… and the procedure went well!  For yesterday’s procedure I was the assistant surgeon, and my friend Faye was the main surgeon.  At around 11:30am James and I picked up our other team members, Faye and Belle and we went to get lunch before heading to the veterinary teaching hospital at TABON in UPLB to start the procedure. Belle was the anesthetist for this procedure with James being the nurse.  Faye was assigned to be the main surgeon while I was picked to be the assistant surgeon.

We're spaying a cat!

At around 1pm we started our pre-operative procedures. The cat was a street cat that Belle had found a day or two before.  The day before our team had worked on getting all the blood work values and preliminary examinations done.  Those were done by James and Belle since they had to monitor the initial values and see if our cat was fit for surgery.  The cat was a little dehydrated, but nothing some intravenous and subcutaneous fluids couldn’t fix.

The cat was pregnant after all.

The cat was fasted around 12 hours before the procedure and so after the preliminary pre-op procedures, Faye and I went into start scrubbing in.  Then after being gowned and gloving, we started the spay.  I set all the instruments on the table and set them accordingly.  We had a lot of tools: a ton of towel clamps, scalpel blades, Allis tissue forceps, rat-tooth forceps, scissors and the like.  We thought we had too many tools at the table, but during the procedure we used almost all of them.

Me assisting Faye during the surgery.

Faye started with the initial incision and while fishing around for the right uterine horn, we found out large mass.  So guess what?  The cat that we had was actually pregnant, and we found two small fetuses within the horn.  We checked the left uterine horn if any more were present, but none were found.  Our professor proceeded to tell us to go on with the procedure, as the protocol pretty much stays the same, except that everything is much more prominent and vascularized.  Faye then continued and did a good job!  Since it was a more complicated procedure than we thought, Faye decided to put triple ligatures on everything from the uterine blood vessels to some reinforced Millers knots at the uterine body.  She did a very good job I have to say and stayed cool during the procedure and within 2 hours we were done.  Things moved by very slowly I know, but then again, this was our first surgery and while reading the procedures is all nice and dandy, when you actually get there things, take a lot longer than you think. Also, since this was a graded event, we wanted to make sure that none of the ligatures slipped and so that we could prevent any post-operative hemorrhages.  Anything like that would cost us points in the class and that is something that we did not want.

Me starting to close the wound with Doc Marco looking on.

Faye did a good job ligating and cutting out the uterine body and horns.  We subsequently checked for bleeding but found none so we were good.  Later on I started closing up the wound.  There were many ways that I could’ve gone about that, but in the end I just started doing simple interrupted sutures and also some cruciate sutures to close up the muscle layer below the subcutaneous tissues and skin.  Moving onto the subcutaneous tissues I started doing another layer of simple interrupted sutures.  For the skin, I decided to close up with a subcuticular suture, because I always thought that suture was nice to use when you do a spay.  I’ve seen it done tons of times with my dad and other doctors I’ve worked with and I wanted to implement it.  Also, I didn’t have that much absorbable suture left so I wanted to end well.  Afterwards, the skin came together well and I ended up reinforcing the wound with a layer of simple interrupted sutures with non-absorbable sutures on the skin.

Everyone takes a picture while I work.

I think the final product came out pretty well, and that night me and my team monitored the cat.  I just checked up the cat this morning and James says that she’s doing well.  She’s still pretty sleepy, but so far things look good.

Checking for Bleeding

I was really excited yesterday to do the procedure, but was naturally a little nervous.  However, I was amazed at Faye’s cool and how she stuck to the surgical protocol.  She kept telling me to make sure I told her if she was doing something wrong since I’ve seen this procedure done many times, but in the end she did well on her own.  I didn’t have to guide her much and was happy to help her complete the procedure.

Picture time!

All in all, it was an awesome experience and I hope to do it again sometime.  Of course if I become a veterinarian I’ll have to be doing these procedures myself anyway!

Congratulations to a job well done to my surgical team!

Well, that’s all for now.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’ll be able to blog much in the next week since I have eight, yes, EIGHT, exams next week.  I don’t know how the professors could really do all of that to us, but that’s life in veterinary school I guess.  I’m going to start cracking on the work I have to do, so wish me luck!

Catch you all soon. :)

My First Surgery Is Tomorrow!
Guess How Many Exams I Have This Week?