Thursday, 31 December 2009

Wound Dressings, Goodbyes and New Horizons

Well we got through Christmas. Christmas and Boxing Day was open visiting between 12:00-20:00 which was nice, the same applies tomorrow.

We were told they were moving my dad to a care home a long way away (30-40mins) originally it seemed ok but very far. Then 2 friends who know the home, one who had worked there another who dealt with them professionally said don’t touch it with a 10ft bargepole.
Told this bit of info the hospital pretty much said well he goes home, or you choose a place and you pay and had to move my dad pretty much now (this was 2 days ago) things got fired up, then an age concern friend said no you do not have to panic and the hospital have now given us 7 days.

A lot of ringing round, hell these places are expensive. Today the hospital social worker rang up and got the hint l was stressed, turns out that my folks should be able to get help towards the costs. I rang up about 10 homes over the last 2 days, we visited one today. It was the first home l rang and about 3miles from home so not to bad in distance.

The building is a bit battered but it appeared to be better than the starched clean place my dad was at before in respite. First time round they were great second time lots there was promised but never appeared. The lounges were empty, everyone sat in their rooms. Physio and baths did not seem to materialise etc.

I now have time off till the 15th assuming the cover l am doing while staff is looked for isn’t filled, back at the emergency place. I got a bit of a shock today from them. As l am not employed at the place although spend most of my life there. After our complaint signed by a load of night staff about the cancelled night staff Christmas dinner the regional director is holding a meeting to try and see how to improve things and also about the “not the Christmas dinner 09”
Mind you have been to a night staff meeting with the regional director before and l was one of the only ones that spoke up, after wards he asked me to stay and asked more questions, as usual lot of promises were made but zilch!. Still he does know that asking me to a meeting is setting a demon free who will speak up even if everyone around me is to shy to speak up… just as well he isn’t squeamish really.

Have finished at the small local surgery near my house, I will miss it, the staff are great and even better is that one of the libraries is nearby. My idea of heaven, books on tap.

We were treating a cat with a wound breakdown on it’s chest. This cat has to be one of the most chilled cats l have known. He sits there while you cut the old dressing off and remove the wound padding, which is stitched on top and bottom.
On the second dressing change the vet put a couple of tacking sutures across the wound to close it a bit while it healed naturally, stitches would have broken down again. Puss sat there for the tacking gazing into space.
Re dress is a pad smeared with treatment tacked top and bottom of the wound with one stitch to hold it on, then bandaged across his chest/shoulders/back to hold it all in place.
He gets stressed if you try to take him out his cat carrier via the door but we just take the top off and lift him out then he is fine. The he sits where he is put while he is lifted slightly to allow cleaning of the wound, can be a fair amount of time and picking to get the gunk off, and then the redress (as above) when done tell him ok done and he climbs back into his box and goes to sleep.
He is healing nicely another 3 weeks or so should be just a hairless patch.

At another practice l have spent the last couple of days at l was doing a bunny check. I told the owner we couldn’t do any operation for neutering before the new year. She looked at me very upset and said she wanted it done soon. Her friend and l awaited the penny dropping, finally her friend poked her in the ribs and said don’t be stupid it is in 2 days time and bunny is to small anyhow at the moment. The girl went a lovely shade of red, her friend and l had got bored of waiting though so the joke was flat and we both sighed.

Anyway off to try and get some food then good old hospital trip. Have a good new year tonight and all the best to everyone. I will post next year in 2010

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas Wishes

Thanks to everyone for reading, joining or commenting (any or all) on my blog. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.


As l probably wont have much time to get on before Christmas l will post my Christmas advice to try and help veterinary staff have a quiet Christmas and you all a fuller wallet. It applies year round but Christmas is a time of many problems.

This is general advice we give out most nights however If at anytime you are worried always ring your vet. All vets in UK have to have a 24hr cover but some use an emergency service (especially over holidays) to cover for them so always ring your vet with a pen and paper handy and listen to what any message or person tells you to do.

If you are upset then get a friend or partner to do the phone work.

Never just turn up always notify your vet you are on the way down. They may have another place for out of hours emergencies or they may be about to operate and need to hold off for your arrival.

It helps also if you pre find a taxi service that will take you and your pet if you have been drinking you can ring them up instead of panicking at the last moment.

If your pet is on medication make sure you have enough to last the holiday period, especially if you are going away. Often it has to be ordered in by the vet and wholesalers have Christmas closures, so get in and order early. Make sure you know what meds your pet it on, write it down somewhere... drug, strength and when it is taken. The vets need to be able to use the info to help your pet.

Do not keep ringing your vet out of hours if your pet was admitted. Christmas is a very busy time for vets. There is usually only a skeleton staff on duty and they will ring you if needed.


Some of the items to be worried about, especially about around Christmas.

Grapes, Sultanas, Raisins
Some dogs can eat grapes or sultanas or raisins with no problem, others can not. The reason is genetic – so just don’t risk it.

Chocolate (the darker the more toxic)
Only use pet chocolates this has theobromine removed.
Christmas trees often have chocolate and sweets hung on them be careful with pets trying to eat them.

Christmas Plants
Cover the water with live Xmas trees the water can be toxic if drunk.
Other Christmas plants may be toxic. If your pet eats any then ring the vets. They can always contact the poisons centre for clarification.

Do not give any medication (other than that prescribed for that pet with that problem at that point in time) unless you have been advised to as human preparations can be dangerous for animals.
Especially DON’T give cats paracetomol you WILL kill them. Do not give paracetomol to dogs unless the vet has told you can and how much to give.

Minor cuts and wounds wash the wound with a teaspoon of salt in a pint of warm water. Avoid human antiseptic solutions these can be toxic. If you are worried ring your vet. Be careful putting on bandages, often they are too tight and cause damage to the area applied, including loss of limbs.

If your pet has eaten anything it should not always ring your vet to check up if other treatment is needed even if it was vomited up. Not all will have come back up and supportive treatment may be needed.
In UK you can pre buy in some washing soda crystals and keep them some place handy and safe. Inform your vet you have them and ask if you can try those to make the dog vomit.
Only use these on dogs and after speaking to your vet, some items can cause more problems if they are vomited back out.


Giving your pet a lovely big meal with the rest of the family meal can bring on the good old diarrhoea and vomiting. It is safer to mix a SMALL AMOUNT of food in with their normal meal if you must. Whacking a huge meal of strange food down is asking for problems.

If your or a friends pet is on a special diet i.e. pancreatitis, renal failure, diabetic etc do not feed anything but the prescription diet. Make sure that any friends and family also understand the importance of this. That little bit that can not hurt, may well result in your pet being admitted and needing treatment.

If your dog is an adult or generally over 8mths and gets diarrhoea, and you are pretty sure it was caused by the food you gave them. Stop all food for 24 hrs but make sure they have water. Slowly wean them onto plain boiled rice or scrambled egg or boiled chicken. (no seasoning just plain boiled) then if no more problems over a couple of days, back to their normal diet.

If it is a puppy or under 8mths then ring your vet.

If they vomited stop all by mouth, once they have stopped vomiting for at least 2 hours give very small amounts of water every so often. Too much will cause vomiting. If vomiting restarts stop fluids and call the vet. Water can irritate and cause vomiting, so if your pet has been vomiting do not think "oh this will wash his mouth out". It wont.

If you are worried, if there is blood, if it is coffee grains colour and or texture, or anything looks strange, if at any point, start, middle or end of the vomiting or diarrhoea episode you are worried, call your vet for advice.

If you have a large breed lab, GSD, setter etc dog (but not always large l have known small breeds to bloat) and it starts to retch but unable to vomit They may also appear to have a rounded tummy. Ring your vet tell them your dog has a possible bloat. Bloat is FATAL and needs treating immediately.

For all ages of felines with vomiting or diarrhoea ring your vet. Do not withhold food/water from cats. Ring your vet for advice. Cats can not go without food for long because of the way their metabolism works. If your cat has not eaten for 12hrs it must see your vet.


Lights can cause problems bite the sweets on Christmas trees and get cable in the mouth bite into it and bang.
Pets especially cats get tangled up playing with the lights cables and getting a shock.

Baubles may get crushed in the mouth by a pet thinking it is a ball. If a bauble is broken, bits of broken baubles may be pushed into feet.

Tinsel glittering can attract a pet especially a cat. They start licking it and it goes down the throat. Once inside it can get bunched and jammed, or cause a telescopic effect on the intestines.


Dim lights and turn off TV/radio do not try and comfort the pet. They are totally unaware of what is happening and often bite in a reflex action. They may also defecate or urinate again they are unaware they are doing it and have no control over themselves.

Wait till the pet stops it should last no more than about 2 mins. They can be disorientated when they come round and stagger into things this can go on for some time and is not unusual. They are also very clingy.

