Mason has been limping for a week and didn't seem to get any better. Historically, Mason isn't the most graceful dog and occasionally sprains something a limps for a few days. But I never saw him lick the top of his paw like he was now doing. I applied different types of pressures to his paw and moved it in all these directions and he elicited no pain...hmm, that was strange.
At school I brought this issue up and one of my classmate suggested that I really put my fingers up under his pads b/c goldens in Oklahoma tend to get things stuck up there. Ok. So when I got home after 12 that night I felt up in his pad and he tried to pull away as though it was painful. When I pulled my figure out I smelled a Staph. infection. So something was up, but I couldn't see with the light in the family room or without shaving.
The next night Nathan brought him up to school while I was on my ICU shift. We lifted him on the table and I shaved all the long airs off. I still couldn't see the problem. When I put a bright light up there I saw one of his pads was swelled and lacerated. I started pulled on the dried up pus and finally i pulled out 1/2 an acorn. How could he have fit 1/2 acorn up there is beyond me, but after we cleaned it up and wrapped it with bandages he was no longer limping and resumed being a happy doggie.
I am on my ICU rotation. What is that? Well all the small animal intensive care cases (the dogs on fluids, the hit by cars, the post-op dogs, the ashma cat...etc) go into ICU. They had this crazy schedule where you may work 7:30-4p one day and 12am-9am the next day, so my sleep schedule is totally wached. Nathan took this schedule a worked on it like a logic problem and ended up producing a really effecient schedule for future rotations...yea Nathan! Extra brownie points for me.
Anyway, I have learned quite a bit. I am practicing puting in catheters on legs. But I have gotten to put in a urinary catheter, a central venous catheter (in the neck), make up fluids, calculate fluid and drug dosages, etc etc. I think this is mainly a skills based rotation b/c in practice our techs will do most of this stuff but I guess we have to know how to do it so we can teach them.
One thing that has been sad is that we have had several animals who came in and were terminally ill. They were in pain, they were suffering, and their owners for one reason or another wouldn't put them down. I understand that isn't my decision to make and thus I can express my opinions in this format. Let's take Mason or Cody as an example. They have served as my devoted companions through thick and thin for over 11 years. No matter how busy I was or how long I was gone, they never questioned my love for them. They have stayed by my side. It would literally tear my insides out to have to watch my devoted companions, my loved ones die in such agony, to live in such an undignified matter, to sit there through their suffering being unable to help heal my own suffering.
So when is enough, enough? I have thought this many times myself and I asked a professor once who gave me an extremely insightful answer. Think of 3 things your animal LOVES to do. When your animal can no do these things then it may be time.