It’s always nice to have a chance to give back. Today was a good day for me in that regard. One of my colleagues in a near-by town was the victim of a fire which totally destroyed his clinic. He is practicing out of a house in which he has improvised a temporary clinic. You never have enough insurance, and even if you did, you can’t wave a check at something and fix it. When lightning blasted my old X-ray machine, it took six weeks to get a new one installed. He is without X-ray capacity right now and they brought one of their patients over to our place today. Helping out was no problem; I was just so glad that my own clinic wasn’t burned down.
Another colleague had made an unusual diagnosis and begun treatment for his patient. This is a 16-months old Weimaraner who began coughing up blood on Sunday. Despite the young age of the dog, and it’s alleged history of heartworm preventive medicine (and the people have only had the dog for four months — before that we really don’t know), the diagnosis was pulmonary arteriole rupture due to heartworms. Even though the dog has quit coughing up blood (has quit coughing completely, in fact), and is feeling good (which he wasn’t before), the owner just had a hard time believing the problem could be heartworm disease. I don’t blame her. Even with NO heartworm preventive, we usually wouldn’t see signs of disease before the dog was three to five years old. So, she came to me seeking a second opinion. We X-rayed the chest, and the signs were all there (not to mention the dog’s great response to treatment). Unusual as the case was, I was able to restore the lady’s confidence in her regular doctor. That’s a good thing.
The third service was more unusual. This goes on my "list", along with riding to hounds, delivering a eulogy, playing the piano at a wedding, and so forth. One of my veterinary school classmates was looking for something different on Valentine’s day, and came up with the idea of a "singing valentine", and called me. I haven’t talked to the guy in five years, and today I delivered a singing valentine to his wife’s cell-phone voice mail. ["If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)", in case you wondered]. At least his wife will know he tried. I’d have to put this in the category of buying flowers that turn out to produce a violent allergic reaction in your sweetheart. But he tried.