Although all mammals have the same basic skeleton and numbers of bones in relevant areas, the structure and shape of those bones will vary from species to species.
I maintain, what I call, the orthopaedic suite that is primarily a collection of skeletons of the types of animals we see.
It might sound a bit gruesome but this collection is crucial to show our vets the odd bits of some of the patients.
Take for instance a muntjac.
I always say that when God made all the animals and birds he used the bits left over to make our favourite little deer.
The idiosyncrasies that we came across have proven to be absolutely vital in treating Muntjac.
They often appear to break their antlers.
In other deer this is not too serious but our skeleton show that most of a Muntjac’s antlers and in fact extensions of the skull itself making treatment that more precise.
A badger may appear to have a perfectly normal skeleton but its humerus, our ‘funny bone’ is twisted in a partial corkscrew.
A recent tiny cub came in obviously having a serious injury to one of its front legs.
Badgers seem to be the only mammals that cry out and his cries, maybe of pain and fear, fair tear your heart out.
Still we can now provide good painkillers to settle him.
The following morning an x-ray revealed a fracture to his tiny corkscrew humerus.
This proved to require quite complicated surgery so our tiny badger was referred to the vet.
A complicated operation allowed Steve Smith to place stainless steel pins into the leg to hold the fracture stable while it healed.
Now 10 days later our little badger is walking on that leg and has moved in with another tiny badger cub to keep him company.