Thanks for all your kind comments. I really do have a great job, even if it is stinky and messy and exhausting sometimes.
There was another super-cool case last week I have to tell you about. The Tuesday I was so busy with surgeries, my co-worker saw a cat who was gagging and had a change in her voice. She was hoarse and vocalizing a lot. She wasn't eating and was quite dehydrated. She had a full work-up (bloodwork, Xrays, etc) but nothing was obvious. Her signs were so non-specific - did she have a gastrointestinal problem? a tumor in her oropharynx? a neuro issue? She was sent on IV fluids to rehydrate at the emergency clinic, then back to me the next morning.
She was doing better, but definitely hoarse. "MRAHhhh- Owwhh," she rasped at me. The plan now was to anesthetize her for a complete oropharyngeal exam. Once morning appointments were over, I gave her an IV sedative, then grabbed a laryngoscope to anesthetize her.
These exams usually reveal nothing, then we have to refer them for endoscopy or CT for a more thorough look. If we do find something, its usually a tumor - unhappy news. However, as soon as I peered over her epiglottis, I knew there was SOMETHING! "She's got a foreign body!" I hollered. "Quick, someone get me a swab!" Under a large clot of mucus, there was something crossing horizontally over her larynx, under one laryngeal fold and over the other, like a toothpick skewering an hors-d'oeuvre. I grabbed it with a hemostat, and revealed........
a Grasshopper leg! A disarticulated leg, in its full chitinous spiny glory. It looked a lot like this: