Final Project: Week 6

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For my last project update, I figured I’d share a little bit about my learning experience overall, along with a little bit of what I did this past week at work like I have been.

This job, just in the past two months, has been more rewarding and informational than anything else I’ve ever done. I learn so much new information each and every day that I don’t even know what to do with it all! I have learned how to: approach and restrain an animal, run heart-worm and other blood tests, sterilize different surgery instruments, deal with surgeries and post-op patients, deal with different types of clients, deal with euthanasia, etc. I cannot describe how beneficial this has been to me, seeing how I plan on being in this field of work for the rest of my life. These past two months have given me one of the greatest gifts, and that is knowing that I belong. I feel more comfortable at Hartwood Animal Hospital than I have at any other job I’ve had, thanks to the wonderful people I’ve been working with, and all of the amazing animals, of course.

This past week at HAH, I was able to gain a bit more experience with the wildlife and surgery aspects.

An incredible amount of rabbits were brought in this week for many different reasons. Some had been caught by animals, one had been caught by a lawnmower, and some were just simply found by clients of ours and brought in to be kept safe. There was one specific group of baby rabbits that I actually got a bit attached to. A client found four little bunnies in her garden without their mom, so she brought them into HAH to keep them safe. It was a great gesture, but unfortunately it probably did more harm than good. I learned that rabbits that young are incredibly hard to keep alive without their mom. At the same time, though, the momma rabbit only returns to care for her babies twice a day (once in the morning and once at night). So naturally she wouldn’t be there in the middle of the day when the babies were found. The babies are now motherless and the momma rabbit won’t find her babies when she goes back for them. I honestly wasn’t sure what difference it would make, considering the rabbits seemed grown enough to be on their own, in my opinion. However, I was definitely corrected when one of the babies didn’t make it. The doctors at HAH believed it was simply due to stress and weakness, both of which were most likely brought on by the absence of their mother. This photo is of all four babies in the box they were brought in.

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And this photo is me holding one of the babies in my hand. I couldn’t resist!

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On a brighter note, the three remaining baby bunnies were released happy and healthy a few days later. :)

Now on to the biggest surgery of the week! A Boxer mix named Bruno was scheduled to be neutered this week. The surgery went extremely well; there were no complications. What made the surgery “big” in my opinion was that directly after the neuter, the doctor was scheduled to remove a cyst from the top of Bruno’s head. The doctors didn’t see it as a threat, but Bruno’s owner decided they didn’t like how it disappeared and reappeared constantly, so they just wanted to remove it. I think the neatest part about all of the surgeries done at HAH is the plethora of tools the doctors go through, especially the little tool that sears through different layers of skin. It’s like a mini torch or something. It’s crazy! I’ve included two short clips of the doctor working on the cyst. It was definitely stubborn! (Ignore the watermark in the middle of the videos– I had to switch editors at the last minute!)

The cyst removal went well, too. The troubling part came after the fact. Unfortunately for Bruno, his anatomy caused him to reject the neuter surgery. One of the blood vessels that the doctor had tied off after the surgery decided to continue bleeding somehow, and it didn’t appear until hours later. Luckily, we had kept Bruno after his surgery to keep an eye on him. Because the doctor did not originally know where the bleeding was coming from, she had to take him back into surgery, and this meant cutting into the abdomen because she could not reopen the already existing incision. After another hour and a half in surgery is when she found the bleeding vessel, had to use even more material to tie it off, and restitch Bruno’s abdomen. Poor thing! When I asked the doctor about the cause of the bleeding vessel, she explained how with Bruno’s multitude of breeds, there was a very good chance he had a bleeding disorder. She also explained that as a puppy he had a few little complications that could all contribute to the excessive bleeding. Bruno’s incisions continued to “seep” blood for the next few days, but when it finally stopped, he was well into the healing process and ready to go home.

Although there were a few disappointments at HAH this past week, there were definitely more positives. Everything turned out alright, like it always does; it gives me even more reassurance that this is the field I want to be in forever. I can’t wait for what’s to come in the next few years at HAH, and I can’t wait to gradually get even more involved. Thanks so much for reading and allowing me to share my passion– I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

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