The Boar Ultimatum (Full Episode) | Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet

NARRATOR: This time,
Dr. Michelle Oakley
kicks it into high gear. MICHELLE: Nice shot! NARRATOR: As she squares off
with a big pig…
MICHELLE: No! NARRATOR: To curb its appetite
for destruction.
MICHELLE: My husband is
wrestling a boar. NARRATOR: And a herd of caribou
face a 1,600-mile journey home,
but when one passenger
suffers a rare reaction…
MICHELLE: She's kind of dragging
her head and pawing, like, frantically. NARRATOR: The team scrambles
to stage a roadside rescue.
MICHELLE: Oh, yeah,
you're looking rough. NARRATOR:
After a brutal winter,
Haines, Alaska, is
coming back to life.
(bellowing) The coastal town
brims with creatures
out to meet their mates
and grab some grub.
But for the area's
canine residents,
springtime is high time
for a killer disease.
An outbreak of parvo virus
is starting to spread
among the local pet population. MICHELLE: Hey, Sophie! You check out that and I'm gonna
see how quick I can pinch you. In the spring in these parts
of Alaska and the Yukon, parvo outbreaks
happen every year, and we've got one just
amping up right now.

What the heck,
that was fast, hey? Next! NARRATOR: At the American
Bald Eagle Foundation,
Dr. Michelle Oakley holds
a vaccination clinic
to keep the virus
from spreading.
MICHELLE: Come on, Gus!
(kissing) Come here! All the dogs are getting out
and visiting with each other, and so parvo just takes off. NARRATOR: Parvo is passed
through a dog's stool.
It causes fever, dehydration,
and internal hemorrhaging.
MICHELLE: Parvo can kill them,
you know, kind of overnight, so we're like, okay, we better
get this, everybody vaccinated as fast as we can. Pinch. There! All done! TRACY: Good girl. MICHELLE: What's the dog's name?
Mutt? TRACY: Um, no.
SIERRA: No. MICHELLE: That's what it says.
SIERRA: The breed is mutt. MICHELLE: Oh.
(laughs) SIERRA: Okay. Is she spayed? WOMAN: No, she's not.
SIERRA: No? Okay. NARRATOR: Today Michelle's
daughter Sierra
and vet tech Tracy are on board
to help control the chaos.
(barking) MICHELLE: Oh, drama! It's starting to get
a little crazy in here. Oh, oh, puppy breath! These vaccine clinics
are so important, because I'm not here
all the time, so they can get that done and
they don't have to go, you know, a ten-hour drive or a ferry
to get care for their pets.

TRACY: Way to go! MICHELLE: When you do come,
people are just so thankful. 'Thank you for coming here,
we were so concerned.' Ha ha, they're all done.
You probably didn't even notice. They didn't even, yeah. MAN: Whoa! MICHELLE: So, it's,
it worked out great today. I think my finger went right
into his back door on that one. Just remind me to wash my hand. (music) Oh, look,
there's deer right there. NARRATOR: With one crisis
under control,
Michelle and
her daughter Willow
head into a winter wonderland
to tackle another.
MICHELLE: Yeah. Well, we just passed the sign
for Moose Mountain. NARRATOR: In faraway
Saskatchewan,
cold weather's
still hanging on.
MICHELLE:
We're in Moose Mountain, and we're up here
to catch wild boar. (snorting) The concern with wild boar is that they are actually
fairly destructive. They're an invasive species. They'll eat young deer,
tons of frogs, and there's a lot of concern
for some ground nesting birds. (squeal) They're quite large,
they're quite nasty, so they need to do
something about it. NARRATOR: Today, Michelle is
meeting Dr.

Ryan Brook of the University
of Saskatchewan
to help stop
the rampaging boars.
MICHELLE: Hi!
DR. BROOK: Hey, how are you? NARRATOR: Dr. Brook leads
a research project
to collar and track
the nuisance animals.
DR. BROOK: Our biggest challenge
with wild pigs is this really high
reproductive rate. These animals are having
one, two, almost three litters per year. They can spread disease
to humans, pets, wildlife, livestock. So the question is,
well, what do we do? WILLOW: Hi, Dad! NARRATOR: Today's field work
also entails a family reunion.
SHANE: Oh, getting big. Look at that. NARRATOR: Willow's dad has
joined the pig patrol.
SHANE: You miss me?
WILLOW: Yeah. MICHELLE: Shane and I
both travel for work. In the summer,
he's a firefighter. In the winter,
he does wildlife captures. And so, he's out
on the wild boar work, he's the net gunner doing the
actual captures and collaring. SHANE: Yeah, I'd like
to put that on you. Know where you are at all times. NARRATOR: While Shane
and Willow catch up,
Michelle gets
the lay of the land.
DR.

BROOK: So this is
the park area, this forested. So this is actually the, all the movement data
from the GPS collars, but as you can see, there's
really significant movement. NARRATOR: One of the most
valuable animals in the study
is a 275-pound boar named M1. DR. BROOK: We had a GPS collar
on M01 for two years now. MICHELLE: Yep. DR. BROOK: And M01 is outside
of the Moose Mountain and getting into farmland. MICHELLE: M1 is so important
because he is a major traveler. He's traveling to various
groups of females, and he is basically
leading the researchers right to where the other
wild boar are living. NARRATOR: Knowing where
the herds are hiding is key
in helping determine
how many animals there are
and how to control them. DR. BROOK: He's our go-to guy, but there's concerns about M01
fertilizing other females. MICHELLE:
This M1 is an adult male, he's probably sired hundreds
of piglets if not more. So, we want to study and try
and understand these wild boar, but we don't want him out
siring more offspring.

