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Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Day In The Life

Have you ever wanted to know what a vet's typical day is like? That's pretty difficult, as each day is quite different. Today was a pretty crazy one, but let me give you a little insight.

For an experienced vet, it's pretty easy to see 20-25 patients in a day. Today I saw 43. It was busy, but started out with some pretty routine vaccines and well pet exams. However, it kept building up, with lots of pets dropped off for us to see as we had time. There were a few who had some minor problems like diarrhea or itchy skin. A very geriatric golden retriever who was losing weight came in. A hyperthyroid cat needed periodic blood testing to assess whether his medication was working or causing an problems. A young puppy came in with limping that had been going on for a week, so we kept him for a while for sedation and x-rays (turns out that it was a bad sprain and not a fracture). A cat was having vomiting a few times a week after eating. As I worked through those and the drop-offs, I realized that I wasn't going to get to take lunch. I did manage to squeeze in about 15 minutes to scarf down some food. We began the afternoon appointments, and had started to catch up a little bit. That's when the seizuring American bulldog came in. Everything had to stop while I triaged the patient and got him stabilized, placed an intravenous catheter, and collected lab samples to run. A few more relatively well pets, puppies and kittens, came in, and I found a point where I could start calling clients and discuss lab results that we had run earlier. I was able to take a breath, collect my thoughts, and get through the cases. That's when we got the last rush of the day. A cat with dehydration and weakness, that we ended up putting to sleep because of possible renal failure. A dog with an ear infection. Another dog with vomitting and diarrhea. A kitten with some sneezing. A cat's spay incision that had become infected. Finally, an hour after closing, I was done with my last patient, finished my last set of medical notes and was able to start home.

A busier day than normal, but it gives you an idea of the types of things we can see in a day. It's truly unpredictable, and you need to be ready for just about anything.