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Relay Barbiturate Toxicity Case Report

Hayley Rasmussen - Washington State

In February of 2015 veterinarians were called on emergency to a wild animal sanctuary in Reno, Nevada. The emergency consisted of one wolf found dead, one tiger found unresponsive, and a cheetah found alive but unresponsive. Jamar, a 9-year-old male, castrated cheetah had been at the same sanctuary since April of 2006. When the veterinarian arrived, Jamar was unconscious, hypothermic (not registering by rectal thermometer), tachycardic (180-200 beats per minute), and bradypneic (8-10 breaths per minute).  Mucous membrane color was pink, and capillary refill time was less than two seconds. His eyes were rolled ventral with a very sluggish palpebral response.

Initial treatment was symptomatic and involved warming the patient with appropriate placement of warm fluid bags and blankets, intravenous fluid therapy (emergency replacement at 60 mL/kg for one hour, followed by maintenance level) and dextrose supplementation. At the time of initial treatment, there was a large differential list, including mostly toxic events because of the multiple animal involvement where there was a history of the patients eating a shared meat source.

Blood was drawn to run a complete blood count and serum chemistry panel, while urine was obtained by manual expression so a urinalysis could be performed. The blood work results were unremarkable except for a very mild lymphopenia, hypoproteinemia, and hypernatremia. Urinalysis results were unremarkable as well. An over the counter barbiturate dip-stick test of the urine was positive. A positive OTC urine barbiturate test is not definitive for barbiturate toxicity; however, with the case history and clinical signs this was highly suggestive of relay toxicity in Jamar.

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Memes on Memes

Now for our FAVORITE category... MEMES!!!  Here are 3 of the 6 award winning submissions for Volume 51, Issue 1!

Rachel McPhail - Texas A&M

Steffi Muller - Virginia-Maryland

 Ellie Engelen - Minnesota



The Elephant Doctor 

This piece received the 2nd Best Overall Aubmission Award for Volume 51, Issue 1, as well as 1st place for Foot in Mouth Disease. 

Two years ago, I hopped on a plane to Thailand to scratch a major item off of my bucket list: I wanted to work with elephants. The timing was right. I had eight months until I started vet school and enough money to buy the round-trip ticket.  

Some thirty hours after my departure, I waited outside the bus station in Kanchanaburi, sleep-deprived but excited for my upcoming adventure. A battered pickup truck beeped and slowed to a stop in front of me. The hefty Dutch woman inside told me to hurry up and get in. This was Agnes, the volunteer coordinator for ElephantsWorld. As soon as I had both feet inside of the cab, she was rolling. Agnes spoke quickly and with a thick accent, and I had trouble focusing on what she was saying as she wove in and out of the lane and nearly ran a pedestrian down.

“What do you do for a living?” Agnes asked in a tone that suggested that she was repeating the question.

I told her that I would be starting vet school the following fall. This seemed to satisfy her, and she changed topics again as we drove further from the city.  

When we arrived at ElephantsWorld, Agnes introduced me as “Kate the vet student.” I thought about qualifying that with “future vet student,” but it seemed like a harmless mistake.

It wasn’t until the next day that I realized Agnes was rapidly advancing my career—whether she was doing this on purpose or not, I could never be sure. “Kate is almost finished with veterinary school,” she told a few of the staff members. I did my best to correct her, but the workers seemed to find this funny and started calling me Soon-Doc.

At the end of the first week, Agnes introduced me to the veterinarian who sporadically stopped by to check on the elephants. “This is Kate, a vet from America,” she said. He smiled and gave me a nod. He had a slightly puzzled look as I tried to explain that I was not, in fact, a vet. Turns out he only knew very basic English, and Agnes wasn’t interested in translating for me with her poor knowledge of Thai.

The veterinarian seemed to remember something, and looked to me. He spoke in Thai and pointed to one of the elephants standing in the shade.

I caught penicillin and iodine, but whatever his request was, I had to wait for Agnes’ translation.

“What did he say?” I asked. He was already walking away.

“Oh, he just wants you to keep an eye on Aum Pan while he’s gone. She has an abscess under her chin.”

“What am I supposed to do about it?” I asked in a slight panic. “And how long will he be gone?”

“He’s just going for two weeks. He said that you need to give her a hundred milliliters of penicillin every two days. And if it bursts, just clean it up a little. No problem, right?”

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Best Overall Submission (and Creative Corner Award) Winner

Snihgdha Paul - Western
Volume 51, Issue 1 

"The Late Jett Harbody"

"Pugnatius MMXV" - Creative Corner Award


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