In one joke, a woman shows up at the vet’s office with a poodle. And the vet took the dog and did a series of tests. After he finished, he went and said: “That’s it, your dog is very good.” The owner of the poodle, pleased with the result, asked how much he owed, to which the vet replied 120 euros. After paying them, the woman asked the vet: “And when should I come back?” To which the vet replied: “If you still have 120 euros.”
With this bad joke, the current vision of veterinary work is somewhat summarized. But nothing could be further from the truth, because not just anyone will dedicate themselves to the practice of veterinary medicine. First of all, veterinary medicine is a direct way to complete the scientific method; Then there is another thing, the difficulty of working with animals and that is what is explained in the testimonial book of the English veterinarian James Herriot, an entertaining work titled All Creatures Great and Small (Blackie) where he explains his adventure and misadventures in the English countryside. .
It all began in 1937 when, after completing his veterinary studies, Herriot got a job as an assistant to Siegfried Farnon at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, located in Yorkshire, a county of heather-covered hills. where the rock fields seem to be stable. in the eye. landscape and full of animals. Almost a hundred years ago, an ancient time in which, apart from the use of healing ointments and various tools of the trade such as syringes, holding forceps and surgical tweezers, veterinary work made, above all, by hand.
An example is the case of a cow with uterine eversion, a complication that occurs after childbirth, when the uterus hangs outside. This is complicated, especially since the cow never gives birth and repositioning the uterus is very difficult. They are hours of continuous work. Although with epidural anesthesia a good part of the body is numb and the cow passes itself to do it, every time it is necessary to anesthetize the same problem arises: the cow has to sit down so that the veterinarian can find the epidural area. Then, once the anesthesia is administered, you must clean the uterus and return it to its place with your hands, sliding it through the vagina; a slippery duct that in cattle reaches 30 cm in length.
It is worth noting that the difficulties faced by Herriot in the late 1930s are the same as today; Little or nothing has changed in the work of a rural veterinarian. It is a tough job that requires vocation and a good sense of humor to know how to handle it. The conditions in which they work are complex and, perhaps for this reason, there is a growing shortage of staff in rural areas. Today, the veterinary profession is developed mainly in urban clinics, and it is no joke that in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of animal diseases we take care of our health.
Because a good part of our diseases are zoonoses, that is, infections transmitted by animals themselves, either through direct infection or through insects. It is amazing to see how the veterinary profession is one of the pillars of our health and how little it is questioned. Therefore, books like Herriot’s are meant to touch our critical conscience.
The stone ax is a section where Montero Glez, with a penchant for prose, uses his particular twist on scientific truth to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.