The Spay Surgeons perform flank spays on lactating mothers and perform midline spays on all other females as well as neuters on cryptorchid males. The injectable anesthetic has a limited duration, and the pace of the Spay Station determines how many cats are sterilized. This position requires a rabies vaccination.
Other Surgical Procedures
Spay surgeons should notify the Clinic Supervisor prior to performing other surgical procedures. Minor problems such as an abscess or laceration may be corrected, but cats requiring lengthy treatments or complex surgeries are referred to outside veterinarians or euthanized according to Operation Catnip’s Medical Procedure Policy. This policy ensures that Operation Catnip maintains its focus on safely sterilizing as many cats as possible. Questions are directed to the Clinic Supervisor who consults with the Lead Veterinarian or Medical Director as needed.
- Evaluation of a medical condition or assistance in an emergency may be requested. A standard Feline CPR Crash Kit, oxygen and isoflurane anesthesia machines are available.
- Spay Surgeons must wear gloves, surgical caps and masks at all times when in the surgery area.
- Only Surgery Transporters, Surgeons and Veterinary Assistants are permitted in the surgical area.
- Do not remove any alert tags.
- Fill out complete surgical notes on every surgery, including both routine and exceptional information.
Spay Surgeon Instructions
The Surgery Transporter will bring the prepped cats to the Spay Station:
- Perform a complete sterile hand scrub before the first surgery.
- Wear sterile surgical gloves, cap, mask, and scrub top while in surgery.
- Continue wearing used surgical gloves when handling the cat after surgery and completing the medical record.
- Change into a new pair of sterile surgical gloves between cats without repeating a hand scrub as long as gloves have not been penetrated.
- Wear gloves at all times, even when not is surgery.
Monitor the cats carefully throughout the surgical procedure. Respiration should be >6/minute, heartbeat should be >100/minute, and gum color should be pink.
Check the Medical Record, any alert tags, and the Veterinary Examination Form for any additional instructions before the cat is draped to be aware of any problems or medical conditions that need attention. If the treatment is completed at the Spay Station, document in the Medical Record and remove the alert tag.
Make the smallest incision possible. Use 3-0 absorbable suture for routine surgery and 2-0 absorbable suture for advanced pregnancy:
- Use only 1 pack of suture to keep costs down whenever possible.
- Use subcuticular sutures instead of skin sutures for closure as the cats will be released before the sutures can be removed.
- Ensure apposition of the surgical wound is adequate and all suture material is buried.
- Skin glue may be used sparingly for incisions that don’t close perfectly. Skin glue should not be placed within the surgical incision but on top of the apposed surgical wound.
Alert the Veterinary Assistant:
- If a cat is inadequately anesthetized and requires isoflurane gas administered by mask.
- If a cat’s surgery preparation needs attention such as additional shaving or bladder expression.
- If special items such as extra instruments, drapes, or gauze are needed. Notify the Clinic Supervisor if needed supplies are unavailable.
- If you are concerned about the cat’s condition during surgery.
- If a cat should receive subcutaneous fluids after surgery including cases of advanced pregnancy and excessive blood loss. Ask the Veterinary Assistant to record the volume of fluids needed on the Medical Record and affix a yellow “Fluids” tag to the left front paw.
Inform the Veterinary Assistant, if a cat is lactating, in heat, pregnant or displaying any other medical condition. They will record this information on the Medical Record.
Inform the Veterinary Assistant, if the cat is discovered to have any condition requiring antibiotics, eg, pyometra. If Baytril® and Convenia® have not been administered pre-operatively, order the doses from the drug dose charts in surgery and have the Veterinary Assistant administer those promptly. Note the medications on the Medical Record.
Inform the Veterinary Assistant to note on Veterinary Exam Form whether TO GO HOME ORDERS are indicated. See the bottom of the Veterinary Examination Form for standardized options. If additional care instructions are required, ensure these are recorded in the Notes to Caregiver for staff to review with the caretaker at discharge. The Clinic Records Station will send these home with the cat.
If the cat has been identified as infectious/URI, but is being processed along with non-infectious cats (not segregated), administer vaccines and medications at the surgery table:
- Ask the Veterinary Assistant to take the cat’s Medical Record and retrieve the Rabies Certificate, vaccines, and proper doses of buprenorphine, yohimbine, and Advantage Multi®.
- Administer the vaccines and medications. Note URI on the Medical Record.
- On the Rabies Certificate, complete the cat identification number at the top, write in the rabies vaccine serial number in the appropriate place, mark the rabies as 1 year and the FVRCP-FeLV as “initial dose.” The Clinic Records Station will complete the rest of the certificate.
- After medications and vaccines have been administered and all records are complete, return the paperwork to the plastic sleeve, ask the Surgery Transporter to take the cat directly to the Clinic Records Station to avoid contaminating other stations.
Verify that the Veterinary Assistant has filled out the Medical Record accurately and completely. Complete the applicable portions of the Surgical Record section and initial to verify that the Medical Record is complete.
- Record the name of surgeon and indicate their status: Veterinarian (DVM) or Veterinary Student.
- Complete the Anesthesia section.
- Complete the Surgical Report section of the Medical Record in detail.
- Document any special surgical or medical notes.All unusual findings or treatments must be documented.
- Record any notes to the caregiver needed to explain any abnormal findings. Summarize significant findings and home instructions in language suitable for cat caregivers to understand and comply with in the notes box in the lower part of the Surgical Record
- The surgeon is responsible for ascertaining that all routine and exceptional findings and procedures are properly documented. Once this is completed, the surgeon must initial this confirmation on the Medical Record at the bottom of the “Notes” section.
Discard sharps after each cat in the biohazard container provided.
Label defective instruments with tape, and set them aside to be given to the Clinic Supervisor to assess for repair or disposal.
Clean any blood remaining on the cat before it leaves the surgical table. Use hydrogen peroxide and the blue surgical towel and avoid direct contact with the incision.
Inform the Veterinary Assistant when the cat is ready to be movedand replaced with a new one.
Remove tissue and any trash from the used surgical pack and place them in the trash.
Place used surgical instruments in the soaking bucket.
Place used drape material in the appropriate laundry baskets.
The Surgery Transporter will transport the used instruments to the surgery area entry line (demarcated by tape on the floor) so that Instruments Station volunteers can collect surgery packs without entering the surgical area.
All Station Images
Station Closing and Cleanup
Student surgeons should break down and clean up their own spay stations. The Veterinary Assistant will break down and clean up the DVM surgeons stations.
When surgery is concluded:
- Inventory the remaining supplies and repack the supply kit.
- Return the kit, station instructions and any remaining items to storage.
- Clean the area and dispose of all trash.
- Wash all tables, including the central trough, and wipe down entire base of table.
- Remove tape from the underside of the table.
- Wipe as much of the overhead surgery lamp as can be reached.