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Monday, March 8, 2010

Taking It In The Face

I've already talked about how gross veterinary medicine can be sometimes.  But what I didn't mention is where all of the fluids and other things can end up.  Often, it's right in the face.

Last week I was flushing out a dog's anal glands and had some of the fluid splash back into my face.  A few months ago I was looking at a problem with a dog's rectum and narrowly missed being squirted in the face with explosive diarrhea.  It's pretty routine to have a dog sneeze kennel cough vaccine back on us after we've given it (it's an intranasal spray).  I've had arteries arc towards my face after being cut during surgery.  Frankly, I'm glad that I naturally wear glasses and have some built-in eye protection.  But the worst case I've ever heard of was about 11 years ago with a guy named Earl.

Earl was a veterinary assistant at the practice I started at after graduating from vet school.  He was a laid-back, easy-going guy and a lot of fun to work with.  He had incredible compassion for the animals, and was a very hard worker. 

One day we had a dog come in with a horrible skin infection and maggots crawling over it.  When moist dermatitis happens during warm, humid months, flies may lay eggs on the diseased skin.  When the eggs hatch, the maggots will emerge.  There's nothing quite like seeing a mass of squirming white worm-like creatures wriggling over a dog after you've cut off the mats.  And this dog was pretty severely affected.

Once we did the initial cleaning, Earl took the dog to the kennel to bathe it and wash both the maggots and the dirt off the pet.  He was back there for several minutes when suddenly we heard a loud, horrific scream.  We rushed back there to see what was wrong and found Earl almost wretching into the tub.  Apparently he had the water on too forcefully when he started washing the dog and when it hit the skin the spray rebounded into his face...carrying maggots with it.  To make it worse, when the maggoty spray reached him he happened to have is mouth open.  Yes, he ended up with a mouthful of little maggots.  Frankly, we could all understand his scream.

Just one more escapade in veterinary medicine!


  1. Oh that is a bad one. Grooossss

  2. That reminds me of a similar incident I had at the doggy daycare I work at.

    We have two trash cans in the outdoor play area, miniature ones, that hold the scooped up poop. I was changing the one in the back, which doesn't get used as often. (this was during the summer, so the smell was awful. I'm sure you've smelled horrible things but week old dog poop from multiple dogs in a sticky trash bag is awfuuuul).

    It was quite full and I was pulling up the sides and trying to tie it shut when I kept getting what seemed like water all over my hands; I thought it was pee (dogs pee on stuff all the time there so you're always touching it).

    Then I saw the maggots, and realized I was squeezing maggot juice all over myself.

    The worst part was knowing I was holding a maggoty dog poop trash bag and having to carry it over into the larger trash can.

    Gross. Although maggots in the mouth is worse.

    I've also had dogs throw up on me before, which is always fun. Especially when it's on the only clothes you have to wear there, haha.

    Once I was distributing new mulch in the outdoor area and grabbed a nice hand of poop. :/

    You also tend to get blood on you, because there are times dogs get injured or get into fights.

    And getting pee on you, anywhere, is nothing new, because they will literally pee anywhere, even on places you sit because some dogs are just great jumpers.

    All of this is without gloves of course. :(

    Animal jobs are messy business.

    Also dangerous, too, where I work. It would be really cool if you could make a post about any kinds of dangerous times you've had while working as a vet (unless you already have, although I'm really curious about any issues you run into as a vet).

  3. I've inadvertently flipped ants & ant eggs into my face from mailboxes....eeek (mail carrier)

  4. Icky! I just don't think I could deal with that. Many other things don't bother me, but maggots would.


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