If it has one fit don’t go rushing to your vet. Unless there has been other illness over the last few days. Ring and discuss it with your vet.
Otherwise keep an eye on the dog and see if and when it has another fit (make a note of how long it lasts) ring your vet and see if you should take them down.

If the dog stops and goes back into a fit, or doesn’t come out of it notify your vet and go down.

Travelling in a car can bring on another fit which is why for the single fit dogs we advise keeping an eye on them and going to your vet after a few hrs. Dogs may fit once and never again.

In the car do not hold your pet put it in the back if it is a hatchback or estate car or back seat of it is a saloon as per earlier warnings.

If a cat has a fit then it should see the vet even if it is just one fit as they do not usually fit. Wait for a bit though to allow the animal to settle down unless it does not come out of the fit or goes straight back into one.


The above is not an exhaustive list just a general one. If in doubt:

And on Life Goes.

Monday Night:

On Sunday morning my Mum decided to defrost the car so she could drive to my house a bit later on. My fault for not saying do not attempt to drive.

Next thing l get an hysterical call the car started to move, she tried to stop it and got thumped by the open door and it was now wedged between the fence post and the handrail on the steps.

I got round there and the door being open and going backwards had bent back to the bonnet and yup front was wedged solid. It took 4 of us (made my mum wait well out the way she was hurting. To bounce and push the car round then 2 of us to sort of jiggle the door and managed to shove it shut and past the railings. The 2 people to bend it shut. It goes in tomorrow for panel checks, new door and hope to goodness the pillar (windscreen one) is not damaged.

My mum has very sore ribs will try and get those x-rayed as my dad may need respite care when he comes out if it is the next few days to allow her to heal. After we saw my dad we went into a & e it was a 5hr wait. Waited a bit then left will try and go back tonight if it is quiet and get my mum x-rayed and take things from there. Nothing they can do if the rib has bust other than Paracetamol it is for forward planning.

Work wise Saturday was fairly quiet as most people stayed in, Sunday was a lot busier with a lot of staff not able to get in. The night vet took 4.5 hours to get in. He ended up helping an injured horse. The owner a total pratt (polite term) was pulling a horsebox in a blizzard for gods sake!! it had jack-knifed and l think fallen onto it’s side. He said they got the horse out and put it in the barn at the house in the middle of the motorway, luckily the horse was just lame.

We had a collection of dangerous dogs in. To get them out is done on dog grabs and no contact. One took 30minutes to get it out of the car cage. Not a pit bull a collie cross lab. It had ripped a kids face badly and attacked 2 other people. The other 2 were dangerous rottie’s just in as “involved in criminal activity”.
We had some lovely visions at these terms. Imagined them in masks and holding guns, thing is with those teeth they didn’t need guns.

Update Tuesday am:

Well l am off there is more snow l will have to see how work goes today l wont stay till 19:00 if this carries on as it is quite a trek there and back.

We went into a & e last night for my mum who has badly bruised ribs thankfully no fractures.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Hospital Trips... again

Just a quick post. My dad is back in hospital. He has had about 3 falls over the last 2 weeks. We think it has caused a muscle problem in his neck and he was in agony this morning.

The ambulance crew were fantastic. I had a tin of foxes biscuits and was going to take that and get a couple of tins of quality street to take to the main ambulance station. I am only taking the choc's over l grabbed the foxes and thumped them on the seats and said they needed an early morning bicci.

Because of my dads scoliosis (curved spine) they spent about 1hr trying to work out the best way to get him out. Was it muscle or bone that was the problem. Neck brace and spinal board an initial possibility but a no go due to his spine shape/pain. Stretcher nope wont go round all the doors/to tight, chair nope to much pain to move finally ended up on scoop stretcher to the ambulance then transferred to the stretcher there.

So he is back in for ... will see what happens.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Shootings, Chocolate and Work

Sorry it has been so long since l wrote or replied. I have been on the good old work treadmill but covering 2 different practices, several days going from the day shift to the emergency job to cover part of the late evening shifts. That means that l have only really glanced at the computer to tired to bother.
Then this week l got hammered with this bug that is going around and have had about enough energy to get me from shift start to shift end with nothing left over.
High temperatures and hacking cough is not my idea of fun. I may as well have lived in a sauna l have been so sweated out.
All l want is to get fit, l have just got over my last problem of 3 weeks cold and laryngitis but it seems health must wait.
Food has been on my list of l can’t face much and l have had so much chicken broth l am about to start to crow.

On the work front the feeling of good will seems to as usual be lacking to many animals. There has been a lot of older abandoned dogs appearing needing veterinary care, mainly for cold and arthritis. Stray puppies are doing the odd guest appearance but they won’t really start to hit till Xmas day and beyond.

Last week we had a cat in that was owned. It looked to have been attacked by a dog and was full of holes. We gave a quick x-ray to check for ruptured diaphragm (from being shaken) or any other x-ray obvious injuries and lo some scum had shotgun’ed the cat.
I lost count at 35+ pellets, it is not easy to count them your eyes tend to get confused.
He was quite bright considering the holes in him. His tail will probably have to come off as that has been fractured in what’s called a high tail base fracture, thankfully his urination isn’t affected.
He had a pellet removed from his stomach and a couple from his intestine. Some may need removal from his legs but the majority will be left as it is better than going aimless hunting and if they are not causing a problem then they are left.

The same night we had a small terrier in. His owners had gone out and come back to find their house broken into and the dog stabbed once into the chest.
Air had leaked under the skin and he was very blown up. His skin felt like bubble wrap as the air rippled under it in the fat, not a nice feeling. He was stabilised overnight and a thoracotomy sorted him out.

Parvo dogs have been pouring in. One night we had 4 in isolation and one stray with kennel cough. The small day practice l have been at has also had several parvo dogs in.

Good old Xmas poisonings are starting to make their way in as well, raisins, grapes and chocolates top the charts at the moment.

I am not a fan of American Bulldogs. The ones l know have all been darn right nasty. That has changed and l have fallen for a big lump of one.
He came in because he had eaten a tea-towel, socks and a few other items, apparently the breed is as bad as Labradors for scavenging. All l have known the AB to scavenge though is human body parts, whichever its teeth can close on. The socks and other items reappeared, tea towel hadn’t.
What a sweet dog, stood there while dripped just trying to give sloppy licky kisses. Post op he was in a walk in on a duvet and then l wrapped him like a big sausage roll in a flower duvet. All you could see all night was his nose, even awake he snuggled in.

A couple of days later he came into the small day practice l am at for an op check. He was a bit subdued still but gave me a nice welcome. I chatted to the owner while Bruno (not his name) sat on my lap trying to give more sloppy kisses while l sat on the floor in reception. Apparently his sister had a pair of pyjamas removed from her not long ago.

2 days after that Bruno came back in for another check and he bounded in. He heard my voice as l came round the door to greet him and almost knocked me over.
His long suffering wallet….sorry owner, said he had removed some newspapers from Bruno that day so he was on the mend.
They do try and keep him separated from items but with kids on hand l don’t think it is too easy.

The American Bulldog is a very powerful breed and needs to be line checked carefully for temperament especially and health. I had a history lesson on the breed in the UK and it was the usual. Bad lines brought over from USA and bred with garden breeders for money.
Then a few dogs carefully chosen and brought over from USA by a breeder and bred but a higher price and carefully checked potential owners. Bruno comes from the careful lines and it shows, too many do not.

The emergency hospital is part of a corporate setup and they have upset the whole night shift. There was an Xmas party H/O said they would pay £25 they were quids in. It was to difficult for the majority of us to get to and day shift were going enmasse, and quite frankly was not really anyone’s on nights cup of tea, a drunken night out with non work friends. Not that we do not like them just they are a different world and most day and night shifters do not really meet.

We wanted a nice get together, chat laugh and just unwind so we organised our own, although l am a locum l am included as l spend so much of my life there and doing stupid shifts and getting them out of the brown stuff.
This split party had been done other years. There is a whole setup of night shift starting at 13:00 in the afternoon and ending at 8am, collection drivers, vets, veterinary nurses, receptionists, auxiliaries. Some staff were not going to go to bed, others missing a couple of hours of shift and going it at about 15:00 not 13:00 (day shift were fine about that) Some of us due to work that night and forgoing a full days sleep. It meant we could all get together and have a lunch time gathering. The place chosen was an all you can eat pub. £5.99/head.

The practice manager rang up H/O on Tuesday to get final clearance and was told tough they should have gone to the night meal. The fact it meant that out of 20 who put their name down for the day meal about 5 could have gone to nights was not their problem.
A letter signed by a lot of us has been sent in not that we expect it to do any good. Night shift is a set group of people who only do nights and unsociable hours. There is bank holidays and weekends and all those family gatherings they miss. If their normal work pattern falls on a weekend they do not get extra. They get less holiday than days and less for covering bank holidays. Yet again night shift has been shafted.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Dog's Rules For Christmas

1. Be especially patient with your humans during this time. They may appear to be more stressed-out than usual and they will appreciate long comforting dog cuddles.

