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Spay/Neuter Clinic....

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I spent most of today at a spay/neuter clinic hosted by Philly Ferals at the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association (PACCA). I came with two cats to be neutered--a female kitten we're fostering and an adult male stray I'd captured last night--fully expecting to drop them off and pick them up when their surgery was complete. Instead I was rather gently pulled into assisting with the clinic's activities and stayed almost the entire day. I LOVED IT!!!

I got to see the entire process, from the registration and FIV/FELV testing of the cats to their admission to surgery, surgical prep, vaccination/eartipping and recovery. Had I wanted to, I could literally have observed the surgical procedures. I watched and learned how professionals handle scared and recalcitrant ferals and gained new contacts (as well as actually meeting previous online contacts) within the Philadelphia feral cat management community.

Needless to say, as of today I'm a volunteer, and at the next clinic I will observe some of the surgeries. One of the difficulties in setting up clinics is a shortage of technical personnel (veterinary students are often used but the demands of their schooling limits their participation); I'm considering some distance-learning programs for veterinary assistant, and this will be a great hands-on supplement....
post #2 of 19
Cool. It is neat to see all that isn't it?
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipw533 View Post
I spent most of today at a spay/neuter clinic hosted by Philly Ferals at the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association (PACCA). I came with two cats to be neutered--a female kitten we're fostering and an adult male stray I'd captured last night--fully expecting to drop them off and pick them up when their surgery was complete. Instead I was rather gently pulled into assisting with the clinic's activities and stayed almost the entire day. I LOVED IT!!!

I got to see the entire process, from the registration and FIV/FELV testing of the cats to their admission to surgery, surgical prep, vaccination/eartipping and recovery. Had I wanted to, I could literally have observed the surgical procedures. I watched and learned how professionals handle scared and recalcitrant ferals and gained new contacts (as well as actually meeting previous online contacts) within the Philadelphia feral cat management community.

Needless to say, as of today I'm a volunteer, and at the next clinic I will observe some of the surgeries. One of the difficulties in setting up clinics is a shortage of technical personnel (veterinary students are often used but the demands of their schooling limits their participation); I'm considering some distance-learning programs for veterinary assistant, and this will be a great hands-on supplement....
Welcome to the world of being a feral cat clinic volunteer!! Now is a really good time to watch the procedures as there will not be many pregnant cats. The clinic I volunteer at does spay/abort so you may want to ask the clinic if they also perform spay/abort and if you do not want to see that...you may want to let the clinic know about it.

BTW....the Alley Cat Allies spay/neuter clinic is next week. I'm hoping we have LOTS of cats.

Katie
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
I saw some truely beautiful cats today, including an absolutely gorgeous silver tabby (never saw one of those before).

There were amusing moments and heartbreaking ones. Before my cats went to the OR one of the students brought out a cat who had died under anesthesia--apparently it had a weak heart and was gone before any recussitation could be done. It was to have been adopted out. While I assisted the prep workers I saw a cat with a horrible neck wound--he had to be euthanized. Another cat had severely deformed ears due to hematomas caused by ear mites, but he's expected to recover although he'll look a bit odd.

One feral cat managed to escape in the OR and climb up on the top of the holding cages--the students had quite the time recapturing her, and I got to see how the graspers and net were used.

My stray, "Bob" is a big red tabby who simply refused to go under anesthesia--the students injected him with the maximum dosage and he just became groggy but was still awake. They had to hold him down on the operating table and gas him before he finally went under. He recovered before he could be eartipped and needed yet another dose, but not before he gave one of the nurses a nasty scratch. Funny thing is, Bob is so far quite docile in his crate and enjoys being petted, so he must have been just scared and disoriented. Sadly he turned out to be FIV positive and has a nasty upper respiratory infection. He'll be an "inpatient" for a week or two, but I still plan on releasing him (neutered cats seldom transmit FIV)....
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
The clinic I volunteer at does spay/abort so you may want to ask the clinic if they also perform spay/abort and if you do not want to see that...you may want to let the clinic know about it.
In for a penny, in for a pound. If I'm serious about this, and I am, I'll need to see it all....
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipw533 View Post
The clinic I volunteer at does spay/abort so you may want to ask the clinic if they also perform spay/abort and if you do not want to see that...you may want to let the clinic know about it.
In for a penny, in for a pound. If I'm serious about this, and I am, I'll need to see it all....
I'll be honest..the first time I was a spay assistant during "kitten season" it was incredibly hard...but I knew it had to be done. One thing you may want to do is start keeping a record of how many cats are spayed/neutered during the clinic. This is what I've recorded:

