Emergency Vet's tribulations I

I have assisted emergencies for more than 15 years, together with my colleagues at the ClínicaVeterinaria in Puerto de Mazarrón. As you could guess, we have dealt with all kind of situations.

The main problem we usually find is that we are not 24 hours at the clinic, so the animal’s owner is who values the seriousness and if the emergency vet’s service is need or not. Sometimes, the owner tends to undervalue the seriousness. For example, I remember a man that thought his boxer had been bitten by a bee because the dog had its leg inflamed and was not able to put it on the floor, in fact, it had an open fracture in the femur bone that needed a plate with screws to be healed. Sometimes, the seriousness is overvalued; it is very common for us to be called because the puppies that have been just achieved have vomited just once, although the general state of the animals is perfect. Sometimes, we have been called for silly situations in the night, like for example because “my dog’s intestines sound” or “my dog has been playing with a frog”; however the animals did not have any symptom for a disease.

Sometimes, the emergency service is used to assist animals that have been ill for days or even weeks. Generally, their owners due to a lack of time or an excess of confidence, think the animal does not need an “immediate” assistance. It is also common to receive callings at weekends from people who have found a dog in the street and want to know what can be done for it. Sometimes, this kind of animals present any kind of trauma or disease but the person who has found it just leaves the animal in our clinic and just says thanks and bye.

Maybe, the most disappointing thing for us is meeting people who do not pay our fee after using our emergency services, at inconvenient hours, and get the problem solved. For instance, one of my colleagues was called some months ago at 4 am to go out and try to take a 35-kilo dog out of a bed, where it stayed after jumping from the sofa and getting damaged its leg. A young couple with a child were living in the house. The man, 30, said he was unable to take his dog out of there, although my colleague, a short woman, could do it without any problem. Then she took the animal, went two floors down with the animal, drove to the clinic, did some X-rays and diagnosed a facture of the calcaneus bone that needed to be operated immediately (the night has just been gone). We contacted the owner and he said “do everything you need to”. We had to postpone a surgery in order to operate this animal and give it back to its owners two days later, when he told us about his economic problems. We always offer easy credit terms, so we suggested to him that he could pay us the emergency service then, and the surgery costs month by month. We have not seen yet any centime for all that job.

Unfortunately, this usually happens in our field, and it is especially disturbing for us when it is an emergency.

In the next article, we will talk about the situations we usually face at the clinic’s emergency service.

Av. Costa Cálida Nº 31 - CP 30860 Puerto de Mazarrón (Murcia)