Monday, August 13, 2007

First Call

I had my first night on call last week, and my first emergency case was certainly a doozy! A man called at about 7:30 pm and informed me, in an understandably frantic voice, that his terrier had just been kicked in the head by his horse. A horrific series of images flashed through my head as I visualized the scene. The dog had been knocked unconscious and hadn't been breathing when the owner got to him. After mouth-to-nose resuscitation, he had been able to get the dog breathing, but the dog had not regained consciousness. I told him I would meet him at the clinic, and I raced out the door.

I arrived at the clinic about 10 minutes before they arrived. I pulled out an anesthetic machine to provide oxygen, the crash box full of our emergency drugs, and some other odds and ends. Quite honestly, I didn't think there would be anything I could do for this dog when it arrived. I had visions of violent seizuring, blood pouring out of nostrils, eyeballs hanging out of the skull...all manner of horrendous injuries that a ~1000 lbs horse can inflict on a 10 lbs dog.

By the time they arrived, the terrier was conscious. He was understandably woobly, but able to stand. His pupils reacted normally to light, there was only a trickle of blood from his nose and he had full range of motion in his neck and back. After some oxygen, steroids (to hopefully limit swelling), furosemide (to hopefully limit fluid build-up in the skull), and warnings that he could deteriorate quickly if he did have brain damage, they took him home!

I called them the next morning, curious for an update. Apart for staggering a bit, he was doing fine. He was eating and drinking a lot (no surprising given the steroids and furosemide), but mostly normal. The owners started him on some aspirin for pain, and he seemed to be doing all right.

So, that was my very first call. I am on call tomorrow again, and I certainly hope I don't see anything as exciting as my terrier vrs. equine case!

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