Okay, well, it sounds like
we need to get to work. DR. BROOK: Yes, let's do that.
Absolutely. MICHELLE: Okay. NARRATOR: To stop M1's
reproductive reign,
Michelle and Shane will
launch an aerial assault.
MICHELLE: Hello.
SHANE: Hello. NARRATOR: To track down and
sterilize the big breeder.
But there's a catch. MICHELLE: We've got to approach
this operation a little differently
than we normally would. We wouldn't want
to just castrate him, because we want him
to have his hormones, we want him to have a drive to
find sows and other wild boar. WOMAN: Just make sure that the
tusks are hooked over the top. MICHELLE: Okay. So, our plan is to give him
a vasectomy today. Snip, snip. The testicles will stay in place and we'll just remove the
ability to make more piglets. NARRATOR: With her gunner
in the back seat,
Michelle's also got
an ace at the helm.
Pilot Mike Reed. MICHELLE: Mike can move animals, he can put them anywhere
you want them. NARRATOR: But to catch M1,
first they've got to find him.
MICHELLE: Do they hold still
and just hide? MIKE: Oh, yeah. MICHELLE: They can get into
some difficult terrain here.

They can get back in the bush.
It can be hard to find them. They're really sneaky. NARRATOR: A GPS tracking team
is already in the sky,
homing in on the signal
emitted by M1's collar
and reporting back
to Michelle and the crew.
SHELBY: I'm starting to pick up
a faint signal here. It's getting stronger here
on the right. NARRATOR: M1 is holed up
somewhere below the chopper.
MICHELLE: We got
the coordinates, and we're flying into the spot, and we still can't see
the wild boar. MICHELLE: And it's lots of snow, a couple big open lakes,
little patches of trees. You'd think we'd
be able to see him. Oh, here he is, right here. Right below us.
I can see the collar, too. MIKE: Oh, yeah. Let me know when
you're ready, Shane. SHANE: Yeah. NARRATOR: With a sight
on the target,
it's up to Shane to bring him
down with the net gun.
MICHELLE: Basically now, we're
just trying to move him out onto the ice
into a nice, open area so Shane can shoot
the net at him.

NARRATOR: But part of
a wild boar's secret to success
is its ability to evade humans. MICHELLE: He knows the game. So when he stays in the trees,
we can't get down low enough to get a shot, so we really got
to get him out onto the ice. NARRATOR: To bag the boar,
Mike must maneuver the chopper
within 30 feet of the ground, without crashing
into the trees.
GARY: There he is, there.
MICHELLE: Yep. MIKE: Has he stopped?
MICHELLE: He stopped, yep. MICHELLE: There we go. SHANE: Alrighty. (music) (music) MICHELLE: Nice shot. NARRATOR: The 275-pound boar
may be caught.
SHANE: Let's go! NARRATOR: But he's strong,
scared, and ready to fight.
MICHELLE: Alright, go! NARRATOR: To secure
the angry pig,
Michelle needs to hook
the snare around M1's snout.
MICHELLE: He's bleeding a bit from where he's biting down
on the snare. This is normal.
He's not hurt at all. But we can't hold him
like this for long, we've really got
to get him down.

NARRATOR: A dose of anesthetic
should knock him out
within a few minutes. MICHELLE: So, I'm just
gonna inject it. SHANE: Watch where you put that. MICHELLE: I can see Shane's
a little nervous as I'm coming up
the back end there, 'cause, you know, his bum is
right by the boar's bum. SHANE: She got it
in the right ass. (laughs) NARRATOR: Now it's a waiting
game for the drugs to hit
the boar's
central nervous system.
SHANE: Just hold him
to the ground. MICHELLE:
You let him up too soon, he'll drag us across the field,
or worse, come back at us. This guy is really big and so much stronger than
he looks for his size, too. It's really important
to control their head, because they have
four, five-inch tusks that are sticking
out of their mouth.

They're razor-sharp. He's still moving his tail. Oh, (bleep). (snorting) No! NARRATOR: Wild boar are
destroying the countryside.
To help curb their population, Michelle needs to give this
prolific breeder a vasectomy.
MICHELLE: Oh, (bleep). NARRATOR: But his anesthetic
isn't kicking in.
SHANE: You're giving him
caffeine or something. It's not getting to him at all. MICHELLE: They're
super aggressive. When they feel caught,
they will come right at you, and, you know, there's been
some near misses already. NARRATOR: They need
to get the boar down.
(bleep) But his adrenalin's
pumping on overdrive.
There's no choice but
to give him more drugs.
(snorting) MICHELLE: Okay. Yup. My husband is wrestling a boar. I'm doing some vet work. Can't beat it. NARRATOR: The extra dose
does the trick.
MICHELLE: He's not fighting
anymore at all, is he? SHANE: He's sleeping. MICHELLE: Is he asleep? NARRATOR: With M1 down and out, Michelle can finally
start his vasectomy.
MICHELLE: Okey-dokey,
about to start here.