2. They may come home with large bags of things they call gifts. Do not assume that all the gifts are yours.

3. Be tolerant if your humans put decorations on you. They seem to get some special kind of pleasure out of seeing how you look with fake antlers.

4. They may bring a large tree into the house and set it up in a prominent place and cover it with lights and decorations. Bizarre as this may seem to you, it is an important ritual for your humans, so there are some things you need to know: Don't wee on the tree... Don't drink water in the container that holds the tree... Mind your tail when you are near the tree... If there are packages under the tree, even ones that smell interesting or that have your name on them, don't rip them open... And Don't chew on the cord that runs from the funny-looking hole in the wall to the tree.

5. Your humans may occasionally invite lots of strangers to come visit during this season. These parties can be lots of fun, but they also call for some discretion on your part: Not all strangers appreciate kisses and cleans. Don't eat off the buffet table. Beg for goodies subtly. Be pleasant, even if unknowing strangers sit on your spot on the sofa -- they don't know any better. Don't drink out of glasses that are left within your reach unless you can get away with it...

6. Likewise, your humans may take you visiting. Here your manners will also be important: Observe all the rules in #4 for trees that may be in other people's houses. (4a is particularly important) Respect the territory of other animals that may live in the house. Be nice to the kiddies. Turn on your charm big time.

7. A big man with a white beard and a very loud laugh may emerge from your fireplace in the middle of the night. DO NOT BITE HIM!!!

Sunday, 29 November 2009


I know l have grumbled on this before but especially in the run up to Christmas and just after the following calls increase 10 fold.

Ringing up and telling me that you have bought 1, 2 3 or 4+ pedigree puppies or kittens (or even non pedigrees) and want them vaccinated is fine and sounds responsible. The vaccination part, not the fact you have multiple animals.

Telling me that you are on benefits and expect to have everything done cheap or free will get you a polite reply (because l have to be polite) but it will not get you free or reduced rates. I will go to very formal tell you to go and call a charity not a private practice. If you start whining on about how much money vets make out of poor people who have nothing, or that it is not convenient to go all the way to the charity practice l will put the phone down on you.
With all your benefits you are often making more than a lot of student veterinary nurses and some qualified nurses.

You want a pet then you pay for it, do not expect everyone else to. Quite frankly if that is your attitude then the chances are the animal is better off being put down because when it needs a vet because it is ill you will avoid paying for it unless it is free and it is likely to become another cruelty statistic.

Telling me that your dog/cat needs a booster, you have become unemployed, are disabled or something has gone genuinely wrong with your life. I will do my best to help you out.

Genuine cases l am only to happy to help but scroungers beware, everyone is sick to death of you "gimme gimme" take take take behaviour.

I said it before and l will say it again:

A Human does not have the right to an animal, but an animal has a right to a responsible human.

(Sorry am now off my soapbox)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Trouble comes in 3s

Another week another practice. Actually l am at this one for a few weeks with side trips for nights to my old emergency work and a prebooked couple of days at Christmas at a different vets. Love it here for the friendliness. The vets make coffee, something that's very rare. And the SVN is always shoving a plate of cheese, ham pineapple toasties or sweets or something into everyone's hands. And the others bring in all sorts of titbits.

Friday l walked into prep sniffing burning. The other nurse was pulling the door open on the tumble dryer coughing and l went to help her try work out what was wrong (other than the fact the tumble dryer wanted to go terminal). While l emptied the fluff catcher she found a load under it that had fallen through.
A good clean and l went off to finish setting up op theatre while she restarted the dryer. I walked back into prep a couple of minutes later to find it somewhat transformed. It was now a swirling fog of smoke. Coughing l yanked the plug out of the wall, the tumble dryer door had already been opened.
We stared at the machine mindful of the old saying.. there is no smoke without fire. Thankfully this situation disproved the saying.

Upshot is that they will need to get a new tumble dryer and the radiators are doing sterling work.

Yesterday l unpacked the drugs order and having lent my scissors out had to use my biro to rip open the tape on the boxes. It worked fine, l had about 3 boxes and it was just tape. I am sure everyone has done the same at some point.
Half an hour later a wet, blue flash on my arm caught my eye. The nib had fallen off and my pocket was flooded. And ever time l moved l was being covered. I carefully surgical spirited my arm to remove the blue and went on the look out for something to put on so my tunic could go in the wash.
Last week l had thought about putting some scrubs in the car "just in case" note the term thought about.
All l could find in the practice for me was a blue scrub top (Nurses wear green and vets blue) tough it would do. Apart from the fact l was squeezed tight and had to be careful about movements as l think it would have ripped if l moved to fast.
General hilarity at my new fashion mode greeted me.

Problem 3 was more disgusting. I have every so often the last few days had the odd bad whiff around my handbag. I should clarify l have a haversack not a standard handbag. I had a look inside but could see nothing. With my work l figure some cat or dog anal glands had misfired and some had zapped it, hazards of the job.
I was at work early today and sat in the car waiting for the other 8am nurse to turn up as she has the keys. I decided to clean my bag out. The base in the main section wouldn't go flat and l lifted it up.

At some point in the last couple of weeks l had a dim memory of buying a ham and mushroom pastie. This had somehow got shoved under the base and forgotten about. Needless to say my "handbag" has been scrubbed with hot water and various washing substances (fairy liquid, washing powder, hibiscrub) and is now drying at work. My temporary handbag is a plastic bag.
The others find it hysterical and l have faced a barrage of hysteria and comments all day.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

New SVN Training (under consultation)

Well it is coming up to all change for the veterinary nursing profession and for the worst. I was going to stay out of it even though on the vetnurse site l go on we were being asked to input our thoughts.
I did ever so well until 22:45 on the 31st of October, consultations closed on 1st Nov. Then l let loose with both barrels. I did say that l doubted they would read my mail as l was sending insults with my comments as l was so angry.

Back towards the end of the 90’s they got rid of what was called the little green book. This training book was thin and easy to use. Had certain tasks that had to be done and no proof of seeing it other than a signature was required.

Then l ended up on the nvq system, on the first lot through l hated it as we all did. It was so badly organised that even the tutors at college did not know what we needed to do. External verifiers changed faster than someone could spit out chewed up bubble gum and all had different ideas. So what one allowed the next wouldn't and that meant more rewrites. With logs and reports and proof about everything.
This has been refined over the years to an over-heavy bit of paperwork and very expensive to run for the practices and has meant a lot of training practices have stopped doing training. The present system needs slimming down, more training practices need to be opened but not like suggested.

Apparently some government funding is ending so now they are throwing baby out with the bathwater and dumbing the whole system down. Of course it is all “consultation stage” yea right and you believe that, most of us (VN's) believe it is a done deal.
I do know that anyone from colleges l have spoken to or who has posted on it on the vet nursing forum l belong to is furious about the changes.

So the new deal will be open to 16year olds, great they are for the most part still very immature and not suitable, certainly for veterinary work.
At the moment students spend time at the practice while they find out if the person is suitable for veterinary nursing. Like all jobs many do not like the reality but even more so in vet nursing.
It has great moments that can make up for the bad for a short time. Over all though is a dirty sad and demanding job. You do a lot of cleaning, you see and help a lot of animals you also help a lot of them die or watch them die as nothing can be done to save them, often for something simple like a new puppy is preferred not the older dog, cruelty to animals is faced daily when you see all the misery that breeders have bred into the species let alone inflicted by bad owners or just random people, bad wages are a big bug, bullying is rife.

The bull on the consultation paper makes out that practices can have new "interns" every year, great you just get someone almost sorted so they can do something and then send them off and a new lot come though.
That practices can have their pick of students. Well actually they can have that now so nothing new there.
That practices won't have to pay students much not even the minimum wage, just a "training allowance". Well that will go down well with some bosses but overall, no pay no reliability or commitment. Wages may be bad now but at least students, are getting something.
At the moment you need to do a minimum number of hours/year in a veterinary practice before you can qualify as a VN that is now being scrapped.

And the really good one. The present system is being scrapped by 2010, the new one needs to be in place by September 2010 intake of students so colleges need to decide how to teach a new not yet designed system in 11 months. Well minus the time to decide what they system will be so call that ohh 4 or 5 months to arrange training.

New deal:

Year 1 - "full time" at college (2 days a week!!) with 25 days in placement made up from 5 days in TP, 5 days in non TP, 5 days in equine practice, 5 days in large animal practice and 5 days in animal based industry such as a pet shop.

