vet tech animals

Advice #2

If you own a pet that is on a medication that significantly improves your pets state of life or is actually life threatening to not be on, do not wait until you are down to one or two doses to call in a refill. Do not wait until you are out of your medication to call in a refill. DO NOT WAIT. Many medications often come from compounding pharmacies that are out of state and can take up to a week to refill. If your pet has not been seen or had blood work done within a year it is illegal to prescribe most drugs to your pet. We are not being difficult-we are simply following the law so we don’t lose our pharmacy license. YOUR POOR PLANNING DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN EMERGENCY. So please ask questions, please plan ahead, please learn what happens if your pet is to run out of your their medication so you understand the consequences of your actions.

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Full disclaimer!!! This is acid base in its most simplest terms - please don’t rely on this as a sole source of info.

Hopefully it helps someone! it’s a couple of years old i went digging for it today after trying to explain it to a student today at work. 

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THROMBOCYTOPENIA

Thrombocytopenia is characterised by a low platelet count within the blood. Platelets are manufactured within the Bone Marrow are essential for maintaining haemostasis or in more simpler terms the bodies ability to clot and protect itself from haemorrhage. Thrombocytopenia can be a life threatening condition if not addressed.

WHAT CAUSES THROMBOCYTOPENIA?

 There is no breed, age or sex prevalence concerning this condition. There are five main types of cause:

1) Decreased production of platelets -  This can be caused by types of medication such as oestrogen meds or chloramphenicol. However, the most common cause is aplastic anaemia which occurs when there is a failure in the bone marrow or when the patient is suffering from Leukaemia. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation can also suffer from this type of thrombocytopenia. 

2) Increased blood clotting - Increased blood clotting can be caused by several conditions such as Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation where blood clots form in small blood vessels resulting in poor tissue perfusion and ultimately organ damage. Endotoxic shock can also cause this as well and vasculitis and certain types of cancer i.e Haemangiosarcoma.

3) Destruction of platelets - This is usually caused by autoimmune disease, where the bodies own immune system attacks and destroys its own platelets.This type of condition is more common in dogs and rarely seen in cats. Platelets can also be prematurely destroyed if the patient is suffering from diseases such as Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis caused by infected tick bites and Heartworm. 

4) Sequestration (The removal of platelets from circulation) - Splenomegaly or a splenic torsion can cause the spleen to function abnormally and in some cases collect and retain up to 90% of the total platelet volume.

5) Haemorrhage due to trauma

WHAT ARE THE CLINICAL SIGNS?

  • Pyrexia
  • Lethargy and appetite loss
  • Heart Murmur
  • Haematuria
  • Excessive coughing
  • Epistaxsis
  • Collapse
  • Petechiae - pinpoint haemorrhages usually seen on the mucus membranes
  • Bruising easily
  • Melena or fresh blood in stools

HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE THROMBOCYTOPENIA?

Taking a full clinical history to rule out a recent trauma is important as they will enable the clinician to rule out internal haemorrhage due to trauma, in addition information can be gathered to access whether the patient could be suffering from any infectious disease or have contracted any disease such as Babesiosis.Full blood analysis to include biochemistry, haematology and coagulation times should be carried out, in addition to this a 4DX profile testing for 6 vector-bourne diseases is recommended. Radiographs and Abdominal ultrasound can rule our internal haemorrhage and allow for a cancer screen. Additionally a bone marrow aspirate can be carried out. 

WHAT TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE?

In severe cases a blood transfusion is recommended, however in the UK the only source of platelets is from a whole blood transfusion. This must be carried out within four hours of collection and only when the platelet count is very low and bleeding into areas such as the respiratory system is evident. This is a salvage procedure and unfortunately very rarely makes a difference in severely thrombocytopenia patients due to the lack of active platelets in one unit of whole blood. 

In patients suffering from immune mediated thrombocytopenia, steroids or other immunosuppressing drugs are used and often these can successfully control the condition, although relapses are common. 

