.

The cat when it came down was having seizures, his pupils were dilated (large) and black orbs. He was lashing out with blindly then going into violent spasms; actually it was hard to separate the two actions.
He was very scared about what was happening to him and his temperature was up from the seizures.
The auxiliary managed to pin the cat and hold the front leg out for me to place the iv catheter without us both getting badly scratched. A good auxiliary is worth their weight in gold and all too often they are overlooked.
The vet sorted out initial treatment and the cat was given a bolus of Diazemuls to sedate it, this stopped the seizures.
Finally we clipped the oily patch on its back where the owner had applied the spot on, and gave it a quick wash, to help remove residue.
During washing round 2 began and he started to spasm again, l gave him his next bolus to sedate him again, then placed the patient into a kennel in ICU.

The vet had gone off to speak to the owner and l stood by for round 3. Sure enough after a couple of minutes the twitches began again and l gave the next bolus, this stopped the twitching for a couple of minutes but not long enough by any stretch.

By now the vet was back and had a different drug. The owner was filling in consent for treatment and then going home. He decided that he did not want to see his cat, it was to upsetting for him to know what he had caused.
The new treatment lasted for about 10min, then it was overwhelmed by the toxin, and back to “bouncy cat”, it was going to be a stinker of a BM to treat this one.

The vet decided that as the owner had used a large dog spot on, and the cat was so ill he would have to call in the big guns. A 100ml bag of saline was hooked up to the infusion pump and a measured dose of Propofol (used to induce anaesthesia for operations) was placed in the bag. The cat was given a bolus of Propofol directly into the iv catheter to cause an anaesthetic effect. The saline/propofol drip was started to keep the cat sedated for several days. To put it bluntly the cat was placed into a coma to control the seizures.
Oxygen was placed to help his breathing, and he was turned every 2 hours, to prevent lung congestion from being in one position for too long.

24hours later the vets decided to try and lighten the patient and see what would happen. As the patient came lighter, the twitching re-started, a bit longer to see if it would settle, it got worse. The drip was turned up and the patient was deepened down again.
This lightening and deepening was repeated over 3 days.
Eventually the twitches stayed steady and did not progress. It took a further 48 hours for the cat to be allowed totally awake and sedation to wear off.
The effects of the Premethrin took a couple of days more for the body to overcome.
The patient was in for 8 days in total and the cost was over £600 for treatment.

The story above is a typical BM tox. case. It vary's from mild twitching and ataxia (wobbly/falling over) and the cat home in a couple of days, to extreme enough to die. Very often they are like the story above.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

A Quiet Night

It was a quiet night last night thankfully. Only about 15 inpatients including a couple of unstable glucose dogs on hourly bloods, oh joy. A few general ongoing medical cases, post ops, couple of RTA’s, an injured bunny and hamster. It was Lhasa Apso night about 5 of them in. The vet was to blame we reckon, he admitted he had been thinking there had not been many in lately, by the time he got in last night we had a full collection of them.
Oh and the computers were down and the computer company did not work on weekends, ok for a normal practice but not good news for a major 24hr veterinary hospital.

Had a lovely stray golden retriever in from an RTA, he was conscious enough after about 2 hours to check his reflexes. 3 of his feet felt nothing despite the vet squeezing had as possible with my forceps, the 4th foot had a slight twitch.
I suggested to the locum that we needed to get him onto the x-ray table and asked him to help me shift the dog, at about 44kg not light.

The locum vet was a semi regular but normally on consults. He not used to the inpatient side. With some injuries the vets had to call ongoing or end treatment as there is no owner to do it. If it is not fixable it is cruel to leave the patient suffering. The x-rays would hopefully give the information the vet needed to diagnose either way.

The second picture was the “finder” a compression fracture of one vertebra and along from that a total spinal fracture. Either were a death sentence, it was a no go for the poor lad and he was put down.
He looked like he had been well loved and somehow got out. The dog was not id chipped so no way of contacting anyone, hope the owner contacts the practice.

A cat was admitted with a terrible tongue ulcer, he had not eaten for at least 2 days other than the odd pick of food. By the time the vet had debrided the area it looked like half of the underneath of one side of the tongue was gone. I popped the cat back in his kennel.
Later l walked into cat ward as he recovered to stagger mode. He seemed very distressed. On a hunch l got a bowl of ad (very fine food especially good for tube feeding) sloshed it with water to make is even sloppier and the cat became a “Dyson vacuum” he surfaced every so often to take a breath and then slurp some more, when the bowl was empty he burped and fell asleep purring.
Que 1 happy vet one happy and vn, the big worry had been would he eat or need a tube placed for feeding, the question had been answered.

The photo was taken pre-debride.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Medication & Prescriptions

I need to learn to say no to extra work, the problem is l feel it lets people down. So a few weeks ago when the 17:30-03:30 nurse asked me to cover her shift tonight, 1 Nov, l said no.
She didn’t let up and said “Go on please, l want to go to a Halloween party and at a friends house. Please”
So l said ok ok, so long as the HN agreed, which she did, that was not part of the plan. Next time l have to brief her better to say no you can not have the night off.

