From dogs to chinchillas, what stories does a university hospital hide? | Podcast Caring for the Pet

In Porto, there is a veterinary hospital that, in addition to carrying out consultations and surgeries on pets, is also dedicated to research in the areas of diabetes, epilepsy and oncology.

Dogs, cats, iguanas or chinchillas are some of the animals that pass through the offices of the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Porto (UPVet) on a daily basis, which has been in existence for ten years. Veterinarians have already lost count of the number of patients they have treated, but there are some that remain in their memory. This is the case of those who arrive with their owners for another routine consultation and, nervous, destroy some of the equipment. Or those who arrive badly treated and in need of urgent medical care.

In this episode of podcast Watch out for Pet, we were talking to veterinarian Clara Landolt to find out about some of these stories.

“We have several animals that mark us, not only because they are less frequent species, but also because of the most human part of the stories. The most difficult cases, those that were furthest from ending well, are what make us come to work every day and make a difference in the lives of some people and the animals that accompany them”, he begins by saying.

Even so, she points out, the most striking moment in the 25 years of this doctor’s profession took place in the summer of 2020 when the hospital received ten dogs who were victims of a fire in an illegal kennel in Santo Tirso. “They arrived in a terrible state, apart from the way they were being accommodated in the kennel”, recalls Clara Landolt.

The team quickly mobilized and, during the following weeks, adapted the intensive care unit and dedicated itself almost exclusively to treating these animals, which were then distributed to temporary foster families.

“Many needed oxygenation and had very severe second- and third-degree burns. Others were poorly socialized and many were in a panic, not only because of the fire, but also because they weren’t used to being handled by strangers”, he says, adding that most had to be sedated to be able to withstand the pain.

During routine appointments, there are also animals that remain in the memory of veterinarians, especially when the patient is a 40-kilogram Saint Bernard who, afraid of being vaccinated, arrived on the owner’s lap.

“You have to play with them, but they behave much better taking vaccines than most humans”, he points out.

The veterinarian also recalls that treatment methods have changed and that they can, more than ever, make a difference in a diagnosis. “We managed to do much more than we could 25 years ago. It’s wonderful to always be doing new things”, she concludes.

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