I do not know what the difference between a small animal and general is, no one l have asked vet or nurse knows. Then there is the fact that vn’s have nothing to do with large animals generally. Even those that work at a large animal practice very rarely go out with the vets. Many small animal nurses have horses but many more have no contact and have no wish to, they prefer to work in small animal work. As to pet shops, WTF are we meant to learn there?
In 5 days you will only be allowed to mop floors and make coffees. Practices won’t allow untrained people, for the most part kids to do anything else, especially in this day and age when suing is rife.

Year 2 - full time as an employed student at any practice - could be TP or "auxillary" TP. The portfolio will be abolished and the student will have to fill in an online folio, no-one has mentioned if this folio is checked by anyone or if the student does it themselves. There will be no need for assessors or IVs - just mentors and moderators.

Link to the new guidelines

As to rcvs reading my comments, apparently they have sent thank you emails out to people that replied.. Funnily enough l never received one. I am of course devastated at this turn of events, l chose my words so carefully.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

WOW l Won

Woohhooo l had to make a phone call to the emergency clinic yesterday to sort some dates out. The receptionist told me a rep had been in with my prize and she (receptionist)was guarding it till she was able to give it to the head nurse. I was confused as to what l had entered or won. Every so often l enter the odd competition and use the practice details as locums do not seem to exist to drugs company's. As l do not expect to win l then ignore possible results, working on the theory l never win.

A bit later on the HN rang back to sort dates and open the envelope while l was on the phone. I was gobsmacked when she told me l had won £200 of improve cpd vouchers to be used as l wanted whenever. I had won the competition on marbocyl medicated shampoo. I remember l entered that as l was bored one day.

I was having a look at Improve site today. There is a couple that caught my eye. anaesthesia and exotics and pain management but as they are not till next year l have time to decide and there is new course's all the time. I am interested in the wounds talk they do as well the HN is one of the tutors, brilliant at wound treatments l have learnt a lot over the years from her still more to learn though.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

I'm Gonna Die!!!!

Siamese, although generally nice cats tend to be neurotic. If they get ill then they know they are going to die. Whether it is a life threatening case or a sore toe. They are full of eastern mysticism and "know" things. This can make them noisy and frustrating as they make sure you know how they are suffering. They are vocal whether lying pathetically on their bed or stalking around the kennel.

The following is a typical but shortened conversation with one. They tend to never shut up.

Siamese ... yowll grrr mmmrrp mrrrppp... (I am going to die)

Me...No you are not, you are just a bit ill.

Siamese (shaking drip leg in air)... Yowwwll grmph yooooowl (I am a siamese l KNOW l am going to die, you are going to embalm me)

Me...No you are not eating and a bit dehydrated that's what the drip is for. (passing a bit of warmed chicken over)

Siamese (muffled as mouth full of chicken)...yowwwlll mpmmph grrrrrmph (You don't know what you are talking about)

Me... If you are going to die you are going on a full belly then

Siamese...mphph (swallow) yowwwllllll yoelll yowll grrr mmmrrp mrrrppp (I tell you l know l am going to die)

Me... Well is it worth wasting food on you if you are going to die?

Siamese (Glaring at food bowl)... Yowwwlllll (Gimme!)

Me... Only if you shut up for 5 min. so l can do your pulse and respiration.

The above Siamese went home the next day, as do so many despite their "I'm gonna die" conviction.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

L8 Arrivals

Had to share this. Hub does skydive coaching for new exp. jumpers on the way up the system at the centre he jumps at. As so many do not want to leave the nest and he has to almost boot or bribe them up a next level he has decided to start an 8way team for competition with the hard core ones that do not want to leave and hang on in there with claws dug into the nest screaming and crying excuses.

He has decided to call it L8 arrivals. It is all a play on words 8 as it is an 8 way team, L8 arrivals is for those who do not make it into whatever formation as they are to "late" and also for those who are always delayed getting kit or whatever.

It is going to be a very "serious" team and one of the members has taken the liberty of doing the first official painting of the team (the L shaped item on the right of the picture is the plane on take off) As you can see the team are in perfect harmony and will go far.

The wording that doesn't show to well as l had to shrink the pic says.."I forgot my helmet" This is the artist who did just that as about to climb into the plane last weekend.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Vetnurses and Bonfire Night

Just because you are working does not mean that you need to miss out on the fun of bonfire night, toasting marshmallows can be achieved with a bit of ingenuity.
The only problem was that some hot marshmallow dripped into the lighter and it blew it's lid off with a loud pop.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”


Thursday, 5 November 2009

Did You Know

Wow l have got so out of kilter with my blog over the last 3 weeks or so mainly since l got ill. Anyhow l am in the middle of writing a long one and this is just a quick stop gap for a chuckle while l catch up. I am on night 2 of 4 nights so won't be much good for brain work anyhow.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Sound Bites

I have been at a small practice this week but it is busy. They do a lot of nurse clinics which is great to have the interaction. Generally people are there as they want to listen and ask questions. To many places just have the odd one usually a post op check and it doesn't utilise nurses skills properly.
Where l have been nurses do micro chipping, health checks (dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs hamster, birds), post op checks, geriatric clinics, nail clipping (all above species)2nd(primary) vaccinations, basic behaviour clinics, more complicated they are sent to specialist behaviourists and several other clinics.

It has been my week for injuries though:
Have had both arms attacked with teeth and nails by cats .
Inside of one arm scratched by psycho rabbit.
Back of my hands scratched by nervous guinea pig.
And the best was a retriever that chomped my finger when l reached to its lead to get it out the kennel. There was no warning the teeth just snapped like a shark, my reflexes were a bit slow and it got the base of my finger. Pulling the hand out scored the teeth upwards to the tip. The HN had to under sign my remarks about what happened in the accident book and l said to put down... "Heard nurse swearing loudly about **&%^*& bitch" This was vetoed to just verbally.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Toadstools for Tea

It has been a poisonous time on shift this week not counting the usual cases that we have in.

Had a cat in whose renal parameters were all over the place but the worst was the way the calcium was heading to ground zero on subsequent checks. Given how his bloods stacked the vet was certain it was antifreeze tox. It is so depressing to see a lovely cat folding in and dying his bloods going worse and worse and nothing we could do would help. The vet rang the owner about 2am and had a chat.

A dog we had in had decided on a walk that those yummy orange toadstools growing out that nice smelly pile of cow dung were put there as a meal just for him. Being as he was a Labrador by the time the owner got to him and got him off the “meal” there was not much left.
He had a bad night of hallucinating (we think) as his eyes were like saucers and he was falling all over the place. With the aid of lots of iv fluids and some other treatment at the end of 24hrs he was able to go home with just checks for a couple of weeks.
We were all relieved to see him go because he was farting with a vengeance. To quote the vet “something horrible crawled up the dog’s arse and died” Critical care was so aromatic even with my bad cold l could smell it.

Another Labrador had been pulled off different toadstools [not orange ones] to late and he was very bad. His pcv (thickness of red blood cells) was 76. It should normally be max 55. He was so dehydrated that he did not have blood but syrup in his veins.
He needed fluid flung down his iv in vast quantities. He was shaking and collapsed, he had stinking blood leaking out of his rectum and saliva running like a bath out of his mouth. In fact saliva flowed out of the kennel like a tide onto the floor.
His owners were rung in the middle of the night and warned that it was unlikely he would see the morning and to be prepared for the worst.
Never say never though, at about 4am he was more alert, moved to a comfier position on his own and slowed down salivation. I went to do his stats and he raised his read and checked me out. By change over at 7am his rectal blood had stopped leaking.
He whizzed through 3 litres of fluid in 10hours on my shift, not counting what he had before l got in and more during the day, when l got in l the next night was over the moon to find out he had gone home. Again checks over the next couple of weeks but looking good.

Mind you l recon it was the noisy cat in the kennel above him must have helped keep him awake. He was claustrophobic. He had been in an RTA his back leg was past salvation. They had put a support dressing called a Robert Jones on and he had been going mad the dressing had slipped and it needed changing. The vet decided that if he was in so much pain the leg would come off in the night but in the mean time the 2nd dressing slipped.
He held the cat while l cut it [dressing] off, after first unscrewing the leg a couple of times so it faced the correct way.
We put him back in the kennel to see if he would settle down often animals just can not handle the dressing.
No it was obvious the leg was not bothering him but he loathed the kennel. He would pin himself to the door shaking it and yowling in anger leg whirring in the air. When not pinned to the door he did not even look at his leg but gazed angrily out. Stats were impossible, as soon as l tried to slide open the door l was being attacked by angry cat.
We got too busy for the leg so the vet gave him a very deep sedative and he took several hours to wake up to the agitated state he had been in.

His leg was removed the next day and he was sent home, a bit woozy but he was so stressed, first act on awakening was to attack the door. By now he had made his feelings clear that it was better he was sent home with less strength analgesia treatment instead of keeping him in overnight for stronger as we would normally do.

