True emergencies are stressful on everyone – the patient, the owner, the doctor, all the support staff. Some days hearing that an emergency is on its way is enough to make your head spin. How sick is it? Will it make it here? Can we save it?
The best emergency is the non-emergency:
- “No sir, that is not a tumor it is a normal growth associated with hormones in a female budgie. “
- “Actually, your bird is loosing feathers because he is molting – that’s just how they get new ones.”
Easy emergencies are also nice
- Broken blood feathers that need to be treated but resolve easily
- An injured toe that just needs a splint
- Hay in the eye (remove it and the guinea pig starts to feel better immediately).
The hardest to deal with are the ones that arrived already passed on or struggle through our initial attempts to stabilize but just can’t stay with us. It’s heartbreaking to pass that kind of news on to an owner. Sometimes those creatures who entered our lives for only minutes can create a powerful bond that affects us with a profound sense of loss that lasts for days.
The ones I remember the most are the heart stoppers we saved. Even years later I remember the dying parrotlet who began to revive almost immediately after receiving intravenous fluids. I don’t remember what came next aside from the fact that she got through that day and the next.
Just recently I saw a bird who was vomiting and had lost a lot of weight. She was hospitalized for supportive treatments until she could keep food down and became strong enough to tolerate testing. Xrays showed us large gas filled intestines that were at a complete standstill. Luckily this bird responded to the supportive care and we were able to keep her going until medicine for her infection could kick in. You wouldn’t believe how excited we all were the morning she passed a big dropping full of well-digested food!