Saturday, 30 May 2009


No it's not America's top model.

It's the narrow corridor behind the consulting rooms which I ask owners to trot their lame dogs up and down.

Recently, I've realised that diagnosing lameness this way is just pants.

Most of the dogs try and dive off into another consulting room, or worse still the cattery.

Meanwhile nurses lay helpful obstacles like clinical waste bags in their path, which always deserve a good sniff.

Owners have NO control, teachers who complain about kids in schools today will empathise with this.  Walking in a straight line is an impossible task.

Sadly, some owners of lame dogs are overweight.  Therefore their pets are  overweight too and will suffer with joint disease.

I watched one such owner this week, his girth so great that I couldn't actually see the dog and decided I'm giving up on runways.  

Bring on the X-rays.

Monday, 25 May 2009


My vet friend told me this one.  It's true.

Question : What does a male guinea pig do on the ride home in the car when his deceased mate 
(who didn't do so well during the trip to the vets) is placed in the box next to him.  A mate who bullied and chastised him and never showed him any ounce of affection her whole life.

.....yep, you've guessed it!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Water, water everywhere.

It's 11 pm and I've just returned home.  

If I were a normal thirty something I would smell of beer and cigarettes and possibly curry after a healthy night out, but no not me, because I SMELL OF PISS !

Since 8pm tonight I've unblocked two cat urethras in a row and then examined a Husky with a man-made hole in it's manhood......

No disrespect to male genitalia but...


...well, not tonight anyway....

Monday, 18 May 2009

I am frightened..

...of the work experience.

I don't like turning my back on him.  He's not right.

I'm nice to him because I am scared of him in a 'might turn up to work with a shotgun' kind of way.

I'm not going to eat cookies if he brings them on Friday.

I'm going on a diet for the next four days so no-one suspects....

Friday, 15 May 2009


Maggie the Jack Russell Terrier is having a bit of a hard time.

She has three week old puppies.  Her whole body is shaking and tremoring continuously.

I stumble upon the unhappy scene in the prep room.  A nurse has been left in attendance of both gibbering dog and a now gibbering owner, who is extremely worried.  Meanwhile a blood sample is currently being run in the lab by the colleague who admitted the dog.  He wants to see whether low calcium levels could be the cause of her tetany.  This would be the most likely cause in a lactating bitch.

It takes fifteen minutes to run the sample.  My colleague shows no sign of returning to check on his patient for the duration of the test. 

I have to interfere because the nurse tells me that Molly's temperature has gone up two degrees in the last few minutes and is now dangerously high.

I place an IV catheter and administer intravenous diazepam followed by intravenous calcium.

Slowly Maggie's symptoms subside.

By the time my colleague returns with the result the dog is much better.  The result confirms that her calcium was low.

I doubt James Herriot would have had a fancy lab machine and there are probably many practices today in a similar position who would have done exactly the same thing.

My conclusion at the end of James Herriot vs LittleVet week:

Today our clients may be more demanding and our standard of care may have increased but veterinary surgeons still have to rely on a degree of instinct and experience to make the right call in situations like this one. 

However advanced veterinary medicine may become the age old problem of treating a patient that cannot speak or describe symptoms will always make thorough history taking and clinical examination the most important part of a veterinary surgeons repertoire.  In this respect I make the argument that whilst the modern veterinary surgeon may have more toys to play with the basic principles of veterinary medicine have not changed much at all.

In other words there's a James Herriot inside each and every one of us.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


Tom, a thirteen year old cat was presented with blindness and a 'bloody eye'.

Tom's retinas have been blasted off their hinges by high blood pressure and this has caused the bleeding.

Two days later he has gained a reasonable amount of vision as a result of prompt diagnosis and treatment with blood pressure reducing medication.

I'm pretty certain that In James Herriot's day Tom's blood pressure would not have been measured and Tom would be spending the rest of his days bumping into walls and trying not to get run over (though it's likely traffic was a good deal quieter in those days)

Running score: 

LittleVet: Two

James Herriot: Two

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Jigsaw puzzles.

