Serving to Rudolph the Reindeer | Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet

published on July 3, 2020

SPEAKER 1: Rudolph the reindeer
needs urgent medical attention

MICHELLE OAKLEY:
OK, OK, Oh, it's me

It's me

OK, woah

Are you OK?
SPEAKER 2: Yeah

SPEAKER 1: But the
young calf is fighting

back like bucking bull

SPEAKER 2: Sorry

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Heads
up, wild reindeer

It's OK

Goodness

SPEAKER 1: Finally,
Rudolph tires out,

and Michelle can inspect
his infected eye

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Oh my
goodness with the blue eye

Sometimes, when they get
a lot of ice and wind,

they will end up with like
a lot of trauma to the eye

And then they'll
get a bluish hew

to the surface of the cornea

He's got a little
David Bowie going on

I mean, he's got this one blue
eye and this other brown one

The surface of the
cornea, which should

be totally clear and smooth, has
some inflammation or infection

going on

And then those cells reflect the
light, and it all looks blue

Right now, I'm trying to look
to see if there's anything

like in the chamber of the eye

We want to make sure that
there's nothing stuck in there,

or it's not alternating

It doesn't look like
there's much in there

I'm having a hard time
seeing what's going on

So what I need to do is actually
put some stain in there,

and see if there
has been some injury

to the surface of the eye

Oh, creepy eye

I just put some
fluorescein stain in there

And so that will stick
to any kind of defect

in the surface the cornea,
like if there's an ulcer

or something like that

Let's flush all that away

Uh oh

Guess what?

I see stain stuck
where it shouldn't be

SPEAKER 2: Oh dear

MICHELLE OAKLEY:
Oh, baby, darn it

Unfortunately, a bunch of
the stain won't flush away,

and it's stuck right in
the middle of his cornea

So that tells me
that there's actually

a bit of an ulcer starting

SPEAKER 1: A corneal ulcer is a
sore usually caused by dryness,

infection, or trauma

MICHELLE OAKLEY:
So as you can see,

the stain rinsed away from
everywhere except for that one

big honking spot

SPEAKER 1: Left untreated,
it could continue to grow

MICHELLE OAKLEY: That can
perforate into the eyeball

and start a major infection

He can actually lose his eye

It's at least into the
first couple layers

SPEAKER 1: To stop the ulcer
from spreading further,

Michelle will inject antibiotics
straight into his eyelid

MICHELLE OAKLEY:
All right, so I'm

injecting penicillin actually
into the tissues under his eye

And so you can see, that's
a bubble of penicillin

And that's going to leak out
over the next two or three

days

OK, OK, we can let
him up actually

And that seems to work wonders

SPEAKER 1: It may take up to
two weeks for Rudolph's eye

to heal completely

In the meantime, to
defend himself in the pen,

his antlers need attention

MICHELLE OAKLEY: The other
issue is this antler

SPEAKER 2: Yeah, he kept
getting stuck on the fence

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Oh, OK

SPEAKER 2: So that's
why we cut the antlers,

because he would reach through
and then couldn't get back out

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Oh, OK

When he was stuck, he may have
damaged the base of his antler

And when you get a crack in
an antler that's growing,

bacteria can get in there,
and then it gets an infection

SPEAKER 2: Other reindeer
owners have found,

what has pus leaking
really at the–

MICHELLE OAKLEY: The base

SPEAKER 2: –really below the
base, it has gone to the brain

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Right,
that's certainly a concern

If they do have an
infection in the antler,

even if it starts here,
it can track down

That infection can actually
travel down the pedicle

and get in the skull, get
actually right into the brain

SPEAKER 1: Infection
in the brain

would likely spell death
for the yelling reindeer

MICHELLE OAKLEY:
One by one, we're

getting you fixed right up

Look at you, sad baby

SPEAKER 1: Michelle
flushes the area,

and injects powerful
antibiotics into his wound

MICHELLE OAKLEY: This is like
pus that's matted around here,

and so I'm just trying to
get it all out of the way

to make sure there's
no like crack down low

or anything like that

Sorry, love

OK, OK, OK, hey, are you OK?

Nope

SPEAKER 2: He kicked
me in the face

So, Rudolph gets picked on,
but he is pretty strong

MICHELLE OAKLEY:
He is way stronger

than he seems, you know?

SPEAKER 1: Now that Rudolph's
eye and antler have been

treated, Michelle has one
more problem to tackle,

those bow legs

MICHELLE OAKLEY: So
first thing I want to do

is just feel his legs

I'm making sure that
it moves normally,

that it can bend normally

And sometimes, even lower
in the joint is contracted

It will cause the
knees to bow out

So no swelling in
the joint at all

SPEAKER 2: Really?

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Nothing
obvious that I could feel

You know what I mean?

SPEAKER 1: There are
no clear explanations

for Rudolph's deformity,
so Michelle turns

to a trusted diagnostic tool

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Why don't we go
ahead and get the x-rays done?

OK, you are so good

SPEAKER 2: Look at that

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Yeah

SPEAKER 2: Bent

MICHELLE OAKLEY: You can even
see the bow in the radius

and ulna there that are
kind of like, you know,

out to the side

SPEAKER 2: They would
normally be straight, right?

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Yeah, they
would normally be straight

SPEAKER 2: So, it's actually
the bone that's bent

MICHELLE OAKLEY:
I can see there's

a deformity in the bone

It's basically a curved shape,
and that's what's causing

his whole legs to bow out

We'll never know what caused it

It could have been something
that happened during gestation

It could've been something
happened soon after when

he was trying to walk

In any case, there's
not a whole lot

we can do for it at this point

That looks funny right there

That looks like almost a
little chip or something

SPEAKER 1: A closer look
reveals more bad news

MICHELLE OAKLEY: You
can see how things

are just not lined up properly

SPEAKER 2: Yeah

MICHELLE OAKLEY: So
unfortunately, it

does look like he's got bits
of yucky bone or cartilage

that are jumping out

We're starting to see some
pretty significant arthritis

He's got some defects
in his cartilage,

and he's a young animal

So he can't be with this
group of youngsters that

want to fight and
knock him around

that he's trying to run from

Kind of less movement would
be better for him right now,

but how long can you do that?

SPEAKER 2: I think we're going
to try to move him and his mom

in with the grandmas

You know, he won't have
to walk as far for food

They also have arthritis

MICHELLE OAKLEY: Right

OK, that sounds
like a great plan

The old granny reindeer also
have arthritis, and you know,

he just wants to be
with other reindeer

It'll be nice to put them in
a group in the old granny pen,

and they can all kind
of hang out together

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