NURSING CONSIDERATIONS

  • Careful handling and minimal restraint
  • No neck leads to prevent pulling and avoidable bruising around the neck
  • No jugular/arterial blood sampling to prevent haemorrhage
  • Padded kennel again to prevent bruising from laying on hard floor

Hi Petblr, I️ Need Your Help!!

so i’m studying to be a vet tech. for one of my classss i️ need to interview someone in the field. it doesn’t have to be a vet tech or someone who works in a small animal practice!! i’m really looking for anyone who does anything with animals!! if you’re a trainer, vet tech, vet, breeder, etc or you know one who would be up to a quick chat about their career (it can be as simple as talking on tumblr messenger for a bit!) and their animals then please send me a message!! i’d really appreciate if you could signal boost this too!! thank you!!

learningtodolivingtoserve  asked:

I just finished my first year of undergrad, and while I've shadowed at a vet clinic before, I'm about to start a job as a veterinary assistant. While I'm super excited, I'm also extremely nervous. Any advice for starting a first job at a vet clinic?

Ooh fun question!
Congrats on finishing your first year and getting your first job as a vet assistant!

I volunteered/shadowed on and off from when I was 12-18, then got my first job as a part-time assistant at a general practice when I was 18-22, and now I’ve been working full-time as an assistant at an emergency hospital for the past year.

So much comes to mind, so this may be pretty long.

———-

-Be willing to learn! Accept that there is a lot you don’t know, and always be willing to listen and learn from more experienced people.

-Don’t be afraid to ask the doctors questions about cases. Most are more than willing to answer and explain.
(Everyone there who is more experienced has been where you are now one day in their life - when you become an experienced person, remember what it was like to be a nervous, new assistant.)

-Don’t be afraid to ask the other assistants/techs for help. If you don’t know how to do something, it’s a million times better to ask than to guess and do something incorrectly. (Same goes for clarifying what you’re ALLOWED to do.)

-On the same note, if you don’t know how to do something, but want to learn, say so, or the experienced assistant/tech may just do it FOR you.

-Restraint. Start with the nice ones!
If you’re not comfortable restraining an aggressive animal - SAY SO.
Don’t be afraid to use muzzles, e-collars, comforters for big dogs or cat-muzzles, e-collars, towels for cats - they don’t hurt the animal and they help keep everyone safe. Despite what the owner believes, the dog CAN breathe through the muzzle (be careful with muzzles and vomiting patients though).
Sometimes you can even distract patients with food (make sure they’re not on a special diet or NPO or anything). You can also pet their heads (if they’re not aggressive, just squirmy) or tap their heads gently with a pen (if they are aggressive) to distract them.
If an animal is really stressing themselves out or has a high possibility of hurting you or someone else - tell the doctor. Medical restraint (drugs) is great!
There are so many different ways to restrain animals of different sizes and temperaments for different procedures, that I don’t even know where to start. You’ll learn over time! Always be cautious. Even the nicest animals will bite when scared or in pain. Watch out for teeth and claws, but also those sneaky back feet and headbutts.

-Bring a notebook! Write down any questions you have (if it’s too busy to ask them) - you can look them up yourself, or ask them later. Write down things you learn, write down instructions on how to do something new, etc. (I actually looked back at my notebook from a year ago and had some fun reading my old questions).

-Bring snacks/drinks. My GP (general practice) shifts were 12 hours, my ECC (emergency and critical care) shifts are 11 hours. It’s a long day!

-Wear good shoes. When I started working, I wore converse sneakers and my god did my ankles hurt. It’s constant standing and walking - buy good walking sneakers!

-Everyone has their own way of doing things. If it’s something menial, take everyone’s methods into account and form your own way. If it’s something important, find a high ranking person (doctor, practice owner, head technician) and get it clarified which way YOU should do it.

-Try to keep busy! If you don’t know what to do, ask anyone if there’s anything you can do to help them. If not, you can always sweep/mop/clean. Your coworkers and employers will definitely take note of it.

