Tianna Winters

Craig Road Animal Hospital’s very own Marketing Manager Tianna Winters shadowed Dr. Shane Murphy during one of his shifts to get a feel of how the hospital runs and its culture. Below is her personal account of what it’s like to be a veterinarian in North West Las Vegas.

By Tianna Winters

I never thought that being a veterinary doctor was easy, but I also did not realize it would be quite so hard.

Their patients don’t talk. They squeak, bark, and meow. Sometimes they even growl. If my skin is terrible I go to a dermatologist. If my sight is blurry I go to the optometrist, and if I have a toothache I go to the dentist.

If any of these ailments are affecting my pet, I go to the vet. A doctor of veterinary medicine’s (DVM) education is never ending, even after the eight to 10 years it takes for them to receive their title. They have many different hats- a dietician, dentist, cardiologist, dermatologist, surgeon – the list goes on. A veterinarian must specialize in everything. They wear these different hats every day and sometimes multiple hats at the same time.

I decided to follow one doctor around. And to be honest, I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the day…and I was just watching. I was there for appointments, walk-ins, and emergencies (that’s where the juggling really gets interesting).

2:00 p.m. – My “shift” has started. I’m following Dr. Shane Murphy, and I’m excited because I found out he shares my love for Star Wars and metal music, so we can have something to chat about during the slow periods. I think it must be nice to start in the afternoon, having your mornings all to yourself, until Dr. Murphy checks up on the emergency he had at 4 a.m.

Dr. Murphy was the “on-call” doctor the previous night. A Pomeranian was rushed in due to seizures. Dr. Murphy had to give the dog an injection to stop the seizures, run blood work, and then place a collar with bells attached to monitor for additional seizures. The patient had one more seizure that night and Dr. Murphy didn’t leave until 6 a.m., when the first doctor of the morning shift took over.

2:15 p.m. – Dr. Murphy’s first appointment of the day is an adorable Labrador puppy coming in for his first round of vaccines. This puppy is very playful and sweet. Dr. Murphy examines him while discussing new puppy care and how he is adjusting with his new family. Dr. Murphy then administers the vaccines right in the exam room. “Well that was easy,” he says.

Dr. Murphy checking in on one of his patients.

2:30 p.m. – “Dr. Murphy room seven.” His next appointment. As he walks into the exam room, he is also called again, this time to room four. He has now had three rooms in less than 30 minutes.

As we walk into room seven, we are greeted by a friendly Pit Bull mix with a huge smile on his face. The owner does not share his enthusiasm and has a look of distress. The dog has a mass that has sprouted between his toes and his Dad is worried it could be cancerous.

Dr. Murphy takes a look and proposes to take the dog into our treatment area to retrieve a sample. He explains that depending on what it is, there could be a few different ways to remove it. “The good news is that you brought him in as soon as you noticed it, and that could be very important,” he tells the owner.

2:50 p.m. – Dr. Murphy gives the dog to his exam room assistant to the treatment area while he goes and starts room four. Here we have a five-year-old Border Collie checking in for a laparoscopic spay, which is the removal of the reproductive organs using a smaller incision than the traditional spay. This type of spay uses a monitor and tiny camera to assist in the removal of the ovaries. Dr. Murphy explains the procedure to her parents and also, because of the dog’s age, suggests to have pre-operative blood work done to see if there are any health issues that could affect the surgery. They agree, and they let their baby know they’ll be back soon, and we’re off with the dog leading the way.

Next week: Find out just how we go about deciphering the cells in the mass. I also encounter my first emergency call. Stay tuned!

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