The adventures of a veterinarian with lots of practical advice but no practical experience on raising a puppy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shaved, sutures and sleep...

This was a big week for me - I decided to spay Darcy and Thursday was the big day. I really had mixed emotions going into this day but none of my anxiety revolved around the surgery itself. As odd as it seems, I found myself stressing about the little stuff and worried about her whining and crying in the cage all day. I wonder if my clients are more nervous about the surgical procedure and anesthesia or the cage??? I was completely confident in how the surgery would go and knew that I'd make sure she wasn't hurting but if she cried all day... how would I cope with that?

One of my dearest friends had a tiny chihuahua that needed to by spayed so we agreed to schedule Paprika and Darcy on the same day. We decided we could support each other as veterinarians and nervous (neurotic?) pet owners. They both are between 4 and 5 pounds so I went carefully to my calculations - how to create the perfect blend of sedation, pain control and anesthesia? Well, I suppose my fear of her crying in the cage won out because man did she sleep! I can honestly say that she felt no pain and had no stress while caged - I doubt she even knew she was in the cage! I was so happy that she was calm for her catheter placement, had perfect vitals during the procedure AND slept the day away peacefully after it was all said and done. The only evidence of the day is a shaved belly, 3 little stitches and a missed grooming appointment! Her usual Friday spa treatment was postponed until next week but she certainly isn't objecting to that!

I guess my confidence is restored. I'm so proud of my anesthetic safety, pain control protocol and staff training. I love the fact we can monitor EVERYTHING and keep the little ones warm while they are asleep. I know the results of lab tests and examinations and can tweak my protocol as a result. I KNOW that my clients "babies" are safe, sound and comfortable and that the day of spay or neuter is just a bump in the road. However I know that it may be a day full of worry, stress and fear. I was able to hold my girl before, during and after the surgery. I checked on her constantly and had lots of people helping me out. I never doubted she was OK. So I realize that we need to educate our clients about the procedure itself and the finer points of anesthetic safety but it wouldn't hurt to spend a little more time telling them about how much lovin' they get too! We cushion their heads, cover their tootsies and tell them over and over that it's going to be OK. We open up cans of yummy, stinky canned food and take them to potty. We pick out the perfect blanket, bed or towel for each one as they are waking up. I guess it's some kind of female coping mechanism for dealing with stress! Fuzzy, warm blankets and comfort food make everything better!

So Darcy has almost forgotten about that scary day and is being really good about not licking her sutures. She peed on my lap during the drive home because of all those wonderful hydrating fluids! She is 36 hours out and back to tormenting the cat. She ate all her dinner tonight and was chasing bugs in the yard (all time favorite game).

After an overall good experience I can say that I've really stepped up my game on brushing her teeth - lets put off that first dental cleaning for oh, 10 or 11 years!


  1. Wow!! I felt my palms sweat just reading this!!! I am so nervous about Ace getting neutered in 2 months or so! I can't imagine actually being a vet and being the one to do it!!! You are very brave!
    I am so glad Darcy is alright & happy!!!

  2. We've all been there. Never worried about the op, or in-hospital care. It was the home recuperation. Kendra and Daisy were done together. Thinking they'd both be quiet at the same time; but the no jumping bit was difficult when one was put on or off a chair, the other proceeded to jump up or down. Nerve-wracking.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  3. Sounds to me like Darcy couldn't have a better Mom. I am so happy that the spay went successful and well. Its also such a great thing when owners get their dogs fixed. Makes me happy!
    Good job on brushing her teeth. I did for the first 6 months and now...not so much LOL.

  4. You take such great care of Darcy! I'm glad to hear the spaying went well!

  5. you're such a nice mommy to darcy:) and the two-legged kiddos, of course!

  6. Darcy, I hope you are feeling back to normal by now. So, your Mom likes me? Is that because Aunt Shannon works for her?
    I love reading this from your mom's point of view and how she applies her thoughts to her clients.
    Mom wants to know if I still have blood in my urine after I'm done with my antibiotic should we call the clinic or wait until our appt a week from Sat? We just aren't sure what to expect.
    Love and hugs,

  7. We know how scary it can be no matter what the age or what the size when one of our sweeties has to have surgery. So happy that she is fine and on the mend.

  8. You really need to brush "teef", I haven't that many left. BRUSH "teef".
    Lots of love Amie Soto Blossom x x x

  9. Hello we are new followers to your Blog! We are so glad that everything went well! Your New Friends at

  10. It's only been a couple of weeks since our journey began but we are so over the moon excited! I just wanted to drop in and invite you along for the ride - either you're a follower of my OTHER blog or just a sweet person I'd love to come along!

    Hopefully, the secrecy won't last long...

    Much love, luck, and blessings!!

    The *Maybe* Baby Mama

  11. Hi Darcy! I found you over at Ms Twixies! I am certaion by now you are back to your normal happy self and would have had a spa day today!!!! Drop by my site some time!

    Hugs & smoochies! xoxo

  12. Darcy, you are very lucky to have mom on your side. She's a really great help. Hope you'll be doing okay. You are so brave.

    Dog Fence