Friday the 13th, full moon not that frightful at clinic
Sept. 13 was two days after 9/11. It was Friday the 13th. We are not superstitious and tried not to think about it.
According to Wikipedia, the superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, “originating from the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion” in which there were 13 individuals present in the upper room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday.
Friday the 13th started out well. Rocket and Rosco both graduated from the puppy plan. Neither one wanted to hold still for their graduation photos, but they were still cute.
Tyson was in for his fourth pup visit and learned about heartworms and went home with some heartworm meds. His sit is doing well and he has mastered not jumping on people uninvited. Puppies are one part of the awesomeness of the day.
Corporal Sid was in for an ear recheck. His owner was having trouble cleaning the ears, so he had his daughter come over to help every other day. Sid was also now having issues with his eyes. A few staples in his eyelid and the eyelashes don’t rub his eyes for a little bit. Of course, Sid was not impressed with the procedure.
Friday the 13th also had a full moon this year. Staffs at both human and animal ERs talk about the effects of the full moon on the caseload. The feeling is that the crazies are out and much more happens. Animals and people may be more active under the less darkness of a full moon.
We certainly had our share of medical cases. Fancy was in for hemoraghic gastroenteritis (HGE). She looked great, but it was after noon before we actually got her blood results. Her blood had too much fat to run on our machines and had to be sent out. (She continued to get better and went home Saturday.)
Fifi is a diabetic dog that is boarding. She has a new space-age, wearable monitor that tells us all of her glucose readings without drawing blood. The flexible needle reads the insulin exactly when we scan it with a paired smart phone and gives us a continuous curve for the in between times. We do have to scan it every three hours. Fifi enjoys wearing the shirt that goes with it and also the fact that we don’t have to draw blood every time.
Rusty was still not eating, but seemed to be walking better. Surgery had been a success on Wednesday, but his lymphatic tumor was growing in the blood supply of the entire small intestine tract. He is continuing on IV fluids and antibiotics. His protein is low from his tumor and he is having difficulty healing. It is the ultimate catch-22. He needed surgery to get the tumor out to live, but he isn’t strong enough to survive the surgery. His parents have had an emotionally rough time, even before Rusty got sick. We all really want Rusty to do well.
I decided to put Lindsay in charge of getting a blood transfusion for Rusty. Taz was a most willing donor as soon as he realized he got paid with a couple of cans of canned dog food. Katie helped with blood typing for Rusty (DEA 1 neg, DEA 4 negative, DEA 5 negative) and Taz (DEA 1 neg, DEA 4 weak positive, DEA 5 negative), while I did the cross match that would determine if the blood was safe to transfuse or not.
Bobby was a three-year-old cat that is not doing well. His blood work was not conclusive, so we have radiographs and ultrasound scheduled after surgeries. The new medicine that we picked up at the International Veterinary Medicine and Critical Care Society conference last week is really helping Bobby to want to eat.
But not only is it a Friday the 13th, full moon, but it is also a micromoon. The moon will appear smaller (14 percent) and dimmer (30 percent) because it will be at apogee, or its farthest distance from Earth.
At first glance, surgeries will be easy: a spay, a castration and a dental. All routine common surgeries, except they were not.
I thought a spay was a neuter because the name was Abel. (Cain/Abel, get it?) When I realized it really was a two-year-old German Shepard female, I thought back to the other two-year-old German Shepard that I saw at the ER. Luckily, Abel will do better than that one. Even if she does dehisce, I will be there to fix her sutures. So, other than a big, more difficult spay, Abel did fine.
The castration was in Diesel, a potbelly pig who was a cryptorchid. The testicles were not where they were supposed to be. If they are not in the scrotum, the next easiest place is in the inguinal rings. They were not there.
The next easiest place is in the abdomen next to the kidneys where they form as an embryo. They were not there. The hardest place to get them from is in the abdomen by the inguinal rings. They were there. And they were adhered to the connective tissue of the spinal muscles.
I was about to let off a few Coast Guard words when Steph mentioned that there was a tour coming through. Even without the benefit of those words, I did get all of the testicles out and Diesel did fine waking up. Our staff member Rusty remembers this surgery the most out of a busy day because it was his first time scrubbing in on a surgery.
As we learn more and more about dental disease, dental cleaning can be exciting. Radiographs are done in all patients and will often show teeth that look okay, but are painful and need to be removed. Sometimes, individual teeth can take over an hour to get out. We cannot tell until they are under anesthesia and we have rads. Other than a late start, Sky’s dental was, in fact, routine.
There is another superstition about full moons and Friday the 13th. Never, ever, say that it is quiet. It was not quiet Friday afternoon. Morning appointments ran into surgery time, partly because we were short employees. Allison was taken out with the stomach bug and Garrett was taking Matt to a surgery follow-up after his unexpected surgery the day before. Even on an on-time day, surgeries this day would have run over. Before I was done with surgery, afternoon appointments were here.
Timber was looking much better, but needed an add to his skin medicines. Buddy also got to go home after his dental and small mouth mass removals.
Meanwhile, Stark and Leo started the puppy plan. We went over the vaccine schedule, housebreaking and diets. They were tested for intestinal parasites. Stark had giardia and was started on medicine to help. Both gave lots of pup kisses.
Harley got meds that were special ordered, but the meds for Marco were supposed to be released from back order on Monday, but are still not here. We will have to call and find out where they are. His mom is frustrated. I wonder if she realizes that we are frustrated also.
Angus is in for ears and toes recheck. His ears are no better. His mom cleaned ears once and decided it was too much trouble to clean up after. We try to tell everyone that it stains, but we didn’t achieve communication with her.
We will try to do better. The meds for feet are working well and Angus’s mom was happy about that. We did get her some spray ear cleaner that doesn’t stain.
By now we were behind with appointments.
Molly’s mom is incredibly understanding about waiting. Molly’s skin allergies are acting up. A skin scrape (negative for mites), tape impression (negative for yeast and bacteria) and ear swab (negative for mites and yeast with few cocci bacterial) are done before I got in the room. Molly will have the benefit of some allergy meds and her itching will decrease from the seven of 10 that her mom rated it.
I don’t remember who the last appointment to leave was, but we had fresh, whole blood running into Rusty, appointments were finished and it was only 6:14 p.m.
Brian asked if I wanted the ultrasound left on. Crap! Bobby’s ultrasound had not been done yet.
But he was ready, so we got good images of his liver, kidneys, spleen, bladder and abdomen. I got a sample of the fluid in his abdomen for tests before I left to my 7 p.m. writers’ meeting.
Right before I left, I looked up.
Rusty was there and I said, “Today wasn’t a bad day, but a whole lot of crap happened.” He replied, “It’s been a bit of a crappy day.”
I said, “No, not today. Nothing died today.”
Unfortunately, we saw enough of that day. Seems our full-micromoon Friday the 13th was really Saturday the 14th, with seven cardiac workups, two euthanasias, one CPR and death and an ER shift to go the next day.
MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author who practices at Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Ky. GuardianAnimal.com 606-928-6566