Over my years as a Veterinary Nurse working in both large and small animal practices I was lucky enough to see a great range of interesting cases. I thought I might share with you a couple of my favourite vet nursing experiences.
The one that stands out in my mind as the best experience was when I got to assist with a caesarian on a cow. This was something that I was not expecting to do on a normal day at work, but that was the best thing about working in a vet clinic; you never knew what would happen next. I was called out to a dairy farm by a vet to deliver an extra surgery kit and some medications, I never expected that I would be helping with a caesarian. So there I was changing into a pair of vet overalls on the side of the road not knowing what I was in for.
Doing a cesarean on a cow was different to any other cesarean I had seen. The cow was standing up in the crush, sedated, while the vet cut down the side of her stomach to reach the uterus. See, to get to the uterus the stomach had to be moved out of the way and thats what I did, stood there and held the stomach that had been pulled out the side of the cow and just made sure I didn’t drop it. After the vet reached the uterus the calf was pulled out but it was unfortunately stillborn. The vet then stitched the cow back up and prescribed a course of antibiotics and pain relief medications. Throughout the whole process it really amazed me how the cow was able to stand and have this done as she was quite heavily sedated and only a few nerve blocks were in place. This was really one of the most amazing, exciting and nerve racking things I have ever done. Thankfully I have a strong stomach as it was a bit disgusting I guess, standing there and holding a cows stomach and I really needed a good shower afterwards as I was soaked to my underwear from the blood, but it was so awesome that I wish I could have done it again.
My other favourite experience was another caesarian, but this time on a dog. I received a phone call at 10pm one night from the vet asking if I could come and assist with a caesarian on a Pug, so needless to say, I was out the door in a flash. The birth of any animal is really exciting but pulling these little tiny puppies out was something special for me as it was my first dog caesarian. One by one we removed the puppies and as they came out they needed a really good rub down to stimulate their breathing. One of the puppy’s weren’t breathing despite our best efforts rubbing him, so the vet gave the tiny little puppy mouth to mouth. It was so amazing watching the vet breathe life into this pup and it is something I will never forget. That night we delivered seven pug puppies and all of them survived.
Another great thing about working in a vet clinic is that we would often get wildlife bought in for the vets to check over. I loved seeing all the different animals come through, treating them and passing them onto a wildlife carer so that they can hopefully be released one day. However, the day one of our vets came into the clinic with a red-bellied black snake was a day I wished I wasn’t there. I am pretty scared of snakes. If I see them I usually run as fast as I can in the other direction. I don’t wish them any harm but I just dont want to see them. But the vet had found this red-bellied black snake with his head stuck in a coke can, so it was unable to bite but still alive. So the vet put the snake in the freezer, to slow it down a bit and then put it on the surgery table and cut the can off. I am not quite sure how he managed to remove the can without getting bitten, as I was standing on the other side of the closed surgery door. Once the can was removed the vet put the snake in a bag and took it back to where he found it to release it. I still find it really touching that the vet took the time to save the snake as a lot of people wouldn’t bother. But that is what makes a good vet, a compassionate person that cares for all animals great and small.
I really believe that vet nursing or any job where you are with animals can be something very special and rewarding. I know that these animals that come to us need help or need us to care for them but I think what we gain by helping them is far more beneficial to us.
I would love to hear some of your favourite animal stories, so please share by making a comment below.
Until next time,