Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cases Seen

Say goodbye to your favorite sidebar graph! I removed the internship countdown and it seems only appropriate to retire this feature as well. Towards the end I think I lost most of my "blues" (the blue colored carbon copy of the top sheet that we use to track our visits) so my numbers are probably a bit skewed.

In summation:
I admitted 169 animals to the hospital: 91 dogs, 65 cats, and 13 exotics.
I saw 483 animals as outpatients: 327 dogs, 149 cats, and 7 exotics.
I euthanized 96 animals: 39 dogs, 50 cats, and 7 exotics.

Totals by species: 457 dogs, 264 cats, 27 exotics.
Total: 748 cases.

(These numbers do not include any cases that I saw in conjunction with a specialist (surgeon, cardiologist, oncologist). They represent only cases that I saw alone.)

Now in reflection on these numbers....
  • Dogs dogs dogs! There were twice as many dogs as cats - thank god. Dogs are muzzle-able. Cats have claws and infection-causing pointy teeth.
  • Cats are sicker when they finally get to the vet. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but New Yorkers will bring their dog to the vet after one weird poop, but the cat can hide in the closet for two weeks before they do anything about it.
  • It feels like I euthanized way more than 96 animals. On New Year's Day alone I swear I euthanized at least ten animals. ("Just make it through the holidays...")
  • Numerically the total is not very impressive. A general practitioner who works 260 days a year would probably see roughly twice to three times as many appointments. I worked 330 days in the last year and saw only 748. These numbers do not represent, however, any of the inpatient care. For at least 18 weeks of the year I was on a team managing 10+ inpatients. For another 18 weeks at least 4-5 inpatients. And 1-2 for the remaining weeks.
  • Anyway you look at it - it was a lot of work.


At 2:30 PM, July 11, 2007, Blogger JeffM said...

Does the larger fraction of euthanized cats vs. dogs reflect something about the way that cats age? Or is it connected to a genuine lower standard of attention/care from owners, like your observation that cats tend to be sicker when they're brought in? That would be sad...

At 6:41 PM, July 11, 2007, Blogger Anne said...

I think there are a lot of factors at play. For starters cat owners and dog owners are different. For better or worse, cats are a much more "low maintenance" pet and therefore attract a different owner population. Dog owners are used to having to be immediately involved in their pet's care on a twice-thrice daily basis for walks and feedings while cats often are fed free-choice and need a litter box change every so often. Dog owners seem to adhere much better to the idea of the annual check up as well - likely since dogs are more likely to play with other dogs and therefore their owners perceive a higher risk of communicable disease. Most cats never leave the apartment and owners are content to just leave them be. But that's how weeks can pass before they actually realize anything is wrong.

At 1:47 AM, July 12, 2007, Blogger JeffM said...

Hmm. Okay, semi-related question -- is there a veterinary consensus on the extent to which cats can be "bored" or "fulfilled" in their lives? We have two Siamese, and I probably anthropomorphize them quite a bit, but: I tend to feel bad for them and feel compelled to give them extra attention when they've been alone all day, and conversely glad for them when interesting/new things happen. My impression is that they should be allowed to go outside and be animals, but since we live in a city (Cambridge), they only go out when we can keep an eye on them. How plastic are their psychologies and expectations of life (however dim)?

On the other hand, it could be argued that people would be more fulfilled as hunter-gatherers in small clans, but I wouldn't want to die at 45.

(Is this as bad as asking a human doctor for medical advice at a cocktail party? I don't have any veterinarian friends, or I would have already asked about this.)


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