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Emergency cases – Shawn MacKenzie

A series of posts from the trip of 2009 , not published on the website before.

Originally published at

Saturday, May 16, 2009 | Posted by Shawn MacKenzie

Today was another day at our clinic in Kugluktuk. It was supposed to be a quieter day, but it definitely did not turn out that way.

Aleta Schmah (in blue scrub shirt) shows visiting students what to watch for when monitoring dogs recovering from anesthesia.

We only had three surgeries and some wellness exams; but all the advertising from the radio station and talks at the school must have caught people’s attention, because a lot more wellness exams showed up. We were run off our feet this morning but still had a lot of fun doing the surgeries and seeing all the appointments. We also had a lot of visitors from the community at the clinic today. Since the kids were all off school and had just heard the presentation by some of the team members, they wanted to come up and see what we do. The kids were so excited about seeing things and being allowed to do a few little things that it made it a lot of fun for us to be around them.

Team treats a dog that came in after eating its owners arthritis medication. Here, they are giving activated charcoal which can help absorb the medication so it doesn’t harm the dog.

After a busy morning, we finally thought things had started to settle down, and we got to thinking about how we might actually be home in time for a hot supper and not have to microwave it; we even started making plans to go do things like ice fishing and play some card games, but we got a little ahead of ourselves. Before we had the chance to make the phone call to arrange the ride out to go ice fishing, two emergency appointments came in. One dog had gotten into his owner’s arthritis medicine and another came in with a little bit of post-surgical bleeding. Our short day at the clinic turned into another long day. With the great AVC instructors and veterinary technician, we students weren’t too worried and we got to work; fortunately, we were able to successfully treat both cases. Our long days at the clinic have really helped our “team building,” and we are all really enjoying working with each other. It’s been rewarding to be part of a group that works well together and has a lot of fun doing it.

Giving activated charcoal is very messy work. Anne Marie and Andrea improvised protective clothing using garbage bags. The dog survived and did well.

Many of the people in Kugluktuk went “out on the land” for the long weekend. We thought that meant they were going to their cottage or to another town close by, but as we walked home yesterday, we noticed a lot of people loading tents, furs and food onto sleds attached to the snowmobiles. Many of the people were heading out to set up camps—which we thought was pretty crazy in minus 15 degree weather, but the people up here take advantage of any chance they get to go camping out on the land. We, however, were perfectly happy staying at our heated bed and breakfast, instead of camping in the snow.

Tonight we are having another games night with some of the people that helped organize the clinic and have volunteered with us. I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun as our group tends to always tell a lot of good stories and have some good laughs.

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