The last 2 nights have been significantly less than stellar. SIGNIFICANTLY.
7:00pm Wednesday night, an owner calls. Her large breed dog has had 2 puppies, both dead. The third one was born alive, but the bitch accidentally eviscerated the puppy while chewing the umbilical cord. Further, the bitch has stopped pushing and produced no more puppies in over 8 hours.
My technician recommends bringing BOTH mom and the eviscerated puppy in ASAP. The owner declines to do so and hangs up. At 11:30pm, she calls back. The puppy with its intestines hanging out is dead (there's a real shocker), and the bitch has not been pushing. Should she bring her in? My technician counsels her AGAIN that bringing in the dog is imperative. The owner demures.
1:15am, I am dog tired. Owner shows up with a ONE HUNDRED AND TWO POUND dog in tow. No puppies. Owner doesn't have finances...but she's been breeding for 20 years, and she knows all about it. She coughs up the money for xrays and an ultrasound. I see 5 puppies, 3 definitely alive on ultrasound. There is no obvious cause of fetal obstruction, so I recommend trying oxytocin to stimulate labor.
It starts to go downhill at that point. The owner complains that she doesn't want to sit around for 3 hours and wait to see if numerous doses of oxytocin work. She has to be up at 5am. However, she doesn't have money for c-section. She's not worried about live puppies. She asks me if she can get one shot of oxytocin and take the dog home. I tell her she can do that, however I would strongly advise against it. She whines some more, then she asks me what I would do.
I was thisclose to saying a) I WOULD HAVE BROUGHT THE DOG IN EITHER OF THE FIRST TWO TIMES YOU CALLED and b) I DON'T BREED SO I WOULD NEVER BE IN THIS POSITION!
It takes her an hour of more wasted time to decide to try oxytocin. Another puppy is born, but it is dead. I call to give her the news. She suddenly becomes extremely worried about the other puppies (previously she said she was not concerned with live puppies). I recommend c-section if she wants any live puppies (although I tell her that the chances of any surviving at this point are slim). She wants another ultrasound to see if any are still alive.
I'm rapidly losing my patience. Another u/s reveals live puppies still. Mom suddenly comes up with enough money to do a c-section, so to surgery we go. It is now 4:30am. Surgery is bloody, as all c-sections are. It is not routine in any fashion. The puppies are absolutely enormous. There are 4 left. The owner - OF COURSE - did not want the dog spayed, despite the fact that she was SIX YEARS old and well past good breeding age. Unfortunately, I had to make 4 uterine incisions (when normally I make ONE). The uterus was friable and tore. In the end, I had my technician call and tell her that the uterus needed to come out. I was afraid to leave it in, as I was seriously concerned about healing.
Then it got really interesting. For no discernible reason (and believe me, we exhausted the possibilities), the dog went into complete cardiac arrest. We started CPR in the operating room. Her heartbeat came back. I continued surgery. She died again. We got her back. I continued surgery. Repeat 2 more times.
Yes, she died 4 times in surgery. Amazingly, she pulled through and recovered from anesthesia. I suspect occult heart disease contributed to her cardiac arrest. We removed four puppies from the uterus, 2 alive, 2 dead. One was so huge that I realized surgery was necessitated from the start. There was no way that puppy was coming out.
I didn't leave work until well past 9am, collapsed into bed around 10am, only to get up and do it all over again last night. Last night was also a nightmare. One of my techs called in sick; the receptionist called in sick, too. So we were staffed with 2 techs and myself. Further, Everyone had a problem with money last night.
We had one couple who signed an estimate for their very ill cat, agreed to payment, then threw a fit at the register when they realized that we run our checks electronically. They accused our technician of lying to them over the phone about taking checks. It got ugly. Then there was the young, well-to-do looking lady with her 2 little dogs that ate a bottle of Rimadyl. We decontaminated them, treated them with activated charcoal. Then the perfectly nice looking young lady threw a fit (literal) that her bill was $300. She protested that she was quoted $92 for the first dog and $46 for the second (our exam fees). When we explained (again) that those were the exam room fees, she stated that since she was not told the price for treatment, she should have to pay nothing. I didn't let her get away with that.
Then there was the nice young guy with his beautiful dog that somehow managed to badly break its leg in the backyard. He had the $92 to be seen and nothing else. We discussed options: amputation, orthopedic surgery, or long-term cage rest and pain medications with questionable return of function to the leg. He could do NONE of those things. His wife hated the dog and wanted him to get rid of it. The dog was euthanized while the man held it in his arms and sobbed.
After all this, one of the only 2 technicians I had melted down in the ICU. She had been in surgery with me the night before, dealt with the stupid, thoughtless owners who were only concerned with breeding and producing puppies to sell, she'd dealt with the owners that night complaining about money, and then had to assist with euthanizing the dog with the broken leg. So, she lost it in the middle of the ICU - sobbing hysterically, asking me "why, why?? Why are people such idiots? Why do people breed? Why is it our fault that we can't fix them for free?" - tears streaming down her face.
I had to resist the urge to run screaming and crying from the building myself, but I kept it together. Thank god I have the night off.
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