Today, we have chosen to introduce you to the profession of veterinarian to celebrate World Vet Day.
In Switzerland, the future veterinarian has to pursue university studies for 5 years at the Vetsuisse Faculty ; he has the choice between two sites, the University of Bern or the University of Zurich. After his diploma, the veterinarian becomes an assistant for a few years at an experimented veterinarian or at the university, to acquire some practical experience and begin to specialize. He can exercise his activity in an independent way in all Switzerland, through a cantonal authorization.
The largest number of the veterinarians have then their own practice and take care of the health of pets or farm animals ; this aspect of their profession is moreover the best known by the general public. They also advise the owners of animals on the questions of detention, breeding, as well as food.
But a veterinarian can also work in other domains : food safety, animal welfare, research, teaching to the future veterinarians, or still postgraduate of operational veterinarians, the list is not exhaustive.
The knowledge quickly evolve in the field of the health ; the training of a veterinarian is never ended, he perfects himself non-stop. A variety of choices are available to do it : doctorate, continuing education, additional training (physiotherapist or osteopath for example), specialization (particular species, exotic species, pathology, alternative medicines, behavioral medicine, laboratory, …)
Veterinarian’s job is finally a highly varied job, which allows every veterinarian to find what he’s looking for according to his skills and to his interests.
We would never have imagined that so long studies were needed to treat us, cure us, and stick us a thermometer you know where !
Yesterday, Claire inconveniently walked on one of my forepaws. The fact that I wriggled among her legs obviously played no role in this accident. We were in the garden, and to be honest, it didn’t hurt me so much, but I had all the same a good roar to let her know that such a clumsiness was unbearable. Then I verified that she was very worried and remorseful, and next I went to do a chase with Pixie. Do you know that until the years 80-90, we didn’t conceive that animals, or human babies, can feel the pain in the same way as the grown-up humans ?
Pain is a sensory and/or emotional answer of the body to a most of the time unpleasant experience. It has a protective function : it aims at causing a reaction to put an end or avoid renewing that experience, or escaping it.
What are the various types of pain that can feel a cat ?
Somatic pain or visceral pain ?
Somatic pain is exactly located at the level of the skin, muscles, bones, joints, or still connective tissues. It’s caused by a mechanical, chemical, or thermal stimulus.
Visceral pain is situated at the level of organs (thorax and belly) ; it’s difficult to locate and spreads. For example, a cat having a bladder problem can feel the pain in the skin of his stomach.
Acute pain or chronic pain ?
An acute pain has often only a single sudden and brutal cause (cut, burn, fracture, tear, …). A surgical operation is also a cause of said acute pain. It disappears as soon as the body doesn’t need it anymore to protect itself. An acute pain is easily relieved by painkiller treatments.
A chronic pain is often the result of the combination of several factors and a deregulation of the control mechanisms of pain : you feel pain while it’s not or not anymore normal to feel pain. A chronic pain is difficult to relieve ; it often responds little to basic painkiller treatments. Its treatment will consist of a combination of measures : medicine (analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant), physical care (surgery, physiotherapy, …), arrangements (adapted material and environment), and psychological support.
Procedural pain is the pain that cause the care lavished on a sick cat. For example, putting drops in an ear in case of otitis extremely aches. This pain can lead to aggressive reactions or to negative associations (owner = cause of the pain).
Thus it’s advisable to identify carefully the care which could ache to warn them (taking an analgesic before the care for example), and to choose the least painful possible techniques of care (contention of the cat and the way of lavishing the care). This awareness allows to respect better your cat, to limit negative association, and to have a better safety for the nursing.
How to recognize pain in your cat ?
Unlike humans, we cannot speak : only an attentive observation enables to estimate our pain. Some physiological and behavioral signs can be the expression of a pain, for example :
– increase of the heart rate
– paleness of gums or ears (vasoconstriction)
– fast and / or superficial breath
– loss of appetite
– digestive issues (diarrhea or constipation, vomitings)
– excessive salivation
– tensions, shivers
– agitation, or on the contrary inactivity
– retreat, or on the contrary search for cuddles
– motor skills difficulties (limp, difficulty jumping or sitting down)
– growls, groans, or purring
– wrinkled face, fixed or glassy eyes, dilated pupils
– loss of appetite
– untidy wash
– elimination outside the litter box (wee-wee or dropping)
– protection or excessive licking of a particular zone
How to handle pain ?
According to the type of pain, its treatment requires a “simple” medicinal approach or a combination of various measures, as we explained it above.
Only a veterinarian is authorized to choose and if needed to combine various treatments for an optimal efficiency. In every case, there is no question of administering medicine planned for humans to your cat !
BEFORE helping an animal, you need to :
– Protect yourself, protect the present persons, and protect the animal : held the animal, establish a safety zone, or go away from a danger zone, and put gloves on.
– Give warnings : warn the veterinarian, and if needed the police or the fire brigades.
An eye wound is one of the only cases in which we cannot put a muzzle to the cat !
How to bandage an eye ?
Immobilize the cat by means of a Clipnosis clip for example.
Rinse the eye as good as possible with some physiological salt solution, and be careful that the liquid doesn’t pour into the other eye. The eye to be washed has to be on the floor side, and the rinsing must be made towards the outside. Wet a compress with some physiological salt solution and put it on the wounded eye. Provide some physiological salt solution to moisten the bandage afterward : the eye should never get dry !
An about 2m band (6.5 ft) is needed to bandage a cat eye. Any bandage begins with a holding turn to hold the beginning of the band in position. For an eye, the holding turn is made on the forehead and passes in front of ears and on the bones of the jaw.
Begin from the TOP of the head and go BEHIND the ear opposite diagonally.
Go UNDER the neck and join the back of the other ear.
Go to the summit of the head and come down in diagonal in the direction of the snout covering the first eye.
Go UNDER the snout and go back up in diagonal towards the top of the head covering the second eye.
Go BEHIND the ear and go back under the neck.
Our friend Fluffy friendly agreed to help us to make this video :
At the end of the bandage, attach the end of the band at the summit of the head, and fix well with the plaster.
Why to bandage both eyes while a single eye is hurt ?