A Day in the Life of the ER

Keller and Beth 1What’s it like to work in an emergency veterinary clinic?  Periods of boredom followed by periods of fast-paced action!  It truly can be a rollercoaster.  In one day in our emergency room, we saw a multitude of cases.  Here are a few highlights:

  • a dog experiencing vomiting, lethargy, a fever. He was diagnosed with kidney disease and is at home while we await test results to rule out other causes.
  • a dog requiring repeat blood work following a bout of jaundice and diagnosis of IMHA (immune-mediated hemolytic anemia). His lab work shows continued improvement as his body starts producing more red blood cells.
  • an active adolescent dog who cut her paw open on something in the yard. She was sewn up and sent home on antibiotics and an “E” collar to keep her from licking her wound.
  • an elderly dog with cancer whose owner sought humane euthanasia to end her suffering from cancer spread throughout her abdomen.
  • an old lab with a bleeding belly who had grown more lethargic as she became more anemic. Her owners opted for humane euthanasia to alleviate her suffering.
  • a young cat who lost a fight to a dog.  After surgery to fix his broken jaw and patch up his other wounds, he spent the night with supportive care and pain medication.
  • a puppy who was vomiting, suspected of eating something that was blocking his intestinal tract. X-rays proved he was not obstructed, but when he tested positive for parvo, he ended up in our isolation ward while he was treated for vomiting and diarrhea.

So much variety throughout the day, and our experienced emergency team is ready for all of it.  Not every case has a happy ending, but we strive to provide accurate and thorough information to aid owners in making critical decisions for their pets.

The clinic has a steady stream of visitors, too.  Some drop by to see what this new clinic is all about, and if they can bring their pets here for vaccines (we refer back to family veterinarians for wellness care).  Others come to spend time with their hospitalized pets as they recover.  Someone from a vet’s office may drop off some radiographs for Dr. Lowry or Dr. Van Camp to read.  There are plenty of phone calls, too.  Worried owners ask a variety of questions – I think my dog ate some gum, what should I do?  (If you can find the wrapper, we can figure out if it contains toxic xylitol.)  My cat isn’t acting right.  She’s just yowling in pain and drooling and she can’t jump up on her perch.  (This sounds serious.  Definitely bring her right in.)

When it isn’t so busy, we take the time to call back and see how patients are doing once they’ve left the hospital.  We like to check back after a few days, a week, maybe a month or longer, too.  We check back with referring veterinarians as well, to be sure all is well.  Just because a patient leaves our hospital, it doesn’t mean our care ends.  It’s always a great day when a pet who has recovered from an ailment visits to let us see them in good health!  ~ Jane, August 2014

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