During our Clinical Foundations block, each surgery group of three students was assigned a shelter patient that was going to be castrated through the community surgery service at the teaching hospital. Our group’s patient for the day was Ricky, a tiny Cairn terrier with enough personality to make up for what he lacked in size. It was our job to conduct a physical exam and ensure that he was healthy enough for surgery and then determine and gather his pre-meds for surgery, prepare him for surgery, and monitor his anesthesia. As a trio, we were playing anesthesiologist for the day.
In the morning, we conducted our physical exam, weighed him, and collected blood to determine his total protein, blood urea nitrogen levels, and his packed cell volume. All of his values were within normal limits, and no abnormalities were detected on his physical exam, so he was good to go for his afternoon surgery.
We calculated the doses of his premeds and administered them subcutaneously in the early afternoon. When he was adequately sedated, we placed an IV catheter to administer fluids and induce anesthesia and then placed an endotracheal tube (ETT). We then clipped him and placed a blood pressure doppler for monitoring during surgery. He was connected to a Bain circuit for anesthesia and once we were satisfied with his anesthetic depth, we wheeled him into the operating room.
Once in the OR, we monitored his fluids, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and heart rate, recording the values every five minutes. At the completion of the surgery, we monitored his recovery and removed his ETT and IV catheter, ensuring that he was kept warm and comfortable. Once he was back to his lively self, we placed an E-collar on his fluffy little head, and he was ready to await return to the shelter, where I’m sure he’ll find a loving family who will adopt him very soon.