Turkey Jerky?


Third in a series

“John” the 11 year old poodle bounced in the door for his suture removal 10 days later. If it weren’t for his undignified tummy haircut you would never suspect that he’d been disemboweled by a dog 8 times his size. Happy endings is what we’re all about. It was shaping up to be a good day.

The door had hardly closed when a man and his granddaughter arrived carrying a cardboard box – never a good sign. Martha at the front desk took a peek, raised a quick index finger, and grabbed the box. I was irrigating an ear canal as she zipped into the treatment room. The 5 day old turkey, looking confused but active, had a loop of intestine hanging from an open abdominal wound. OMG! Was this “John” with feathers? While examining the hapless poult I asked Amos to fired up the warm water blanket.

Talking briefly with my turkey clients I learned that they had rudely interrupted their neighbor’s dog as she dropped by their coop for lunch. I explained the frailty of their young, badly injured creature and the at-home nursing care he’d require. I actually had them until I presented a really low cost estimate. Grampa and child exchanged looks. The senior gentleman replied that replacing this bird, at the feed store next door, would be far cheaper. They opted for euthanasia.

I hate that. But how could I argue? So, admitting that I too was a turkey raiser, I offered to treat the little cuss and keep him if he survived. They gladly gifted me their bronze feathered peeper and vanished.

Anybody of any species who steps on his own guts takes priority. Amos customized a syringe barrel as an anesthetic mask to fit the tiny beak. A few blows of oxygen and halothane gas and our patient was deeply asleep.

You don’t clip the surgery site on a bird because, well, they don’t have hair. Instead I plucked carefully, scrubbed, and rinsed. Turkey John also needed fluids.

Next week: Tiny instruments; quick, steady hands.

For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (drjeffnichol.com). Each week he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Email pet behavior or physical questions to or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.