I'm not sure James could have solved this one without a fancy ASIF kit (meccano set for vets).  

I have to admit we did crap ourselves when this showed up on the orthopaedic vets week off.  But the boss proved he's 'still got it'.  

Surely a four legged dog is better than one with three?

Running score:

LittleVet: One

James Herriot: Two

Monday, 11 May 2009


Mr A has bought a puppy from Mr B which turns out to have condition X.

Mr A wants his money back.

Now myself and the vet who has treated Mr B's bitch have to write a report for the judge.

It's taken me an hour and I just know that it's been a complete waste of time.

Then Mrs D who's cat was killed by Mr E's dog yesterday wants me to phone Mr E to tell him it must wear a muzzle.......

Thankfully we have a practice manager who kindly informed Mrs D that although I was very sorry for her loss I could not get involved.

 James would never have had a practice manager but would he have had to deal with this sort of crap?

Running score:

James Herriot: Two

LittleVet: Zero

Sunday, 10 May 2009

James Herriot versus LittleVet

James Herriot is probably one of the biggest reasons why I became a vet.  

Recently I've been wondering whether veterinary medicine has changed much since his time.

This week each day, I will be blogging about an interesting/challenging case I have seen and I will put myself in Alf White's shoes to see whether being a modern vet would have been made any difference to case management.

Lets start with Barney the cocker spaniel I saw at 8pm last night.

Reason for presentation: Swallowed a fish hook complete with line and bait. No sign of either on examination.

Case management: GA remove hook from back of tongue using small pair of artery forceps.

Time taken to complete procedure: Five minutes.

Time taken to tidy away equipment that was made ready but deemed unnecessary (including video-endoscope, bronchoscope, large pair of grasping forceps, several tubes to remove foreign body from oesophagus and switch off digital X-ray system): Fifteen minutes.

Score so far:

LittleVet: Zero

James Herriot: One. Hook line and sinker.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Serious Error.

I would like to apologise to my readers (all 21 of you) for a serious error that was made on yesterdays blog as pointed out anonymously (see yesterdays comments).

I would like to point out that swine flu is in fact H1N1 and H5N1 is in fact bird flu.

This demonstrates that you shouldn't believe everything written in a blog especially when a  small animal vet attempts to quote on a large animal matter off the top of her dizzy blonde head.

...but you can still eat the f*cking pork anyway.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Diagnosis Nailed

Some time ago Albert the duck was off colour so my colleague decided to take an X-ray:

We'll never know why or how Albert managed to eat the nails. 

The owner declined surgery and three years later Albert is absolutely fine.  

Albert's owner has a metal detector which he passes over him from time to time as a result we know one of the nails is still present (the other worked it's way out under his left wing last week).

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Last request

The list read:

'Please remove the following:
Hair from the back of the left front-leg where the coat changes from brown to white.
Hair from the left stomach where it is slightly fluffy.
Hair from behind the right ear.
Hair from the right back leg where there is a small ginger bit.'

Sometimes in order to cope with the death of a pet people develop certain rituals.  In this case Mrs Brown had requested various parts of Phoebe the cat's coat be trimmed off so she could keep it in a picture frame.  

Phoebe was currently residing at the bottom of the freezer awaiting cremation.

Thankfully the practice hoover had not been emptied that morning.

Friday, 1 May 2009


I love birthdays because there will be cake.

This morning when I heard the 'Happy Birthday' chorus coming from kennels I leapt up and endeavoured to track down the source of the singing.

Imagine by disappointment when at the end of the trail stood not a big fat chocolate birthday cake but Seamus, a big fat shaggy Labrador.

'Where's the cake?' I asked the nurses.

'There's no cake. The owner told us we had to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Seamus in order to make him follow us into the kennels.' The nurse shrugged. 'Bizarrely, it actually works.'

Judging by the size of Seamus, I wasn't the only one with a liking for birthday cake.