Another busy weekend on-call has passed! It’s a challenging time for most vets, not knowing what to expect next. This weekend has been no exception, with a broad mix of cats, dogs, horses, cows, and a selection of ‘small furries’, as we often call them. We even had a request from West Yorkshire Police, following reports that an escaped lion (yes, lion!!) had been spotted in Shepley on Sunday (the sighting was supposedly close to one of the local pubs, altho’ I’m sure this was coincidental!!). To my relief, one was never found, and the busy workload continued.
The burden of on-call work is often a great one, and many practices find that longer working hours, and the public’s demands for ever higher standards during those hours, drives them to seek alternatives. Smaller practices find it impossible to recruit young vets, who may be asked to work every other night and weekend on-call, in addition to working 10 hour days, or longer.
This tends to mean that many smaller practices ‘farm out’ their on-call to centralised emergency teams, often based in neighbouring towns and cities.
One such situation arose late on Saturday night: a client of a neighbouring practice had an elderly dog, which started to bleed badly from a tumour. The owner found her much-loved pet deteriorating rapidly, and was shocked to discover that her own vet’s emergency services were now provided by a centre in Leeds, which she was told she must drive to in order to be seen (and then by a veterinary surgeon who had never seen her or her pet, and had no access to it’s medical records).
The dog and owner were clearly very distressed, and in this desperate situation, I agreed to make a home visit, where sadly, we had to euthanase the patient in order to prevent further suffering. This was a very distressing situation for all, but I know the owner felt some consolation in the knowledge that her loyal companion had died peacefully in the comfort of her own home.
Our ethic as a practice is such that we greatly respect the strong bond between pet and owner, and feel it is so important that in an emergency, we can provide our own vets and nurses, (who know the history of you and your pet), in our own premises, to ensure the best possible care for your pets.
We intend to continue to do so.