Vet Tails Excerpt

Vet Tails Excerpt – To read more about my adventures, read Vet Tails available as a book or e-book from
In addition to juggling difficult cases, animals and humans, we also have to juggle a number of different cases ensuring that all animals under our care are looked after to the highest possible standard. Some days when we have a number of unexpected emergencies this can be challenging. One night we were nearly finished consulting for the evening when an owner rushed in with her precious Labrador, Blondie.

In true Labrador style she had broken into the pantry to find her food and eaten the entire bag which was the equivalent of ten meals! Her abdomen was very distended and on x-ray we saw the biggest stomach we’d ever seen filled with dog food and squashing her liver, spleen and kidneys. Once these dry dog foods begin to digest they expand and with so much food in her stomach it was a potential risk that her stomach may rupture if we made her vomit and leaving her to try and digest all that food could present a number of complications as well.

We put her Blondie under anaesthetic and flushed her stomach out which was laborious and long. While I was busy at the back completing this procedure poor Beth our other vet was left to hold the fort in front and face consultation after consultation after consultation on this busy night admitting another two animals into hospital both needing drips. Just as I’d finished off with Blondie and we finally had a gap for the two of us to put the drips on her admitted animals, who walks in, none other than Irene.

Most vet practices serve a character like Irene who is unique in her very own way and inevitably owns a hoard of cats. Irene was a fairly stout, middle-aged lady owning at least twenty cats. She would typically bring them in for us to examine without an appointment, six at a time, ten minutes before closing with her husband Charlie in tow who very rarely had too much to say, probably because he couldn’t fit a word in anywhere! Irene would bark out orders at meek Charlie and was incredibly long-winded, tending not to listen to much of what we would say. On the rare occasion where she had only one cat for us to examine, she would bring it in on her bicycle, an amusing spectacle!

Irene had taken a special liking to poor Beth and she was the vet of choice for Irene to see much to the great relief of myself and our colleagues! So Beth had to go out and attend to Irene’s six cats while the nurse helped me to place drips. What a night!

Blondie recovered very well but exactly one week later we got a call from her owner, unbelievably she’d done it again, the glutton had broken into the pantry and eaten the remainder of her dog food! She was admitted and the procedure of flushing out her stomach was repeated! Blondie was such a delightful dog with her waggy tail and zest for life, despite her antics and the laborious procedure to help her we couldn’t help but love working with her!

Most animals are like this, each a character in their own way and lovely to work with as was the case of a divine little kitten. One day Heather did a consultation for a kitten that a lady had just found. On examination she identified a very severe heart murmur and advised the owner that the kitten may not survive for very long. Instead of getting attached to it the owner elected to put it to sleep. The kitten was really cute, a polydactyl with an extra toe on each of his front feet, fluffy black and white male.

Heather decided to keep him as she was highly suspicious of a heart problem called a patent ductus arteriosus (a blood vessel which is supposed to close at birth which makes blood bypass the lungs in the foetus but it’s still open in and doesn’t allow blood to be pumped out of the heart properly which causes the heart to enlarge and not enough blood gets around the body eventually causing death) and wanted to try and do surgery to fix his heart when he was the right age. He became known as “Lucky Boy” and found a special place in all of our hearts as a snuggly little playful kitten.

After much preparation and planning when he was four months old the day had finally arrived to put him under anaesthetic, achieve a successful outcome with surgery or he would likely die on the table. Poor Heather now was under a lot of pressure as if Lucky didn’t pull through we would have all needed bereavement leave!

Lucky survived the anaesthetic but unfortunately his heart couldn’t be fixed, we believe that he must have had a hole inside his heart, different to what we had expected, causing blood flow to be shunted around in the wrong direction and he probably wouldn’t live for very long. Sally, our receptionist, decided to adopt him to join her feline family of another three very spoiled cats and give him a wonderful life for as long as he had!

Being wrong can sometimes be fantastic in this line of work as was the case when Lucky grew up into a fit and feisty handsome cat full of personality. The time came to have him neutered and Rose our boss did the deed under the close supervision of all of Lucky’s fans – he recovered perfectly. That night at home Sally reported that he lay on the floor and lifted his leg to have a lick of his back end as cats do (they say “because they can”) but then looked up at her as if to say, “Huh? Where have they gone, I’m sure they were there before?”!

Lucky lived up to his name surviving two surgeries and then going on to live a good life after he was diagnosed with a severe heart condition and nearly faced being put to sleep until Heather stepped in to his rescue. We had another patient called Lucky though; he was a little fox terrier, who unfortunately didn’t really live up to his name. He started off early in life getting mauled by dogs and losing his left eye. Not long after that he was hit by a car and we ended up having to amputate his leg. Despite all of this trauma, he was still a friendly and happy fellow, wagging his tail as we would give him a pat, perhaps if he wasn’t named Lucky, he wouldn’t have been alive at all!