Today, I visited the SPCA. That’s an animal rescue, if you didn’t know that already. They rescue animals somehow–either off of the streets or from owners who are surrendering their pets–and nurse them back to health (if needed) or return them to their former owners (if the pets are lost) or, if the pets do not have an owner who wants them, the SPCA offers them for adoption into loving, caring homes.
It just so happens that the SPCA also does winter seminars for high school and college students prospective of being a vet. In these seminars, the group of 6 to 8 teens gets to tour their facility and watch a spay or neuter (or both) of a dog, cat, or rabbit (those these are rare). Well, today, I went to one of these seminars today. I am a prospective veterinary student, so obviously I jumped at the chance to watch a surgery. Today, our group was lucky enough to view the surgeries of two animals. **NOTE: Spay is the term for a female animal’s removal of reproductive organs, and neuter is the term for male animals.**
IN fact, we were lucky enough to view two different types of surgeries on two different types of animals. We watched the neuter of a (male, obviously) cat, and the spay of (female, obviously) dog. The male surgery was relatively short and easy. Since it was so short, the vet did not have to operate in a sterile room. The surgery is NOTHING like how it is displayed on most TV shows or rumored to be; in fact, it was relatively bloodless, quick, and easy. There was no cutting open of the animals’ bellies the full way down, nor was their the silent, single room with a doctor with five assistants surrounding them. In fact, there were two separate rooms, both pretty small. The first had kennels lining the wall with vet techs and assistants (vet techs are basically a type of vet who has a degree in veterinary medicine, but is similar to a nurse in a human hospital) and two cart-like tables where there where the assistants or vet techs prepare the animal for surgery.
Basically, the vet assistants and/or techs shave the entire belly of the animal after placing the pet on anesthesia, and then clean the entire shaved part with antiseptics. For female dogs and cats, their bladder is pushed in or squeezed from the outside so that the dog basically pees into a bowl. A female dog or cat’s bladder is actually very close to its reproductive organs, so it is emptied to reduce the likeliness of the bladder becoming punctured during surgery.
The female and male surgeries were slightly different from each other (obviously), but I won’t go into detail because some people become queasy while reading about this. Needless to say, the incision was very small, and the surgery was only a slightly bit bloody. There was also light music playing in the background.