March Mewsletter (Archive)


March MewsLetter

Spring is near and so is puppy and kitten season! This month’s MewsLetter is an important topic and one near and dear to Dr. Ai’s heart. We encourage you to have discussions with your family about what responsible pet ownership is and what we can do as a society to better the lives of our four legged friends. There are many homeless, healthy pets that are put to sleep every day in The United States. There is a definite place for breeders and purchasing pets but please consider adoption and spaying/neutering your pet.
According to the ASPCA approximately:
  • 7.6 Million Companion animals enter the shelter
    • 3.9 Million Dogs
    • 3.4 Million Cats
    • ( I realize the numbers don’t quite add up but they are ASPCA numbers, which also may include pocket pets)
  • Approximately 2.7 Million animals are euthanized every year in shelters.
  • 2/3 of animals enter the shelter as strays
    • Only 5% of stray cats are reunited with their owners
    • Only 26% of stray dogs are reunited with their owners
  • 1/3 are given up their owners
    • Residence does not allow pets (29%)
    • Not enough time (10%)
    • Divorce/Death 10%
    • Behavior issues 10%
The ASPCA estimates that there are over 70 Million homeless cats in the United States. Homeless cats may be owned pets who got out and didn’t have their identification on them (Remember 95% of cats that get loose are NOT reunited with their owners). However let’s keep in mind that a healthy female cat can have 2 litters of kittens a year, in the south, sometimes 3 litters a year! On Average, one litter of cats can range from 4 to 6 kittens. Cats can be sexually mature enough to have kittens as young as 6 months of age! So you can imagine the spiral of kittens and cats if you do not spay or neuter. Ans same goes for dogs too. One dog can have 1 to 2 litters with 4 to 6 puppies but same can have 10 or 12 a litter too! Overpopulation is a preventable problem and at the Hampden Veterinary Clinic we do our part is supporting local shelters. Dr Ai just spent a day volunteering her time doing free spays and neuters at the Trenton SPCA. It’s not much but hopefully it helps bring us one step closer to ending pet overpopulation. Now this is a good seg-way into another topic that we often discuss.
We thought we would take this month’s newsletter to explain why we do the things we do.  As with most things, veterinary medicine is an art form to an extent. Knowing just how much anesthetic a patient needs or knowing when a cat or dog is painful or knowing the “normal amount of redness” from excitement vs itching in a patient can all be subjective. However there are some universal truths in medicine as well. Doing blood work before anesthesia can help reduce your pet’s risk of anesthetic risk, complications, and death. Having an IV catheter for a surgical procedure can prevent low blood pressure and complications associated with prolonged low blood pressure such as blindness and kidney failure. Monitoring their heart electric activities can tell us if they are having an abnormal drug reaction or if they are feeling pain during surgery. Knowing their blood pressure can help us avoid damage to the kidneys and other organs. Giving pain medications BEFORE making a patient painful can reduce the body’s reaction to pain and patient’s need for post operative pain medications. Likewise, giving an anti-inflammatory medication BEFORE you make inflammation will make the patient more comfortable.  Our medical team offers a blend of scientific facts, nursing and doctoring intuition, and a little bit of our special blend of care to all of our patients.
We are also asked why we do our surgeries on Monday and Tuesdays. We hope that by doing the surgery on Monday OR Tuesday, any complications such as staying off their food, unanticipated swelling, or any other complications can be dealt with BEFORE the weekend. It allows us to have a plan in place before the weekend and hopefully keeps you and your pet out of the emergency room!


Why we do it

Pre-surgical blood work
  • Screen patients for organ insufficiency prior to anesthesia
  • Allows us to tailor their protocol to account for any organ stresses
Complete Blood Count
  • Can find evidence of infection, anemia ( low red cells) or low platelets ( increases risk of bleeding)
  • Taking a patient with low platelets to surgery can increase their risk of bleeding and complications
  • Anemic patients can have a higher risk of low oxygenation during the procedure.
  • Having an infection during an elective surgery can increase risk of post operative infection.
IV catheter
  • Allows us to give fluids during surgery
  • Allows immediate IV access in case of emergency
  • Allows us to titrate our medications as needed, IE give more pain meds if a patient is acting painful without having to stick their muscle.
IV fluids
  • Allows us to regulate their blood pressure
  • Allows for re-hydration of any patients who are found to be a little dehydrated
General Anesthesia
  • Although some procedures can be done under a local anesthetic or sedative, many times animals will require general anesthesia or to be put under for surgeries.
  • We intubate them or protect their airway during the procedure
  • Giving intra-operative antibiotics can reduce the risk of infection.
Anesthetic Monitoring
  • Blood pressure: maintaining a good blood pressure is vital t o making sure your pet’s organs are getting the oxygen they need to work. Low blood pressure can cause kidney failure and blindness even if it’s only for 5 to 10 minutes
  • End tidal CO2: the amount of carbon dioxide left in your pet’s breath can tell us if they are moving enough air through their lungs and if the body is getting rid of it’s wastes with every breath. Too low can mean they are panting from possible pain and too high can mean they are not moving enough air.
  • EKG: the heart electrical activity can be affected by anesthesia. Monitoring the heart waves as well as the rhythm and rate can help us make sure your pet has safe anesthesia and isn’t responding to pain while they are under anesthesia either.
  • Pulse ox: this measures the oxygen levels in the blood. Even though your pet is on oxygen while they are under anesthesia other things can affect like amount of oxygen in the blood stream. This number can alert us to a problem like a mucus plug in the air tube, or poor ventilation.
Pain Medications
  • Animals feel pain but cats and dogs can hide it well. We believe in treating them for a couple days after surgery with pain medications.
  • Patients who feel pain will eat less and move less and will have a delayed recovery

Hampden Veterinary - 9 Commerce Court Hampden Me 04444