Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reflection Part 4 {Most Memorable Patients}

Reflection Part 4--Most Memorable Patients

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Last time I shared Part 3 of the Reflections series (read part 1 and part 2 here) which ended with a photo of the young Bengal tiger I was fortunate enough to work with during my time at UF. He was certainly one of my most memorable cases for just being what he was. How many people get to work with tigers? I consider myself truly lucky to have had so many amazing experiences. I'd like to share a few more from University of FL Vet School:

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There was the pet cougar(I do not recommend keeping wild animals as pets!!) who stayed in ICU overnight. She was under a constant sedative IV drip for pain and to keep her from eating us. Apparently she was someone's pet and actually slept in bed with the owner. Due to the fact that she was a cougar she stayed under sedation and closely monitored for her safety (and ours). The coolest thing about working with the big cats (even though this one was sedated and the tiger was essentially a baby and used to human interaction) is that they are exactly like house cats.

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They are playful, vindictive, sweet, true hunters, and you really want to stay on their good side! The tongues of tiger and cougar felt just like one from a house cat. They are beautiful and dangerous animals. The slightly frightening part of this case was that the wildlife department at the university came in to transfer her to us and update us on her case also brought a dart gun that we were to use in case the cougar awoke unexpectedly. They explained how to use it, locked the syringe/darts in our controlled substance machine, and left us for the night. It went perfectly--what a cool experience!

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I briefly assisted cleaning and medicating a great horned owl's wing injury. I applied the medication as the student gently restrained the owl. A deer was brought in by two young men after they saw her injured on the side of the road. They dropped her off with wildlife emergency and went back to look for her fawn while we examined her. Wildlife department requested help from ICU and I got to go down there to help sedate the doe and place an IV catheter.

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We had a wallaby hospitalized in ICU for a few days. That was really interesting as they were using canine plasma and several other infusions. He was pretty sick initially but when he was more aware he was just very shy. We had to do blood work on him frequently and monitor his vitals. He had surgery so we were trying to keep his temperature up which is why he is covered up with blankets and a warm air heater. 

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Finally one of the most touching cases was a middle aged couple who were traveling through Florida  saw a large young dog get hit by two different cars (who didn't bother to stop). They stopped and were able to carefully lift him and carry him to their car. He ended up at UF on emergency and have fractured pelvis as well as a few other fractures in addition to head trauma. He needed thousands of dollars in surgery and care. The couple had fallen in love with the sweet pup and decided to pay for his treatment AND adopt him. Such a great ending to a sad beginning! 

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It's cases like this one that makes my job so worth all the sad and frustrating times. 

On another note: we got back from Denver, CO last week and had SUCH an amazing time! I definitely want to go back (I'd love to move there!!) to visit--it was amazing to see all my close friends. <3 Next post I will share our trip to Colorado :)

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