-Check on patients. Maybe this comes from my emergency experience, but you can never check on patients too often! From something small like pee sitting in the cage, to a change in breathing patterns, you don’t want anything to go unnoticed for too long. If anything looks abnormal to you - ask for a second opinion.

-(May be targeted more toward Emergency.) Learn normal vitals. These are your first indicators of something going seriously wrong. Learn what a normal heart rate is for a small/medium/large dog and for a cat (and how it sounds!), learn a normal respiration rate, and normal gum color. Not as urgent - but temperature too. A change in vitals may be a normal occurrence of a disease process or side effect of medication, but always bring it up to the doctor just in case.
Hopefully you’ve been around mostly healthy animals before shadowing, so learn what “breathing weird” looks like, and whether it’s increased effort (dyspnea) or increased rate (tachypnea)… or both. You hear about pale gums and cyanotic (blue/purple) gums a lot, but if you ever get to see them, take note of what they actually look like on a living patient. Mentation is important too - is that crazy energetic puppy suddenly only glancing over at you when you open the cage door? That cat who wanted to kill you an hour ago not even hissing when you disconnect his fluids?

-(May be targeted toward emergency). Triage. In the emergency room, we triage everything. In GP, we did not. Sometimes it’s obvious, like a patient hit by a car needs to be rushed straight back, and a puppy hopping around for a vaccine appointment does not. But if you get a chance to look around the waiting room, take a look at the patients. Take note of any abnormal breathing, mucous membrane color, a patient lying on its side (laterally recumbent) and not really reacting to its environment. Sometimes owners don’t realize how serious of an emergency they have. It’s important to pick out the important pieces of information from what owners tell you. You’ll learn how to ask the right questions.

-Double check your math. If your doctor gives you medication doses in milligrams, you’ll have to convert them to milliliters. Even if you’re just filling oral meds in the pharmacy, you may need to figure out how many tablets equates to the right number of milligrams. Double check your math. Triple check your math. Ask someone else to check it. Check it until you’re confident. (Soon you’ll get an idea of “that seems like a really high dose”, is it written correctly?)

-Be clear. Working around other people who know a lot about animals and medicine gives us a skewed perspective. Don’t assume every owner knows something that’s “common sense” to you. Be very clear with explanations or medication instructions. 

-Label everything! If you have a pill just sitting somewhere, that’s extremely dangerous. Always write the type of medication, the dose, and the patient name. If an owner drops off treats for their pet in the hospital - label it! If you have a pet temporarily in a cage, write his name (you definitely don’t want patients getting mixed up and getting the wrong treatments). Label everything!

-Always keep a record, write things down. When the doctor asks you 8 hours later what diet you fed a specific patient this morning when there’s 20 other in-patients, you’ll be glad you did!

-Be nice to clients. People are frustrating, some people are very rude, but get used to your “customer service” persona!

-If you don’t have qualifications, be careful answering client questions. Depending on the rules of your practice, you may not be allowed to answer certain questions unless you’re a doctor. Unless the doctor explicitly tells you that you can tell an owner something, always tell the client that you will have the doctor come right in to talk with them.
Unless it’s a straightforward question like, “Has he vomited today?”. (I’m talking about questions like: “When are we gonna decrease his medication?” “When can he come home from the hospital?” “Do you think he’s gonna live?” “Have his kidneys gotten worse?”)

-Learn how the front desk works! Just because you’re working as an assistant in the back doesn’t mean you should be confined back there. In my first job, the front desk was completely separate from the back treatment area, and none of the assistants knew how to work the front desk. Sometimes it’s busy or you need to cover someone for lunch, and you should learn how to check someone out, book an appointment, answer a phone call. It’s very helpful to understanding how the practice works as a whole. 

-Clean up after yourself. If you make a mess, don’t leave it for someone else to clean up - this is a good way to annoy coworkers, haha. Of course, this isn’t always doable. Sometimes it gets busy, and everything turns into a mess at once.