Their anatomy is just
a little bit different from domestic pigs. Their skin is so tough, it's like dulled my scalpel
in one cut. Wild boar are hairy beasts, so, you know, there isn't a ton
of hair on the scrotum itself. A little different way
to work on them, hey? But what's surprising to me is how thick the hide is
on these guys.

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NARRATOR: That leathery skin
helps wild boar survive
the harsh northern elements and each other during
territorial combat.
MICHELLE: When they're fighting, they really want
really thick skin over important parts of their
body, like the testicles. There we go, okay. NARRATOR: With M1's tough
testicles finally open,
Michelle feels inside. MICHELLE: Now it's kind of
a fishing expedition to find it. I'm getting a little bit
of the vas deferens, which takes the semen
from the testicle out. NARRATOR: Michelle removes
a half centimeter
of the vas deferens,
then ties it off.
MICHELLE: Okay.
One down and one to go. This animal will still have
all his hormones. He's gonna go back
out in the wild. He's gonna find lots
of other groups of pigs, and he's gonna save this team
hundreds of hours in terms of looking
for wild boar.

He's still all boy. And these are
absorbable sutures, so he won't have to come back
and see me next week to get them out. NARRATOR: One final injection
will reverse the anesthesia
and wake the sleeping giant. MICHELLE: Usually it takes,
you know, four to ten minutes for them to get up
after the reversal, but sometimes it can be
a little bit faster. Okay. NARRATOR:
With darkness falling,
there's no time to wait
for the boar to come to.
MICHELLE: Usually we wait until
the animal's head up at least, but we're out of daylight
and for safety's sake, we've got to get out of here.

NARRATOR: But the GPS team
is still in the sky
keeping tabs on M1. When they hear the telltale
signal from of his collar,
they'll know he's back
up and at 'em.
MICHELLE: Got him! MIKE: Got him! NARRATOR: Somewhere in the bush
below, M1 is on the move again.
MICHELLE: He's okay. He's got himself back up
to body temperature, and there will be
no more babies. (music) NARRATOR: Michelle will be
back to Saskatchewan
to knock other super breeders
out of commission.
MICHELLE: Willow and Shane
are going to take a little daddy-daughter time, and we will all meet up
back at home. NARRATOR: But for
this traveling vet,
home will have to wait. She's on her way
to help a friend
who's hauling
some unusual cargo.
MICHELLE: Mike Miller and
his wife, Kelly, called because they're moving some
caribou from British Columbia to the Alaska Wildlife
Conservation Center where they're from. They've asked me to come along, and I think it's actually
a really good idea to have a veterinarian along. Hey, guys! MIKE: Michelle!
MICHELLE: Hey! KELLY: How's it going?
MIKE: Good to see you! MICHELLE: Yeah, nice to see you!
MIKE: Yeah.

NARRATOR: Standing between
the caribou and their new home
are nearly 1,500 miles
of open road.
KELLY: Yeah, the older ones
are in the front. MICHELLE: Okay.
MIKE: The bigger ones. KELLY: And then all the calves
are in the back. MICHELLE: Okay. MIKE: These caribou
are being donated by the British Columbia
government. They did dietary studies. Taking them out, letting them
loose, and see what they eat. MICHELLE: Yeah,
these guys look good. MIKE: They had some extra ones
that they wanted us to adopt, and that's what started
this whole process. MICHELLE: How's it going so far? MIKE: We're half a day into it. We got, like, a day left and
we're just getting nervous. MICHELLE: It's big deal to take
caribou anywhere, but for that long of a trip, if there are any issues
that happen at all, you know, it's very difficult
to deal with them. KELLY: It's a long trip,
you know. MICHELLE: It is a long trip. KELLY: It's longer than
they've ever gone. MIKE: The drive is
pretty intimidating when you think about it. You know, all the way across
the country with wild animals.

Boy, if we ever need any,
have any trouble, we wouldn't know where to begin,
and that's why we need Michelle. MICHELLE: You got enough snacks? I'm only going
if there's good snacks. Okay, everybody is looking good. NARRATOR: The trailer is
equipped with four cameras,
so the team can keep an eye
on their precious cargo.
MICHELLE: Okay,
you get some sleep. KELLY: I'm gonna try.
MICHELLE: Alright. NARRATOR: But in case
of emergency,
they'll have limited options. International regulations
require that the animals
remain inside the trailer until
they get to the Alaskan border.
MIKE: There's a special seal that the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency puts on all the doors of the trailer, and they just want to ensure
that you don't let the animals accidentally get loose until
the time you get to the border.

So there's no getting into the
trailer if something goes wrong. Even if one was bleeding, I don't think you
could break that seal. NARRATOR: If the seal
shows signs of tampering
at the border crossing,
the caribou will be sent back.
MIKE: I hope they're enjoying
the trip as much as we are. They need to just relax. MICHELLE: Yeah. MIKE: It'll be over
before they know it. NARRATOR:
Before the trip began,
the caribou were given
a tranquilizer
to help them endure the ride. MICHELLE: This particular
tranquilizer, it really just takes
the stress and anxiety away from, you know, their psyche, so they can just kind of
relax and chill out, and get through the trip.

