October 26, 2012
Pets could be our best friends, but …

Pets are wonderful to have around. They add value to out lives, but lots of them could hurt us quite badly, especially us veterinarians.

Even their owners have to take adequate precautions not to be hurt sometimes.{{more}}

Let’s look at some of the most common pets, one at a time.

Dogs:Most of the time your dog will be your friend and faithful servant. They will provide companionship, protection, listen to you rant and rave, when no one else would. They would be your eyes and ears, even predict when you would have a seizure attack. But there are some instances when we see another dark side of our pooches.

Once I had a cocker spaniel that was the most adorable pet one could imagine. He was fabulous at hunting lizards and even rats. He was a loving and very intelligent little doggy.

One day his paws got caught in some wire and his howling alerted me. I rushed to his aid and was in the process of untangling his paws when, without warning, he bit my hand and held on to it. Now, I was the one howling in pain.

And for those of you who ever had a dog bite, you know how much it hurts.

For a small dog, the pressure exerted by those jaws was tremendous. My first instinct was to get my hands out of his jaws and leave him there to untangle his paws the best way he could. But then I realized that he wasn’t even aware of what he had done. It was just a reflex to the excruciating pain he was feeling. I eventually had to muzzle him in order to untangle his paws. This, in hindsight, I should have done in the first place.

I had a model Rottweiler patient once who was always eager and excited when he came into my clinic; he was even very accommodating when receiving injections. He would even jump up on the examination examination table, after it was lowered.

I always looked forward to seeing him, as he was always quite excited to see me. One day he came in with a bone stuck in his mouth. As usual, I lowered the table for him. He jumped up and because of the pain in his mouth and I guess, because of the size of the bone stuck in his mouth, it remained half opened. It gave the appearance of him opening his mouth for me to examine it.

Generally, for patients his size, I would utilize adequate restraint or appropriate anesthesia to examine them, but I considered him to be my friend, who never even complained when I gave him injections. It appeared to be a clear cut case where a bone was stuck in his gums and teeth.

I gently took his muzzle in my hands and attempted to have a better look by carefully prising his jaws open. I guess that because of the way the bone was stuck, any attempt to open his mouth caused him a great deal of pain. With absolutely no warning whatsoever, his giant jaws clamped down on my palm with what felt like hundreds of pounds of crushing force.

Before I realized what was happening, his canine teeth had punctured the center of my palm virtually through and through. My palm was effectively crucified. The pain was excruciating, but I couldn’t blame the patient, as he was reacting in the only way he knew how, by referring to his most primordial instinct, “ biting”.

How could I blame him for what had happened? I couldn’t.

Reminds me of a news item I saw on a network channel some time ago, where a veterinarian lost his licence when he was caught on tape hurling a Chihuahua against the wall of his surgery, after being bitten by the dog while performing a procedure.

These incidents just reinforce the fact that, though dogs are our best friends, we need to take all precautions necessary while handling them, especially when they are in pain.To be continued next week.

● For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle Unique
Animal Care Co. Ltd. Tel:456 4981