Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Marmoset in a Mask

Well Sunday started off quiet but then went a bit silly. I was getting paranoid about reception picking on me! Every time l answered the phone they were putting people onto me for advice on whelping bitches. After 4 of these calls l refused to answer the phone again. I used the excuse l was busy with inpatients. I was but l just ignored the phone and let others answer it. Suddenly a sheet of paper was thrust into my hand with the comment J…(the vet) says you can sort this.

I should have dropped the paper and said no, go see someone else l am to busy, but l glanced at it. “You are kidding me” l asked the receptionist who was grinning at me.
“Nope have fun” she said her revenge complete at my not answering the phone and making her come down to prep, l was hooked and reeled in and she disappeared.
***Advice wanted for marmoset having difficulty giving birth, please ring back.***
I rang the owner and it turned out that the marmoset had been pushing since at least 12 midday. I explained we had to see it as soon as possible.
In dogs and cats we usually say if they have been pushing non stop for 20 to 30minutes we need to see them. I did not hold out much hope for the little marmoset’s baby/s. It had been pushing pretty much non stop for about 7 hours.

A quick peruse on the internet for some info to thrust under the vet’s nose on drugs and doses and a look in the exotics book for more useful on drugs and caesareans in marmosets. While l was checking things out the senior night vet had come on duty. The Jr. vet decided he was clocking off and disappeared into the blizzard that was blowing outside.

The marmoset finally turned up and the vet came through asking me to mask her down. She was impossible to examine otherwise. I decided to have one go at getting her in the induction chamber if it did not work her owner could do her. I did not fancy chasing a marmoset around the room, or getting bitten.
It would have been ok if her bed had not been super glued to the bed box she was in, and l did not realise it. As l pulled it all out with her in the middle the blanket whizzed back downwards, her head popped out and chomped my finger while she used a few choice phases. I just sucked and washed a bleeding finger.

The chomp on my finger meant l proceeded with plan 2. I felt if l did not the bite would turn into a crazy romp trying to catch a marmoset in the op prep area and l was not keen on that. I took her through and asked her owner to pop her into the induction chamber.
Fancy name for a largish Tupperware box with 2 small pipe in. You connect the anaesthetic gas to the one pipe and the other the tube to remove used gas. Little animals drop off for a "snooze" without holding them and stressing and upsetting them more, or getting bitten, risk them escaping etc.
It also doubles in it’s other life as an oxygen “tent” for rats, hamsters, birds and other small animals.

Once she was asleep l grabbed a passing auxiliary and we took Millie, * (*not her real name) into the x-ray room. I had not weighed her as the postal scales were bust, did a guestimate on weight and settings for the x-ray machine. The picture came out really well of 2 babies that were not going anywhere without a caesarian.

Back to prep room. The vet came through to place an ET tube in her to breath through during the operation but he had not operated on a marmoset before and could not visualise her throat layout so she was to stay masked for her operation.

It took some time to get her clipped up and cleaned and placed comfy under her mask with head and body supports to stop her rolling sideways.
The mask had to be supported as l did not want it falling off or damaging the tiny marmoset and it was not self supporting. It was quite a big mask with a tight rubber seal and small hole that Millie’s head fitted in. I also needed to make sure that the auxiliary's hand was not going to cramp as she had to hold the mask upright during the op.
I needed to be free to sort the babies, pass any equipment the vet may need, monitor and adjust the anaesthetic gas, check Millie’s stats as best l could around the vet and his incision. Not easy as my stethoscope head seemed to be bigger than Millie. Ok maybe an exaggeration but it is still large when dealing with a tiny animal having an operation.

It went very well from a technical point of view, a standard caesarian of which we have a lot. Unfortunately the babies were as expected dead. One was flattened, probably from the movement and straining the other l did start to work on but it was quickly apparent that it was also dead.

The vet went a bit cross eyed at the very thin suture material he had to use to “zip Millie up”. Like the ferret the sutures were hidden under the skin so that she can not pick at them, followed by a layer of glue.

Post op I gave the op area a clean, there was another caesarean, this time a dog lined up. The guinea pig that had been due to have a caesarean died on the way into us. That was someone else’s job, home beckoned. When I left for home at 22:00 Millie was back in her kennel and had snuggled deeper into her house. Recovering and confused about what had happened and despite pain relief still sore on her abdomen.

Animals do not equate pregnancy with emotions like people do. They need to sniff, lick, hear, feel and see the young before they realise what is happening. They do not have the same feelings that humans do if they loose them as Millie did. It is not a baby growing inside them just a fat belly.
They also do not get the emotional problems that some women do either if they can not have babies. This is different to phantom pregnancy’s l am talking about attempts to conceive hence spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is not the trauma for animals it can be in women. In fact it stops the phantom pregnancies and (generally) the risk of mammary tumours or pyo’s.
The problems come with animals because people ascribe human feelings to animals instead of looking at what they are and understanding, or trying to understand the species specific animal feelings.

Post Op Recovery Still on Oxygen (blue tube)


JuliaM said...

"The problems come with animals because people ascribe human feelings to animals instead of looking at what they are and understanding, or trying to understand the species specific animal feelings."

Is that more of a problem with exotics (particularly primates)), or just as prevalent with the more normal cats/dogs/rodents, do you think?

Vetnurse said...

It is a major problem with dogs. Cats tend to be to independent and there are not many primates as pets. The other species do not interact the same as dogs and these tend to have the hardest time. That is not to say that they do not have problems just dogs have it the worst.

I did a huge reply but decided to neaten it out and do it into a blog so stand by!.

Sage said...

Poor millie, and her owners but why were they breeding from her (or was it a zoo marmoset).

Vetnurse said...

No she was a pet. As to why l do not know and doubt they would have known what to do if the babies survived and also if they had the male or had borrowed it. The males do a lot of work raising the babies.
I did not go down that path when l met the owner it was long enough to just transfer Millie into the induction "tupperware" box.

No zoo would l hope be so irresponsible to knowingly leave one of their animals in labour for at least 7hrs without intervention.