Finally, the time has come. For some of my classmates, this part of our education has been in their minds since they were a child. After many of us have spent years watching others do surgery and maybe even getting to assist with a few surgeries, we actually get to pick up the forceps and scalpel ourselves. This is a time of excitement (and nerves!) for all of us.
I know that many people cannot wait to be in the surgeon’s role and get to do complex procedures on animals. For me, the anticipation is a little different. I have always been excited about surgery, mainly based on my fascination with anatomy. However, I do not consider myself eager to pick up a scalpel and get to it with complex surgeries. I view surgery as a necessary treatment for some diseases and a way to prevent undesirable developments, but I like my animals healthy. As one of my favorite veterinary mentors said when asked about how often she did surgery, “A day with healthy animals and happy clients is a good day.” I sit in the same field of thought. Surgery can be interesting and exciting, but I would rather prevent the need for it.
Each of us is assigned an intact shelter cat that needs to be spayed before it is adopted. We are responsible for everything when it comes to our cat’s care, including feeding/watering, cleaning, premedication, vaccines, dewormers, physical exam, and everything else under the sun. One of us will be in charge of anesthesia while another student does the surgery. We have a third member of our surgery group that assists the surgeon by passing instruments or holding things for the surgeon.
The cat that I will be doing surgery on is young and was found as a stray. She had a runny nose initially, but after a little TLC she is feeling better and her nose is clear. I am hoping to find her a home with one of my classmates. I would take her as my own cat, but my hound dog would really like to play with her (probably a little too much!). She is young, cute, and fun. I have no doubt she will find a great home.