Sept 13, 2020 – The Veterinary Emergency Room

On many Sundays, I work a 10-12 hour shift at the vet ER. It’s a place that sees emergency patients from a 60 mile radius.

I do it because I love my job. I love helping both people and pets. I love my veterinary nurses and assistants. They are amazing at what they do. They love and care for hospital patients like they would their own pets.

We see so many sick, injured, and dying pets. It can be overwhelming. Many times owners are stressed and upset and frustrated about not having adequate funds to pay for care.

It gets disheartening for us in the veterinary world. We are simply providing services. We can’t control costs. Medicine, x-ray machines, bloodwork machines, oxygen cages, surgery supplies, ultrasounds, and buildings are expensive.

We need to pay bills just like everyone else. We can’t do what we do for free. If we don’t make a paycheck, and we can’t pay our staff well, then you won’t have an emergency clinic to go to when your pet is sick.

Here are just a sampling of the animals we saw on my shift:

A young cat with a bladder infection and diabetes. He needed hourly blood sugar checks, insulin regulation, and IV fluids.

Bladder infection urine

A 16 yr old dog taking her last breaths, beginning to seizure. We were able to give her a peaceful passing with her owner present.

Taking a blood pressure reading on a dog

A cat with a back injury. I was able to provide some pain relief with animal chiropractic adjustments, steroids, and a referral for acupuncture and rehabilitation.

Feline heart, lungs, spine.

A dog who was hit by debris from a lawnmower. He needed sedation, cleaning of the wound, stitches, a bandage, antibiotics, and pain medication.

A dog birthday party

A little chihuahua that was bitten by a snake. We ran bloodwork to see if the dog was in danger of envenomation.

Another little chihuahua with a squinting eye. We checked for corneal scratches and glaucoma. We were able to medicate and send him home much more comfortable.

An ophthalmoscope, corneal stain, and numbing eye drops.

There were many, many more. Hit by cars, lameness, broken bones, vomiting, diarrhea, pain, cancer, euthanasias.

It’s exhausting. Please be kind. When you have to wait, please understand it’s because there is something more life threatening ahead of you.

Realize that the people working the ER have no control over prices. Medicine and surgery and salaries are expensive. We are simply doing our best to be helpful during your crisis.

At midnight I’m sitting at a train track waiting for the train to pass so I can get home. I left home at 10 am. I will return home at nearly 1 am. Other vets and nurses will stay all night to monitor and treat critical care patients. Remember to be thankful that they are there when you need them.

Smile.

Be kind.

Say thank you.

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