June-03: 61 July-03: 85 Aug-03: 42 Sept-03: 48 Oct-03: 87 Nov-03: 113 Dec-03: 88 Jan-04: 66 Feb-04: 69 Mar-04: 82 April-04: 86 May-04: 51 June-04: 112 July-04: 109 Aug-04: 43 Sept-04: 77 Oct-04: 126 Nov-04: 93 Dec-04: 100 Jan-05: 88 Feb-05: 87 Mar-05: 122 April-05: 75 May-05: 61 June-05: 62 July-05: 113 Aug-05: 53 Sept-05: 51 Oct-05: 75 Nov-05: 68 Dec-05-no clinic Jan-6: 87 Feb-06: 67 Mar-06: 51 April-06: 52 May-06: 50 June-06: 32 July-6: 31 Aug-06: 65 Sept-06: 54

That way, whenever you feel a bit disheartened..you can see the progress that has been made.

Katie
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Albeit for different reasons. Philly Ferals is a local organization which covers the entire metropolitan area. I'm responsible for just my neighborhood colony but I'm creating a database including photos and FIV/FELV status for my colony--perhaps this could be expanded to create a true picture of the feral cat population of Philadelphia....
post #8 of 19
Yes, yes, yes, YES! DO keep some tabs -- just keep them in a way that makes the most secure situation for your caretakers and the cats. My group keeps data. I am the statistics princess here ;-). Most people I talk to haven't got a clue about how many colonies, how many cats in a typical managed colony versus an unmanaged group, what the ratio of males to females is; etc. EVEN if you start out keeping data that isn't very complete, you can add to it over time -- and you will be amazed in five years, what the comparison will tell you -- lots and lots of good stuff you can use to adjust programs, impress a funder, motivate volunteers, everything.

Yes, PLEASE keep keeping data.

I volunteered several years ago, shakily, for a spay/neuter day (not in my home area because they trap and kill ferals here :-(). It was an amazing experience. I have been thinking I need to ask about that again because I'd like to take a team with me; I have a friend who is a former nurse, and another who has taken a vet assistant course. I'm sure they could be more help than me, and even I was able to help with admitting and recovery.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
I don't think he's a true feral--I think he's just a really big stray who was freaked out by the rather unnatural experience of a spay/neuter clinic. Yesterday he was a bit skittish in his crate but he allowed me to pet him while I fed him; today he's actually quite responsive. Were he healthy I'd allow him out of the crate. But that's for another time. Yes, he's FIV positive but I don't see him fighting with the others now that he's neutered--the more immediate problem is his URI, but he'll go to the vet on Thursday. I guess a week or so of antibiotics and then he can be evaluated for release or adoption. Probably the latter, I'm sad to say, because it's a real shame--he's quite a nice boy.

As for stats--they're kinda depressing. Of the seven cats I've captured so far three have been FIV positive and one has been FELV positive--not a good opening picture. Now that I have better access to clinics and will be trapping more I can get a more balanced snapshot of the colony; I've also become aware of adjacent colonies. What might skew the stats is that the number of "feeders" (those who feed the cats but do nothing else for them) has increased--I may be dealing with either an expanded colony or merged ones. Lots of work ahead, and winter's coming....
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
I don't think he's a true feral--I think he's just a really big stray who was freaked out by the rather unnatural experience of a spay/neuter clinic. Yesterday he was a bit skittish in his crate but he allowed me to pet him while I fed him; today he's actually quite responsive. Were he healthy I'd allow him out of the crate. But that's for another time. Yes, he's FIV positive but I don't see him fighting with the others now that he's neutered--the more immediate problem is his URI, but he'll go to the vet on Thursday. I guess a week or so of antibiotics and then he can be evaluated for release or adoption. Probably the former, I'm sad to say, because it's a real shame--he's quite a nice boy.

