My internship at BEVS has been an exciting challenge, with opportunities to learn something new every day. The advantage of working at a specialty clinic with multiple doctors has been invaluable. The best example I can recall occurred on a Friday, when I was the veterinarian receiving emergency cases. A very sweet and handsome Golden retriever was transferred from his local veterinarian for additional work-up of a suspected hemoabdomen (free blood within the abdominal cavity). Once at BEVS, the history and physical exam findings supported fluid in the abdominal cavity. Full in-house blood work results were ready in less than 10 minutes, and other than anemia, the blood work looked great. I advised the owner that as an emergency veterinarian, I could use ultrasound to detect and draw a sample of abnormal abdominal fluid, but to fully examine all the abdominal organs for disease we would need to call in Dr. Harnett, the internal medicine specialist.
The owner agreed and I used ultrasound to identify a pocket of fluid in the abdomen that turned out to be blood, confirming a hemoabdomen and explaining the anemia. I called in Dr. Harnett to perform a complete abdominal ultrasound. The spleen was found to be diseased and most likely the cause of the bleeding. The liver was examined carefully to try to detect evidence of malignant spread of disease, none could be found. The rest of the organs all appeared healthy. Between veterinary school and the BEVS’ internship, I was well prepared to explain the need for surgery to remove the spleen and the advantages, disadvantages, and prognosis associated with the procedure. After a long discussion, the owner was interested in pursuing surgical removal of the spleen. I then called on Dr. Mallinckrodt for her surgical expertise. Within a period of a couple of hours, we were in the operating room. I was able to scrub in and assist Dr. Mallinckrodt with the surgery, giving me the opportunity to follow my case from admission to surgical recovery and discharge from the hospital. It was great to see my patient feeling back to normal. Thinking back it felt great knowing that I have mentors ready and willing to assist with a case, but better still that I could handle most of it on my own!