Stories of Livestock Poisoning, Part II

Hear about a day in the life of a country veterinarian, plus learn how to prevent pet and livestock poisoning, place a stomach tube, and lavage a stomach.

| October/November 1999

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    What poisoned my dog? Why did these turkeys suddenly die? What's wrong with my llama? Learn the answers to these questions and more in this on-the-job tale from a farm vet.

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A long day continues: When last we left our country vet (to read the first part of this series, see Stories of Livestock Poisoning, Part I), he'd spent the morning ministering to poisoned cows, goats, horses and pigs, and was racing toward the Caulfield Ranch to see about a sick dog ...

12:30 P.M.: Colorado is known for its dry weather and today was no exception. I raced up the lane to the Caulfield Ranch, a plume of dust shadowing my truck. It overtook me just as I stepped out of the cab and noticed Bill Caulfield running up to greet me.

"Dr. Jon, thanks for coming on short notice. Sam is in the barn."

"When did he get sick?" I asked.

"Well, Sam always likes to ride on top of the hay bales when we bring them in. But this morning we noticed he didn't follow us out to the field. When I brought the first load into the barn, I found Sam more or less collapsed."

Sam was laid out on his side, breathing hard and fast. I checked his gums and found them a pale gray. Clearly, he was a very sick guy. I rolled Sam over onto his back. His abdomen appeared bloated and looked as if it were full of fluid. His heart was racing, and his pulse was weak—a sign of decreased blood volume. The heart was compensating for the loss of blood by pumping faster. Sam was probably bleeding into his abdomen. I carefully inserted a 22-gauge needle into his abdomen, pulled back on the syringe and watched it fill with dark, red blood. It was time for action.

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