Another Day in the Life of a Veterinarian

Back by popular demand, we’d like to unveil a second one-day glimpse into to the world of rural veterinary medicine. When we posted on this last year, we took it from the perspective of what it’s like for Carolyn and I to work as spouses in the same practice. I’ll tell you what, the couple that can work spring calves together without turning the vaccine guns on each other stays together.

Carolyn tagging Jake's Ear

I’m not saying what happens to the couple that turns the ear tagger on each other.

So without further ado, here’s another fun day with the Geises.

7:51 am- Arrive at the clinic, coffee in hand. Carolyn hasn’t really woken up until half the mug is gone. Jake on the other hand is peppy, which receives a dazed glance from his wife.

7:52 am- Check the day’s schedule. Looks like there will be a dog to spay, a few dogs with potential allergies, a handful of cows to preg check, some bulls to examine…wow, it’s going to be busy. At least we shouldn’t have any calving calls this late in the year.

7:55 am- “Why did you say that Carolyn?!” Jake huffs as he hangs up the phone. A cow having trouble calving is heading in. FYI–being a veterinarian makes you VERY superstitious and afraid to talk about emergencies, otherwise they happen.

8:02 am- Spay dog shows up. Carolyn starts on that project while Jake checks a sick kitten. Kitten goes out the door with some meds and the dog loses her gonads (which she didn’t really need anyway).

8:35 am- Cow shows up. Jake suits up and goes after it. Surprisingly, she is actually quite cooperative. She doesn’t try kick the vet, lay down on the calf’s head, or fight Jake pulling the calf out. Unfortunately, the calf is dead, but at least the cow is fine.

8:57 am- Spay is done and it’s time for the next job. Carolyn takes a look at a dog with sore ears. She puts some cleaning solution in them, which the dog doesn’t really appreciate. The dog shakes her head, sending little bits of ear gunk and cleaning solution all over Carolyn. It goes great with her eyes.

9:35 am- Everything is cleaned up from the OB and it’s time to preg check a few cows. They were supposed to have calved by now, but the bulls weren’t pulled out last fall. So there’s a few that will calve anytime, some that will calve next fall, and a couple open. “What day will they calve, Doc?” the owner asks joking. “Wednesday, plus or minus three days,” Jake responds.

10:00 am- Surprise! A trailer pulls in with a sick calf in it. It’s scoured out and needs IV’s pronto. Drop what you’re doing folks, and jump on this! (P.S. If you want to know how this works, check out this post)

IV in a scours calf

Hook ’em up and rehydrate ’em! Then give them a pat on the head for being a good calf.

10:28 am- Just as the calf is tucked way with its IV line in, the bulls pull up that need to be checked. Right behind them is the 11:00 appointment, here 1/2 an hour early. The dynamic veterinary duo smoke through the bull exams quickly, and start on the 11 o’clock lame bull. 1/2 way through, Carolyn jumps out to vaccinate a dog, then comes back to help Jake finish.

11:45 am- Since the 11 o’clock appointment ran long, the 11:15 appointment with a sick cow is starting late. Carolyn works on that one while Jake gets stuff ready for his job in the country that afternoon. “Do we have anything ready for lunch?” he asks his wife, and is met by a blank stare. “How about we go downtown and eat at the Corral Restaurant instead?”. The wisdom to make said decision is the culmination of several months of trial and error in these situations. Jake pats himself on the back for not saying something stupid, like “How about you whip up some fried chicken drumsticks? Those sound good.”

12:09 pm- Run home to feed the great and noble Cletus puppy, and then to the Corral for a bite to eat. It’s good, as usual.

1:00 pm- Jake pulls into a farmer’s yard to work a group of heifers. They need a pre-breeding shot, two fly tags, and dewormer. 137 head to do before 5 o’clock!

1:00 pm- Carolyn looks at a bleeding dog. The owner is worried because the dog has been dripping blood on the ground all morning. Now Carolyn has to explain how this has to do with the dog’s lady cycle. Nothing like a little birds-and-bees conversation to keep things awkward.

1:15 pm- On to the next job for Carolyn, which is to euthanize an old cat. Always a hard job. But as always she is so gracious with the owners.

1:47 pm- Jake’s taking a drink of water, because doggone it is hot outside today! So much for that weather forecast of partly cloudy skies and a high of 75. If I was wrong 70% of the time, I don’t think I could keep my job! After the drink, it’s back to working the heifers.

2:02 pm- More bulls come rumbling off the trailer for Carolyn to check. Ranging in size from 1600 lbs. to over a ton, they are large and in charge. In addition, one has a bad foot, so Carolyn puts him in the rollover chute and trims the foot back to the normal shape. Her foot trimming artistry is so advanced that you could say she’s Michelangelo with the a hoof knife.

2:55 pm- Another sick calf comes to the clinic. This one is not as bad, so it won’t need an IV. Carolyn treats him with some antibiotics and oral fluids, and then sends him back home to his mother.

3:15 pm- And now there’s a sick dog for Carolyn to look at. She’s doing all this work, what the heck is Jake doing?

3:15 pm- Jake is still working heifers. In the sun. Without a hint of a breeze. Wondering why he’s not back at the clinic looking at sick dogs instead.

3:49 pm- There’s four young calves that need their shots at the clinic. Carolyn gets that job done in a few minutes. Right as she’s finishing, Jake pulls in with the chute, done with the job in the country. She asks if he wants to do the last job of the day. As he casts his forlorn eyes upon her, caked with dust that mixed with the sweat to make a concrete-like covering for his eyelids, she offers to take the job instead. And there was much rejoicing.

4:23 pm- A heifer with a prolapse arrives at the clinic. This is a condition that can occur in late pregnancy and is often due to a genetic predisposition to have it happen. Carolyn does an epidural, puts the prolapse back in and then sews it shut.

5:00 pm- Back to the pickup to head home. It’s time for a shower and a cold beverage of choice. Neither one is on call tonight, so there’s plenty of time to take the dog to the park and play a little fetch. What a great ending to the day!




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