Franklin Vets Blog

A collection of normal events

June 23, 2021

Sometimes when we go to a veterinary conference or sit late at night reading the latest journals from around the world, you could be forgiven for thinking that all we see are incredibly exciting, challenging cases with exotic names and bizarre treatments. If you go to a lecture on any particular subject, it is normally the extraordinary examples of that subject which are presented.

This makes sense since if they put together a lecture showing stuff we do all day and know like the back of our hand, nobody would go.
The truth is though, that just like human medicine, common things are common, and most of the conditions we see are relatively mundane (but no less important!). And a good thing that is, since it would be an unpleasant world if every headache turned out to be a brain tumour, and every stubbed toe turned into an extremely challenging fracture repair.

Some of the cases we see are sorted out just by applying a degree of common sense, combined with an intimate knowledge of anatomy and physiology. After all, most of our treatments are aimed at simply helping the body heal itself, and trying not to get in the way of that process.

Here are a few examples of common things we see which don’t feature heavily on the lecture circuit. Today I’ve chosen things that we found around the head.

Grass seed in dog's eye

Grass seed in dog’s eye

Looks like just a bit of conjunctivitis, right? It’s always best to look closely, especially in summer. We block out sensation with a couple of drops of local anaesthetic, gently lift up the third eyelid in the corner of the eye, and hey presto, this little monster is pulled out. Easy fix, but oh so painful while it’s in there.

Grass blade in dog's throat

Grass blade stuck in cat’s throat

Let’s move into the nose and mouth. Gagging and retching can be caused by lots of things, including a simple viral infection. But sometimes there’s another culprit from the garden, stuck up the back of the nasal passageway, and irritating the back of the throat. It means an anaesthetic, a mirror, and sometimes plenty of time spent flushing, but again just imagine how uncomfortable this would be stuck up your nose.

Bee sting to dog's tongue

Bee sting to dog’s tongue

Staying with the mouth, there are many reasons why a dog would be licking its lips a lot. Maybe it ate something horrible, maybe there is a cut to the mouth, or maybe, if you look very closely, you’ll find a bee sting on the tip of the tongue! Now that’s going to make you lick your lips!!

I like exciting things to fix just like the next guy, but sometimes dealing with a bundle of cases like these, where you just have to apply some lateral thinking and keep your mind open to all possibilities, makes for a nice day at the clinic.
And a much nicer trip home for all three of these pets!!

Dr Paul Eason VeterinarianPaul Eason BVM&S MANZCVS (Surgery; Emergency and Critical Care Medicine)