Like most clinics, Fourth of July is DoveLewis’ busiest holiday. Patient numbers rise in the summer as more pets are outdoors with their owners enjoying the weather, which means more chances for pets and owners to make poor decisions or fall victim to bad luck.
I fully expect to see some little dogs that started fights with much larger dogs, leading to complete mauls or smaller, fixable lacerations and wounds. Some dogs will eat the most disgusting, rotten fish they found by the river and will show up to the hospital plagued with horrible diarrhea and enlarged lymph nodes. This is the hallmark of salmon poisoning disease, a burden of our beautiful Pacific Oregon locale. And there will most likely be an owner who made the mistake of leaving their dog outside just a bit too long leading to heat stroke. Some brachycephalic dogs even have the “skill” to achieve heat stroke indoors, when owners don’t have the luxury of air conditioning.
The holidays also have the added stress of numerous family and friends gathering together. New house guests can stress out male household cats into urinary obstructions. Visiting children can feed grapes to dogs or lose socks to curious chewers. Pets might even consider joining in on the outdoor barbecue by ingesting corncobs or even entire kabob skewers without chewing. Our patient wards will be filled with animals on fluid diuresis, post-op surgical monitoring, pancreatitis, and a few anxious and suddenly unregulated diabetics. Our staff will also be working tirelessly to ensure the laundry room is constantly turned over, as our most popular presenting complaint is also a messy one: vomiting and diarrhea.
With any holiday celebrated with fireworks, owners may not realize until last minute that their pets believe the explosions to be a sign of the end times. They may visit the hospital wanting an emergency exam so that we can prescribe sedatives for their poor, shivering ball of nerves. These confused pets may also run out of their safe homes and into the streets. We are guaranteed to have an influx of stray dogs and cats following the celebratory pyrotechnics. As we continuously remind our clients, please make sure your pets (your patients) have microchips with updated contact information. One of my favorite jobs on a holiday like this is quickly reuniting a family member with their furry friend.
Having felt the call of emergency and critical care long ago, I realized that I thrive on this chaos. I will head to work chipper and excited to know that my skills will be in high demand over the holiday. I will go home exhausted but absolutely sure that I have made a difference in the lives of the many pets and clients I treat. Is anyone else excited to work this coming holiday? What kind of emergencies do you expect to see?