Sunday, 7 December 2008


What a fun day yesterday. I was asked to go in early as there were no vet nurses or even auxiliaries on from 16:00 so l worked 16:00 to 03:30. I left a message when l left do not ring me today (Sunday) l am moving to Outer Mongolia and unavailable. So far no calls to work however it is not the days end yet.

Whelping and puppies was the theme yesterday. One caesarean on a bulldog before l got in l just discharged her. They had no box / blanket for the pups, so l said well take off your jersey wrap the 2 pups into your jersey. Not a chance they would do that. The idiot person with the owner pushed a puppy into each pocket and tried to do the zips up on the pockets. Idiot owner pushing bits of puppy’s back into the pockets as they squashed out. One pup may yet need to be put down it had a bad cleft palette but we were not allowed to do so, that’s a big loss of money.

I was told she was 14months old this was her 3rd caesarean. I said to the owners do they know what they are doing to her breeding her like that. And they got all uppity and could not decide if she was 18months, 2 years or 2.5years old, and if it was her 2nd or 3rd whelping.
Finally the male owner whined “We spent £3000 and all we got is these 2” pointing at the 2 little heaving cramped pockets on the friend, “we are loosing money on this you know”.
I just talked over him giving discharge instructions and ignored him. It was safer that way, for all of us.

Two more bitches in whelp turned up. One Bull Mastiff had had a pup stuck paws showing for most of the day. Well it varied they came out with a different reply to whoever asked how long the pups had been stuck.
She came in at about 1am. Pointless asking WTF the person had waited so long for, l tried over the phone and got no sensible reply.
The vet managed to pull the stuck dead foetus out in a pool of blood and gunk and the bitch went home.
The other SBT had ended whelping at about 17:00 and then started pushing non stop. She came in at 2am. X-rays showed nothing there and she showed no signs of pushing, again sent home.

A bulldog puppy 4 weeks old with a chest infection, the owner informed me that everyone accepts bulldogs have trouble breathing, just when the green gunk was pouring out his nose they got worried. (Hold hands by my side at this comment to avoid strangling the owner)
He was further puzzled at my question if it was eating solids yet and said he is only 4 weeks old, and anyhow l don’t know anything about it l never bred dogs before.
I had to give a quick lesson in puppy care. Then stomped through to get a vet to check the pup and bypass the wait in the waiting room. I left the owner sitting in the waiting room, with people looking at him wondering why he was breeding and knew nothing.

Both bitches that came in at 1 and 2am were pedigrees. They and the bulldog chest puppy were via a charity that paid the vet fees. If l gave vent to the feelings of all of us at work over the above then the post would be unreadable. Bulldogs are going for up to £3000 each, Bull Mastiff up to £1000. The bitch with no pups left was a SBT and hers are around £250-£300

When we get calls with owners wanting their pets to see a vet the animals always come first. If the person is elderly or disabled then we will go all out to help as much as possible. The frustrating thing is that often they do not qualify for help. We bend the rules as much as possible. The vets will also do what they can for this group when the person comes in. Just as well management is locked up at night in houses far away or they would have a fit. What they do not know means we sleep peacefully during the day.

There is the sensible owner group. May be insured (please god) or not insured but still want to help their pet.

Then group 3. After about a month on nights even new members of staff can recognise something in the caller’s voice. The following conversations are carried out by all the night staff with varying degrees of tooth grinding.

Often the animal may have been sick for days or hours (this can happen with the first 2 groups but most commonly with the 3rd group). It is a wake up call for owners when people ring and say they have a sick pet, are told the fees and are expected to actually pay. I think it is the first time reality almost hits on many of them.

Before they open their mouths to reply you know you have a choice of 2 answers.
“We don’t care how much it costs”. This really is true, they won’t pay so they do not care about cost. Or

They state that they are on benefits and are again told we are private you pay us for work done. There is a silence while they digest this.
Now at this point one of 2 things happen.
1) They ask if anyone can help them and l pass them on the details.
2) They start screaming that “You don’t care about animals, you are money grabbing scum” and other sweet words, really helping their case. This group l tend to yawn and doodle on a bit of paper, play with the computer and await the end of the hissy fit.
When the tirade dies down l may ask what stopped them ringing a vet during the day 4 days ago when it got it. The usual reply is that l am a money grabbing yadda yadda. Conscience at leaving a sick animal so long without care is not guiding the answer, it is crass stupidity.

Anyhow when l have told them who to ring l give advice on what to do with the animal while the calls are going on.
If they do not qualify then there is the discussion over payments and how we will go about dealing with that.
Generally once it is all sorted comes the final whine. I aint got no transport.
My comment is “So go call a friend”
The whine comes back “They are sleeping” or “They have been drinking”
My reply is along the lines of “Tough l have been working it is not my problem, we are already doing all we can to help you now sort something out for yourself and let us know when you are setting off”
When they realise that they better make an effort because we are not going to do it for them, funny how they manage to get down by taxi or a friend.

Vets legally are obliged to give first aid, even if that is putting the animal to sleep. If the owners can get a charity to pay fine, if the charity will only pay part or non then the owners are legally obliged to pay.

Insurance means that you won’t be able to afford a few beers a month. Do you not owe that to the pet. Some insurance companies are trusted by vets. You can pay the excess and the vet will claim direct for treatment. I think it is mainly Petplan who are accepted for this but some others are as well.

Humans do not have a right to animals; Animals have a right to responsible humans.


Dave the Dog said...

Excellent post. Heard it all so often myself.

If it's okay by you I'd like to put a link to this on the Petparliament Forum.


Vetnurse said...

It is ok by me Dave, l hope it helps.

cambstreasurer said...

Yes, a thousand times yes. I'm afraid social services often do not help because they are effectively training people to think that they ought not to be expected to pay for things (or indeed make any effort to sort out their lives).

In the case of the dog with repeated caesarians it might be worth telling them that they are bordering on the point at which they could be prosecuted (or at least investigated by the rspca). Our inspector did succeed in leaning on the owner of a cat who was on her third caesar, but in that case we were in a relatively strong position because we and CP were paying for the op. each time so there was no question of the vet being in trouble for breaching confidentiality.

Vetnurse said...

Thanks Cambstreasurer will bear that in mind.

Like you say people are trained not to take responsibility for their actions. There is always someone to blame, pay for them clean up their mess.

Area Trace No Search said...

Parvo Smell!?

Vetnurse said...

Opps sorry ATNS

For those confused the question is about a comment l placed on ATNS blog in reply to an insane sergeant and his teddy bear

l seem to have caused confusion with my comment. Parvo is a virus dogs get it causes bloody haemorrhagic mess as the gut lining and contents are stripped. The smell is noticeable even from a distance. Parvo has a very high death rate.

Another thing that so many people do not do, vaccinate their dogs/puppies. A choice between a few of packets of fags and protected animals.. no choice, cigarettes win every time.

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

I linked back to you...great article...

Dave the Dog said...


It's like the smell of a week old corpse in a doubled glazed house with the heating on. Once smelled never forgotten or mistaken!

Vetnurse said...

Dave not having had that dubious err pleasure? l will have to take your word for it.