(music) I'm wired. If you need me to drive,
I'm ready. MIKE: I'm putting in my time now
when it's daylight. MICHELLE: Yeah. So you might think a long trip
like this would be boring, but we're kind of mixing up
who's driving, and there's no shortage
of things to see. MIKE: Caribou! MICHELLE: Oh, yeah!
There's five. MIKE: Hey, they're looking at us as if they know we have
their cousins in the car. MICHELLE: Having some snacks,
lots of snacks. It's just such an amazing trip. A moose! (imitates moose call) We're not too far into the trip
and I'm watching the monitor, and as I'm looking at it, I see something that,
that is not right. This one is looking
a little funny, Mike. MIKE: Oh, yeah. MICHELLE: Oh, (bleep), yeah,
she is backing up. So, she just keeps backing up
and digging. NARRATOR: Backing up and
digging may be signs
that the long-term tranquilizer
isn't sitting right.
MICHELLE: There can be
side effects with these tranquilizers.

They protect most
of the animals, but they're all individuals, and there are some then that
will react in a strange way. You see how she's just
constantly digging? KELLY: Oh, yeah. MICHELLE: And her head is down
and she's kind of like… MIKE: Oh, my gosh. MICHELLE:
She's frantically pawing, and then she's dragging
her face, and not just a little bit
of a scrape, I mean, she's like
dragging her face as hard as she can
on the ground.

And if she continues to do that,
she could cause abrasions and injuries to her teeth
or her skin. MIKE: Well, it looks like
she's… MICHELLE: Yeah, like, she's
progressing then, you know? MIKE: Yeah. You can… MICHELLE: No, we need to find
somewhere to pull over. NARRATOR: Without immediate
intervention,
the caribou's
repetitive behavior
could cause her heart rate
and body temperature to spike
and lead to sudden death. MICHELLE: I definitely
need to intervene. But because we have a sealed
trailer for crossing the border, I can't get in there and get
my hands on this animal like I would normally. MIKE: Yeah, that's not good. MICHELLE: It's got to stop,
she's gonna hurt herself. I need to do something. That's awful! NARRATOR: 11 caribou are
on a 37-hour journey
to an animal sanctuary
in Southern Alaska.
Each was given a tranquilizer
to help it endure the trip.
But one of them is having a
dangerous reaction to the drug.
MIKE: Yeah, that's not good. MICHELLE: She's pawing
in kind of a manic way, and now she's starting
to drag her nose. She's really tensing up, and that will actually start
to cause her to overheat.

NARRATOR: Left untreated,
the caribou's heart
and respiratory rates could
climb out of control,
leading to sudden death. To stop her spiral, the caribou
must receive an injection
of midazolam,
a Valium-like sedative.
MICHELLE: Okay, we're coming. NARRATOR: But there's no easy
way to administer the drug.
MIKE: Canada seals the trailer and you're not allowed
to break the seal. NARRATOR: The team
is prohibited
from opening the trailer doors. MICHELLE: We'll just have to try and get it through
the hole here. MICHELLE: Oh, yeah,
you're looking rough. NARRATOR: With only a couple
of inches to maneuver,
Michelle must inject the needle squarely into
the caribou's flank.
MICHELLE: So I'm doing the best
I can with this tiny little slot in the side of the trailer, but it's really tricky to try and maneuver
the stick pole in there, and, you know, actually inject
in the right spot in the animal and not injure any
of the other caribou that are milling around
in the area.

Move your head. Move your head. It did not, it did not inject.
Dang it. MIKE: Do you want
another syringe? MICHELLE: No, it's all
still in there, but I want another needle. The first needle just bent a bit
because she started to run. NARRATOR: Every second
the caribou goes
without the injection, her
self-inflicted blows get worse.
MICHELLE: Like, she's dragging
her face really hard. MIKE: How'd that one go? MICHELLE: Yeah, got that one.
MIKE: Alright.

NARRATOR: The full dose
is finally in.
MICHELLE: She should
start to slow down. She's still going,
you can see her. NARRATOR: But it doesn't
seem to be working.
KELLY: Boy, he doesn't look
that much better so far. MICHELLE: No. So why don't
we drive for a bit to try and cool her down? I'm hoping in
the next few minutes we see a change in her behavior.

If this doesn't work, I'm gonna have to get in there
and get my hands on her. Okay, it's been 14 minutes. If I have to break the seal
and go in there, that's it, shipment's over. They can't go into
the United States. The pawing has stopped. Oh, she looks way better,
okay, oh, thank God. Uhh. Uhh. I thought this was gonna be
a boring drive where I slept the whole way.

MIKE: Yeah. NARRATOR: The drug should have
a calming effect
for four to six hours, but for Michelle, there's
no relaxing on the job.
MICHELLE: Yeah, I don't want
to take my eyes off that. Yeah. You know, kind of the air
of road trip, snacks, and fun is gone until
we cross the border. NARRATOR: By the evening,
all passengers are hanging on,
but it's touch and go. KELLY: That one is jumping. (bleep) MICHELLE: It's a powder keg
in there. I mean, these caribou are
not used to being confined. And they're all kind of starting
to look a little crazy, they want to get out. NARRATOR: Michelle uses
a pit stop
to try to soothe the herd. MICHELLE: Caribou candy. NARRATOR: Since they're
not yet in Alaska,
international regulations
prohibit her
from opening the trailer doors. So she delivers dinner
drive-in style.
MICHELLE: But I pulled all this, and they're chewing it
immediately, so something to do. They got the munchies, the road
trip munchies just like we do.

