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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Something completely different and new

As usual, I started the day cleaning. The big difference was though, once I took care of the small amount of cats in our cattery I had a drink of coffee and headed over to the surgery suite to assist the medical staff today.

As soon as I met up with the med staff it was go from second one. Immediately I helped out masking down a dog that was slated for a dental. I learned quickly that when a dog gets anesthetized they can get a little squirmy. Luckily though this little guy was a total of about eight pounds so it was easily handled. As soon as he went down we clipped his toenails and gave him a few shots for pain and antibiotics. We also constantly monitored his heartbeat and oxygen levels. Then it was time to intubate him which was a lot easier than I had imagined. Once everything was prepped I monitored his heartbeat and breathing constantly adjusting the gas mix to keep his heartbeat steady and of course keep him from waking up. After his cleaning and polishing the gas was turned off as we continued to monitor his heart until he slowly began to wake up. Once he swallowed it was time to remove the tube from his throat. Before hand you had to remember that the air was taking out of the small balloon that makes the whole system work.

I found that pretty much all dentals work this same way. The only difference is that one actually had to be neutered first. Now prepping the animals for this is a little more intensive than just the dental alone. The animals are actually given a pre mix of some painkillers before they are masked down. Once all of the shots have been given and the nails trimmed it was time to wash and scrub the actual surgery site. I was amazed at how meticulous everyone was when doing everything when it came to the health of the animals.

There was a moment during surgery, or rather several, that I held my breath. Since this was my first time I was making sure that every little thing that I noticed during the surgeries I let the vet staff know. There was even one time that the animal's heart rate dropped so he was given a shot to boost the pulse. Apparently it does happen, but for my first experience I have to say my cheeks were certainly puckered.

Overall as a first experience it was a good one. Not only did I learn and do my first intubation, I also learned a whole lot more. I did get my heart beating fast a few times but it was so interesting to see the processes that went into surgery and of course taking care of the animals afterwards. There is certainly a lot to keep track of while doing all of this and I am glad everyone was patient with me on my first time. And of course I can't forget the picture up at top, it's Ian our little tea cup chihuahua that had a full day of neutering and getting a dental.

Thanks everyone for reading and sharing the experiences that I have at the shelter. If you haven't already to sign up to follow us on Facebook and you do have time I would really appreciate it. Look forward to the comments and will share some more very soon.


  1. Hi...i somehow stumbled onto your site and really enjoy it...i've been catching up on your older posts. I love your photos, esp. of Bogey in his hat. :)

    I started volunteering at my local shelter back in June. I mostly work with our enormous cat population but would like to work with the dogs as they are starved for attention and undersocialized. My shelter has no programs in place at all and I would like to start some sort of program for them, but have met resistance. Would you happen to have any suggestions? I want to improve the lives of these dogs, but w/out stepping on toes. Thanks and I look forward to your daily posts! sheree

  2. Hi Sheree, thanks for reading and even more thanks for volunteering! There are always more ways that you can help the animals. At our shelter we have different volunteers that help out in different areas. I would get together with you volunteer coordinator and talk to them about other areas in the shelter that you can help out with. Some ideas that have worked for us is getting our volunteers educated about animal training and putting it into practice at the shelter. We also have volunteers that simply go into the kennels and spend time with the animals. It's a little different at every humane society and every dog is different when it comes to behavior so make sure you know what dogs can and cannot be worked with. Thanks again for reading and let me know in what ways I can help :)


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