A Day in the Life of a Veterinary Assistant

Geronimo was the cutest Beagle puppy you’d ever see. A black saddle over brown with a white underbelly and, of course, those big brown eyes. His owner Beth doted over him, but now she was very worried. She had called the hospital on her way and explained the situation.

Geronimo had been in the back yard while Beth made lunch. Fine when she let him out, he could now hardly stand. As she was talking to us, he tried to get up and failed. He could still wag his tail, but it took all his energy to do it.

Samantha knew the three-month-old Geronimo very well. She had been helping in his vaccine appointments, technically to hold him, but she loved every minute of it. She went out and met Beth at her car, carrying the little pup directly to the treatment area.

She was quick to say, “What do I do first?”

I replied. “Start with temperature and heart rate and I’ll be there right away.” I had to complete a prescription for another patient. Sam was immediately on it and pulled in Jackie, another assistant to help her.

In just a moment, she reported “Geronimo’s heart rate is low and his temperature is also low.”

I then moved in to examine the little guy. He was profoundly weak, seemed “spaced out”, and was barely responding. My concern was a poisoning. That’s the only thing that could do this so fast.

The first task was to get him to throw up. Jackie was already on it, just like she had read my mind. She was getting the hydrogen peroxide ready while I checked Geronimo. She gave the little fellow six milliliters.

He lay there, seeming oblivious to the peroxide so we got another dose ready. Jackie got a syringe ready, but just as she was about to open Geronimo’s mouth, his belly started contracting. The abdominal muscles tightened and he expelled a pile of stomach contents.

We had our answer. What came out was no surprise to me. It was a huge pile of mushroom fragments.

Geronimo had obviously been exploring and found some mushrooms in the back yard. For some reasons, puppies seem to like mushrooms and readily eat them, but many are toxic. They can cause death if the puppy isn’t treated promptly.

We put the little fellow on intravenous fluids so he wouldn’t get dehydrated. He also received a healthy dose of activated charcoal to absorb any toxins that were still in his gut.

The emergency was now over and all we could do was wait. While we did that, the little charmer took the hearts of everyone. Jackie and Sam took turns watching over Geronimo, wrapping him in heated blankets to keep him warm.

A few hours later when we could see him recovering, Geronimo went home. With a very thankful owner, and Samantha had the proud moment of passing the puppy back to his mom.

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Published on 10/29/2019


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