FARMING: Plan ahead for the unexpected times

The life of a vet is often varied and interesting, encompassing everything from routine vaccinations to hair raising emergency surgery; from the sterile clinic environment to ploughing through snowdrifts to reach your next patient.

Nobody could claim that the job is ever boring and it is certainly not a 9-5 kind of job!

When most of the population are fast asleep in their beds your local on call vets are still working, the phone on loud by their bedside, or driving around in the dead of night seeing to the most urgent of cases.

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Whilst the nightshifts can be unpredictable and often exhausting they have also brought some of the most rewarding moments of my career.

More than once I have found myself watching a beautiful Northumberland sunset after safely delivering a calf by caesarean or seeing to a critically unwell small animal patient.

And when that sun is rising on a frosty morning and you can enjoy a few moments of fresh air walking the dog before the rest of the county awakes it is easy to believe that we have one of the best jobs out there. Of course it is not all sunshine and blue skies.

During the worst of weather when the population hunker down with the fires on and the curtains drawn we are still out there – negotiating floods and closed roads to get to the clinic and sometimes even ditching the pickups in the snowdrifts and reaching our patients by tractor during weather like the ‘beast from the east’.

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Whilst, mostly, outcomes are positive there are always cases that you don’t win and in those moments it can be a hard burden to bear.

However, overall, it is a rewarding job and there is a lot of satisfaction in knowing that we can be there for our clients when they need us the most and that they can see the vets they know and trust at their own practice for those unforeseen emergencies.

Not all practices provide their own out of hours services these days, with many outsourcing to larger out of hours providers, so it is important to know ahead of time what your practices out of hours arrangements are and how far you may have to travel for care.

As I am sure we have all learnt this year, you never know quite what is around the corner so it is important that we plan for those unexpected emergencies however unlikely they may be.

And, whilst you are cosy and warm at home in the evenings, spare a thought for your local on call vet – here for you when you need them through the good and the bad.

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