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!!!