Allison Gedney, Oklahoma State
Foot In Mouth Disease, Honorable Mention
One evening during my first summer at a new small animal veterinary clinic I answered the phone. After listening to the owners reason for calling I asked for the animals name and typed " Ethyl". This pulled up a Coatimundi listed in our computer system. Naturally it was about 7pm on a Friday night and we closed at 8pm. The owner requested a certain doctor to see her animal before closing however,that doctor was not in. I asked the owner if she wanted to see that specific doctor because of her animal being a "exotic", she replied yes. I put her on hold, walked calmly to the doctors desk and pulled up a picture of a Coatimundi on the computer and explained to her what the owners complaint was. The distressed doctor picked up the phone and talked to client starting off by saying" you know, I am really sorry but I've never even heard of let alone seen one of these before!" The client paused then asked " you have never seen a dog before?!" As it turns out I should have typed "Ethel" into the computer to find the correct animal, a miniature schnauzer. The doctor was humiliated, I was humiliated, and I learned the importance of getting a full history including the patients last name.
Not allowed to work in reception anymore.
I could no longer stand. The sweltering heat, nauseating stench, and physical exertions had drained my stamina. After the gigli wire slackened, I dropped the saw handles and slumped against the nearest fencepost. While attempting to blink away the stars that danced in my eyes, I examined the pieces of bisected fetus sprawled across the maternity pen. It was the most gruesome composition I had ever seen: one head, two vertebrae, two pelvises, and eight legs.
On a hot July morning in Turlock, California, Dr. Kavishti Kokaram and I had been performing the routine pregnancy checks of a dairy herd from five until noon. Dr. Kokaram called the Lander Veterinary Clinic to report that we had finished, and the office personal notified us of an emergency; a dystocia at a nearby dairy. In the interest of time, we skipped lunch and headed straight over.
We quickly located the straining cow and were assaulted by the putrid, sickeningly sweet smell of decay. Palpating around the legs of the fetus, it felt as if the corpse were doubled over and twisted downward past the point of my reach. It was obviously an incorrect fetal position, although not a familiar irregularity. Dr. Kavishti decided to pump sterile lube into the uterus and attempt to pull the calf. Although we knew the fetus would likely remain trapped, we were hoping to reveal more about the nature of the dystocia. Dr. Kavishti was correct; pulling had shifted the calf enough for us to feel additional abnormalities. The fetus was deformed.
Removal of the dead fetus via a fetotomy was the most plausible solution. Dr. K. prepared the fetotome and obstetrical wire saw. After using the wire guide to position the wire, he instructed me to stand by the cow’s pelvis, brace myself, and prevent the fetotome from moving. Sweat was pouring down his face when I offered to switch places.