The experience of a friend in a small North Island town recently got me thinking how lucky we are here in the Big Smoke.
My friend Lucy’s beloved cat, Flex, had been hospitalised after suffering road trauma injuries, including jaw fractures which necessitated tube feeding, ongoing pain relief and intravenous (IV) fluid therapy for a week. Lucy was horrified to learn, several days into Flex’s hospital stay, that 24 hour care was unavailable, and that Flex had been left unattended each night after the clinic closed.
When Lucy and I discussed the situation, we talked about the risks of Flex receiving twice or none of his IV fluid requirement overnight, and the difficulty of providing adequate pain relief for more than 6 to 8 hours at a time. We didn’t dwell on what might have happened if Flex had panicked and tightened his Elizabethan collar around his neck, or detached the fluid line and bled from his IV port.
How fortunate we are in Auckland, to have 24 hour care available. The Animal Emergency Centre (AEC) and the Veterinary Specialist Group (VSG), work together to provide the only facility in Auckland which can boast true 24 hour care, with at least one vet and one nurse on-site at all times.
Overnight care is not restricted to AEC and VSG patients, and many local (and some not so local!) practices use this service, sending pets to Animal Emergency Centre following major surgery, or for intensive monitoring of medical cases such as complicated diabetes. Any patient requiring ongoing pain relief or IV fluids would benefit from such care. The patient returns to their fresh, well-rested veterinarian in the morning, allowing seamless continuity of care.
Lucy can keep her pretty sea-side town. I’d rather brave the isthmus traffic and keep the 24/7 care!