February 17, 2012
Some of the strangest things you hear and do as a Veterinarian

1. There are the malformations in new borns. These malformations occur during the formation of the body structures, whereby some of the body parts could be partially or completely absent or show alterations in their natural configuration.{{more}}

Some of the malformations could be genetic or environmental. The genetic causes would include inbreeding, while the environmental causes would include Infectious agents, radiation, chemical agents like certain medications, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies etc.

Some of us have heard comments like, they are signs of the end of time. I don’t subscribe to this line of thought, as congenital abnormalities have been documented from the very inception of medical sciences, and the earth is still rolling along merrily. One of the most common comments I hear is that the new born is half animal and half man, implying that someone sexually interfered with the mother. This is also a fallacy as it is not biologically possible for a human’s sperm to fertilize the egg of another species. Just as it is impossible for a dog to have babies with a cat or a horse, or a cow with a goat etc.

2. Once a client came into the Clinic with a dog that had a very enlarged abdomen. He told me that the patient was pregnant for the last 5 months. That I found to be interesting, as the gestation period for dogs is 58 to 63 days. On further examination, I found that the animal had a massive growth in the abdomen. I recommended surgery and found that the entire liver was cancerous and had filled up most of the abdominal cavity, hence the appearance of the animal being pregnant. I still have that liver preserved in Formaldehide.

3. On my first trip to Mustique many years ago, a very wealthy client with two Cavalier King Charles spaniels asked me to give the boys (dogs), as they were always refered to, never dogs, a check up for him. They were both about 10 years old.

I went through the routine physical exam, which includes listening to the heart. I am sure that he saw the expression on my face while listening to their hearts. Both animals were suffering from severe heart failure. Some of the worst heart sounds I have ever listened to. I put up my stethoscope, looked him in the eyes, expecting to hear him explode in disbelief and said: “Sir, I am surprised that these animals are even alive, I have never heard such bad hearts before”. He looked at me and smiled, then brought out their medical files for the first time. They contained records from some of the world’s leading veterinary cardiologists. My diagnosis concurred with theirs. Needless to say that I was retained as their veterinarian for the rest of their lives, which I am happy to say was quite a few years after that encounter.

4. Livestock farmers in SVG are some of the most resilient people I have ever met. No wonder most of them live very long and productive lives. I was once called out to see a cow that was in labour.

I met the farmer on a country road, parked my vehicle, got out my kit and asked him to lead the way to the patient. The farmer was about eighty something years old and I was then about 33.

After about 45 minutes of laboring over what I consider to be huge mountains and deep valleys, and lagging behind by about 50 feet, with legs so tired that I could barely walk, even though he was carring my kit, the farmer by then had gotten to the top of the mountain (Hill) and was calmly waiting on me. My clothes were soaked with perspiration, while the farmer hardly broke a sweat. He pointed at the bottom of the valley, about 1/2 a mile down and said, there she is. I eventually clambered down to the patient, did a cesarean section, delivered a healthy bouncing calf and returned to my vehicle only by what I think was the grace of God. We said our goodbyes as the farmer calmly made an about turn saying that he was going back to ensure that the cow and calf were okay. I stared at him, in awe, at the thought of him retracing his steps.