Yet 2 more dangerous dogs in that were grabbed on behalf of the police with instructions to slide water under the door lob food over the top and don’t go near them. One bit the collection driver the other tried.
Actually it was 3 dangerous dogs but number 3 was a boisterous staffie cross with no manners. We had him out having a game and a hunt the treat time and he was fine with us, what he needed was discipline. The most dangerous thing about him was his snapping for treats so we dropped them on the floor.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Live Safari SA

I have discovered a fantastic new site. It is called Wild Earth TV. It is based at Djuma Game Reserve in SA. They have a fixed cam at the waterhole and a roving cam that goes on safari twice a day, three on certain days. It is all live and best savoured with sound as the presenter talks you through things going on. They have the full spectrum of game there all the big 5 and nothing is set up. There is certain regular animals seen a lot from buffalo to leopard and hyenas who all have names.

On the night safaris it has night vision so you get a better view of things. When not on night safari they have a "fireside chat"

There is a small chat room attached to the site and the control watches that and relays info. You can also send in questions and comments direct via email which they try and answer during the safari or fireside chat. It is very interactive, with regular viewers being an important part of the overall safari with their feedback and they also hunt answers for the presenters. It is like no other show l know, a schedule is posted so you know what is going on when.

Below are a couple of links for it l have found the first link the better one but it seems to vary for different people:

Link 1
Link 2

Enjoy, just don't let you boss catch you at work

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Treasure Hunt by Boat

We were back in Tenerife at about 8am or some ungodly time that is similar, with about 40 or 50 others in Puerto Colon marina having a briefing for a treasure hunt by boat.
B, Liz and l were on Liz’s boat but one of the boats had a problem so the crew was shuffled round and 2 brothers about 19years old joined us. You could see their “oh god oldies” contempt look. Bad move that look we intended to win. Safety and general rules were explained and we were given our first clue. Group huddles were dotted around as we tried to hear what others said or read their lips, not allow others to hear or see us and try and work out the clue.

We were off…. Brian untied us and started to climb back in via the folding windscreen when Liz gunned the boat. I grabbed him and pulled him down, he slammed into the bottom of the boat and broke the floor… “The hell with it it’ll fix” yelled Liz. The 2 lads went a bit green.

We arrived at the first clue point in Los Cristianos and the 2 lads and l swam ashore. The clue was about octopus and there was a bar by that name. We found the next clue after a bit of a hunt round the bar and ran back to swim to the boat to decipher it.

The next clue took us back to Puerto colon and some more running around. Clue 3 was to spaghetti beach. This was a nice secluded beach for nudists. We were told to go there and look for a mermaid. The 2 lads and l swam ashore again now life got fun. Nudists do not like to be stared at. Our task was to find a mermaid. As B and l used to go to the beach quite often l was nude however the 2 lads were a bit shy and kept their trunks on. I stayed close to keep an eye, and try to head off trouble.

They tried to look innocent while staring hard at people but things started to get a bit hot well not really under the collar as there was none. I had to jump in several times and explain we were looking for a mermaid and why. After about 10minutes no luck so we swam back to the boat to consult. Another good look at the clue and nope it had to be the beach. By now word was getting round and we got some good natured jokes but still a fair lot of black looks from those who thought we were lying. The lads were getting flustered but hung in there. Then they found their mermaid. A tattoo on a female, at that point the beach settled down and black looks became grins. We spread the word about 14 or so more boats would be coming through assuming their crews managed to work out the clue.

We were nicely in the lead when we headed to the next point. This one required B to swim ashore as he had to do splicing of rope. Well that’s what we thought but there was no one at the bar where we worked out there should be. Back to the boat and a confab then swim back to shore to double check. B stayed on board and let us do the work. Nope, the locals looked at us like the spaghetti beach patrons had. Trying to discern signs of intelligence on us as no sane person could ask questions like where do we get the splice rope and who is in charge of this check point. Back to the boat and a zoom to a couple of other villages but they did not have the right description.
Back to the village and still no luck then back to the boat. We had a quick discussion and decided we had to get back to base to see what was going on. By now the lads had realised we were out to win and were grinding their teeth about anyone catching up with us which by now of course other boats were doing.

The organisers comment was.. “Well we can not tell you if you are right where you went, but we have managed to trace the person and they did not expect anyone so soon so stopped for a beer”… Liz bent down and gave her evil eye look …”and” she snapped.
“And errrr” said the organizer knowing it was not good to upset Liz she was not a shouter but would verbally and with a sweet smile cut him into little bits with no swearing taking place.
“We have lost time because your lot wanted to drink” she said still glaring.
“Oh umm yes err how about 40minutes off your final time is that ermm fair?”
Liz straightened grinned and we powered back to the village.

Once again we swam ashore with B this time and sure enough, there was the splicing rope. By now the other boats were there and a lot of cussing was going on as people tried to either learn fast or remember old skills. Thankfully B has kept up old skills, god knows why but it came in useful and while he was trying to admire his work l ripped it off him and the lads hauled him off balance to get the message. He was a bit grumpy stuff him we had a race to win.

The last clue was to swim to the beach at la Calleta below the church run up to the church and run around the outside twice.
Well it isn’t a beach but a rock strewn area. We had a debate about this as by now the wind was up as a storm moved in and the sea was getting rough. We were in a small powerboat. A lot of the crews on the other boats decided against it due to the water and weather conditions, their captains refusing to risk crew.
Of course we were going to win and that mean doing every section. So the 2 lads and l took the plunge. It was hard going to shore but not to bad. The rocks made it tricky and we got a bit rolled going ashore. The slope to the church was hard as we were tiring by now and twice round the church was a killer. The lads were in front of me, they slowed down to see if l wanted help, l shoopered them on as l just needed to get my breath back.
By now no crews were coming ashore, the sea was rough and a couple from the last boat but ours said they were going to ring for a car to collect them, it was to rough and their boat pulled away.

Just to make it more fun did l mention we did not have any life jackets, funny how thoughts strike you at the wrong moment. I looked at the waves thought “aghh f*ckit all will be fine” and ploughed in.
Part way to the boat l knew l was in big trouble. I had done too much over the course of the day, then the final run’s round the church wasted what l had left, l cramped. I managed to tread water and on the crest of waves l saw the boat, the lads were struggling but almost there. I adjusted my direction and tried to swim but l wasn’t going to make it.
I waved my arms in the double arm “I am in trouble” signal. Liz and B saw me and waved back. I stared in disbelief. I tried to swim slowly and started to go under struggled back up. Again waved FFS they waved back grinning. I was in disbelief B and L had both done diving ok l wasn’t 100% sure if l gave the signal for diver in distress or not, but for Christ on a crumbs sake the fact l was stopped and kept going under, the waves were deep troughed now and a lot of white about the sky black it must have been obvious to the blind l was in trouble.
Nope it wasn’t, I looked back and realised the beach was too far and by now being hammered hard with breaking waves. I had 2 choices l swam and got to the boat on my own or l drowned.. while friends and family happily waved me downwards.

So l swam if you can call what l managed swimming. I saw the boat in flashes when l crested waves, l tried to spit out water when l went under, which was a lot, and struggled to break surface and gulp air when l could, while ignoring my cramps and exhaustion and finally l got to the boat. It was only when l was too weak to reach up for a lift that the idiots realised just how far gone l was and jumped to help me. The lads got back in to help push me upwards, B and Liz hauled me in.

I lay collapsed all the way back getting my breath and when l did l gave a broadside to B and Liz that left them in no doubt of what l thought about them. There was a hell of a lot of apologising from the pair of them. I forgave them eventually it took some time though. I was scared as hell on that swim and l really did not think l would make it. By now it had also sunk into them just how close they had come to waving me down to a watery grave and they were having a good hard think about things themselves.

As we had done all the clues and with our 40mins off our final time meant that despite almost being a crew member down we were the winners, with a certificate to prove it.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Woke up Sunday morning after a not great restless night had lost my voice and felt pretty grotty. Great way to start a set of night shifts and of course Sunday was manic. 9 ops, 30+ in patients, isolation and overflow isolation full, icu full and from 23:00 the usual set-up of 2 nurses a vet and auxiliary. At least l did not need to answer the phones. I remembered at 7am that l had forgotten to take a break. I sort of took one then till l ended at 8am interspersed with my morning change over and oops l forgot to do's...

Last night quieter but l had to take several phone calls after the vet had gone to bed and the other vn and auxiliary had gone home. l sort of squeaked sorry laryngitis to callers but most never seamed to notice anything strange. The collection driver put the phone down thinking it was a rude phone call. He got the message on the callback l did.
If one more person laughs at the whisper interspersed with squeaks that l am producing instead of a normal voice l am going to brain them with an upside down dog food bowl full of rancid food.

