Georgia lay on the operating table, her tongue lolling out of the side of her mouth as the hoist that had lifted her 500kg frame dangled overhead.
The 22-year-old mare remained perfectly still for more than an hour, blissfully unaware of the medical team working to remove an irritating and potentially cancerous mass from her leg.
Around the corner, a veterinarian was performing acupuncture on a 10-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback cross in the hope of alleviating the dog’s vision problems and arthritis.
And a few doors down in the emergency department, a cat poked its head out from under a blanket, its wide eyes following a nurse around the room.
These much-loved pets were among the hundreds of animals that were tended to at the Murdoch University Veterinary Hospital this week.
The 24-hour emergency centre alone sees about 1000 animals a month, many of which are rushed in by panicked owners in the early hours of the day.
As nursing services supervisor Yvonne Markey puts it, no two days are the same when you’re working with animals.
“We are divided up into separate departments, so we have general practice as well as dermatology, emergency and critical care, surgical, medicine, ophthalmology, acupuncture, production animal and equine,” she said.
“This place runs like a normal human hospital, that’s basically the best way to describe it.”
Staff at the teaching facility are constantly shadowed by final-year students, who will soon graduate as day-one competent veterinarians.
Over the course of their five-year degree, they go from studying subjects such as anatomy to getting hands-on experience in the hospital.
Hospital director Mark Lawrie said students were blessed to be surrounded by a large number of highly qualified veterinarians.
“The quality and level of expertise is as good as it gets anywhere in the world,” he said.
“We have been the premier school for a while but we do need to have ongoing investment to keep up with equipment.”