-Respect the dead. Everyone in the medical field gets calloused to death/euthanasia because we have to. As sad as it is, sometimes euthanasia really is the best option for a suffering animal. We see death so often that letting every death tear us apart emotionally would be unsustainable. (Ever see that Scrubs episode where they talk about a patient dying, and how his whole family is taking the day off, but all the doctors have to move right on to the next patient a minute later? They say how they make jokes because it’s the only way to cope.)
All that aside, have some respect for the patients. It’s okay to be emotionally calloused, but don’t be disrespectful. Don’t throw patients into body bags. Remember that this was someone’s best friend for a number of years. Treat them how you would want your deceased pet to be treated. 

-That’s a good overall rule. Treat your patients how you would want your own pet to be treated in a hospital. 

-Shadowing is a lot different than working. I’ve heard stories of people who graduate veterinary school, and all their experience is shadowing. They’ve never worked as an assistant or a technician, and when they handle their first patient, it’s clear they’ve never restrained a fractious cat. When shadowing, you just kind of stand there and watch. Your whole purpose for being there is to watch and learn - so you get to see all the “cool” cases and procedures and ask questions whenever. When you’re working, you may miss a “cool case” because you’re busy restraining the dog with an ear infection. But you learn what it’s REALLY like to work in an animal hospital on a daily basis - your future career! And it taught me a huge amount. A recent veterinary graduate told me that having all this experience working will help me immensely in veterinary school. Instead of just learning the concept of a disease in school, you’ll be able to relate it to that patient who HAD the disease and what the symptoms actually looked like.

——-

Good luck! 

Unfortunately the calf didn’t make it, but the baby kitten is doing better each day. I am no longer fostering him as Doc has fallen head-over-heals, and he is gonna be her kitty now! Today she saw most of her appointments with baby thing snuggled up in her pocket =^.^=

He’s still just the B.C. (Blind Cat) for now, as the family can’t agree on a name xD

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ARTHRODESIS (FUSION OF THE JOINT)

Arthrodesis is the permanent surgical fusion of a joint so that there is no longer natural movement in this part of the limb. In veterinary terminology this procedure is often referred to as a “salvage procedure’ and is often only preformed when there is no other option.

 WHAT JOINTS CAN THIS PROCEDURE BE PREFORMED ON?

This surgery can be performed on:

·      The Shoulder

·      The Carpus

·      The Stifle

·      The Hock

·      A Digit

Arthrodesis of the hip is not possible and would be unnecessary as total hip replacements can be carried out.  

WHY WOULD YOU CARRY OUT ARTHRODESIS?

The main reasons for Arthrodesis is when a joint is suffering from Osteoarthritis  causing chronic pain which can not be sufficiently managed medically. joint instability along with muscle and tendon rupture and joint surface fractures also benefit from this surgery.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS?

The surgery involves removing the articular cartilage from the surface of the joint and placing a bone graft into the spaces between the bones to encourage fusion. This can be done with an autograft (from the patient) or allograft (from a donor) or a combination of both. To stabilise the joint while the bones fuse two plates are secured to the bones under the skin. 

WHAT IS THE AFTERCARE?

Immediate aftercare is regular pain checks and the administration of an opioid such as Methadone every 2-4hours depending on the mg/kg prescribed. An NSAID such as Metacam to reduce inflammation is also recommended and this alongside cold compresses every fours should be enough to make the patient comfortable. For the first few days cage rest with only short lead walks to eliminate are recommended, after this exercise should continued to be restricted for 8-12 weeks. At this point a radiograph will be taken to show whether the fusion has been successful.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS? 

Risks and complications of this procedure include:

·      Failure of fusion resulting in loosening of implants.

·      Breakdown and infection of wound

·      Fractures of bones adjacent to the fused joint due to abnormal forces

WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS?

Limb function following Arthrodesis depends on the joint that has undergone surgery. 

Good function – Carpal and Hock

Fair function – Shoulder

Significant compromise – Elbow and Stifle, a curicumduct gait where the affected limb is swung outwards is often noted.