A day in the life of a veterinary surgeon
September 14, 2017
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your local veterinary practice? Well one of the great things about being a veterinary surgeon is that no two days are ever the same but a typical day might go something like this.
I arrive at work at 8.30am. My first job is to have a look in the kennels to see if any new patients have been admitted by the duty vet overnight. I also get an update on any in patients from the veterinary nurse and check whether any need immediate attention. If not I head to my consulting room and call in my first patient of the day. The morning appointments can be very varied ranging from admitting animals that are coming in for surgery or investigations, to routine appointments like vaccinations and of course animals that are unwell.
If I am one of the vets who are operating that day then at 9am I go through to our prep room to assist the veterinary nurses with preparing the animals that are in for surgical procedures. This might include taking pre anaesthetic blood samples, placing an animal on intravenous fluids or administering premeds. I also assess any in patients, deciding if any adjustments need to be made to their treatment plan.
If we are not too busy then we all try and stop at 10am for a quick cup of coffee. As well as being a chance to have a breather it is also an opportunity to discuss any cases that we are puzzling over with colleagues – two brains are often better than one!
After recharging out batteries it is back to the prep room to anaesthetise the first patient on the list. A typical morning might include several cats to neuter, a bitch spay, a dog dental and a lame dog to xray. This does not include any emergencies that could come through the door at any time.
At the end of the morning I might have a few clients to phone about test results or to discuss details of their pet’s treatment. If things are going according to plan it is also time to go and get some lunch. On a busy day that might be grabbing a sandwich on the go.
The afternoon and evening is taken up with consulting and discharging the surgical patients and any in patients well enough to go home. The appointments can be very varied ranging from simple skin complaints to complex medical cases and the euthanasia of a much loved pet. At 4pm I may get a break but I will often spend it phoning more clients and might have some other paperwork to do such as referring a case to a specialist at a veterinary referral hospital.
At 6.30pm the surgery closes and that’s it for the day unless I am the duty vet in which case the work goes on. Hopefully it will be a quiet night but I will just have to wait and see.