Friday, May 6, 2011

Random good deed brought to you courtesy of pregnancy hormones

It probably goes without saying that I have been very emotional lately for a wide variety of reasons.

Last Sunday night, we were swamped. I didn't eat dinner until almost midnight, because I didn't have 5 seconds to stop and stuff something in my face. In the midst of this, a couple with very little finances showed up with a tiny (less than 1 pound) kitten. I glanced at the kitten, saw the MASSIVE abdominal hernia and told my receptionist to relay that the kitten needed surgery. The owners decided to euthanize and signed all the appropriate paperwork. Kitten was placed in a cage with a bowl of food until I could attend to her.

6 hours later, I went to examine little kitten more closely. She was tiny and absolutely adorable. A little gray tiger striped kitty with a very large personality. It felt like her bladder and some intestines were trapped in the hernia. She was too cute for me to euthanize, and she seemed to feel fine (other than the inability to urinate). I couldn't stand the thought of putting her down. I literally did not have it in me.

So, I fixed hernia kitten. Without the owner's permission. It was 3am in the morning, and I didn't want to call and wake them. Kitten recovered very slowly from surgery. At first, I didn't think that she would survive, being as tiny as she was. The first 24 hours, she laid in her kitty carrier (at my house), on her heating pad, and didn't move much. I gave her subcutaneous fluids, pain medications, and waited. I thought about euthanizing. Perhaps it was just too much for the teeny kitten.

24 hours later, said kitten was bouncing around, pooping, peeing, eating, and trying to beat down my other foster kitten (who outweighs her by a good pound). I called the owners and let them know that they could come and pick her up, no charge. I did explain that given her small size, another hernia repair might be necessary down the line (the hernia was HUGE), but it wasn't immediately needed and may never be so.

The owners thanked me profusely, and little kitten went back home with her owners (after 4 days post-op at my house). Thank you, pregnancy hormones.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are a wonderful person and a compassionate vet. What a blessing!!

clhsd said...

Ahh, that is so sweet. I know you can't do that for every person or animal that comes through. So thank you for your good deed and for sharing your story.

Rhiannon said...

I LOVE this story. Law and Ethics is a portion of the third year curriculum, and we hear about similar dilemmas and what is required of us legally. Well,....that's all well and good, except, as your story illustrates, the real world presents its own set of unique circumstances and a great clinician relies on experience to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, gut feeling, reading your clients, etc. Bravo for pregnancy hormones or just perfectly applied compassion and clinical experience.

Amy said...

:)

Elizabeth said...

You rock!

Holly said...

Happy Mothers Day one day early.

You may not know it, but that post was also a Mothers Day gift to me.

You helped pick me up. Thank you.

voguevet said...

What a sweet story! I suppose it depends on the work environment you're in, but if you elect to do surgeries like this, do you have to cover the expenses of the drugs/equipment used as well, or just include it in your generous gift of time and skill?

The Homeless Parrot said...

VV: In this case, the supplies used were fairly minimal. I was able to sedate the kitten with Telazol, then mask the kitten down with sevoflurane (typically a no-no, but we were doing this on the cheapie). Other than sutures, we used very little material.

In this case, I will probably put it under Good Sam stuff, since it was relatively inexpensive. We (doctors) all have a bit of leeway when it comes to Good Sam work. Collectively, we don't abuse it.

Anonymous said...

You rock! That is the epitome of vet med: your compassion and medical skills saved this kitten's life. There isn't much better in life.

Nicki said...

How sweet!