Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

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Veterinarians Rock!!

From nutrition to surgery, vets get to do it all!

This is a blatant advertisement for my profession. Pay heed, all you kids who shrug when your ditzy aunt asks for the kabillionth time, “what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up-dear?”.

Be a veterinarian.

The sky’s the limit for students with an interest in medicine. Can’t decide between becoming a family doctor, internal medicine specialist or surgeon? Be a veterinarian, we get to do it all.

Last week, I wrote about a favourite patient who almost died when a bone he ate lodged in his intestines. His case is a great illustration of what a veterinarian’s job involves.

First Beaver the dog came in for a physical exam because he was vomiting. That went pretty much the same as a physical exam at your own doctor’s office, except Beaver didn’t have to take off his clothes. He got his vital signs checked. I noted indications of dehydration and abdominal pain, then recommended x-rays and bloodwork. At this point, your doctor sends you off to two different labs. We checked his blood and did x-rays right in our own hospital.

In modern practices, technicians may be available to do this work, but vets are expected to be proficient at every step themselves. Beaver’s x-ray showed a bone shard in his small intestine. Reading x-rays can be a challenging skill to master, but seeing bones in the bowels is a pretty easy diagnosis. What I didn’t see was how badly those bowels were damaged.

In preparation for surgery, we put Beaver on intravenous fluids, antibiotics and pain medications. Vets have to be able to assess bloodwork, know how to rehydrate and deal with shocky patients, calculate doses for drugs, administer anesthetics and understand how they all interact in sick animals. And we have to be able to sleep at night when there’s a sick patient in hospital. I’m not so good at that last part (none of us are! ed.).

Beaver’s surgery was tricky. A big section of bowel was so badly damaged I had to remove it. We were in there for more than two hours cleaning things up and suturing. And then began the worrying and waiting, adjusting medications and diet as seemed wise. Although Beaver went home the next day, he was in almost daily – even over the weekend – because he just wasn’t doing well.

As you’ll know from last week’s column, this story ended happily. The Beav is back to his boisterous self and we got to celebrate. Sometimes these cases don’t end so well and another part of a vet’s job is to know when to end a patient’s suffering through euthanasia.

From helping bring new puppies into the world with C-sections, to holding hands with their families when the time comes to say goodbye, a vet’s job is full of ups and downs, with many fascinating challenges along the way.

I’m trying hard not to keep asking my niece “what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up-dear?” But I hope you’ll be nice to your own ditzy aunt when she asks again. Maybe you’ll even have an answer.

For more information about a veterinarian’s job and how to prepare for a career in the profession, see the Ontario Veterinary College’s website Becoming a Veterinarian and the Veterinary Partner discussion Who Wants to Be a Veterinarian.

Dr. Fiona Gilchrist
Hillcrest Animal Hospital – Trenton/Quinte West, Ontario
April 2013

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What you need to know about kitten vaccinations

Kittens will get vaccinations at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks, then annually. Overview A vaccine is a substance created to incite an immune response for a particular disease.  It needs to be given multiple times to a kitten to initiate his immune system. 

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Last updated: June 26, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 19, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed


NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Hillcrest Animal Hospital