Most people go about their day-to-day life not fully aware of the incredible stress and feats emergency doctors go through and overcome each day. Just like medical doctors, emergency vets work in a fast-paced environment, where they save and treat animals every day. If your dog comes down with a sudden illness or is involved in a serious accident, it is emergency veterinarians who will be there to care for your dog. But what does a day in the life of an emergency vet look like? Read on to see what’s expected of them each day and find out about some of the main ways they help care for dogs.
What Does A Shift Look Like?
Forget 9 to 5, many veterinary hospitals are open 24 hours a day, as disaster can strike day or night. Your emergency vet may start their 12 or 14-hour shift at 8 pm. The beginning of a shift usually entails the transfer of animals from other veterinary hospitals that close for the night, who still need caring for.
Once through the door, emergency vets are ready to greet anything that can walk, hobble, or be carried in--from infections gone bad and a dog that has tried to leap through a barbed wire fence to a dog that has been involved in a traffic accident. Whatever the problem, the vet will have to react quickly and make the most of the information and resources they have.
While you hope most dogs that come through the doors will walk back out through them a short time after, some are not so lucky. This leads to the downside of the job: having to inform owners when things don't go as planned. Every shift is different as an emergency vet, but the aim is always the same; save, rescue and treat as many injured animals as possible.
Anything and Everything
How specifically does an emergency vet care for injured dogs then? Kirk & Bistner's Handbook of Veterinary Procedures and Emergency Treatment provides a pretty good insight into their day-to-day life. While they regularly conduct serious operations, a lot of the time, simple problems require their well-trained touch.
Dogs frequently swallow large and unusual objects that sometimes make it to the stomach, but often get lodged in the throat. It is the emergency vet who will X-ray your dog, possibly use a stethoscope, and then carefully remove the object.
But the most popular problem encountered by emergency vets is diarrhea and vomiting. The vet may need to intravenously administer water, electrolytes, and nutrients to prevent dehydration and help with the recovery process. No matter how minor or obscure, an emergency vet will always be there to try and remedy the problem!
Emergency Procedures and Operations
It wholly depends on the case, but vets often have to undertake serious procedures to relieve pain and combat illnesses.
Serious cases can require invasive treatment. A dog may have been in a traffic accident and be suffering with an abdominal hemorrhage and a ruptured spleen. After X-rays have identified all the problems, an operation could be quickly required to remove the spleen. A blood transfusion could also be needed and the dog will need monitoring for the rest of the shift.
So emergency vets can give your dog serious operations, under tough time constraints and battling considerable odds!
The ER Veterinarian Conclusion
While emergency vets don’t receive the glory and status our human doctors do, they save dogs and other animals every day of the week. They work long shifts, caring for your dog in a number of ways. They dislodge objects, they X-ray, they hydrate and administer nutrients to seriously sick dogs. If your dog is ever in serious immediate danger, an ER vet will likely be the one to conduct a life-saving operation!