On Disease

Something happened at work just now and rather than waiting, and eventually not even posting I decided that I would go home and post what I was thinking immediately.

I learned to intubate today. Animals, not people of course. Although I am sure that I learned in a very different way than my medical school friend did. I came in and one of the dogs was not doing well, he was having very labored breathing and seemed to be in a lot of pain, he had liquid stool that smelled very distinctly (and horribly.) I called the doctor on call, then left the room to take care of another animal. When I came back one of the other staff mentioned to me that the dog wasn't moving. I ran the dog to surgery to put it on oxygen, and after standing there for a bit I thought it would be a good idea to push on the dog's chest to get air flowing through his lungs. I knew the dog wasn't breathing, and wasn't sure if I felt a heartbeat. When the doctor got there they said it was dead already, and there really wasn't anything we could have done.

I asked for the future what would be the best to do, and in response showed me how to intubate, and told me to give a milliliter of epinephrine if I didn't feel a heartbeat. It's good to know I suppose... I just wish I had asked earlier.

This dog was an adult and most likely died of a disease called Parvovirus. This disease is horrible, disgusting and preventable. It makes me really sad when older puppies contract the disease, but it is even less common in adults because they have many more opportunities to be vaccinated. I can not understand owners not getting these vaccines for their dogs. It puts them in so much danger. Imagine if Gastroenteritis was fairly easily transmitted between people, let's say fluid transfer, and it killed around 10-25% of the people who contracted it. There would be mandatory vaccinations for all school children, just like MMR. Parvo is a disgusting disease that requires intensive treatment when contracted, and it is ludicrous that owners choose not to vaccinate against it and other deathly diseases.

More information on Parvo if you want it.

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