As a kid, Dr Taylor Argent and his best friend would pretend to be Dr. Harry and Katrina. His mum would come home to a chook pen full of chickens with bandages on their wings and legs, dogs with fake surgery sites drawn on with texta, and crushed up dog food used as medicine. Might sound a little strange but he cherishes the impact this had on his childhood and he just loves giving back to the animals by taking care of them.
Taylor undertook a degree in veterinary medicine, but he had no idea what he wanted to specialise in until his final year. “Emergency is fast-paced, you get to help animals right in that moment and you never know what’s going to come through that door – which I love!”. He inquired about new graduate opportunities at the Animal Emergency Service and at the time the service was trialling a new graduate program. Taylor impressed the team and has been with the AES ever since.
Taylor recalls the funniest moment he’s had since working with AES: “My first ever consult that my senior vet let me go into when I started was a simple dog fight that was a little more overstimulated than I expected. As I was checking for neck pain, he turned and tried to bite my face. His tooth hit between my eyes and split the skin. I was bleeding, but I finished the consult and walked out the back to my senior vet and she was in utter shock. My first ever solo consult and I come out with blood dripping from between my eyes! It wasn’t the dog’s fault at all either, he was overstimulated with the dog fight and the stress from the vet clinic and I could see the tension in his eyes. I backed away for the rest of the consult and just let him relax. We became best friends afterwards despite my little scratch!”.
Taylor loves working for AES and thinks we provide the best care for our patients: “We get to do absolutely everything that we can to help these pets: We have access to some of the most amazing equipment; consultants on call for assistance for any cases that don’t quite add up; an amazing nursing team that do so much more than I could ever expect them to; and sharing the same passion to see these animals get better and exit our doors with their tail wagging alongside their family.”
You never know what an evening at the Animal Emergency Service is going to bring. We asked Taylor about the most thrilling case he’s worked on and why it meant so much to him: “Scooter was a big lovely puppy that loved to play with toys – but also sneakily eat them. A portion of his rope toy went missing and he was quite flat. We soon learnt it was stuck in his intestines and they were wrapping around each. Once in surgery, with the help of the AES nurses Dr Elise & Dr Vanessa, we had to remove over one metre of the intestine and hope that he wouldn’t have too many side effects. 12 hours later he was bright, eating and much happier. On his way out the door, he tried to eat a piece of the wall, so I knew it was going to be difficult for the owners to keep little objects out of his mouth. Seeing this young dog bounce back so quickly with our interventions and to see his improvement over the 12 hours after surgery was amazing. I’ve never seen such a large amount of intestine removed and a puppy bounce back so quickly. Fingers crossed he keeps away from the rope toys!”.
Taylor is the proud owner of a lovely cat who needs to stay indoors to avoid sun damage because of his delicate white coat. They do, however, regularly take him on road trips to Taylor’s parents’ place – the cat loves his music blaring on the ride over!
What would you say to an aspiring vet?
Just power through. You’ll hear a lot of people tell you to change degrees, do dentistry or just don’t do veterinary work – just do it. The impact we make every day on the animals’ lives is so worth it. You’ll learn how to deal with the tough cases and have a good life balance with time.
What is the most memorable or unusual case to come through the hospital while you were on shift?
Roughly 12 months ago a little poodle named Ash came through, referred by his regular vet for a possible intestinal foreign body that wasn’t going too well. He was completely obtunded and his white blood cells weren’t keeping up with the demand. Something wasn’t quite adding up so we had to aggressively treat him with blood pressure medications, triple antibiotics and ended up treating him for suspected Addison’s (a disorder where his body doesn’t produce enough cortisol to function). Within 12 hours, with the amazing AES, Pet ICU & Veterinary Specialist Services, we had Ash improving – his intestinal foreign body began to move through and we got him home soon after
What do you do for fun outside of work?
Brunch. Brunch, oh and more brunch. Normal people would say something active – but my fun always involves food or coffee. After brunch heading out for a bit of an explore, or planning overseas trips is good!