2 nights left before my 4 off. There must be some bug going round as the day shift have been calling in sick faster than flies on a wound. Back to the good old problem. 1) l don't feel l am sick enough to call in sick 2) l am self employed not that that makes any difference see 1) and 3) Trying to find emergency night cover is like looking for a werewolf at a vegans convention... it just isn't going to happen.4) And finally nights like to stick it to days to show we are better than they are and need less sick time.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Simons Cat

Sorry l have been a bit MIA lately. I was doing nights and they were very busy so l was a bit brain dead. Then l came off duty with a series of 10 books that the trublood tv series is based on. Have read all 10 in under 3 days. Have to say l loved the books, tv series big rasberry.

As l have been lazy l decided to do the latest Simons Cat that has just come out, have to say l love them they are brilliant.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Hedgehog X-Ray

Have a nice x-ray of a hedgehog. Thought l would share it here. You can see the spines along the side of the hoglet like a halo.

Hoggie came in collapsed, the vet x-rayed to check for anything obvious. Nothing was earth shakingly showing and he made it through his problem and went to wildlife rehab, many don't. They get poisoned, hit by cars and sliced up by strimmers.
Worse case l saw was a hedgehog that had 2 long red stalks with black tops on sticking out of a hollow cavity. We think a tractor pulling a hedge cutter that was working the area had cut the top of his head off and scooped much of his brain out. We all leapt for the pentobarb unable to believe that what we were seeing was still alive. The soggy noises as it tried to breath and the waving stalks that were his eyes confirmed it was.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Nights With a Difference

Well it has been a 4night shift of cases that we normally see in singles coming in in pairs or triples unconnected to each other.

2 cats in needing back legs amputated due to damage from cars, both damage to the right hind and both long haired dark tortoiseshell cats.
1 dog in that needed it’s front leg amputated. Running around in the woods it had somehow ripped the whole lower section of it’s front leg off. Apparently only 1 bit of skin held it on. When l got in the leg was all padded up prior to the op the next day once he was nice and stable. I am told that even the vets and nurses looked ill when they saw the damage, the dog was dark brindle. A doggie version of dark tortoiseshell in cats

3 dogs in attacked by other dogs and a lot of damage done to all of them. One of the dog attack dogs was a stray. Severe bite wounds to her front legs and shoulders. When she was under GA for clip and clean they pulled some scabs off and a fountain of pus erupted.
She was very flat for 2 nights, then at about 5am the third night had an “ok no more malingering” moment and started to eat and try to stand. It took till the end of the 4th night before she could walk without falling over.
Her tail never stopped wagging although we muzzled her to inject her as she was so sore and some of the injections sting, even then all she did was cry.
I had a word with the collection driver and he is going to arrange for her to go to a friend of his with an animal rescue to be rehomed. She is a very sweet dog and l am crossing fingers for her.

2 bitches in unable to urinate and blocked solid with bladder stones. Both needed operations, very unusual for bitches to get blocked.

2 animals brought in by police, made a change normally we have to send the collection van.
1 cat that 3 police brought in the back of their van after 2 cars had hit it [cat]. This cat needs to choose a lottery ticket. Apart from bruising it was unhurt.
The second was a dog whose owner had been arrested for being stupidly drunk and abusive. It was a very sweet dog the copper wanted to adopt it and was upset that it was owned.

2 dogs with ear damage that needed head dressings on. One was one of the dog attack dogs with neck and ear wounds. Usually we only get the odd head dressing animal through.

2 jaw cases one a stray dog. His mouth wouldn’t shut, thinking it was a broken jaw he was given a GA. Nope his teeth were so rotted he couldn’t shut his mouth. All teeth removed and about 8hours post op he tucked into a bowl of sloppy food. If anyone wants to rehome a grey grizzle lurcher about 6 or 7 years old let me know, he is great with other animals. This one will also go to rescue.
The other jaw case a young cat with facial damage including a fractured lower jaw according to the owners they have no carpet and the cat was having a mad half hour, couldn’t stop, slid and smacked into the wall.

1 hard talk with police control and badgered an inspector at "Someplace Police" into giving us a fwin for collection of a dangerous dog, and rspca giving a log to have it put down. The Inspector was reluctant as it was a put down at owners request and not police request but the owner couldn't get the dog to us.
I found out afterwards that the law has changed about a month ago and neither police, rspca or us knew. The collections driver did and told me when he brought the dog in and said we couldn't put it down and why.

Now if a dog bites someone and the police are informed it is not allowed to be put straight down, even at the owners request, the police have to prosecute. And they can not prosecute an owner if the dog is dead. So it goes to special holding kennels until post court case, then it is put down. A wonderful waste of police time and money and added stress for the dog.
So l could have trumped the inspectors reluctance without horse trading damm. At least l know for next time because the will be one, Inspectors are tight with their fwins.

This does not take into account the usual post op recovery cases, heart and kidney failure cases, isolation dogs with diahorea and vomiting, RTA pets, general medical cases, and bunny with gut stasis.
The bunny we had in was evil and although not eating normal food was partial to human fingers which made syringe feeding and giving bolus fluids fun.

Ahh well l have just agreed to another load of nights. I wish l could say l liked days as much as nights but for all my moaning about nights and the lack of sleep it is my favourite because you never know what will come through the door next.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

World Rabies Day '09

September 28th is World Rabies Day Organisations around the world will be aiming to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of rabies prevention on the third annual World Rabies Day on 28 September.

Having had to go through the injections after my brush with a bat in UK behaving strangely that l was handling at work, there is rabies in some bats in the UK, and seen a dog shot back in Rhodesia when l was growing up. The dog was unknown on the tea plantation and so it’s was a risk. I am aware of the risks involved with rabies and they scare me.

What shocked me was the statistics of human deaths over 55000/year. At least 100 of the 150+ death a day are children.
Here are some personal stories of those who have had contact with rabies some died and others survived after post exposure treatment.

The following is from the BVA website.

“While we are used to discussing the risks of rabies to pets, most vets probably know much less about the risks of rabies to humans,” says Zoe Belshaw, a member of the BVA Overseas Group. “World Rabies Day is an ideal time to promote understanding of this devastating but preventable disease.”
It aims to dispel some common misconceptions – such as that a deep bite is necessary for the disease to be contracted. ‘A lick on broken skin or mucous membranes or a scratch from an infected animal is sufficient,’ it points out.

Rabies kills at least 55,000 people each year, half of whom are children under the age of 15. “Rabies is primarily a disease of children, who are particularly at risk from this terrible disease, due to their close contact with dogs, the major global source,” said Dr Deborah Briggs, Executive Director of the Alliance for Rabies Control. “Children are more likely to suffer multiple bites and scratches to the face and head, both of which carry a higher risk of contracting rabies. Children are often unaware of the danger that dogs transmit rabies and may not tell their parents when a bite, lick or scratch has occurred from an infected animal.” Many animals carry rabies not just dogs but it is dogs that people tend to focus on.

The World Rabies Day Alliance for Rabies Control initiative aims to bring together relevant partners in an effort to address rabies prevention and control. “This is a coordinated effort to let the world know that this disease can be readily prevented through education, pet vaccination and increased human awareness of proper wound management and administration of rabies vaccination after an exposure has occurred,” added Dr Briggs.

Very scary just how prevalent rabies is. The sites give info on how to deal with suspected contact and on just how it affects lives daily around the world. If you do not get post exposure treatment, rabies has a single outcome once it has manifested, and to get there is hell.

Remember that your family and friends are often jetting off to affected countries on trips and volunteer programmes, it may just affect you.

The gentleman depicted died from rabies in 1959, soon after the photo (courtesy of US CDC ) was taken.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Governmentium (Gv)

Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science.

The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron,
25 assistant neutrons,
88 deputy neutrons,
and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 4 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.
In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


I spent last week at a lovely practice. They have taken on a rabbit with a problem back leg and named him “Carrots”. The leg wound broke down and so the decision was taken to remove it instead of messing about.

Carrots isn‘t kept in his kennel during the day but has the floor area of small furry’s to walk around in. He has taken to the place like a duck to water. If the main room door is left open by mistake then you suddenly have a rabbit appear round the corner as if he is on a shopping trip, unconcerned about barking dogs or hissing cats.
At night he has to be locked up or he sets the alarm off. Apparently he is not too amused about the locking up idea and throws a foot stamping tantrum when he is shut in.

I was dealing with a rabbit in a bottom kennel in the furry ward. It was at the very back of the kennel so with a lot of groaning as my knees objected to the floor as l bent down. I ended up lying flat out to reach my patient. Carrots suddenly jumped up onto my back and starts walking up and down. I was unable to do anything except threaten him if he used me as his loo. Thankfully he got down but only to stick his head in the kennel then jumped back up and made himself at home until my upright movement as l groaned up warned him l was about to grab him and evict him so he jumped off and went to look for another comfy spot to sit.

