It's a dog's life

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This week at Macquarie Island: 10 February 2012

Life is never dull being an Expedition Medical Officer. When I discovered that I would need to be vet as well as doctor I was not quite sure what I was in for. Two days of veterinary training in Hobart did not entirely prepare me for some of the challenges that have been presented to me since my arrival here.

Some of the dogs are currently having a lot of problems with grass seeds. These can get embedded in a variety of places, most commonly in the mouth, where they can cause all sort of interesting swellings and infections. Finding them and getting them out is a challenge.  

Limps are another common dog problem, just as they are in people here. The rough terrain and the nature of the work is as tough on the dogs as the people. X-rays are occasionally needed to investigate the cause. Consultations with a vet back in Australia have been helpful in working out the best ways of dealing with a variety of problems.

Thorough investigation of a sick dog can sometimes require blood tests. The dogs are extremely well-behaved and well-trained, and the handlers do a fantastic job helping. Jane deserves special mention for her help in managing the veterinary side of things. Her assistance has been invaluable.

Last week we ran a vet clinic with five dogs needing a variety of checks and treatments.

Once the clinic was over it was time for the big clean up, to ensure the surgery is back to readiness for any emergency, with every surface and floor scrubbed and cleaned.

Eve Merfield

Removing grass seeds from a dogs head
Removing grass seeds
(Photo: Eve Merfield)
Investigating a limp
Investigating a limp
(Photo: Eve Merfield)
X-rays to check a limp
X-rays to check a limp
(Photo: Eve Merfield)
Carrying out a minor surgical proceedure on a dog
Carrying out a minor surgical proceedure on a dog
(Photo: Eve Merfield)
Sandy nursing her dog as he recovers from the proceedure
Sandy nursing her dog as he recovers from the proceedure
(Photo: Eve Merfield)
Getting ready to get a blood sample from a dog
Getting ready to get a blood sample
(Photo: Eve Merfield)
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This page was last modified on 10 February 2012.