This Is Why We Love Our Job

In any field, there are things that become your reward for a job well done. As a veterinarian, the best we can do is save a life and sometimes we even get a thank you from a happy owner.

This is Zulu’s story…and it has a happy ending with happy owners.

Zulu was referred to us by a house call veterinarian colleague after several days of vomiting and not feeling well in early February. There was a suspicion that she might have eaten something she shouldn’t have and that it was stuck in her intestines. As is typical for these kinds of emergencies, Zulu came in on a late Friday appointment.  Her belly wasn’t painful, but she had not been eating, had been vomiting and was getting steadily worse. We started our post-exam work up with x-rays of her belly and they looked suspicious for an intestinal foreign body (click here to see). After discussion, the owners elected for Zulu to go into surgery for an abdominal exploratory that evening.

As soon as I entered her belly at surgery, it was obvious that we had a foreign body and we had some really unhappy intestines. Out came the foreign body – very likely a thick wool ski sock, but unrecognizable after several days in Zulu’s GI tract (click here to see). Then there was a little wait and see time to see how our intestine was going to respond to the removal of the sock. It became clear that there was an area of intestine where the sock had been lodged that was not healthy. An eight inch section of her intestine was removed and the healthy intestine was sewn back together – a procedure called a resection and anastimosis or R-n-A.

It’s always a little nerve-wracking to perform an R-n-A because there can be failure or breakdown of the site, leading to leakage of intestinal contents into the belly which causes a whole horrible set of complications. But Zulu bounced back and never had any complications.  She is back to being a playful, happy two year old pup – and Mom & Dad make sure that the socks are all out of Zulu’s reach!  And Mom sent this great homemade thank you card.

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