A STUDENT veterinary nurse at a local small animal hospital has played a vital role in a major operation to cure a dog’s lameness.
Emma Paul, who is training at Linnaeus-owned Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, in the West Midlands, was not directly involved in the surgery to repair a damaged cranial cruciate ligament.
However, her role was still essential to proceedings, as she used her sign language skills to communicate throughout with the 10-year-old cocker spaniel’s owner, who is deaf.
Emma said: “Communication was initially difficult between our client and clinicians, so I was asked if I could help with explaining the planned treatment and operation.
“I have been signing for as long as I can remember as my older brother is deaf and I grew up going to the BID Deaf Cultural Centre in Birmingham, so was delighted to help.
“The owner was really happy when I went out and introduced myself. He was so relieved that there was someone who could understand him and explain all the important information to him.”
The operation was a success and the dog is recovering.
Dr Kinley Smith, who operated said: “Emma’s sign language skills were a huge help in this case and ensured the owner was kept fully informed throughout.
“We’re very conscious that having a sick or injured pet can be a stressful and anxious time for owners, so we always strive to communicate clearly and openly with them about the way forward.
“In this case, it was proving problematic but Emma really made the difference, not just for the owner, for all of us.”