Feb 23 2015

Caring for the special four legged patient.

Susan Bloemke has been a veterinary assistant for 20 years at Kirkwood Animal Hospital!
Most of us are in this business for the same reason…WE LOVE ANIMALS. But what keeps us coming back, what motivates us every day? Now specifically I can’t speak for others but for me it is the most difficult patient. I do not mean difficult as in angry, aggressive, or frustrating. Instead I welcome them as a challenge. For me these are the elderly patients. Sure at first sight they are not aesthetically appealing. They have an odor, missing hair and teeth, can’t see or hear, sometimes lose control of bowels or bladder and may have a cranky attitude. But they are still going with the determination of a bull after the matador. Which I have much respect for. My challenge begins when they are hospitalized, especially for an extended time. This is when my riddle or puzzle begins. How to get all the medications dosed, treatments completed, food eaten and last but not least how to keep them comfortable & at ease. If I am lucky the medications are injections or will be pills the patient readily takes in food. Most times it’s never this easy. Food is heated or watered down to entice. Sometimes it is how or what kind of dish the food is served on. Some won’t eat unless left alone. Others will eat only while being petted. Any treatment whether it is i.v. fluids or bandage applications can be tricky. The constant movement can remove the i.v. or bandage. So vigilant checks are necessary. Even still the most challenging is the comfort level. There are pets with heart or lungs issues that could need constant attention to breathing. This could be changed by air circulation or even how they are sitting in the cage. Some have too low or too high of temperature which needs to be externally regulated. Some are uncomfortable due to arthritic pain. Others it’s cognitive dysfunction. Being elderly confused and in a strange place is simply no fun. So I am constantly trying to tweak their environment until they are calm. Many times they just want a comfortable bed. Some enjoy the cool steel cage. There are patients that feel better with cage covered up, so they are ‘hidden’. Occasionally there are some that enjoy a bit of music or the ‘white noise’ of a fan running nearby. Whatever they need I try to figure it out. It only makes it better for every person and pet patient involved. The best feeling I have is figuring out that puzzle of needs so they can use all their energy to heal. It’s like finally filling in the last word of a crossword puzzle. WHEW!

kirkwood | Uncategorized

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