Monday, August 25, 2008

Of poo poo and more poo poo

This incident happened when I was on my preceptorship right before graduating vet school. It kinda illustrates one of my views on life: if you stand around long enough, poo will fall on you.

So, I was on my preceptorship with my mentor, SuperGirlVet (Super for short) when we go to a farm with a few Hereford cows. A few moments to comment on Super. Super was a great mentor, very smart and intelligent, and I learned a lot from her. She has one interesting habit/trait that I always kinda thought was strange for somebody who spends half her life around cattle: she is a neat freak. Not in a bad way, but her truck and all her tools/toolboxes always had to be clean and neat. Her person as well, which is important later. She carried three or four complete changes of clothes in her truck.

So, we went on this call to see a Hereford steer that had not been defecating or eating for several days. We walk up to his pen and, being the insightful veterinarians we are, immediately see his problem: he has a prolapsed rectum. This is actually a pretty common problem in Hereford steers. The only real treatment for one that has gone for several days like this one is to amputate the dried up prune of his rectum that was sticking out and connect the two ends. Yuck, huh? So, we sedate him a little, give him an epidural, and stick a 60 mL syringe plastic cover into the rectum to provide a needle stoping point. The goal was to suture the two layers of the rectum together and then cut off the dead part, creating an anastamosis between the two pieces (sorry, I can't get much more technical without pictures and don't feel like searching for them right now). So Super starts suturing. I, the ever helpful student, am outside the chute cutting her suture and opening suture packs as needed. About this time the steer starts to wake up a bit and decides he doesn't like the syringe case up his rectum. Apparently our epidural hadn't taken so good...

He gives a gigantic push and a stream of blood and diarrhea (yes, that had been up a cows butt for two days) erupts all over the front of Super. She just stood there while dripping liquid off her chin and front. The look on her face was priceless! But, the show must go on! So she puts the syringe case back in and starts to put in the last few sutures. And there he goes again!!! Keep in mind, he hasn't been able to poop for about two days and had a lot to make up for! She puts in the last few sutures, cuts off the diseased part and pushes the whole mess back in. All the while dripping blood and cow diarrhea off various body parts.

Needless to say, I drove back to the clinic while she sat on a bunch of towels. Then she got a shower. Actually, three showers.

I laughed a lot and she just glared. Reminds me of another time....

1 comment:

Emily and the Labradors said...

OK, I plead 'uncle'! I found your blog earlier today and have now invested a good amount of time reading through the archives. And to think before I read this story I was considering vet school.... ;)

Thanks for the great stories! If I haven't been too scarred from the image of bloody diarrhea in the face, I look forward to reading more!