As for stats--they're kinda depressing. Of the seven cats I've captured so far three have been FIV positive and one has been FELV positive--not a good opening picture. Now that I have better access to clinics and will be trapping more I can get a more balanced snapshot of the colony; I've also become aware of adjacent colonies. What might skew the stats is that the number of "feeders" (those who feed the cats but do nothing else for them) has increased--I may be dealing with either an expanded colony or merged ones. Lots of work ahead, and winter's coming....
post #11 of 19
Quote:
As for stats--they're kinda depressing. Of the seven cats I've captured so far three have been FIV positive and one has been FELV positive--not a good opening picture. Now that I have better access to clinics and will be trapping more I can get a more balanced snapshot of the colony; I've also become aware of adjacent colonies. What might skew the stats is that the number of "feeders" (those who feed the cats but do nothing else for them) has increased--I may be dealing with either an expanded colony or merged ones. Lots of work ahead, and winter's coming....
That is a very good question..and one that won't be easy to answer until you have gotten more statistics. Perhaps you can talk to the feeders for the adjacent colonies and ask them to keep statistics for you...that way you can find out about newcomers and migratory patterns for the cats.

Katie
post #12 of 19
Wow Katie! You really can see a difference in just 3 years of you keeping track of the numbers! That is very heartening Thanks for all you and other volunteers do!

ipw533- I have one question: you don't re-release the leukemia positive kitties you find, do you?
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
ipw533- I have one question: you don't re-release the leukemia positive kitties you find, do you?
__________________
FIV positive cats I'm secure about releasing--given the modes of transmission the risk decreases considerably once they've been spayed or neutered, but they do require increased observation afterwards as they have depressed immune systems and are more vulnerable to other diseases.

FELV is another matter. When I rescued Shlomo he was positive for both, but it was also immediately evident that he was a socialized stray and not a feral (a miracle, really, since he's an older cat who did not have an easy life on the streets--he had multiple bite wounds and required a good bit of dental work); that pretty much saved his life.

I care for a colony and must consider the health of the overall colony. It's often said that FIV is a disease of "unfriendly cats" in that it's transmitted from adult to adult by bite wounds but that FELV is a disease of "friendly cats"--it can be transmitted via saliva in common food and water dishes.

My rule on FELV positive cats is this: if they can be socialized and homed they will be spared, but if they cannot be they will be euthanized. Yes, it's harsh. But I've a colony to think of, and sometimes such hard decisions must be made. I won't release a cat with an upper respiratory infection either, but most of those can be treated. Not so with FELV....
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipw533 View Post
FIV positive cats I'm secure about releasing--given the modes of transmission the risk decreases considerably once they've been spayed or neutered, but they do require increased observation afterwards as they have depressed immune systems and are more vulnerable to other diseases.

FELV is another matter. When I rescued Shlomo he was positive for both, but it was also immediately evident that he was a socialized stray and not a feral (a miracle, really, since he's an older cat who did not have an easy life on the streets--he had multiple bite wounds and required a good bit of dental work); that pretty much saved his life.

I care for a colony and must consider the health of the overall colony. It's often said that FIV is a disease of "unfriendly cats" in that it's transmitted from adult to adult by bite wounds but that FELV is a disease of "friendly cats"--it can be transmitted via saliva in common food and water dishes.