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There you go. Bon appetit. NARRATOR: The willows satiate
the caribou through the night.
And all morning long until they
reach their new home state.
(clapping) KELLY: I know, right? MICHELLE: We're all exhausted, but the good news is
we're in the homestretch. NARRATOR: After 37 hours
and 1,600 miles,
the caribou finally arrive at the Alaska Wildlife
Conservation Center,
where they'll roam free
in a 15-acre enclosure.
MIKE: Here's the turnoff,
I can see it.

null

KELLY: Yay! MICHELLE: Oh, awesome. Yay. I mean, they've been
in this little tin can for 30 plus hours, so I want
to watch them as they unload to make sure I don't see
any signs of limping, lacerations, or injuries. Okay, we're almost done,
as long as everybody looks good. You just never know
what's gonna happen when you release an animal until
they step out of the trailer and start exploring
their new home. MIKE: Everybody good? Here we go. MICHELLE: Oh. Come on, everybody. MIKE: Come on. MIKE: Here we go. NARRATOR: After traveling
37 hours cross-country,
11 caribou have made it
to their new home
at the Alaska Wildlife
Conservation Center.
MICHELLE: Come on, everybody. MIKE: Come on. NARRATOR: Now, it's time for
their first taste of freedom.
MICHELLE: Come on, guys. MIKE: It's like they fell asleep and woke up in a foreign country
or something.

They don't know
how they got there, so they're a little leery
of their new surroundings. (banging on trailer) MICHELLE: Nice.
They look amazing. MIKE: Once we let them loose, I really felt like we really
accomplished something, and it just felt good
to see them come out, and to run around,
and to be free. MICHELLE: They look super
bright, there's nobody limping, they're all excited,
looking around, they're even nibbling
the grass already. Oh, here come the mamas. MIKE: Here they come. MICHELLE: Hi, guys! NARRATOR: The female that
had everyone so worried
is back to her old self. MICHELLE: That was
a long trip, hey? KELLY: Yay! MIKE: Their new home! Hey, hey! KELLY: Where's the champagne? MICHELLE: Nice driving.
Nice driving.

I'm really proud to be
a part of this, of bringing these caribou,
getting them a new home. It's been a journey
in all senses, and I'm glad it's gonna
have a happy ending. Hot shower! So excited! NARRATOR: With the new day, Michelle doesn't have
the option of sleeping in.
She's up with the sun
in Haines, Alaska,
where duty calls at the
American Bald Eagle Foundation.
(dogs barking) MICHELLE: Alright, buddy, buddy! NARRATOR: At her clinic, only
a wall separates her clients
and some of the deadliest
predators on Earth.
MICHELLE: I just had to lock
the door into the eagle pen, because everyone likes
to leave the office and walk into the eagle pen
with their little Chihuahua. NARRATOR: Here, Michelle
performs regular checkups
on all the birds of prey. MICHELLE: Hey! How's Bentley? NARRATOR: But today's
for the dogs.
WOMAN: He jumped off
of our porch.

It's about a 10-foot drop
probably. MICHELLE: Whoa.
WOMAN: And he just kind of… MICHELLE: Hey! How's it going?
WOMAN: Hello. NARRATOR: Clinic doors are open
for any pooch with a problem.
MICHELLE: Oh, this is
a definite puppy pile. Our pets are just like
little kids; going to the doctor is
not their favorite thing. (yelps) If he whips his head up,
it could break your nose. If they pick up even a sniff
of the vet stink, they often start quivering
right away. Lay down, sweets. (dog farts) MICHELLE: Oh, sad.
TRACY: She's so scared.

MICHELLE: That wasn't me,
I swear. See, just the top bit
of the nail there is split. (yelps) Oh, Bentley, sorry, sorry. The most dramatic
nail trim ever. I just do my best
to help them relax and make it
a positive experience. Oh, that looks tender. We're gonna give her
some antibiotics to help her along with this. But sometimes I just have
to deal with the fallout. (dog farting) Oof. Oof. Poor Sasha. DAVE: Come on.
Come on, Homer, listen up. NARRATOR: Michelle's
next patient
is a five-month-old coonhound, with a mind and nose
of his own.
DAVE: Come on, buddy! Come on, buddy! Homer, get over. Hey! He didn't get no breakfast
today, so he's like scouring. NARRATOR: Coonhounds are
known for possessing
one of the most sensitive
sniffers in the canine kingdom.
DAVE: Let's go. Come on.
Let's go see the doctor. NARRATOR: Dave Stickler
has kept the breed
for over 15 years, but almost as soon as
he brought Homer home,
he became concerned that
something was wrong.
DAVE: Come on. I noticed he had a little bump
on his neck, and then all of a sudden,
it's like growing, and I'm going like, huh, I'm bringing this guy in
to see the doc.

