Translate This Blog

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Humor Of Abscesses

Vets can be a pretty strange group of people. This week I was mentoring a doctor new to our practice, and showing her around. One of my last cases of the day was a cat who had a nasty open wound that the owner had just noticed. When I was done with the exam and was working up the estimate for fixing it, the new doctor and I were talking about it. The conversation went something like this...

Me: Just saw a cat abscess. Looks nasty, but the cat is in really good shape and is purring.
New Doc: Was it a bite wound?
Me: Looks like it. [and I proceed to give her the history] It had already opened and the owner noticed the hole.
New Doc: Did you get anything out?
Me: Nah, already opened and drained. Too bad.
New Doc: Yeah.
Me: I haven't seen a good messy cat bite abscess in a long time.
New Doc: Oh, I know what you mean! There's nothing as satisfying as popping one of those open and seeing all of the pus pour out.
Me: Tell me about it. It's so great when you get a big, messy one and lance it and see that spurt of goo!
[both of us chuckle as we remember cases like this]

What kind of people get a kick out of pus and infection??? Vets. We're pretty strange, and enjoy a rather strange, twisted sense of humor. A few weeks ago I got all giddy and excited when I diagnosed a hamster with a type of mite that I had only heard of and never seen. We'll make fun of really ugly or silly-looking animals. Just about any type of disease or injury can be a potential source of humor for us.

We're not the only ones. I've had friends and acquaintances in just about every health-related field: paramedics, physicians, nurses, dental hygenists, etc. All of them tend to have a rather twisted and often gallows humor. I think that it's primarily a coping mechanism, as people in these fields are often faced with pretty disgusting or dismal cases. If we couldn't laugh about these situations, we might just go crazy.

It takes a pretty special person with a certain kind of odd personality to truly thrive in a medical field. A large part of that is being able to laugh. We just laugh at some pretty strange things.


  1. I totally love a good abscess. Cuterebra are another favorite of mine. I always use a good abscess to "desensitize" new staff members! I got to remove 9 rocks from a lab stomach today-so fun!

  2. You know you are a vet when you lance an abscess and wish for a ritz cracker.....

  3. My non-vet friends look at me very oddly when I say things like this! For some reason it's not a topic of conversation they enjoy over a nice meal...
    Fi - that is utterly hilarious!!

  4. Thankfully my wife has gotten used to me talking about these things, though she still can't stand seeing them.


Thank you for making a comment on my blog! Please be aware that due to spammers putting links in their comments I moderate every comment. ANY COMMENTS WITH AN EXTERNAL LINK NOT RELATED TO THE TOPIC WILL LIKELY BE DELETED AND MARKED AS SPAM. If you are someone who is posting links to increase the traffic to another website, save me and you the time and hassle and simply don't comment. To everyone else.....comment away! I really do enjoy hearing from readers!