FARMING: The real life All Creatures Great and Small

With the new reboot of James Herriot’s cherished books on TV, I thought I would use this weeks article as an opportunity to show a day in the life of a small animal veterinary surgeon adapting to the new coronavirus restrictions.

Our days start at 8am when the night team does a hand over to the incoming day team. We then begin updating owners on how their pets have progressed overnight and the plan for any treatments or further diagnostic tests during the day (usually with cup of coffee in hand!).

With the new restrictions in place owners still aren’t allowed in the practice. We also now always wear PPE to protect those around us and this has become the, ‘new normal’. Prior to the pandemic we could each see up to 30 patients a day. Currently however, consultations are twice as long to allow us to collect your pet from the car park, gain a thorough history, complete a clinical examination with the assistance of one of our veterinary nurses, administer treatment and perform any minor procedures necessary or hospitalize any very sick patients, before

finally returning your pet to you in the car park.

Any inpatients for the day’s routine surgeries are admitted in the morning and given a detailed physical examination to ensure there are no concerns prior to their planned procedure. Once the procedure is completed, they are returned to the recovery area where they are kept warm and comfortable, offered some food and continuously monitored by a veterinary nurse until they are then ready to go home.

After grabbing a quick lunch we return to consulting. As a practice we have now started to vaccinate all animals again after initially being restricted to emergency work only. The health check during a vaccine clinic also offers an opportunity to alert owners to any changes in the previous 12 months that we are concerned about and in turn implement preventative healthcare.

The night nurse will come in at 4pm at which point we do ‘rounds’ and go through each inpatient in detail to ensure the correct overnight care is given and owners are updated. There is a vet on call throughout the night to contact for any emergencies. We couldn’t provide the care that we do without all our support staff, our nurses, animal care assistants and our receptionists are truly fantastic and deserve high recognition. Working within the current pandemic is a difficult and challenging time for all but the increased requirements has only increased our appreciation for our fellow team members as well the importance of a pets companionship in our lives.