7:20 am – Woke up. I rolled out of bed, let the dogs out, got dressed, and trudged down the hall.
7:30 am – I started the day by eating a cup of yogurt and watching the local news. I always check the weather. During the hot days of summer, I always worry about animals getting too hot. Remember to provide shelter and water for your animals. Pets can over heat too!
7:50 am – Arrived at work. Before starting appointments at 8 am, I poured a cup of coffee and checked the schedule and files of patients coming in. I perform physical exams on any patients here for surgery to make sure they are healthy enough for anesthesia. Usually I don’t get to sit and finish my coffee and end up gulping down the last bit when it’s already cold!
8-8:45 – Spayed a cat. The most common surgeries we perform here are castrations and spays. Interestingly, the term neuter refers not just to males but also to spaying a female animal as well. We blogged about neutering pets in an earlier blog post (http://www.myzooanimalhospital.com/ruby-speaks-out-on-neutering-pets).
9:00- about noon – During this time I saw appointments. Today, I gave an 8 week old puppy her first set of vaccinations and started her on heartworm prevention. Puppies can still get infected from heartworms even though they are young, so it’s important to start them on prevention around 8 weeks of age! During this first visit, I also dewormed for common intestinal worms. I also saw a sick 17 yr old cat. We performed blood work on the cat and found out that this cat’s kidneys aren’t functioning as well as they should. This is a really common problem in older cats, and one that can be managed with a special diet and keeping the pet appropriately hydrated. During the afternoon appointments, I also saw a dog with low thyroid, a cat with flea allergies, and a family of 3 healthy cats for routine vaccinations. I also cleaned up a wound on a dog’s paw, and applied a medicated bandage.
12:30 – Lunch. I went home to let out my geriatric greyhound. While our technicians were caring for lodging animals, I headed home to take care of my dogs. I have an old greyhound who depends on a regular bathroom schedule. Gary has written quite a few blog posts about caring for older dogs (Care of the Older Dog , and Avoiding Heat Stroke). During lunch I also checked on my 3 chinchillas who are usually sleeping at that time. They are just so cute when they sleep! My 3 legged chinchilla (Gus) was sleeping with his nub hanging off the ledge today!
1:30 – Closing – During the afternoon, I continued to see appointments. During this afternoon, I performed examinations and gave vaccinations to 3 more dogs and 2 cats. 3 of these animals were overweight so I discussed weight loss plans and took measurements that help me calculate a healthy weight. Overweight pets are more inclined to have arthritis, diabetes, pancreatitis, and other issues. Overweight pets have a shortened life expectancy and a decreased quality of life! Around 3:00pm, I saw a 19 year old cat who no longer was enjoying life. After discussing numerous options, the owners decided that it was time to say goodbye. I performed euthanasia to ease this pet’s suffering and let her rest. As a veterinarian, this is the hardest part of my job, but I know that it’s one of the most important tasks. Guiding a suffering pet to a peaceful rest is the final act of service I can perform to help an animal. I gave the owners a great big hug as they headed out the door. Around 4:00pm we performed x-rays on a patient we diagnosed with cancer a couple of months ago. The lungs were still free of visible metastases! Hooray! I saw a couple more appointments before closing: 2 more puppies, a constipated cat, a limping Yorkie, and a beagle with ear issues.
6:00pm – Around 6:00pm I headed home for the evening. I took my dogs on a walk while I warmed up for a jog. My dogs are old so they don’t like running, but they do enjoy the warm-up walk! Then I met a neighbor and we ran together for 3 miles. We’re preparing for a 5K in July to benefit orphans in Haiti. I watered my flowers, and cleaned up after the run. Last night, my husband cooked a stir-fry dinner that was ready around 9:00pm. After dinner, I get ready for bed and the next day!