About 30mins later l popped in to get something from the room and he was sitting on top of a cat carrier stored in the room and ripping the plastic bags to get to the dill, and other titbits that were on top of them them. Needless to say l was not popular with him when l removed the bags and put them out of reach.

There is a big wrangle going on at the moment as several vet nurses want to adopt Carrots, once the dust settles he will be off to a good new home.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Reast in Peace Wibble

Wibble (left), Santa (middle), Poca (right)

Last night l rang B when l left the cpd. He was worried about Wibble. I got back and she was very mauve and gasping and coughing. I took her to the animal emerg. hosp. where we (me working, Wib's snoozing) spend most of our lives. I was thinking frusamide, pain relief and 02 for a few hours and see how it went.

As l drove into the car park it hit hit me, Wib's sore front leg on Sunday. It was a strange soreness but l figured it was her spondylosis playing up again. It eased up by Monday. The pain was was a thrombus again but a severe one, the clot had moved through and hit hard into her lungs this collapse was irreversible.

I got Wib's onto 02 and rang B l felt awful l had not insisted he came, l told him the outlook. He was staggered he said she was very poorly all day and didn't realise she was so bad but agreed it was fairest and best for her.
A last word with the vet l asked her knowing the reply especially when l told her what l believed. Then l nodded my head at her to start the injection. The staff left us to have our goodbyes.
I wanted to stop the vet and say "no no she will be ok" but l didn't. The same way l didn't when the decision had been taken with the other members of the family that have passed through our lives. What l was doing was my final gift to Wibble that hub and l (and everyone who knew her) loved. To have stopped the vet would have been for me not for Wibble.

Today work was hell and everyone was wonderful.

Last night l needed something positive l pulled my Angel cards out upside down (so l couldn't see them) l was giving them a good shuffle and a card fell out l turned it over and have taken that as my special meaning, Yvonne is one of the Angels.

Wibble is with her Aunties, Santa and Poca and Ginger the cat and all our other animals.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Could You Just.....

The owners were new to the area and booked the dog in for a routine castration. So it was slotted in with the normal set of ops and the day was fully op and consult booked. One vet was off ill on the day but all was planned and doable, just, without the duty vet needing a stress break (hit of double strength coffee and several bars of chocolate)

Alas the best laid plans of mice and men…

On pre-op check it was discovered that the owner of the dog for castration had neglected to mention the dog was cryptorchid. In other words only one testicle was descended. This is a potently dangerous situation for the animal. Testicles are supposed to be outside the body to be kept cool, trapped inside they can mutate into tumours. Sometimes it is a major hunt for the reclusive testi. It may be felt it may not. It may be in the abdomen, or in the groin almost “home” or any point between the 2 areas. It may be tiny and easily confused with other bits of muscle or fat or a fair size. The vet can spend over an hour chasing it down thinking they have found it every few minutes leaving a large area to suture up post find of the errant testicle.

The owner continued with her shopping list. While the patient is asleep, could we just remove both hind dew claws, the dog had badly ripped a hind dew claw a couple of times in the past year, and the nail was growing back in strange shapes. The owner was worried it may happen again, oh and clip all the nails.

The dog had an umbilical hernia. It was tiny, there was no lump, just a small hole that his old vet had once felt, could we just repair it.

Could we just give him a nice deep ear clean, the dog had recurrent ear problems so while he was asleep, a clean would be ideal.

Oh and an identichip would be the icing on the cake, or by now to be precise, the straw that broke the camels back.

Post unavoidable “vet stress break” the hn called a vet to help from one of the practices quieter neighbouring branches. The op’s were started and I landed the above fun job as the hn had the dental to do, she pointed out l hate dental machines.

I placed the identichip as soon as he was asleep. With how much there was to do sods law said something would make us forget it. Yes it was on my anaesthetic op sheet, ops board and consent form but with the way the day was going, l was taking no chances.

The hidden testicle was possibly felt in the groin and after a lot of groping and going a lot deeper than originally thought would be needed the errant article was found. The dog got lucky only 2 abdominal and 1 prepuce wounds, main testicle, hidden one and hernia repair.

Hind dew claws were simple to snip as only skin held them on. All that was needed was a couple of stitches a side and a dressing. I took over the dressings and ear clean as they were at the end of the op and the vet wanted the “powder room” She dragged the hn away from her coffee and gossip. Sorry, “work based discussion” to cover the anaesthetic for me.
The hn and call in vet’s 4 ops of dental, that had potential to turn into a nasty job, had turned into a short scale and polish, and the 3 cat castrates were pretty quick only minutes. She and the call in vet had a nice hot mug of coffee and a chat, making sure we saw them.

His ears were not too bad. I got a bit annoyed looking for the chunk of gunk that l couldn’t clean and realised it was stuck in the otoscope end. As I pulled the scope out the ear l caught the gunk and it pushed to the side so when l looked down in case it was inside the scope nothing was there, pushed back into the ear it pushed the gunk back into view.

Finally done, 2 of us carried him all 50 kg of solid dog back to his kennel. Oh the joys of human nurses that have special hoists. We snuggled him under his blanket and stood up to stretch. As l pushed my hand into my pocket to pull out my packet of smint, my hand slid down though a smelly wet brown mess. It was a gift to me in my pocket from my bloody patient as we carried him back to his kennel and l hadn’t realised. So much for a nice smint. Next time l carry the front end of the patient.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Computers and Chocolate Biscuits

Well l have spent the last 2 weeks at a small practice and we have been wondering if the world, or the town we are in more precisely has gone mad. Every pet in the area seems to have had a need to come in and several times we have had to make appointments with one of the other branches to handle overflow.
Thankfully l was up to speed on the computers as l have been on late’s which end at 19:00 which means once ops and cleaning up is done l am on reception.

Monday l finally have an early finish as l was on mids which was a 9am start.
One of the reception computers was pulled out and looked like a computer version of rip. it had been playing up last week and looks like it finally died over the weekend.
I barely sat down on reception when l had to take the first payment of the day, l was unable to get the cash till open to get change. The computer/till system is meant to work independently so if one dies you do not have this problem, great start to the day. The client said just pop his change (pence only) into the charity box.
I had a word with the head nurse (hn) who was snarling at the back computer while trying to add histories for patients that had been to the emergency vets over the weekend. For payments l suggested we send invoices or ask for cards. She was past caring; l had enough computer problems without caring what was going on with hers.
This left me with a fist full of cash so l shoved it in an empty draw and hoped l would remember which office draw it was, the room is a bit of a tip.
Next minute the vet appears and tells me that her computer won’t print labels; quick test showed no computers would print labels. This meant hand writing labels. Money wise the clients were happy to card it or pop back to pay bills.
A practice rang up and wanted a history for a client that was leaving the area. Guess what won’t print. I read the very short history over the phone and tell them l will send the history at some point in several light years time if any of us survive the day.

The hn stomped through and rang head office told them that the reception computer seemed to have fully died after spending last week crashing all the time, this had caused overall chaos. HO said to ring the computer people they promised they would dial in and fix things. The hn and l did not query how they would do that when one of the computers was turned off at the wall. Life had enough for us to do without caring about some mythical dial in.

Finally the receptionist came in she was on late’s the hn and l fell on her like starving wolves telling of all our woes. The reply was as she knows nothing about computers except what she does what were we telling her for. Miffed and rebuffed the hn and l did what any sensible person would. Ran away down the back and got op’s ready for the vet’s, leaving the receptionist to sort the mess down the front.

Part way through the standard ops of spaying and castration the receptionist came through and said that she had sorted the computers; we must be incompetent as with no knowledge she had them all working.

I pulled the short straw with the dental. I have mentioned before one of the reasons l like nights is we do not have dentals. First get the dental machine working, these are designed by experts who do not use them. The vet cussed her way through tooth extraction, she used to do mixed work (farm animal and small pets). She hated dentals and would always swop a dental with a vet that preferred dentals to farm work and they were both happy.
Anyway the dog had lots of teeth out on both sides and a stitch a gum flap, this was needed to help extract one of the large molars.

At this point the receptionist came through again to dental/prep room. She had coffees and chocolate biscuits. I know l am trying to stop chocolate but l had to have a couple of biscuits as a stress aid. Apparently the vet from one of the other branches that was in charge of the computers was round and sorting things, l never got a chance to ask why? As she said she had fixed them.

Recovering post munch of biscuit and quick coffee hit, l took over again from the vet who was glaring at the dogs mouth, daring anything else to be wrong as she felt her part was finished and keeping an eye on the patient. The vet went to get her recovery aid and write the patient up.