Come on, Huck. NARRATOR: His friend
Huckleberry
recently died of old age. And his 17-month-old pup,
also named Homer,
succumbed to cancer. DAVE: Call me a worrywart, but I'm kind of concerned
about my puppy. Come on, Homer. Come on. MICHELLE: Hi! How's it going? DAVE: Hi! Homer's got him
something going on. MICHELLE: Uh-oh. DAVE: I had a flea collar
on him.

MICHELLE: Yeah?
DAVE: And he had a rash. So I took that flea collar off. MICHELLE: Oh, okay. DAVE: And a little while later, I noticed then
he had a little bump. MICHELLE: Okay. DAVE: And now it's getting
quite a bit bigger. Call me a hypochondriac
for my dog, I don't know, but. MICHELLE: No,
it's understandable. Understandably,
Dave is really sensitive. He's still not over
Homer number one. Um, he got this
wonderful new puppy, and then suddenly he finds
a growth, a mass on him that's growing quickly. DAVE: Just hopefully,
it don't happen to him. MICHELLE: No. He's gonna want this
dealt with quickly and we're gonna help him. Oh, you're so wiggly. NARRATOR: But before Michelle
tends to Homer's lump…
MICHELLE: He's got all
his big boy teeth. Oh, thank you! NARRATOR: She'll check out
his other puppy parts.
MICHELLE: Coat is awesome. So I'm getting Homer
on the table. I'm trying to get him settled. He's just so excited and playful
and wants to give kisses, has these long, soft ears,
beautiful brown eyes.

He's just a sweetheart. So no other lumps or bumps
anywhere, right? DAVE: No, I haven't noticed
any during the daily pettings. MICHELLE: Wait, don't go yet. He's in my treat pocket. DAVE: Yeah, he's crazy that way. MICHELLE: He's got two in
the pocket as they should be. All his squishy parts feel good. NARRATOR: Homer passes
his physical.
Now, it's time to inspect
his suspicious mass.
MICHELLE: Maybe we can get him
to lay down.

DAVE: Come on, Homer. MICHELLE: That's a good boy. Belly rub. The growth on Homer's neck,
it could be a little cyst, it could be a small wart, but also could be something
more insidious. Good boy. There we go, okay. DAVE: Yeah, good boy. MICHELLE: Almost looks pustuly. How about I poke it, put it
on a slide, we'll have a look? DAVE: Yeah. MICHELLE: So the first thing
I want to do is actually just
aspirate this mass.

I want to take some cells, and
look at it under the microscope. Give him a distracting
little pet there. DAVE: Homer, Homer, Homer. Homer. MICHELLE: Hold still, Homer. So, yeah, he can take a break. DAVE: Homer needs
a little break. MICHELLE: I really just hope
we don't see any sign of, you know, a really nasty
cancer cell. There are several nasty types
of tumors this could be, and Dave does not need
that right now. I'm gonna have a peek at this. (music) (music) TRACY: It's definitely not just
a little infected pustule. MICHELLE: No, it's,
it's definitely a tumor. DAVE: You want to play, huh?
You want to play? Homer, come on, play.

NARRATOR: Dave Stickler
recently lost a young dog
to cancer. Now, his new puppy has
a suspicious lump on his neck.
Michelle's not sure what it is, but a look under the microscope
yields clues.
TRACY: That's definitely not
just a little infected pustule. MICHELLE: No. After looking at the slide, it looks pretty clear
that it's not just a cyst. Okay, I'm gonna chat with him. Okay, so, bad news is it's not
just a little abscess, it is a tumor. The good news is it looks more
like a type of tumor that actually might go away
on its own in a few months. It sort of looks like
a type of tumor that's common on young dogs
called histiocytoma. NARRATOR: Histiocytomas
are benign.
If that's what he has,
then Homer's home free.
But diagnosing tumors
through the microscope
is never certain. MICHELLE: You know,
I'm not like 100% sure just looking at a slide. We can leave it and watch it and see if it starts to go away
on its own, which they often do in young
dogs, but we wouldn't know.

Or we can remove it right now, and I'm totally fine with just
getting it out of there, 'cause I know the history. DAVE: You're fine with it?
MICHELLE: Yeah, yeah. DAVE: Then so am I.
MICHELLE: Yeah, okay. MICHELLE: I'm not entirely sure
what it is. It's growing quickly. The best thing we can do right
now is send it off to the lab and hear back what it is. Awesome. DAVE: First surgery, boy. MICHELLE: Don't worry,
we'll contact you soon. Okay. (dog whimpering)
DAVE: Alright. MICHELLE: Oh, Homer,
do you hear Dad leaving? We want to get started quickly. You know, we have to sedate
Homer, do a local. You're so brave for a baby. NARRATOR: A cocktail of drugs
will relieve Homer's anxiety
and put him to sleep. MICHELLE: It's okay, Homer,
you can just chillax.

TRACY: I'll just put
the lights out. MICHELLE: Yeah.
(laughs) NARRATOR: If Homer's lump
turns out to be cancer,
he could face a grueling fight
for his young life.
MICHELLE: It's hard to cut
on him, his skin is so floppy. NARRATOR:
In under two minutes…
MICHELLE: Okay. There's our lovely friend. NARRATOR: Homer's tumor-free. MICHELLE: Doesn't look like there's a bunch of roots
going deep. Just close that up. NARRATOR: Clean tissue
is promising,
but only a pathologist can tell
if the mass is cancerous.
TRACY: Alrighty,
ready for the lab. MICHELLE: Hi, Homer,
time to get up.

