The high cost of dying: Stories of Ukrainian vets

Author : Iryna Shostak

Source : 112 Ukraine

Today vets celebrate their professional holiday - the Day of the worker of veterinary medicine of Ukraine. We have looked into an ordinary day of a Ukrainian veterinarian and is ready to talk about how cruel people really are and what animals are silent about.
21:44, 9 August 2021

Open source

- Well, don't look at me like that, Tezi. The weekend is coming soon, and I will be completely yours. In the meantime, I have to go, the same cute faces are waiting for me there. Until the evening.

It is difficult for me every time to leave her alone at home, because I, like no one else, understand that she is really sad. Although, like any cat, it builds itself from itself independent and independent.

Despite the fact that my appointment starts at 09:00, already half an hour before the start of work the phone breaks. I always give my clients my number so that I can always be in touch. But the paradox is that more often than not, pet owners do not call me for some super important reasons.

Related: Severe fires in northeastern Ukraine, fields engulfed in flames, animals die

It would seem that after a year it should be annoying and even annoying when on your day off you are trying to recognize by phone whether the animal needs hospitalization or whether the owner sounds the alarm in vain. But, since I am consciously in this profession, I decided: let it be better to worry about any issue because people cannot always correctly assess the state of the animal. And here only we, veterinarians, can advise what needs to be done, how to provide assistance, whether it is still worth observing, or whether you need to immediately go to the clinic.

What does deliberately mean? We, veterinarians, have such a selfless love for animals since childhood. This is a gift. And either he is, or he is not. Almost every colleague of mine, like me, has a story related to the rescue of an animal, after which it was as if a light bulb came on above his head, indicating his life purpose.

For example, as a child, I often brought abandoned and homeless animals from the street. Mom never scolded me for that. We treated, fattened, and attached them according to our acquaintances. Looking at their desire for life, I was so inspired that I went to study to be a veterinarian. And now, after 7 years, I am still continuing my studies. I go to various courses, study new industries. Since the position of veterinary medicine in our country is at an average level, we have much to strive for and what to study.

The only pity is that the pay for such an emotional and difficult job is not high, as are the salaries in the medical field in general. But even despite this, each of us is doing everything to ensure that patients leave the clinic healthy and happy. Seeing their grateful eyes is a good emotional boost for a veterinarian.

Yes, animals also know how to be grateful. Sometimes they are superior to people in this. For example, like Jack, the German Shepherd. I then worked the night shift, and I was lucky enough to meet him. Throughout his life, Jack guarded the territory of the restaurant outside the city, carried out his service so responsibly that he learned to keep people away from him - this complicated his treatment. The dog was hit by a car. After the examination and surgery, Jack's owner left, and the baby stayed with us for inpatient treatment and rehabilitation. We had to go to him at least 4 times a day (infusion therapy, injections, stitching, feeding and emptying the bladder through a urethral catheter several times a day).

Related: Broken jaws, bitten off ears, crippled lives: Stories that animals can't tell you

We did everything very carefully, each time talking to him and explaining why we were doing this or that manipulation. Jack did not twitch, only closely watched every movement. The patient was discharged home on day 10.

A month later, a second examination was scheduled. And then the day came: it was summer, we kept the door to the clinic open. And then the shepherd runs to us, as if to his own home, runs around the room, and looks for someone. We immediately recognized Jack by the shaved pelvis and thigh. He was looking for his surgeon. As soon as the doctor left the staff room, Jack, jumping on his hind legs, rushed to lick him, and then went up to each of us to stroke him.

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09:00 - Reception starts. One after another I watch the frightened faces. Someone needs to take blood for tests, someone needs to prescribe an ointment to heal wounds, someone just needs to be weighed and probed - the usual daily examinations. But there are also difficult cases, after which you cannot sleep normally, thinking about the patient every second.

So it was with Nora. The owners of the dog called the clinic in the evening, told that she groans in pain at night. They even had to inject her with pain relievers. In the morning, the baby's back was paralyzed, and her sensitivity decreased. After the examination, we established the diagnosis - a spinal hernia of the lumbar spine. After discussion with colleagues, it was decided to abandon the operation for now. There was a long treatment: injections, massages, swimming. We made her stand (each paw was put in a physiological position, holding the pelvis and not letting it fall).

At first, Nora did not want to be treated. She was in great pain, but as soon as the acute pain syndrome was removed, she began to fight for her life. It is noteworthy that the dog did not go to the toilet under him, but asked to be transferred to a diaper. After 3 months, she began to rise and move on her knees, rather than dragging her pelvis across the floor. A couple of months later, she herself tried to lean on her hind legs and even managed to take a step - Nora wanted to run to meet the hostess from work. After another month, our patient was already running on her own.

112 Agency

Rehabilitation took six months, and all this time, under our leadership, the owners did not stop working with her for a day. But this story is not about us, but about her. You cannot force or persuade an animal to want to walk and run. And the small but strong dog Nora could.

But this is not the case with every patient. It's a pity, but mostly their owners are to blame for this. For example, once I was unable to save a dog, which the owner brought to a deplorable state with her own hand. The woman fed her pet a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for a week, which was not intended for animals.

Or when a man decided to "relieve torment" of his 12-year-old cat by putting it to sleep. It was like this: we took anamnesis and carried out additional diagnostics, with the help of which we identified only one problem - a fungus (microsporia) on the ears. We explained to the owner of the animal that euthanasia is carried out only in hopeless cases. And his cat can be cured even without big expenses. But the course of treatment should last about a month. The man decided that it would take a long time, he was already tired, because more than once he tried to treat the cat on his own.

Yes, the owners are really completely different. They are often positive people. But as soon as we start examining their animals, we understand that often everything is not what it seems at first glance.

It breaks my heart when I hear the owners' excuses for the deplorable state of their pets: "I have a job, I couldn't come earlier", "I didn't have money, I came when they appeared", "I thought it would go away by itself", "This it just happened yesterday, before that everything was fine. " There is no excuse for that.

112 Agency

Interestingly, about 80% of owners lie or do not say something at the reception. To do this, we wander into psychology - we are looking for such an approach so that the owner would hear us. After all, an animal cannot say where it hurts and whether it hurts at all. It only moans and cries. You need to be attentive to those whom you take under your care. And in case of a bad outcome, do not blame the doctors. On lunges in my direction, I just sigh. It's already hard for me, I don't want to prove or explain anything.

But, as my statistics show, there are many times more loving owners. This is good news.

But most of all, each of us veterinarians would like to be able to talk to animals so that they can respond. Ask if they are offended. Learn about well-being and experiences. After all, animals are like people: with some of them it is difficult to establish contact, you have to go for tricks using various special synthetic pheromones. But that's not all. So that the animals do not get nervous, we feed them delicious pastes with vitamins, talk, give them time to get comfortable in the office.

Related: Ukraine introduces increased penalties for cruelty to animals

And there are animals that immediately understand that we only wish them well, and do not protest against manipulation.

21:00 - time to close the clinic. But since veterinarians have no obligation in their heads to adhere to a clear schedule of the clinic's work, we often stay late at work. How else? Refuse the owner with a pet in her arms? Make the animal wait another 12 hours until the next meal? Or maybe the pet already suffers for several days?

112 Agency

It's almost 12 at night, and I'm finally at the apartment. I carefully open the door so as not to catch the nose, which immediately rushes into the gap. A night of active purring near my ear - and here I am again ready for exploits. And so 10-15 days a month. The rest of the days I am an ordinary person. A person who loves to go to the cinema, dance and walk, while saving lives at the same time. And all because we are responsible for those you have tamed.

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