Bread and butter from a mouse.

Dr Noel Nadesan

It was one of those days in June when it was continuously pouring with rain outside. It was a dark and gloomy day with high wind, typical of Melbourne winter, forecasting weather for next few months.

I started the veterinary clinic in outer suburb in Melbourne during one winter day when there was rain and coldness coupled like inseparable Siamese twins, During winter season people would be reluctant to leave their warm homes and comfort unless there was some emergency. As dogs and cats are too confined to homes centrally heated, chances for them to get injured or fall sick are almost rare and this is the time when the veterinarian takes their annual holiday. As a veterinarian I started the clinic, the number of customers who came to clinic with pets were low and in fact there were days when not a single customer turned up.

I was in my clinic twiddling my thumbs. My nurse was absorbed in the ‘Woman’s Day’. No one had brought a cat or dog for a consultation and the lack of business depressed and irritated me. I said “It looks as if there will not be any bread on my table today,” she looked up from her magazine. She dismissed my remark and went back to read ‘Hollywood gossip’ in her magazine.

All of a sudden the telephone rang very loudly disturbing the silence that we were used to the whole day and my nurse after completing her conversation with the caller and turned around to me said with sarcastic snigger “Today mice will provide you with food”.

After a short while, Lynda and her fifteen year old daughter Sophia came to my clinic. Both were known to me for some time. They had a cat named Tiger and the latter was allergic to red meat and mice. If it was to consume any of those items it would get sores on the mouth. In ancient day cat were meant to eat mice and help farmers but the Tiger I met was allergic to rats. Ironic indeed!

Sophia placed two mice on the examination table from a small cage, instead of waiting on the table both mice climbed on to her shoulder.

“When did you buy these mice?” I asked her.

“Sophia has been mad for two months, first she brought a big mouse named Napoleon from her school. To provide company for Napoleon she bought a small mouse named Alexander from a pet shop and brought it home”, lamented Lynda.

I asked what her concern was with the mouse and Sophia answered. “Napoleon has a lump on both sides of its belly while skin on Alexander had slightly thickened”. Even humans can get these skin diseases and do not keep mice at home. Right?” said Lynda.

I could see that both were at each other’s throat over those mice. Sophia rearing mice was a sign of her revolt in her adolescence. Her hair dyed in red and a silver ring on her navel indicated the transition.

For parents in their middle ages this transition could cause tension. Sophia who was about to say goodbye to childhood, while her parents who were in their middle age, looked at the question of rearing mouse from two different angles,
“Napoleon has damaged a computer wire as it is kept in Sophia’s room. Sophia doesn’t do any homework nor does she attend to any housework instead she whiles away her time with her rats” continued Lynda.

I decided not to join in their strife “Napoleon and Alexander have got a skin disease which is contagious to their own species but chances for humans to contract this disease from mice are nil but still it is better to keep the hands always clean’’ I said and gave the medication for skin disease.

Sophia asked me for how long Napoleon would be alive and I said: ‘’ It would be four to five years for this type of disease.” She queried further about their general health situation and I replied “Rarely do mice get a disease, but they can get affected by cancer in the form of a tumour and abscess, but do not get saddened by this because they have short life span compare to dog and cats’’ I consoled the young girl.

I know Lynda was not happy.

Mother was greatly concerned about her daughter’s education and her computer where as daughter was concerned about what would happen to Napoleon by way of a disease after five years.
Each member in a family has different priorities and purpose. As a veterinarian I stand loyal to the young owner of Napoleon and Alexander.

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