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Homer's waking up,
so all is looking good. He's up and ready. DAVE: Okay. MICHELLE: So, he, it went great, yeah, so the anesthesia
was perfect. No problems at all,
so, I just removed it. Now that I've reassured Dave, it's, you know, and tried
to get him not to worry, it's trying to keep
my own worry down, kind of keep my worry hidden. Look who's here! DAVE: Hi, Homer. Hey, little buddy. Oh, yeah, you took a little nap. NARRATOR: Lab results should
come back within a week.
MICHELLE: There is nothing worse
than getting news that you don't like to deliver and then having to call someone especially after
they've lost one dog. DAVE: Gotta keep
our boy healthy. NARRATOR: With the young
hound's future unclear,
the only thing left
to do is wait.
MICHELLE: Good news or bad,
as soon as I find out, I have to let Dave know,
either way. DAVE: Come on, Homer.

(whistles) Good boy. (music) NARRATOR: Michelle gets
her mind off
Homer's pending test results
with a trip to the country.
She's headed to Honey Hill Farm
where a flock of Shetland sheep
is expecting a new
batch of babies.
MICHELLE: So I'm here today
to visit Mike and Penne and their sheep farm. They have 40 or 50 head and about 11 pregnant females
that are getting ready to lamb. NARRATOR: Hailing from
the Scottish Highlands,
Shetland sheep are prized
for their hardy constitutions
and luxurious fleece. MIKE: We've got a little bit
of enterprise involved with processing
and selling wool. We've bonded very nicely
with the sheep. NARRATOR: Now, one of their
mamas-to-be is showing signs
that she may be unwell. MICHELLE: Hello. PENNE: Hi.
MIKE: Good morning.

MICHELLE: So you have some sheep
for us to look at, I heard? NARRATOR: Last year,
a young ewe named Kalina
had a grueling labor while
trying to give birth to twins.
PENNE: They were both in the
vaginal canal at the same time. MICHELLE: Oh, okay.
PENNE: So it was… MICHELLE: That doesn't work, it's a one at a time
kind of a situation there. PENNE: Yeah, right, yeah. NARRATOR: Both her lambs
died during delivery.
MICHELLE: We don't want to
stress her too much for sure. PENNE: It's okay, mom. NARRATOR: Now, Kalina is
expecting again,
and her physical condition
doesn't bode well.
PENNE: This year, she's fat. MICHELLE:
Oh, yeah, she's big. Yeah. PENNE: She is big. I'm concerned about her. MICHELLE: She's looking huge,
much bigger than the other ones. PENNE: Okay. Okay, girl, okay, alright.

MICHELLE: When they get
really fat, it sets them up for some
problems with their metabolism. But you know, she's at risk
for the pregnancy toxemia, like, when she's this big. PENNE: Yeah. NARRATOR: Pregnancy toxemia
is a disorder
caused when the ewe doesn't
get enough to eat.
PENNE: It's alright,
it's alright, it's alright. Oh, my gosh,
how much does she weigh? NARRATOR: Overweight ewes
are most at risk
because there's little room
for the stomach to expand
and take in nourishment. MICHELLE: You know, it's a big
cascade of things going wrong. The mom's not getting
the glucose she needs, and she needs glucose
to run her brain. Let's get the glucometer ready. It'll kill the lambs,
it'll kill her, and it can be fatal like that. So I think we should take
a quick blood sample, we can check her glucose level. PENNE: Okay. MICHELLE: And see
where she's at.

NARRATOR: If Kalina's
blood sugar has fallen too low,
Michelle may have to perform
an emergency C-section
to deliver her lambs. PENNE: It's alright, girl.
It's alright, it's alright. NARRATOR: But to get
the blood sample they need,
Kalina must be restrained, and her nervous energy
is spreading.
MICHELLE: Okay, everybody. Okay,
everybody, slow it down. Shh. PENNE: I can't let go
of her head. MIKE: I know.
PENNE: Shh, shh, shh, shh.

MICHELLE: It's okay. PENNE: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
Here I go. MICHELLE: Are you okay? PENNE: I'm okay. Okay, I got her. MICHELLE: Kalina's
really worked up. Sheep are trampling
over everyone. Oh, you poor big girl. Oh, my lordy. It's getting a little
too chaotic here in this small space,
so we need to slow it down, just focus on Kalina, and try
and get this sample quickly. Alright, alright, alright. TRACY: Easy, easy, easy. MICHELLE: It's okay. NARRATOR: Michelle only needs
one drop of blood
for the glucose test. PENNE: Oh, that's alright.

NARRATOR: Any second,
the Sentas will know
if the young mother and her
unborn lambs are going toxic.
PENNE: It's okay. (beeping) MICHELLE: Okay, okay,
okay, okay. NARRATOR: A pregnant ewe is
shockingly overweight,
putting her at risk
for a deadly condition.
MICHELLE: Good job, sweetheart.
I'm so sorry. NARRATOR: A blood test
will tell
if she suffers from
pregnancy toxemia.
PENNE: Oh, it's alright. It's okay. (beeping) TRACY: 84. MICHELLE: Oh, good. Okay.
So she's, she's okay. Awesome. So the test indicates
that pregnancy toxemia is not an issue with Kalina. Her glucose is normal, actually,
so that all seems great. You want to hold that leg
or you want to do that? PENNE: Sure.
MICHELLE: Okay, yeah. NARRATOR: All that's left is
a physical exam
to make sure this year,
her babies survive delivery.
MICHELLE: Poor lovey. I want to get in there, I want to feel if there's a lamb
starting to come out, just kind of see at what stage
in labor, if any, she's at.

