At the clinic, "walkbacks" are patients that were scheduled for an out-patient appointment and end up an in-patient. These critters can be something as routine as a dog that needs a urinalysis (a procedure that takes all of 2 minutes if the patient is cooperative) to a complete work-up with bloodwork, radiographs, ultrasound, intravenous fluids, etc. The techs always know something is up when one of the vets comes out of an exam room with an animal in their arms and a record in their hands. We joke at work that each vet is allowed one major walkback a day. Well, I've been out-doing my limit of late.
Today was a great example. It was already a somewhat different Friday. Typical Fridays are "all girl days." The schedule works out so just female vets and techs are in on Fridays. However, there were several last minute surgery add-ons on Thursday that necessitated the fourth vet to come in as well. And the surgeries were certainly not run-of-the-mill! There was a hit-by-car (HBC) dog that needed a fracture repair, the type of my boss hadn't done in 2 years. A local human dentist came in and did a root canal on his own dog. A "blocked" male cat (a stone gets lodged in the urethra, preventing urination; an emergency situation) needed a perineal urethrostomy (a procedure that essentially changes his anatomy to that of a female cat!). Another HBC dog came in that had broken its back up by her shoulder blades (she was eventually euthanized). This afternoon, a poodle came in that had eaten a stuffed toy (she ended up going to surgery to remove the mass of stuffing that had clogged her stomach and the beginning of her intestine). A very anemic dog came in that needed a blood transfusion. On top of this were the usual influx of vomiting dogs, sneezing cats and all the rest.
Enter my patients: I spent most of the morning helping with surgeries. I saw a few critters for vaccinations, anal glad expression, itchy ears, the usual things. Then I saw a dog with what we are treating as a "hot spot," a very severe, very sudden, very painful bacterial infection of the skin that needs a fair bit of work to get under control. While that was being dealt with, the rooms were getting full again so I went up front to take another patient. My next critter was a new kitten exam. Simple enough, right? Well, this kitten had not one but two cuterebra (fly larvae) living in it's neck. These disgusting creatures burrow holes into the skin of kittens, and you can see their breathing tubes as they stick them in and out of the cat's skin. Of course, we had to get those out. And, while he was under, the owner wanted him to get neutered, front declawed, vaccinated, tested for FeLV/FIV, a CBC (complete blood count) ran, a pain patch applied, and treated for ear mites and intestinal parasites.
Yeah, that was quite a walkback!