The secret life of vets

The secret lifes of vets in shelter rescues

This week I’ve seen my Facebook full of people complaining about vet’s being uncaring and just in it for the money. Usually I just ignore it as vets are pretty used to people thinking they are stinking rich (actually a London tube driver gets paid more than vets for less work…) however decided to share some of the stuff that doesn’t really get spoken about today.

Unfortunately stray animals are a big problem in most countries, and the shelters try to do as much as they can however often they need veterinary help. Most of this “help” is given free or at a very low cost usually resulting in a loss of money through materials. That’s right materials from drugs, to suture materials, instrument sterilization materials, to the surgical drapes, gloves, mask, cap and gown. For what these are, they really are not cheap and can soon add up.

Surgery is never going be a cheap endeavour – at least not if it is done properly – and this week for example there are now 2 rescue kittens that have a chance at surviving because of a vet.

Luky is around 3 months old, and had been hit by a car – our initial xrays showed fractures in the humerus (bone between the shoulder and elbow) and the pelvis. Because the kitten was so small and weak we decided that 2 surgeries were needed on separate days to repair the arm and then the pelvis. I assisted in the surgeries and we spent maybe 4 hours operating over the two days to fix these fractures. This was all before the clinic officially opened with surgery starting early. Then there is the aftercare, the hours spent monitoring the kitten during prep and in recovery. A lot invested in such a little kitten, could also be called an expensive kitten – drugs, specialist plates, screws, rods, fluids and more.

Our second kitten is around 2 – 3 months as well, and had been attacked by a dog. The front leg was hanging off by just a couple of muscles and a tiny bit of skin. There was no stimulation from the nerves on this foot. Our only option was to amputate and we went straight into surgery with the hope that we could get rid of the leg and clean up the wound before the infection spread through the body. Our first surgery went ok and we removed the leg and cleaned the wound closing it with a drain with kitten to come back Friday for a check. So this afternoon when kitten returned the abdomen was very swollen, we went into xray and found that the bladder was very large and maybe leaking into the abdomen. A quick ultrasound confirmed the fluid surrounding the organs in the abdomen and so we went straight into emergency surgery to clean the abdomen and repair the bladder. So we’ve stayed past closing two days this week for this kitten, spent maybe 3 hours in surgery and now when I left the vet was taking the kitten with them to another clinic in the city with a working lab to check for peritonitis.

It is rarely people get to see this side unless they work within shelters, however this week we have spent hours, a lot of expense, and given 2 innocent kittens a chance at life.