It looks pretty swollen,
it does, around there. So I'm just making sure that
there's not a lamb that's stuck, that there's not again
two faces coming at once, that everything feels normal. Hold on, my love.
I know, I know. I'm not going in any further. TRACY: It's okay, baby. MICHELLE: Have you noticed her
pushing at all or anything? MIKE: No.
MICHELLE: Okay. MIKE: No, just… MICHELLE: There's feet
right there. The cervix is pretty much open
and the feet are there, or they're coming. As I'm in there palpating
and feeling, I can feel movements
of the fetuses in there, so that's, that's good news. They're heading
in the right direction and everybody feels
happy and healthy.

And she's starting to dilate. So I think she's just, she's just starting
is what's going on. PENNE: Okay. MICHELLE: And I gave a little
stretch as well, and that's just gonna stimulate
her to have the lambs, and, really,
that's what she needs. NARRATOR: As long as Kalina
remains pregnant,
she runs the risk
of developing toxemia.
PENNE: Okay, it's alright,
it's alright. MICHELLE: She needs to,
to get the lambs out or there's gonna be trouble. If she doesn't lamb
in the next couple days, then we should, you know,
induce her and get her moving. PENNE: Okay.
MICHELLE: Keep me updated. PENNE: I will. MICHELLE: I'll have
my phone going, I'll be ready for the text
that they're on their way out. PENNE: We'll definitely
let you know. MICHELLE: Okay. NARRATOR: As a new day shines
on Haines, Alaska,
Michelle is back at the
American Bald Eagle Foundation,
where important news
has just come in.
DAVE: Hey, little buddy.
Oh, my buddy. MICHELLE: Yes. NARRATOR: A few days ago, Michelle removed a suspicious
tumor from Homer,
a five-month-old
coonhound puppy.
Now, she's about
to tell his owner
whether the mass is
cancerous or benign.
(phone ringing) DAVE: Hello? My phone says
it's Dr.

Oakley. MICHELLE: Your phone is right. My phone says it's Mr. Stickler. (laughs) DAVE: News on Homer? MICHELLE: Yeah, I do, so I just
wanted to talk to you about it. DAVE: And? MICHELLE: And so, it is
a benign tumor. It's that histiocytoma, the one I told you about
that young dogs tend to get. It's, it's the best news
we were hoping for. DAVE: Well, good. I'm, I'm glad of that, but I've not had that
good of luck here lately. MICHELLE: Yeah. It feels great to have good news
to give Dave today. I mean, it was not that long ago that I had to give him
the worst news.

So, I'm just so relieved and I'm
just excited to make his day, and we're both smiling
this time. Just watch that spot, make sure
it continues to heal up nicely, but there shouldn't be
any other issues or any other reasons
to bring him in. DAVE: Okay, right on. Thank you so much, Michelle,
for getting back to me. MICHELLE: Hey, no problem. DAVE: Okay, bye-bye.
MICHELLE: Okay, bye-bye. MICHELLE: Yay!
I love giving good news. (music) NARRATOR: It's been an
exhausting time for Michelle,
traveling cross-country
and back again,
but now, she's finally made it
back to home sweet Yukon.
Now, she can do something
she rarely gets to do.
MICHELLE: Oooh! NARRATOR:
Relax with her family.
MICHELLE: Smoothies?
MAYA: Yeah, go for it. SHANE: Yeah, you want this one? MICHELLE: What's going on?
You guys don't want them? It's crazy weeks like this that make me really appreciate
just being home. I don't think we… Maybe that needs
a bit more blending. I love kind of doing nothing, just hanging out
with Shane and the kids.

Oh, my gosh,
you guys, check this out. This is that sheep I was
telling you about, Kalina, that was, like, huge and having
some issues with her babies. Look it, they,
she just had them. MAYA: Oh, my gosh.
MICHELLE: Yay! NARRATOR:
After a difficult pregnancy,
Kalina had her lambs
on Mother's Day.
MICHELLE: We're more worried that the babies
were gonna be stuck. We were watching her
really closely, but she did it all by herself. MICHELLE: Yay!
MAYA: Oh, good for her! NARRATOR: Normal birth weight
for a lamb
is between
four and seven pounds,
but Kalina's twins clocked in at seven and eight pounds
apiece.
The Sentas named them
Kali and Kai.
MICHELLE: So Kalina looks great. She gave birth,
had no trouble there, she has two healthy lambs,
and that's really good. As long as the lambs
are nursing quite well and she keeps eating good,
she's gonna be fine. That one kind of looks like me. MAYA: I really want that one.
Can we adopt one? MICHELLE: No one's
adopting anything. It gives me a good feeling
to wrap up such a good week when everyone's doing well.

And now my worry is gone, so I can just rest up
until the next call. Why don't we go out for
breakfast, how about that? Okay?.

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