A Dinosaur Walks Into a Veterinarian’s Office…

No, this is not a joke. It’s just a great “what if?” — if dinosaurs were alive today, how would veterinarians treat them?

Like all wild animals, dinosaurs had difficult and violent lives. Scientists who study fossils can identify all kinds of wounds and injuries. For instance, a tyrannosaur skeleton has been found with a rival’s tooth embedded in its jaw, and unusually spaced tracks mean a foot or leg injury.

So you’re a veterinarian and someone brings in their pet dinosaur for treatment. What do you do? (We’ll just ignore the probability that they won’t be able to get through the door.)

A dinosaur has been hit by a car. No big, it happens to dogs all the time. Temporarily immobilize the injured limb by bandaging it against the body (hope you had to foresight to order some very long bandages). And you’ll probably need a really large cone to keep any biting from disturbing the bandage.

A dinosaur has a foot injury; maybe it stepped on a piece of glass. Try a ball bandage — a thick wad of gauze wrapped around the foot. This is how birds with claw problems are treated.

And the embedded rival’s tooth? That’s the dangerous one. Think of all the yucky mouth bacteria on a tooth — and they’ve all been injected under the skin. Fight any infection and if eating is painful, prescribe a soft diet. A feeding tube might even be necessary (how humiliating for a carnivore!).

For more treatment ideas, see “The Veterinarian Will See Your Dinosaur Now” by Cara Giaimo ( https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/04/science/dinosaur-injuries-veterinarian.html ). The illustration came from that site.

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