Anyhow this results in me having to work overnight tonight. Looks like not much of a pre work snooze for me today l have a load to do. Still l don’t suppose hub will mind. With my cold still lingering, my “burbling” is apparently worse than ever. I am told do not snore l make a weird burbling noise, l do like to be unique!

As l am sniffing and snerching and sucking my cough drops it made me think of the everyday drugs and medications that are used on animals. In the UK veterinary world there is a fair bit of discussion over the ending of the ban on prescription charges, how much to charge for a prescription. From what l can see the cost will vary between £3.50 to about £12.50 per prescription, however it may be more or less at different vet practices. This is to charge owners for the paperwork if they want to get their pets medication from the internet or from a chemist.
Try and getting a letter from your Dr for something it will cost a lot more. It seems to be that vets are not expected to charge but it is ok for Dr's to charge.

There is work someone has to do for each request. The paper work has to be checked to confirm that the patient is able to be dispensed the medication. Check when it last saw the vet. This has to be before 3 to 6 months depending on the medication, and the amount of drugs worked out to comply with the rule for being seen by the vet. This rule has always been in although the law has shortened on the time before being seen that was done quite a few years ago.

The vet has to be tracked down for writing out or (if he/she is lucky) reading a pre written prescription and signing it. This simplest operation can often be the most daunting as the vets need to be sweet talked, bribed or bullied into this job and get pissy at the staff. Then staff have then got to put up with clients being pissy at them for the cost. A no win situation.

In addition do not ring up and say you want a prescription the next day when you have to be seen by the vet to get that medication under the 3/6month rule. Sometimes you will be fitted in but not always, there is sick animals that have not had owners who had 2 months or whatever to plan booking their next medication.

I think personally that pharmacists should not be allowed to dispense medication. This should also apply to online pharmacy’s, although it is less likely that they will swop the medication written out for cheaper medication, as l and many others in the veterinary world, have heard of general pharmacy’s doing. The other problem is passing out the incorrect information on how to use the medication.

I remember reading one story witnessed happening by a veterinary nurse, luckily she stepped in and sorted the questioner, as well as putting the pharmacy staff right.
A pharmacy was selling frontline spot on. The buyer wanted to know how to use it and was told.
“Oh l don’t know l think you put it in their mouth, there is instructions somewhere”.
Actually you put the spot on between the shoulders. Still it is only an animal….

With regard to swopping medication scripted for an animal for a cheaper, different one. The following may put things in a bit more focus.

**Animal species may have many physiological differences from humans and from each other. As a result they each may react differently to medicines.
The authorisation system for veterinary medicines requires a product to have proven quality and effectiveness and, most importantly, safety for the animal, the user (vet, farmer, pet owner etc.), the environment and, for food animals, the consumer of animal produce. This assurance has to be provided for each species and each indication on the label.

In addition, animal medicines containing the same active ingredient as human medicines may be formulated differently. For instance, the formulation needs to ensure they are properly absorbed through the gut (which, for example, is rather shorter in a cat than a human).
Human medicine formulations may contain different excipients or have different bioavailability from veterinary medicines.
Using a product which is not authorised for animals therefore, increases the risk of harm to the patient.
** Taken from 'NOAH' National Office of Animal Health Ltd

This simple little word now means it is harder to get a drug for market for animals than for humans. You only have one human. In animals the drug has to go through tests for each species it may/can be used on. And because of this the cost of animal medication is up on human ones.

**If there is no medicine authorised in the UK for a specific condition, the veterinary surgeon responsible for treating the animal(s) may, in order to mitigate unacceptable suffering, treat the animal(s) in accordance with the following sequence:
(a) A veterinary medicine authorised in the UK for use in another animal species

or for a different condition in the same species;

If there is no such product

(b) Either

(i) A medicine authorised in the UK for human use, or

(ii) In accordance with an import certificate from VMD, a veterinary medicine from another Member State;
or, if there is no such product;

(c) A medicine prepared extemporaneously, by a vet, pharmacist or a person holding an appropriate manufacturer’s authorisation.
** Taken from 'NOAH' National Office of Animal Health Ltd

If you are given a drug for an animal that is not authorised for use in animals only in humans then you should by law be asked to sign a disclaimer over the drug. Often it is a standard part of ‘admit forms’ if your pet is being admitted for any treatment or part of your new client form. Somewhere within the veterinary procedure you will have signed it.

So next time you collect your medication from the vets do not give the staff a hard time about how much it costs. Yes there will be a mark up but there is in everything in life. UK vets have to buy in the UK, l am told that a lot of online pharmacies buy the drugs in the EU and import them.

Never give your pet human medications, toothpastes, wound cleaner or anything else medicated without checking with your vet. Your next step could be deciding how to bury your pet.