The Yorkshire Vet, Julian Norton has an influx of Yorkshire terriers and spaniels visiting the practice

Friday was a day full of spaniels. I’ve got no idea why, but we had eleven in total, waiting in and passing through the waiting room.

The practice finds itself treating a large number of the same breeds on different weeks.
The practice finds itself treating a large number of the same breeds on different weeks.

Admittedly, four of them were littermates and just eight weeks old, but there were eight appointment slots filled with the cheerful, bushy-eared breed, of both the cocker and springer variety.

Last week, we had an influx of Yorkshire Terriers, with five in the practice at the same time on one day. Nobody knows why these things happen.

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It’s the same unknown phenomenon of busy versus quiet nights on call. I once had a colleague who always swore a swapped weekend on duty would lead to one that was excessively busy.

I never was afflicted by the curse of a ridiculously hectic swapped weekend, but I’ve had my fair share of busy on-calls.

I can remember a Saturday afternoon and evening in which I undertook four bitch caesarean sections - more than the practice would usually do in as many weeks. I’d literally just get home, put the kettle on and the beeper would go off again.

Another time, between the hours of two and six on a Monday morning, I had three separate uterine prolapses in three different cows, on three different farms - one of the most messy and challenging jobs for any vet. That night, instead of the kettle and a cup of tea, it was sleep of which I was repeatedly deprived.

I’d had my hands full with the series of spaniels and had only popped my head into the prep room and theatre to check that everyone was ok and that the ops list was in order. It was busy back there, too, but Ed was totally in control.

I left him to it and didn’t interfere or scrutinise the patients, other than to offer some advice on a couple of X-rays and an ultrasound scan image.

This is one of the brilliant benefits of practices like ours. There’s always a more senior vet around to help and give support when required. Or, occasionally, to be ignored if the advice is out-dated and irrelevant (this is rare).

It’s the way veterinary practices always used to function and having another opinion, or another set of eyes, or another experienced pair of fingers to palpate an abdomen is hugely helpful.

Even with a combined total of over 60 years of practice under our belts, Helen, Mark and I confer most days over clinical cases and decision-making.

We also have an excellent system, designed by Lucy our head nurse. Each hospitalised patient has a small, plastic box assigned to it. Prior to its op, the catheter, medicines and other accoutrements are placed inside.

The patient’s name is written on the side, in wipe-clean felt tip pen, so the name can be changed each day. Post-op discharge sheets, medicines, samples in formalin pots or blood tubes are also put inside so they are neat and organised and nothing gets lost.

It works very well. I cast an eye over the boxes and was surprised to see that there was another coincidence of seismic proportions affecting our practice.

One plastic box had “Biscuit - Lhasa Apso” written on the side. An adjacent box had the words: “Biscuit - Labrador”. We had two dogs in with the same name! And an unusual one at that. A pair of Rockys, Brackens, Milos, Defors or Maxs would not have been unusual, but I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen a Biscuit at a vets. At least not one with hair and four legs.

“How strange!” I exclaimed, pointing at the biscuit boxes. “We almost have a packet of biscuits!”

Lucy, once again, rolled her eyes at another terrible joke.