When a long week is a good week
It’s been a long week, but also a good week. Do you remember that border collie puppy from a previous post? Well, she’s fluffy and spunky and was ready for her booster vaccines. It’s always nice to see them bounce back into happy puppy life! Speaking of, I had another tinier puppy patient who had vomiting, diarrhea and stopped eating. His tiny puppy belly was bloated, so we took an x-ray for peace-of-mind, since I wanted to be sure there wasn’t something stuck, or an obstructive lesion like an intussusception. Fortunately, the x-rays didn’t show a surgical concern. He also bounced back and the puppy is at home with his happy owner. He did test positive for Coccidia, so I prescribed some medication for this. This week as well, I had my largest dog spay ever. She is a lot of dog, over 100 lbs and I wanted a smooth recovery. I have been using trazodone or gabapentin prior to my elective surgical patients coming in as we know that stress can impede healing, and this helps smooth the post-operative period. However, this pup’s mom couldn’t get her to take the pill the morning of surgery. We never like to see the dogs upset after waking up from surgery. I used a little bit of acepromazine, and just as she was getting extubated we added post-operative hydromorphone. She whined a little bit, but there was no flailing of limbs, and she was sternal and relaxed within the hour. Seeing my post-op patients comfortable after their surgery is one of the best feelings. They may not be happy to be away from their families, but we do everything we can to ensure they are not anxious. I have also been trying a few different drug cocktails for my pre-med sedation prior to euthanasia. The word "euthanasia" comes from the Greek -- "eu" meaning "goodly or well" + "thanatos" meaning "death." So, euthanasia is literally the "good death." To me this means that there should be minimal stress and anxiety leading up to the procedure. This is one of the reasons that in-home euthanasia is a wonderful option (see mobile veterinary practices such as Midtown Mobile Vet). When patients come into the clinic, I will sedate them with their owners present, and prior to having them brought to our treatment room for intravenous catheter placement. I do not want them to be struggling when we place the catheter, or towards the end when I am giving them their final injection. These are always more peaceful and easier for owners to handle. It is such an important job as a veterinarian, as it is the last moments that they have with their pet.