The best (and worst) parts of my job

Welcome back to the second week of Small Animal General Surgery!

I brought my pup in to school today with me to check her progesterone so that we know when it’s time to breed her. I got to school at about 7:30 this morning and ran to get my pup’s blood drawn, dropped off, and get her set up in a kennel before the day began. I was scheduled to do a neuter and a scrotal ablation on one of our in-patients, a Good Samaritan rescue dog named Pier. He’s a young (1-3 year old) male lab, who was brought in with burns covering the majority of his body. They are hard to look at, but here are his initial photos on arrival to the hospital:

Face, Day 1

Back, Day 1

When he was initially examined, the clinicians were unsure if he was going to live. They said that if he did live, it was very likely he would lose one or both eyes and possibly his ears due to the extensive nature of his burns. The initial estimates for his medical care were around $20,000. Here’s how he looked after the initial exam and once his burns were cleaned and the eschars removed:

Pier, cleaned

Pier, cleaned

Terrible. I can’t even believe what kind of monsters did this to him. Through good medicine and attentive care (and the donations of many, many kind-hearted animal lovers), he has retained both eyes and ears, and has healed almost entirely. He has large shiny scars over the majority of his body, and one large burn is still healing on his back, but he is generally healthy. Here’s how he looks today :)

Pier :)

Still has a long way to go, but obviously he’s doing much better. Dogs are amazingly forgiving creatures.

Today I was assigned Pier to neuter and perform a scrotal ablation. Many older dogs who are neutered (and all Bassett Hounds, according to our clinician) wind up with what we call a “change purse” after being neutered. Once the testicles are removed, the empty scrotum just kind of flaps there in the breeze for the rest of their life. It’s not a problem in young dogs because they have a less well-developed scrotum and their scrotal skin contracts over time post-op. In older dogs though, it can be quite unsightly, so a lot of owners will choose to have a scrotal ablation performed at the same time as the neuter. Basically the scrotum is excised in an elliptical incision so that all the scrotal tissue is removed and their normal skin is closed over the place where their scrotum and testicles used to be. This usually results in a very cosmetic outcome, almost like the testicles and scrotum were never there (it’s like magic! haha).

Due to Pier’s burns, which extended over his scrotum, we were concerned that his skin would be unable to contract down appropriately after surgery and yield a cosmetic outcome. We spoke with his rescue organization, and they agreed to have the scrotal ablation performed in addition to his neuter. My classmates and I prepped him for surgery and got down to business. Everything went smoothly, although it did take me a while because I’ve never performed this procedure before. The outcome was fairly cosmetic, and I think whoever adopts him will be happy with how it looks.

After Pier woke up and was settled back in his kennel in ICU, I headed to the back kennels to grab my pup. On the way I passed a ward that was full of these adorable faces and I almost died from cuteness overload :D

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I couldn’t get them to hold still for a photo, they were so excited!

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And there was a group of even tinier ones in the next ward over.

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This one was definitely my fave, look at this little squishy face!

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I thought we could all use some adorable happy puppy photos after the sad Pier story. Who doesn’t love a cute puppy?

When I got home I was able to get out and ride both ponies before coming back in to chill and hang with my pup for the evening. My old man even stepped it up and managed to do quite a few second and third level movements tonight! That’s a blast from the past! We busted out with some counter-canter, shoulder-in, travers, half-pass, flying changes and the intro to a canter pirouette! I was very proud of the old guy :)

I’ve also managed to get a teeny bit sunburned after being out with the horses the past two afternoons… can’t wait to get my natural tan back this spring/summer. I’ve been soooo pasty this winter and I don’t believe in fake tanning (it’s terrible for you). If I acquire a natural tan beneath my sunblock I guess it can’t be helped ;)

Okay! Must go watch the Biggest Loser Finale tonight! Who’s with me???

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