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Saturday, January 23, 2010

My weekly dose of medical duty

Recently my schedule has changed so that I can basically be experiencing everything in the shelter, this also includes one day a week back with the medical staff. Now mind you I am still in training back there but it is amazing how much actually goes on in that little medical office.

My day began with first helping get all of daily meds ready for the animals. This includes everything from eyes drops, antibiotics, vitamins, de wormers, and ear meds. It's funny how meds are prepared, you think it would be a pretty simple task but because animals, like people, can be pretty fickle on what they eat you have to know exactly how each animal would consume or get their meds the easiest. What that means is that for some dogs it's as simple as a little cream cheese, while others you have to mix treats with a certain type of dog food and make sure that they don't eat everything around their pill and spit the medicine back out. Well, the latter happened to me for a solid ten minutes and because the dog is a shy one I was hesitant to pill her. Luckily but the fourth try I found the right treats where she consumed the entire "meat ball" with her medicine in the middle.

Once all of the meds were done it was on with the day. I am always amazed that each new aspect of the shelter I see and learn about I am amazed at how much work and dedication is needed to keep this place running smoothly. With that being said I began work on the vet due treatments. How this works is I go into the computer and pull up a report that draws typically from a month past through the weekend. Once I have this information I determine what can be given early and what needs to wait until the following week. Usually it is a whole lot of flea medicine but sometimes there are boosters and actual vaccines. Luckily today it was just advantage for me. Once I had all of the weights of the animals and their breed and name I grabbed my large syringes and went to work. I ended up just getting the cats while another staff member took care of the dogs. And just for your info, if you are ever giving a cat a topical flea solution, make sure that you put it high up on their neck, almost between their ears but not quite, because these guys love to lick and clean and this is one medicine you don't want them to ingest.

Luckily the rest of the day we didn't see too much excitement and I focused my efforts on data entry. Basically creating files in the computer of animal intakes which focus on physicals given as well as all medications and shots. Once you get the hang of it it's pretty simple but if one thing is screwed up and can really slow things down.

Along with the data entry there were also the daily checkups, basically seeing who has been and who might be sick and evaluating them before the weekend so staff knows how to handle any issues. This included taking a few temps and helping squeeze out a few anal glands, not my favorite part of the day let me tell you. In addition to this we also brought in two dogs to the med room to monitor if either of them had an sort of a cough. Well, it turns out they did and when you have a dog coughing in the shelter it is typically one thing, kennel cough. Nothing serious but better to treat and quarantine than risk other animals catching the "cold". Here is a picture of the two while they were visiting us.

That's about it for today. I kind of like it that there wasn't anything to exciting. I do once again have to mention though that the more sides of the shelter I experience I am beginning to realize how important every single staff member is here in making sure that this place keeps running. I want to thank everyone for reading and I look forward to your comments and questions.


  1. Didn't realize until too late about kennel cough and how nasty it is and then I had my two dogs coughing constantly and water boiling (to make steam) on every burner of the stove. It lasts for WEEKS. Yes, I took them to the vet. I'm assuming that maybe things have improved in the last few years for treating kennel cough?

  2. It all depends on the dog, and mind you I am no expert :) What we do here at the shelter is quarantine the ones we know have it and any dogs that have come into contact with them. The treatment is usually making sure that the animals stay warm and are started on broad spectrum antibiotics, clavamox or doxycycline. There are other things that you have to keep an eye for. Usually though it clears up pretty quickly but depending on the severity it could progress and even turn out to be something else. Thanks for commenting and of course for reading :)