Posted By: Harry

A Peek Behind the Scenes: A Weekend in the Life of a Small Animal Vet at Shepton Vets

Curious about what weekends are like for our dedicated small animal vets at Shepton and Wells Vets? Join us on a virtual journey through a typical weekend on call, where our veterinarians go above and beyond to provide exceptional care to our furry companions. From handling various cases to late-night emergencies, follow along as we give you a glimpse into the dynamic world of veterinary care during weekends. Experience the highs, the challenges, and the moments that make our work incredibly rewarding. Dive into the captivating narrative of our weekend on call

A weekend on call for small animal vets is a marmite situation. Some people love them, and some people don’t. Even then, the people who start off loving them may change their minds at various points throughout the weekend. At Shepton and Wells Vets, our weekend shift starts at 8:30 on Saturday and finishes on 8:30 on Monday. We are at the Shepton Hospital 8:30-4 on the Saturday for regular consults and 9:30-11:30 on the Sunday for our Poorly Pets Clinic (PPC). The rest of the time we hope to spend as much of it as possible at home. But usually, extra time is spent at the clinic to deal with emergency cases or in-patients. Here is an example of a weekend on call I did a few weeks ago:

Saturday Consults – Saturday consisted of a varied day of consults and inpatients. The consults included a post-operative check, a pregnancy scan, an itchy dog, a vaccination booster, a re-check of a cat's eye and examination of a cat’s mouth. Between consults, I was in discussion with the nurses about the inpatients we had in the kennels and cattery.

In the kennels, we had a lovely dog who had unfortunately been hit by a car. He had a fractured pelvis which I had diagnosed the day before, unfortunately he was still very sore and due to the complicated nature of his injuries.

In the cattery, we had a beautiful cat who had an infected uterus, called a pyometra, diagnosed the day before. This was done by using an ultrasound scanner identifying a uterus full of pus. Not very pleasant for the cat. It is quite rare for cats to get this, about 2.2% of unneutered cats will develop this before 13 years old. Dogs, on the other hand, can develop this disease far more commonly with about 20% of unneutered dogs developing this before 10 years old. Neutering your pets eliminates the risk of this condition developing.

Saturday Evening and Night – After getting home soon after the clinic closed, I tried to have a relaxing evening. I watched the Champions League Final between Man City and Inter Milan. I received a call midway through the game regarding a patient with ongoing condition, he was stable and it was decided that we would book in an appointment for the PPC in the morning. The one thing you can guarantee when you are on call is that every so often you have a worry run through your mind that your phone is accidentally on silent, and you have missed someone trying to call you. You will check your phone, see no one has called you and check it is still on loud. After the game was over and I started getting ready for bed, my phone called. It was a vomiting and diarrhoeic dog after a hot day, I met the owners at the practice and discussed the plan. The dog was hospitalised, and bloods were run. The blood results didn’t show anything underlying so the patient remained at the practice overnight with our night nurse on a drip. Luckily, I had no further calls that night and was able to get some sleep.

Sunday PPC – I arrived at the practice at about 9am. The first patient I saw was the call from last night, he was still under the weather. He was hospitalised for treatment. This is when the phone started ringing quite a lot. A couple more poorly pets were seen during the morning's clinic, one was scanned and another was given some medication to go home with. The phones go over to our answering service once our PPC closes, therefore all calls come through to my mobile from there until Monday morning. To give you an brief idea of what ensued next, 15 calls from the answering service and a very late night (more like early morning).

Sunday Afternoon – It seemed to be a day of vomiting and diarrhoea. I saw 5+ patients with those symptoms that weekend. Also, I saw a dog that was struggling with labour. She had passed a couple of pups, one of which was very sadly not able to be revived. Discussing with the owners, a caesarean section was performed which went very well. Soon after this, I had to perform the sad role of putting someone’s best friend to sleep. It was very dignified and respectful but also tragic as it was a very young animal with a severe condition. The roller coaster of emotion was dramatic for those few hours.

Sunday Evening – As the afternoon turned into evening, I was assessing and checking inpatients. As I had hoped I would not have stayed in the clinic for this long I had not brought any food. I ordered an excessive Dominoes order to keep my spirits and blood glucose high. Having started to tuck in, I got a call from the answering service about a diabetic dog which was lethargic and vomiting. Diabetic dogs are predisposed to conditions as complications of the disease. Some include, pancreatitis, urinary tract infections and a life-threatening condition called diabetic keto-acidosis. Having performed some tests on her, it seemed likely that she had pancreatitis. She was in a critical condition overnight but luckily we had our night nurse looking after her and our other inpatients overnight. I got home in the early hours of the morning and kept my fingers crossed that all the calls had already happened and I could get some sleep.

Monday Morning – Wahoo, no more calls! I woke up ready and (somewhat) refreshed for another day at work.

- Harry Connock

At Shepton and Wells Vets, we pride ourselves on offering comprehensive and convenient veterinary care to our valued customers. Our commitment to exceptional service extends beyond regular practice hours, as we provide an in-house out-of-hours service that sets us apart from others in the industry.

When emergencies arise or urgent veterinary care is needed during weekends and nights, our team is ready to respond. Our weekend on-call shifts ensure that our clients have access to professional veterinary assistance throughout the weekend. This round-the-clock availability demonstrates our dedication to the well-being of our patients and their families, providing peace of mind knowing that expert care is just a phone call away.

By offering in-house out-of-hours care, we prioritise continuity of care for our patients. Our veterinarians, already familiar with their medical history and specific needs, can seamlessly transition from regular practice hours to after-hours care. This not only ensures a smooth and efficient experience but also allows us to deliver personalised and tailored care even during non-traditional hours.

Our team handles a wide range of cases during these on-call shifts, from routine consultations to emergency situations. We understand the importance of being there for our clients during critical moments, providing compassionate and skilled veterinary services when they are needed most. With our in-house out-of-hours service, we aim to alleviate worries and provide prompt and reliable care for our patients.

At Shepton and Wells Vets, we take pride in being a trusted partner for our clients and their pets. Our commitment to offering in-house out-of-hours care showcases our dedication to providing exceptional service and prioritising the well-being of our patients. When emergencies occur, you can trust that our experienced professionals are prepared to deliver the necessary support ensuring the best possible outcome for your beloved pet.

We remain committed to being there for our clients whenever they need us, day or night. Your trust in our out-of-hours service allows us to continue delivering compassionate and reliable care, always putting the needs of our patients first.

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