Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Chick Chick Chick Chickens....

It's time to tackle the feather raising topic of chickens :)

Chickens are becoming more and more popular as pets these days. I remember when I started nursing (yes I am that old) that it was rare to see one, now they are almost a daily occurrence. In animal shelters there is an increasing amount of abandoned or surrendered chickens.

There are various CPDs now dedicated to the 'backyard hen'.

Two hens outdoors on grass © Andrew Forsyth / RSPCA Photolibrary

After having one in today I was reminded of the common chicken issues. This one had an abscess on its foot, I've seen this quite a few times - also known as Bumblefoot. This in an abscess is normally caused by a cut to the skin allowing bacteria like Staphylococcus to enter and form an abscess. Treatment is normally to lance the abscess and flush with a chlorhexidine solution. Antibiotics are not always needed but a wash out period should be used if the owner eats the eggs.

Other common health issues are;

Red mites - Dermanyssus gallinae, are a blood sucking ectoparasite. These mites can be hard to spot unless in large numbers, during the day they tend to live in the chicken coop (in the crevices in the wood) at night they emerge to feed on the chicken. Large numbers of these cause anaemia, reduction in egg laying, weakness etc. Treatment is normally a powder used directly on the bird and also a separate powder to treat the coop. In large numbers some disinfectants can also be helpful to treat the environment.

Worms - Just like in domesticated animals, chickens also get worms. These can cause diarrhoea, anaemia, and reduced egg laying. Treatment is normally with Flubenvet 1%. I would also advise taking a faecal sample into your local vet and asking them to look, this can also rule out other bacteria burdens that your pet may have.

Feather loss - This could be simply sue to moulting. However more often than not its stress induced, pecking or due to mites/lice. Treatment is down to cause. Sometimes it can be down to diet, additional protein can be added to the diet in the form of a multivitamin. Stress could be down to other birds, or lack of stimulation and boredom. Observation of the birds can sometimes rule out if they're just figuring out a pecking order, or if its down to another stress.

In my experience chickens make great pets, they have amazing personalities. Can help with the waste disposal of kitchen leftovers. They're great fun to watch or be chased around the garden by. If in doubt of any health issues seek vet assistance. Otherwise enjoy these amazing pets :)

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Check out the guy who took his chicken sailing across the world :)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Inappropriate moments vet nursing.

I thought I'd write a selection of short stories of inappropriate moments in Vet practice...a montage if you will. I should probably put a disclaimer here that they're not for the faint hearted, things go on in every work place....right?

PTS consults are always emotional affairs, no matter who is involved and dignity needs to be kept at all times. Being in the profession we all have that innate fear of not hitting the vein, trying to make the animals last moments as smooth as possible. We rehearse our speech to the client, we pray that the animal doesn't respond in any distressed way.
What we don't account for however are those one in a million consults. Like the time I snuck into the consult with the clippers, spirit swab and somber face on, only to be met head on by the vet smirking at me as he leaves the room to get a towel. OK I think, I mean yes a towel is what we need. I'm still contemplating the smirk when the owner stands back up after clearly kneeling down to be with her beloved pet. Her face is bright red, I think oh goodness this is going to be a tough one, then I spot it..... a giant split up in her trousers and a gaping hole left around her buttocks (apologies for the hole joke). I turn around to face the sink, breath deeply, regain my composure and continue with what actually turned out to be a smooth PTS.

Or like the time a client comes into consult with no animal present. My colleague thinks OK perhaps they're coming to discuss a case (this happens so isn't unusual). How can I help you today? She asks. To my colleagues horror the client then drops her pants and says 'It was quicker to get an appointment here than with my doctor, I think I have a tick, could you remove it for me?'

Have any of you ever revived a puppy during a c-section? I have, in fact I've lost count of the amount of times. There's always quite a lot of fluid and normally amniotic sack still attached. The last one I did I was in my usual swing motion when I heard a splat. Immediately the whole op theatre looked at me, I in horror look at my hands and suddenly thought phew as the puppy was still present in my hands. I look behind me, just as a big great gloop is sliding down the wall to the floor. Oopsie I say, as the theatre erupts in a fit of giggles.

Microchipping a cat twice....happens to us all right?

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Or how about when you try to do the right thing and take an underweight hedgehog home so that you can fatten it up. You meticulously set up an old rabbit hutch, place a bowl of cat food and water in it. Step back and admire your handiwork thinking - yes I am the best nurse ever. Until you awake in the morning, go to feed said hedgepig.... only to find it has escaped from the hutch overnight and is now once again out in the wilderness underweight.... still the thought was there...?

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