March 8, 2013

Mr Perkins

In my 22 years of practice as a veterinarian, all of those 22 years in St Vincent and the Grenadines, I have encountered many amusing things. Some events fade with time and others that would have occurred some 15 to 20 years ago, still seem like yesterday to me.

A few weeks ago, during a conversation with Mary Barnard, the president of the VSPCA (Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), she reminded me that Mr Perkins belonged to her. You see, Mr Perkins was a very unusual pet.{{more}} He was a 400 lb pig. I first came into contact with Mr Perkins when he was a piglet, weighing barely 10 lbs. Mary had brought him into the clinic to be neutered.

Most of us who have reared pigs, or know about pig rearing, would know that when we castrate piglets, it is done by making small incisions on the scrotal sac, isolating the testicles and snapping them out with a swift motion backwards. This is done in a few seconds, without the use of anesthesia. The procedure is different in older pigs.

She explained that he was her new pet and that she would prefer if he did not feel any pain. I looked at her, then back at Mr Perkins, who was looking at me, unblinkingly straight in my eyes, as if to say “hey, doc, what are you going to do to me?”

In my desperate attempt to look professional and to suppress a laugh, I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. I decided that the best way to do it would be to employ the use of general anesthetic, and immediately my brain went into overdrive. It is not every day that I use general anesthetic on a piglet, more so during castration. I decided at the moment that given Mr Perkins size and the short duration of the procedure I would use propoflol, the medication that Michael Jackson overdosed on. I felt proud of myself; a plan of surgery was conceived and ready to execute. Next step was the administering of the anesthesia.

My practice is predominantly a small animal practice; by this I mean that we see mainly dogs and cats. I can find veins to administer intravenous medications on the smallest of these animals, even when they are so dehydrated that the veins are not visible.

The usual vein that I use on the foreleg in dogs and cats is not visible in pigs. I had to instead resort to looking for a vessel that was big enough on the ears of Mr Perkins.

I am sure he suspected that something sinister was about to happen to him, so he decided that he was not going to lose his nuts without a fight. Luckily, I was able to find the blood vessel and administer the anesthetic at the first attempt.

The operation was a success, as well as painless and Mr Perkins returned to his home at Barefoot Yacht Charters.

The next time I saw Mr Perkins, he was about 1 year of age, and about 400 lbs. It was then that I was updated on his exploits.

Mr Perkins was acquired as a piglet and was raised together with two puppies. He nursed from their mother until he was bigger than her.

He loved to swim, and many a times found himself in neighbourhood pools, to the amazement and sometimes disgust of the pool owners.

He was smart enough to recognize the yachts belonging to Barefoot and would often swim out to meet them in the middle of the lagoon and escort them into their moorings.

He was a naughty boy. He enjoyed sneaking up to women who were enjoying our sea and sand, and with one swift and calculated motion would, using his teeth, undo the strap of their bikini top. Imagine their reactions when they looked around to see a 400 pound pig looking at them, with a smirk on his face. Thank heavens he was castrated.

Mr Perkins will definitely be way on top of my list of favourite patients.

For further information, contact:

Dr Collin Boyle Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.

Tel: 456 4981