James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
May 22, 2015
Dogs and cats have a tendency to stick their heads into places they should not. That perilous attribute of our furry friends has been the source of more than a few interesting stories! I often think of an experience that my wife (also a veterinarian) had early in her career that demonstrates this fact.
It was late on a Friday afternoon in April. Dr. Barnes was working in the treatment area where she was cleaning a patient’s ears. Suddenly, there was a lot of commotion in the waiting area and it was clear that a desperate emergency had arrived, evidenced by the gasps and assertive pleas for assistance. “You have to help him…he is going to suffocate, please help him.”
She quickly abandoned the ear cleaning and dashed to the waiting room to find a 4-week-old puppy that had his head stuck in a Mason jar, and was probably just as curious and surprised about all the commotion as Dr. Barnes was. After all, he could see everyone just fine, and was feeling content as he had successfully licked all the residual jelly from the inside of the jar. Being a small puppy, he did not have the neck strength to lift the jar and would resort to shoving the jar about the room clinking it into the walls and base cabinets.
Solutions to this desperate emergency were quickly offered by various technicians and staff members, which ranged from breaking the jar with a hammer so that he could breathe, to other potentially distasteful options. The concern and call for swift action to save this puppy was escalating up to a fever pitch. Voices once calm were now an octave higher in pitch and were now a concentration of emotional senseless noise. The puppy with its sugar high was excitedly pitching about the waiting room like a pinball clanking off of barriers with a high-pitched “ping.”
Dr. Barnes quickly gathered the patient off the floor with the neck and body in one hand, and the clear space helmet in the other. With mild traction and an audible “pop,” the puppies head was extracted from the Mason jar to the cheers and accolade of the gallery. Moments later, the elated client left for home with her puppy and intact Mason jar – all in a day’s work for a veterinarian.