My rule on FELV positive cats is this: if they can be socialized and homed they will be spared, but if they cannot be they will be euthanized. Yes, it's harsh. But I've a colony to think of, and sometimes such hard decisions must be made. I won't release a cat with an upper respiratory infection either, but most of those can be treated. Not so with FELV....
OK, I was just wondering... do you have any luck re-homing the leukemia positives? I know all about FeLV, I have 12 positive babies at the moment, and I totally understand the need to euthanize them if the situation warrants it, waaaaay to easily transmitted and you definitely don't want an outbreak of that
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
OK, I was just wondering... do you have any luck re-homing the leukemia positives? I know all about FeLV, I have 12 positive babies at the moment, and I totally understand the need to euthanize them if the situation warrants it, waaaaay to easily transmitted and you definitely don't want an outbreak of that
After the kittens are about four months old, have them retested. False positives are common among young kittens. In any case, kittens are relatively easy to place--just make sure you insist on veterinary references and/or a fee to ward off "bunchers".

Shlomo is my only FELV positive cat. He's gonna be difficult to home, as most people want healthy pretty kittens and he's a nearly toothless old geezer. Unless someone who wants an only inside cat adopts him, it looks like he's ours--but there's no way I'd turn him loose and I've spent too much money on him to euthanize him. If necessary, he'll remain with us--but only because he's such a sweet and friendly cat.

Some of your kittens may turn out to be true positives--they can still be adopted out but must be done so carefully. An FELV positive cat can live a long and healthy life provided it's kept isolated from other cats and receives regular medical attention. Such a cat must be an only cat (unless the others are similarly infected) and must be kept indoors--this requires a responsible owner.

I would euthanize an adult FELV feral. I'd hate doing it, but life is full of nasty choices. But FELV kittens deserve at least a chance, and I'd go the distance to give them that....
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipw533 View Post
After the kittens are about four months old, have them retested. False positives are common among young kittens. In any case, kittens are relatively easy to place--just make sure you insist on veterinary references and/or a fee to ward off "bunchers".

Shlomo is my only FELV positive cat. He's gonna be difficult to home, as most people want healthy pretty kittens and he's a nearly toothless old geezer. Unless someone who wants an only inside cat adopts him, it looks like he's ours--but there's no way I'd turn him loose and I've spent too much money on him to euthanize him. If necessary, he'll remain with us--but only because he's such a sweet and friendly cat.

Some of your kittens may turn out to be true positives--they can still be adopted out but must be done so carefully. An FELV positive cat can live a long and healthy life provided it's kept isolated from other cats and receives regular medical attention. Such a cat must be an only cat (unless the others are similarly infected) and must be kept indoors--this requires a responsible owner.

I would euthanize an adult FELV feral. I'd hate doing it, but life is full of nasty choices. But FELV kittens deserve at least a chance, and I'd go the distance to give them that....
All my kitties were final tested at 14 weeks before I got them, and I am the adoptive home, my crew won't be going any where else You must have some very understanding adoptive folks over there, I am the only person in my area who adopts positive babies and I actually just had a very nice woman and her husband drive all the way from Massachusetts (I live near Cleveland, OH) to deliver me 3 kitties because there was no one in her area to take them, and I have also gotten kitties from California, New York and Michigan

ETA: ok, duh, I figured out something... my kitties are not actually "babies" I just call them that I have a 4 year old, a 3 year old, a 2 year old, 3 nine month olds, 3 seven month olds, 2 six month olds and 2 four month olds.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
As you've read, I don't think Bob's a true feral--more like a stray who's lived like one for a while. This morning I released him from his crate and he's currently hiding under the tub whenever anyone enters the bathroom. My objective is to create a state of trust so that he can be placed in a carrier and taken to the vet without resorting to forcible measures. He's come out a few times, so it looks like my gamble might be working....
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Bob's hiding behind the bathtub any time a human enters the room. He'll allow us to reach in and pet him--he loves it--but won't come out to us. Yet, I suppose.

PS--just got the e-mail. Another clinic this Sunday. I'll be there with bells on....
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipw533 View Post
PS--just got the e-mail. Another clinic this Sunday. I'll be there with bells on....
We have a clinic this weekend too....

Katie
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