Run Oskee, Run!

Run Oskee, Run!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Tail End of a Pekin

Going through veterinary school, I (along many of my colleagues and classmates) had a very idealistic view of what our future career would have in store.  We would balance home life and work equally, emergencies would be full of quick fixes and happy endings and you would be fully prepared for every call with no surprises! Well...I can tell you reality is much different. Which leads me to my story of the Jumbo Pekin Duck named Twizzler :)!!

Our on call schedule is a week at a time, and it was my last night on call before handing the torch once again to my colleague. My husband and I were debating over who would give our son a bath when the phone rang. Greenhaven has an answering service that takes our emergency calls when they come in and will then call the appropriate doctor on call. I pick up the phone and the voice on the other end said "Hello, doctor? This is the answering service. We have a client on the phone calling to say her duck is lethargic." Immediately I thought I had heard wrong and repeated "I'm sorry what do they have, A DUCK!?" "Yes, Doctor that is correct, a duck," replied the girl. "oh, ok, well can you patch me through please?"

As the phone was ringing through to the client, I was still thinking I had the wrong animal. Am I really being called for a duck emergency? I didn't know Greenhaven even treated ducks! Sure enough, it was in fact a duck emergency! After talking with the owner, It was clear Twizzler was in distress and the owners would really appreciate it if someone could meet them at the clinic. 

On my way to clinic I was racking my brain for any information I had learned in school about ducks. I couldn't even remember having a lecture on duck medicine! While slightly panicking over what I could and could not give a duck, I called Dr. George for advice which he so graciously gave over the phone. 

On arrival Twizzler seemed pretty alert but she was having difficulty standing and seemed to have some difficulty breathing. After talking with the owners they had giving me a full history. About 2 weeks previous, they had noticed her limping but she seemed ok and they had not seen her lay and egg this week but sometimes she skips weeks. Their ducks are not just run of the mill farm ducks. They have a very nice habitat with a kiddy pool and the owners keep a keen eye on them! On physical exam, I could not feel any broken bones or abscesses but she did appear to be quite warm. I had given her a few medications for pain and we did give some fluids under the skin but nothing appeared to relax her. I suggested we take a radiograph just to make sure she was not egg bound.

Well the picture shows it! A very large, catawampus placed egg trying to come out! The other abnormality seen is the fracture to her left femur, which I think contributed to the egg bound dilemma in the first place. After explaining what was going on to the owner and showing them the x-ray, I needed to get the egg out!

I tried manual extraction, (hopefully this is self explanatory, I really don't want to have to go into details.) with no luck. I gave her calcium and I tried using warm water and fluid bags to help the muscles contract. That didn't work. After spend a considerable amount of time in the tail end of the pekin, I was running out of options and it was clear Twizzler was becoming more and more distressed. I reached out to an exotics friend of mine who suggested anesthetizing her to help her relax to extract the egg. After thanking her for the advice, I once again talked with the owners. I explained the risks of anesthesia and the fact that at this point Twizzler had a guarded prognosis but ultimately we needed to get the egg out. The owners agreed and to the surgery room we went!

Once relax, I once again tried to manually extract the egg. Finally! After just a few tries, my finger touched the lethargy shell. Moving the tissue folds over the egg it was so close! I inserted a needle through the shell as one of the owners gladly helped draw out some of the contents collapsing the shell slightly. Once slightly collapsed the egg was able to be removed!! Finally! Yes!! We did it! The egg is out, What a relief!! We turned off the gas and started to recover Twizzler. Once with it, (or mostly with it), Twizzler almost immediately started acting normally again!. the next 24-48 hours would be crucial but Twizzler seemed to be on the right track.

Being a doctor of veterinary medicine, you career, patients, and situations will never happen in the idealistic way you might have once thought. But I think that is one of the perks of the job! Never did I think I would be called to do an emergency egg extraction on a duck named Twizzler...but I wouldn't have it any other way. Plus, what a great tale (or should I say "tail",) it is to tell!

Thanks again to Dr. George, Dr. Hughes (the exotic vet friend of mine), Kaitlyn and Julie for all of your help. And Thanks to Twizzler for being ever so patient as I worked at your tail end!

Love always!
Doc E

Monday, May 11, 2015

Good Morning/Afternoon

I hope you all are having a good start to your Monday. I know we are busy, busy, busy with appointments this morning!! As the Dr. on call weekend I can say it was fairly slow...but I'm sure I will get my fair share of calls the next time around. That's how it seems to work anyway. One weekend you may be slow and the next time its your turn you may be begging for just 20 minutes to eat dinner with the family. Overall its not bad. The feeling you get when you can send an dog/cat/cow/pig or any other creature home after such a scary event is such a good feeling and make missing dinner worth it!

Lets hope the rest of the week goes smoothly!!

Doc E

Friday, May 8, 2015


Happy Friday!

An adorable black kitty was my first patient today. He was friendly, lovey and had a really unique personality. His Owner's were concerned because he has had a draining wound for quite some time now. He is an indoor/outdoor kitty and right after the accident he seem to be a little more lethargic than normal. After a few days he returned to his normal self but his wound is taking quite a while to heal. When he came in the wound looked like a bite wound and we treated him accordingly.

This is a very common occurrence in our practice. While I do think the wound, itself, is important enough to take care of, I really want to talk about the importance of testing and vaccinating for FeLV and FIV, especially in those kitties around other cats.  Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are two viruses which can be deadly to our furry little feline friends. These viruses can be transmitted through grooming, sharing water bowls and ultimately BITE wounds. If a cat has contracted one of these viruses it can be asymptomatic and clinically indistinguishable for years until they become very ill. Cats most at risk are outdoor or part of multi cat households.

So what do we do...knowing your cats risk factor, testing and vaccinating are the most important tools in prevention and treatment. We recommend testing your cat yearly for FeLV and FIV, and vaccinating for FeLV yearly. (The test we use in our clinic will not only detect FeLV and FIV but also detects feline heartworm disease as well. Stay tuned, we will have a whole other blog post for feline heartworm disease.) The test requires a few drops of blood and we can have results in about 10 minutes. Once negative, your cat can be vaccinated for FeLV. Unfortunately, the vaccine for FIV is not proven to work 100% of the time and is not recommended as a core vaccine through the American Association of Feline practitioners. 

Both of these viruses can have a wide array of symptoms. These viruses weaken your cat's ability to fight off infections and the secondary infections are what usually brings that patient into the hospital. If your kitty does come up positive, it is not completely a death sentence like once thought.  Once a cat shows positive we will just need to manage their health a little differently than a negative kitty. The other important thing to note is that anytime your bring a new cat into your family it is a good idea that they have a negative FeLV/FIV test on file before introducing them to your other kitty's. This can help prevent the spread of these diseases to your already negative cats!

I know I have only briefly gone over the two diseases and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. I hope you were able to learn something!

Thanks again for reading!!!

Doc E!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

About Me

Hello Readers!

So excited to start blogging about the Wonderful profession that is Veterinary Medicine! While things in work and life can get busy (especially with a 1 year old son) I will try to regularly write articles about life as a veterinarian. These posts I hope will allow you to enjoy following the "tail" of life as a mixed practice veterinarian, make you laugh, and maybe even learn a thing or two about the importance of various aspects of veterinary care! I have enjoyed the ups and downs of my journey so far and am excited to start to share the journey with all of you!

Sincerely yours!

Doc E