Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet Recap: Reindeer Pains

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As one of the only vets for hundreds of miles across the remote, Yukon Territory, Dr. Michelle Oakley braces herself for a jam-packed week of appointments while her fire-fighting husband, Shane, gets called into work a few hundred miles north. Overbooked and overwhelmed, Dr. Oakley finds herself emotionally and physically pushed to the brim, as she has to juggle a busy work schedule and her three teenage girls. Dr. Oakley soon discovers that pet wrangling isn’t nearly as hard as handling teenagers!

A Typical Monday at the Home Clinic

Dr. Oakley’s week is off to a rocky start as her first patient of the day, Meeps, does not feel like cooperating! Meeps, a cat owned by Marilyn Brewster, is drinking and peeing a lot more than usual. Typically signs of diabetes, Dr. Oakley suspects that Meeps may be one of the one in 200 cats that has diabetes. Cats, like humans, tend to develop diabetes if they can’t produce insulin. Hoping to avoid Meeps’ fierce claws, Dr. Oakley takes a blood sample, urine sample, and tests her blood sugar level to determine whether or not she has diabetes. With a blood sugar level at a whopping 24.8, Meeps’ blood sugar level is much higher than the average of 10, meaning she is definitely diabetic. Although diabetes is not a death sentence for cats, it does mean that her owners need to regulate her blood sugar level and give her two shots of insulin per day.

Meet Big Guy

Up next is one of Dr. Oakley’s more exotic patients, Big Guy, a 38 year old blue and gold macaw parrot. Big Guy, owned by Dr. Oakley’s vet tech, Sandy Secord, needs some extra attention as his beak is a bit sharp and uneven. To avoid a painful break or crack, Dr. Oakley needs to trim Big Guy’s beak to ensure his chronic problems don’t ensue. Not your typical Yukon Pet, this process is much easier said than done! While keeping Big Guy still for his beak and nail trim, Dr. Oakley needs to ensure she doesn’t cover up his nostrils or apply too much pressure on his chest, prohibiting him from breathing normally throughout this process. Worried at first, Big Guy is relieved to see his owner, Sandy, and responds positively to her reassuring snuggling.

Here, Kitty Kitty!

After a busy morning at the home clinic, Dr. Oakley steps out into the wild, as she heads to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve (YWP), a 700 acre wildlife park and reserve, to check on four, wild lynx kittens who are scheduled to go to a zoo in Quebec. Before leaving for the zoo, these kittens need a check-up and their booster shots, to protect them from the viruses in the wild. Without getting attacked by a mama lynx, Dr. Oakley scrambles to catch the kittens before they climb a tree. Luckily, Dr. Oakley has her special helper, Maya, right by her side, helping her stay organized and on track.

At the Homstead

With a busy day behind them, Maya and Michelle head back to the homestead, only to find out that Maya didn’t get accepted to her dream school, the Music, Arts, and Drama school in White Horse, where she wanted to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. Bummed that she wasn’t initially accepted, Maya doesn’t hold out much hope that she’ll get in, despite being first on the wait list. Although they’d be sad to have their oldest daughter out of the house for a semester, Michelle and Shane keep their fingers crossed. Unexpectedly, Shane gets an emergency call from work and has to leave Michelle and the girls for a week to go fight wild fires 100 miles north of their house. With a busy week ahead, emotions flaring, and a potential move in sight for Maya, it’s not the best week for Michelle to lose her right-hand man.

Reindeer Pains

With Shane gone, Michelle’s week just got even busier! Next, Michelle gets a call from Steve Kroschel, the owner of Kroschel Wildlife Center, about Skippy, a reindeer, that needs some special medical attention. Despite two surgeries, Skippy has an umbilical hernia that won’t seem to heal. Skippy’s hernia seems to be ripped open, and could potentially attract some unwanted visitors to Kroschel’s wildlife center, including wild grizzlies or a pack of wolves. Concerned, Steve decides to call Dr. Oakley for another professional opinion! As Skippy lives out in a pasture, it’s very hard for Steve to keep her wound clean, and ensure that it doesn’t get infected. Often times, it’s hard for animals’ wounds to heal in the wild, particularly if they are extremely active and move around a lot, like Skippy. Despite the hanging sutures and skin, Dr. Oakley notes that wound looks pretty good and the pink flesh looks healthy and is healing properly.

For more adventures with Dr. Oakley, tune in to Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet: Get Your Blow Gun on Saturday at 9PM on Nat Geo WILD.

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