Morning surgery was well underway the other day. The appointment book was full with the usual selection of booster vaccinations, scratching dogs and vomiting cats. It had been a typically busy surgery with all three consulting rooms being occupied until one vet had to leave to start his list of large animal visits leaving just myself and my colleague to finish surgery before starting on the operating list.
road traffic accident…..
I had just started explaining the benefits of our in-house insurance policy when the door of my consulting room opened and a worried looking receptionist peered round the door. “Excuse me” she said “Please could you come straight away”. I made my apologies and followed her into the waiting room and then into the vacant consulting room next door.
A distraught young couple were in the room hugging a bundle of blood stained fleece material. Inside the fleece was a small black and white cat which was wide eyed and breathing rapidly through an open mouth.
Quickly, the story was recounted: while driving to work, the couple had spotted the young cat at the side of the road and recognised that it was distressed. They stopped, scooped up the cat and rushed it down to the surgery. On examination, it had splintered claws on all four feet; this is often an indication of a road traffic accident. Feeling down the legs, I could not detect any obvious breaks but the cat was certainly dangerously shocked as it was very pale, its heart rate was over 200 beats per minute and it was breathing at over 50 breaths per minute. That level of shock is very dangerous and we had to act quickly.
As I examined the cat, one of our nurses scanned the cat for a microchip, as happens in all such cases, where the ownership of a patient is unknown. Fortunately, the scanner bleeped indicating a chip was found. A quick call to the microchip database and the owner was identified; 2 minutes later, the owner had been contacted and brought fully up to date. The cat was placed on an intravenous drip to treat the shock and when stable, was X rayed and treated successfully before being re-united with her owner.
Identifying the owner quickly is essential in such instances; the microchip allowed us to contact and inform the owner, enabling us to get consent to treat this cat rapidly, alleviating great suffering, and ensuring the best possible outcome. I am pleased to say she has made a full recovery!