FiXiT’s Executive Director, Dr. Kellie Heckman shares the story of her new furry friend’s spay procedure:
I am a cat person. Crazy? For sure. Moving to St. Croix without animal companionship, I was fully prepared to find a cute little island kitty to take home and share the couch with me. But that’s not what happened.
Instead, after a month of living in an animal-free home, I took one look at Diamond and melted. Diamond, an 11 month old, un-spayed female Boston terrier, was relinquished to the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center due to a treatable skin condition, demodectic mange (which is not contagious) that resulted in her loosing some hair on her back. I was given the opportunity to foster her, and it didn’t exactly take any arm-twisting. I took her home that day. I quickly realized that we were meant for each other and officially adopted her. I still can’t believe I have turned to the dark (dog) side.
Of course getting Diamond spayed was a priority. Even though she is as cute as can be with the personality to match, over 3000 animals are put down every year in St. Croix and there just aren’t always homes for puppies! She was already showing signs of reproductive maturity: swollen vulva and noticeable nipples. She needed to go back to the AWC for surgery and QUICK!
As a proud new parent of FiXiT’s St. Croix mascot and a no-excuse advocate of spay/neuter, I documented Diamond’s big day. This provides a little peak into the standard surgical procedures that are used at the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center (AWC) facilities. Despite our island surroundings, we use all precautions to make sure the surgery and recovery are safe and pain free. I hope you find it as oddly amusing as I do, but BEWARE: the following contains pictures of the actual procedure; nothing too graphic, but if you are squeamish…
- Diamond was a little nervous to be back at the shelter after less than 2 weeks. As a standard procedure, dogs are provided with a pre-surgery medication treatment that provides pain relief and has a calming effect. Notice the droopy eyelids.
- During her turn, naked Diamond was brought into the surgery suite and given her anesthesia cocktail. Diamond is draped and the shelter’s vet, Dr. Mehalick, prepares the sterile surgical environment. The incision is made.
- At the AWC, female dogs are also intubated to keep their air passages open and to provide constant anesthesia throughout the procedure–this guarantees that they are under for the entire surgery.
- Using a spay hook, both of Diamond’s ovaries and 2 long horns of the uterus are removed from her body cavity then cut off.
- Diamond is sewn back up with dissolvable suture (no stitches to be removed)–spay complete! Dr. Mehalick shows off her handy work, holding up the right and left uterine horns with attached ovaries. No babies for Diamond!
- Diamond is taken off the anesthesia and allowed to wake up. After regaining her faculties, she was taken to a cage to recover further. After staying at the AWC until the end of the day, she was taken home. Diamond remained pretty drowsy all that evening and even a bit into the next day.
- Diamond made a full recovery the next day, back to her happy, bouncy self. She has continued her treatment for mange, a stubborn case, but that is finally clearing up. I couldn’t be happier with my little baby and my new status as a dog (and cat) person!