Father Christmas came early for me last year. During November I was phoned at home late one evening by a man in a panic. He had been to the surgery with his dog a few weeks previously and the lady vet he’d seen had diagnosed a tumour under her tummy. The dog had seemed ok at the time but he had just come home and found that ‘her insides were coming out through the growth!’ When dealing with people on the phone like this you tend to have thoughts about what the likely diagnosis is. In this case I decided that dog’s tummies don’t usually burst open and that the problem was likely to be a mammary tumour which had ulcerated and was now bleeding. I obviously couldn’t say ‘give the dog an aspirin and we’ll see her in the morning’ so we arranged to meet at the surgery ASAP. When the man arrived he came into the consulting room clutching tightly a small terrier wrapped in a large blanket. I persuaded him to relax his grip and to start unwrapping the blanket so that I could take a look. He began doing this ever so slowly, obviously nervous about what we were going to find. Half way through this unwrapping process there was a puzzling squeaking sound and I noticed a look of alarm cross the man’s face. When we finally removed the blanket the dog sat crouched on the table not wanting to move. I could see something red emerging from under the dog’s tummy and her owner said ‘yes, that’s what I could see’. I gently turned the dog over and there, under her tummy, grasped between her back legs, was a red and white squeaky Father Christmas toy!!
A funny case recently:- a Staffie arrived carrying a yellow plastic ball in its mouth. I thought ‘how cute’ until I was told that the ball was stuck there. The dog’s mouth was open as far as it would go with a tooth from each jaw stuck in a hole on each side of the ball. The funny thing was that this was a talking ball- it had some contraption inside it that kept saying ‘come and get me’ or ‘so you think you’re tough do you’ as the dog moved around. Every so often the ball would laugh, as if it appreciated the funny side of the situation!
We had to give the dog an anaesthetic to remove the ball which kept chatting away the whole time.