A new procedure, a behind the scenes look… (Day 461)

Equine Patient Recovering from Surgery

Today’s Diary Entry is sponsored by Vet School Success

When you take a pet to the vets you expect the best treatment, and most vets strive to ensure that this is given. Sometimes however pets need special treatment or surgery that the vet has never done before. Today I wanted to talk about this as it is something that not many people actually get to see, or that is often spoken about.

A common problem in thoroughbred horses is that off splint bone fractures, basically back through evolution horses used to have more than 1 finger, and the remains of these have become really small yet stay on the side of the metacarpal and metatarsal bones. This bone in the horse is between the carpal (wrist joint) and the fetlock joint (like the knuckle in humans). Horses have the third or middle bone which is large and can support the entire weight, with the rudimentary remains of the 2nd and 4th bones as well.

Now these splint bones fracture under the pressure of normal work causing pain and inflammation along with lameness. The easiest and most common fix to this problem is to remove the fractured piece of the bone. Now this is a surgery that has not been performed at the clinic by any of the staff surgeons, yet is required to treat the horse. This is the best thing I think about being a veterinary surgeon, that you can always learn something new and so the surgeon started researching the best procedure to use for this surgery.

Now as a student I revised the basics of anatomy, functional anatomy along with the procedure. Now come Monday the surgeon did a practice surgery on a dead leg, looking at both the procedure, and the best position to operate from as well as different techniques for closing. I was asked to assist in this practice surgery which helped me understand the procedure better, as well as the surgeon to give me more experience in a place which put no patients at risk.

Now the actual surgery took place this morning with another doctor assisting, however understanding the procedure gave me the ability to also learn from it as I understood what was happening along with why. Its also given me a new appreciation of my chosen profession, and a understanding that we are all still students when it comes down to it, just some more experienced than others.

Equine Patient Recovering from Surgery

One thought on “A new procedure, a behind the scenes look… (Day 461)

  1. It is definitely a great thing about our profession that one never stops learning… And it has been one of the fun and frustrating things about working in Newfoundland for me…. There are no refer a practices here so I am often presented with an opportunity to try something I have never done before. I am always upfront with me clients if I have never done a procedure before, and offer to help them find out if anyone in the area has when traveling off island is not an option for them…. But every so often a client trusts my knowledge and experience enough to let me try a new procedure on their pet, and happily this has often worked out for the best.

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