The hunt for a bullet…

Shot Dog air pellet

Some days when I wake up with a feeling that I am going see something new and should get to surgery as quick as I can. Today was one of them, and within 20 minutes of waking I was in scrubs in the surgery building ready to help. Being Easter Sunday here it was quite with just a doctor, another student sent from a different department and myself.

The doctor has a patient in radiography after being shot… And we have a waiting room full so after we complete the survey images and confirm the bullet is still inside I start prepping the anaesthesia whilst the doctor continues with consults. We are hoping it is going be a really quick procedure to find and remove the bullet, radiographs make it look really easy and we hope that the bullet is in the tissue layer…

Taking the dog into surgery we gown and glove ready for the surgery, and start searching for the pellet in the area that the radiograph told us it would be. Looking through all the layers covering the ribs and between we cannot find the bullet. With this we move the surgery to xray so that we can get more images during the surgery and hopefully find it easier…

Unfortunately radiographs are a 2D imaging technique, and even trying to get bullet pinpointed against landmarks we cannot determine exactly where it is. And worse is that it seems to move with each image. Unable to locate the bullet, and without being able to get an accurate position with radiography after 2 hours of trying we decided to abandon the surgery as the anaesthesia risk increases with each hour.

Sometimes this can happen, it is not a good feeling, however it is in the patients best interest and the case will be discussed later and decisions made whether to make another attempt to find the bullet.

In the meantime I am left wondering how humans can be so evil as to shoot a poor defenceless animal that is also a family pet. Sometimes the world makes no sense…

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