Vet hospital teaches students


Just across from the Mercy Regional Health Center lies another emergency room – this one serving animals.

As part of the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, the animal emergency room is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It has been on campus since at least 1905, or since the college has existed, said Dr. Rose McMurphy, a professor of clinical science.

The emergency department is staffed by veterinarians, technicians and veterinary students.

The emergency room has facilities to care for small animal, equine and large animal patients. Most of the cases are dogs and cats that have often been traumatized by cars or have digestive problems, McMurphy said.

The College of Veterinary Medicine recently built a new intensive-care unit, which opened two weeks ago. It is larger, able to house more animals and has the latest in new equipment and technology.

“The number of cases we have each day is highly variable, anywhere from one to two per night or seven to eight,” McMurphy said.

People bring animals to the Veterinary Medicine Center Emergency Room for various reasons.

For some, it’s the closest facility to the site the accident occurred. Many local-practicing veterinarians refer their patients to the College of Veterinary Medicine when accidents and emergencies occur after hours or on the weekends.

This is the case with Manhattan resident Katie Jackson when she discovered a nest of baby blue jays on her front walk on a Sunday afternoon. She said the birds had fallen from a tree and were distressed.

“It was clear they’d been abandoned,” Jackson said. “I was afraid they’d be eaten by neighborhood cats.”

Jackson and her husband collected the birds in a shoebox lined with a kitchen towel, and drove the birds to the emergency room.

The staff then took the birds and told Jackson they would nurse them back to health. One of the birds had a broken wing. If they lived, they would be released into the wild.

“We strive to do our best for the animals that are brought to us,” McMurphy said.