I recently had a shocking personal experience going to the vet amidst this COVID-19 lockdown. I’m fostering a healthy, 2-year-old bulldog named Fernando, who is full of energy. Any check-ups or vaccines were supposed to be scheduled for after the lockdown was removed. But life is full of accidents and surprises.
I’ve been working from home, using the back office behind my house. With the lockdown in place, I’ve actually had more meetings than ever, since there’s no travel time. The only time I ever leave the house is to either walk Fernando or pick up coffee. The other day, while in yet another Zoom meeting, my 8-year-old daughter screamed, “Mom, Fernando is bleeding from the eyelid!” I immediately ran into the house and discovered that Fernando had a severely swollen face, with blood on his eyelid. He could barely open his eyes. The injury seemed to come from nowhere, so I gave Fernando a Benadryl and jumped into the car to rush him to our vet. I was especially concerned because short-nosed breeds like bulldogs already suffer from a tight respiratory tract, and any swelling in that area can lead to a loss in oxygen supply.
Surprising Complications Finding A Vet
We called our vet to let them know we were on the way and were told they could not accommodate us. There was only one vet, and he was already dealing with an emergency case. We ended up at the VCA. We ran into their offices and were immediately yelled at and told to wait outside. I explained to them the emergency, and that my dog couldn’t breathe. We were then told they had to check to see if a doctor could even see him, despite the emergency. Much to my shock and dismay, they would not accommodate us! They had prioritized routine appointments, and instead sent us 20 minutes away to another vet. Rather than continue running around, I called my old vet to see if he was available. Thankfully, they said they could help us immediately. Within 5 minutes we were there. The Benadryl had helped reduce the swelling, and we were given steroids to ensure the remaining swelling would be subdued. Fernando had a great time with the vet and got all compliments to behave like a truly trained bulldog (thank you, Cesar!). We were told Fernando would be fine. It was a case of bad allergies. Even if we all missed the spring start due to the pandemic situation, nature did not.
The Takeaway: Have An Emergency Plan
I wanted to share this as a reminder to anyone with a pet at home, to call your vet and ask him about his hours and where to go in case of an emergency. Have a primary and a backup plan, so you can avoid the experience I had. This emergency made me wonder what the true purpose of a vet is. As a child, I thought they were here to save our pets lives, I while I’m sure they still are, some of those ambitions are now following a bureaucratic regime that seems to be the priority, rather than our pet’s health.
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