I started to clean the teeth and the tooth scaler died. Water bottle full… check. Machine switched on… check. All knobs seem to be in right place…check. Dental machine kicked hard… check, nothing so look for hn. She is new and not used to the machine so repeats what l did to same effect. Then she had an idea and said hang on there is 2 bottles try and fill the other one. I did and it worked. Now what is the use of having a back up water bottle if both of them have to be full to work but the machine only takes water from one bottle at a time. To the normal mind when one bottle is empty you flick to the other and when that is empty THEN the machine stops. No not this devil you need both full even though one is back up and not in use.

Turn patient over and start to scale that side. “Errrrrmm” clear my throat trying to think how not to make the vet want to run away. Vet looks at my face and you can see her heart sinking, then perk up “Have you done something wrong”.
“Gee thanks for that, no but you need to do something with this canine”. Her face fell. I continued “I can feel a depression in the upper canine under the gum”
She came over and felt it. “No no that is fine no….” and with a deep sigh asked me to go and get M (the other vet) and more experienced at dentals so she can check see if it needs to come out. Although she knows it does, she is hoping it is one of those cases where there may be a lifeline. M comes through and has a feel, no words needed.
Canines are difficult to get out because they have such a deep root. So more gum flap incision and a new trick taught by M to extract canines involving drilling into the base of the tooth, a nice big hole in the gum for more stitching and 2 happy vets and vetnurse.

Patient back in recover and trotting through to get Wib’s so she could go out for a pee break l walked past a strange male scowling at a computer muttering in Irish under his breath. I assumed he was the vet/computer expert. Hope he was enjoying himself because anyone that wants to fix the stupid things must have a screw loose them selves.
He was still in the same position when we came back a few minutes later and l tied Wib’s back up in reception.

Back to clean up kits, theatre and prep/dental areas. Lunch by now a distant memory, not unusual with me, I seem to miss out on lots of breaks. I must start putting my foot down as most people do and insist on taking them. Except l can not be bothered to l just grab what l can when l can, l hate starting again after l have unwound.

At least on late consults we had all the computers working and 2 vets, which was just as well because it was a busy surgery, fit in patients kept coming through the doors. I ran out the door at 17:30 relieved to let someone else play with the computers.

Tuesday l was on early l was there but no one else so l couldn’t get in. 15minutes after hanging around l rang one of the local branches as they are friendly with the staff from my place and go out partying etc so l figured they would have phone numbers, except they were still on answer machine till 08:30. So l had to ring head office asking what was going on was anyone ill. Finally at 8:30 the missing student turned up using rude language about school run and traffic.
We were as busy as Monday but thankfully the computers all worked. And l escaped as afternoon consults were starting.

Only this week there then off to another practice next week. Wonder what surprises life will treat me to there. That is the beauty of locum work. So many new routines, computer systems and staff to learn then rush off onto the next one just as you get the hang of things. I love it.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Head Dressing's

Wibble is very good natured and often used for student practice of various bandaging techniques, much better than a doll. I managed to get some photos of her in "model mode". Bandaging is generally done by nurses vets tends to mess up they are always in a rush.

First fold the ear over the head and pad it, making sure your wound is covered by melolin or whatever dressing you want.

Then apply the first layer make sure it is not to tight especailly under the throat.

Then your next layer anchored nicely round the other ear

Finally your last layer

Now get a pen and write do not cut and a shape of the ear. Ears have been removed by people cutting through what they thought was just bandages.

Check the tightness at every stage so the patient can breath then step back and admire your work... and write in that warning!!!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Tail Base Fracture

Possibly the cat had been jumping off a fence, a fairly simple exercise but somehow the tail had got caught, maybe in a gap in a panel. The downward body weight had fractured the cat’s tail at the base. Being caught with closing doors is another culprit.

This innocuous fracture has cost a lot of cats their lives. There is a nerve that appear in this area, it’s job is to ensure the bladder empties, and knows when to empty. If this is damaged it may take anything from weeks to never to get better.

This fracture means a long hospital stay for the cat as it has to have it’s bladder emptied every few hours. A catheter is not generally placed to empty the bladder as the vets want to see if any feeling is coming back and the cat makes any moves to urinate by it’s self.
The tail hangs down limply and if the cat recovers the tail is amputated so that it does not get caught in anything else. Tails are not repaired if they are fractured just removed.

The cats get very grumpy at having their abdomen squeezed all the time, even if they are sweethearts in between the squeezes. It can take several weeks before the vet is happy for the cat to go home. The cat may or may not be better. Sometimes they are able to take over urinating again, at least with the knowledge that the balloon in their abdomen needs the toilet, often not in litter trays though. If cats are lucky enough to get some feeling back their tails are amputated and they can resume a semblance of normal life.

Often though the urine the cat is passing is from bladder overflow. The owner may take the cat home and take over expressing the cats’ bladder, or come in two or three times a day for the nurse to do it till the owner gets the hang of it. Some people decide that they can do that for the rest of the cat’s life, this is rare.
Even with the owners doing the squeezing it is stressful and places unnatural strains on the cats body, renal failure may start or if it is an outdoor cat the change to indoor cat can be very stressful for them, sometimes the cat will go just downhill the decision is taken that the stress is to much.

The bladder is full and visible in the bottom portion of the x ray it is the large oval shape tipped at a slight upward angle.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

"Operation Revenge" on the Para

It was back in the 80s and l was manifester at Capital City parachuting based at Biggin Hill airfield, the famous WW2 airfield in Kent, our DZ was 9 miles next to Brands Hatch racing.
The Saturday weather at the DZ was not good enough for jumping as cloud was at floor level. The committee of “Operation Revenge” leapt into action.

Pete C was steered into the canteen with the offer of free coffee and snacks by a regular who wanted to ask him some questions about formations. Others stood as watchers so if Pete decided to leave the canteen they could pass word.
When he was out the way students who arrived for the day’s parachute course were grabbed by their necks in friendly embraces, taken to one side and given muttered instructions- "Something strange is going to happen during canopy handling, do not tell anyone keep it quiet, your instructor knows nothing" They looked bemused but followed instructions by keeping silent and walking off like nothing had happened.

The best 2 packers were locked in the packing shed. Certain people walked to their cars to collect plastic bags, they slid to the packing shed trying to look innocent. The 2 guards at the packing shed were leaning across and blocking the door talked innocently about canopies and formations. They glared at the bag holders, checking the contents and making sure the passwords were muttered. The bags were pushed into the packing shed and the suppliers whistled away innocently. No entry of anyone was permitted.

The course instructor went to the loo with severe stomach cramps and all other instructors were unavailable. Pete C an instructor, aka Red Devil aka Member of the Parachute Regiment worked for us part time was asked to run the course. His ego carefully polished when told how excellent he was as an instructor and we were so relieved he would step in and do the course, Pete was turned loose.

Excitement started to build; the packers needed more ammunition so members of the club were hauled by their throats into quiet corners and gave what they could when the nature of their giving was explained. Pete had pulled to many stunts on to many people and it was payback. Finally and just in time the ok was given from the packing shed, the rig looked perfect no one, not even an expert, and Pete C was an expert, could see or feel anything wrong, the bomb started to tick.

The students walked out behind Pete who was in his element. Talking and preening to a group that contained pretty single women. His luck had to be in the way they stared at him like he was a god, if only he realised it was staring at him with eagerness at what was coming which was not what Pete had in mind.

The group went out to begin canopy handling. They learn what a parachute looks like, how it comes out when you leave the plane, how to control it. He glanced at the bigger than usual crowd that had collected on the veranda. He decided that as they were not jumping they obviously had nothing better to do.

Brian the CCI (chief club instructor) ambled over to a group of regulars who seemed to be behaving strangely. Strangely = how a group of regulars and instructors, came to be standing outside in not nice weather, watching a class of students doing canopy handling. As he opened his mouth to ask what was up he was shushed by an instructor and got a kick in the shins (the kick was from me) He tried to glare but another regular told him to shut the *&&^ up. Brian, as is usual for those in charge, was the last to know what was happening. He had been busy so missed the briefings held in the bar some time before. The drama unfolded:

Pete grabbed the rig that a minion handed him. He talked to the class about the rig, showed them all external parts and explained their uses. Next he attached the leg straps to the pegs to keep the rig still.
The observers stopped pretending they were talking and waited, holding their breath……

“As you fall away from the plane the static line will start to pull away from the pack.” He looked at his charges making sure they were following him. They seemed to be.
“Next the top of the para… WTF out came bras, panties, thongs, jockey shorts, petticoats stockings. He stopped dead and stared, his jaw hit the ground, he pulled more in disbelief and underwear and bits of clothing flowed out of the bag. The class and the entire DZ collapsed in a heap, tears rolling down the faces of many.
He just looked up and mouthed … “You Bastards” at his audience in front of the clubhouse but even he had a good chuckle, when he recovered.