The Veterinary Examination Station volunteers perform physical exams to identify any conditions that require additional treatment or determine whether euthanasia is appropriate. The exam and medical record should be completed within two minutes or less, thus, extensive notes are not necessary or desired. This position requires a rabies vaccination.
- Monitor the cat for complications resulting from the anesthesia, in particular, irregular breathing, vomiting or not breathing.
- Respiration should be >6/minute, heartbeat should be >100/minute, and gum color should be pink. If the cat is not breathing well, or its gums are blue, take the cat immediately to the Emergency Station. Speaking loudly and calmly say “cat not breathing” to alert vets to converge at the Emergency Station. Note: Xylazine causes pale gums.
- Discard sharps from each cat in the biohazard container.
- Dispose of all needles and syringes according to protocol with no exceptions. Do not recap the needles. Place the needle/syringe combination into a sharps disposal container. The needle cap can be disposed of in garbage or the sharps container.
- When transporting, do not hold the cat from the scruff of its neck alone. Always support its back and bottom too. Support the cat’s head without flexing its neck, so that the airway remains straight and open.
- Keep the cat entirely on its fleece, including its tail, head and all of its feet. Do not allow any part of the cat’s body to contact clothing, skin or anything except the fleece, in order to prevent any contamination from cat to cat.
- Place the cat with its fleece on the scales to weigh. Do not place the cat directly on the scales surface. The weight of the fleece is negligible for this clinic’s purposes. The fleece provides an important barrier against fomite contamination.
Veterinary Exam Station Instructions
Previously neutered cats (ear-tipped) admitted for vaccines only are transported without anesthesia from the Admissions Station to the Veterinary Examination Station in their covered traps along with the Medical Record that matches the number on their paw tag .
Occasionally, ear-tipped cats are transported to the Anesthesia Station before being induced, so they will arrive at the Veterinary Exam Station conscious, and be managed the same as cats with vaccine-only appointments. Make a visual assessment without removing the cat from the trap, check “Visual examination without sedation,” and record any observations on the Veterinary Examination Record. Place the form in a plastic sleeve, then transfer the cat in its covered trap with the form to the Vaccinations Station.
Anesthetized cats are transported from the Anesthesia Station to the Veterinary Examination Station on their fleece pads.
Compare the paw tag and the Medical Record/Veterinary Examination Record to be sure the ID# matches. Check any additional information written on any alert tags.
Weigh the cat. Make sure the the cat is entirely positioned on the fleece when placed on the scales. The weight of the fleece is negligible for this clinic’s purposes, and provides an important barrier against fomite contamination.
Check the heart rate. If the rate is < 100 bpm, alert the Lead Vet.
Enter the name of the DVM, name of the student and time of the exam at the top of the Veterinary Examination Record.
Record the heart rate, body weight, temperature, respiratory rate and mucous membrane color on the Veterinary Examination Record. Using an Infrared thermometer, check the cat’s temperature by pointing it at the anus or oral mucous membranes. Do not let the thermometer touch the cat. If the temperature is abnormally high, use a rectal thermometer to verify the temperature.
Record the estimated age, breed, and sex by circling the appropriate observations. Write in the cat’s coat color.
If the cat is already neutered, ask the Lead Veterinarian to confirm the status:
- Note the legible initials of the vet who confirmed the altered status on the Veterinary Examination Record as well as how the status was determined (eg, lack of spines on penis, ventral abdominal tattoo, ear tip, etc) .
- Place an “Already Neutered” tag on the left front paw.
If the cat is cryptorchid, ask the Clinic Supervisor to confirm and place a purple “Cryptorchid” tag on the left front paw.
Scan for a microchip. Circle “none found” or note the chip number in the space provided on the Veterinary Examination Record. Notify the Clinic Supervisor if a chip is found and fill out a Clinic Communications log. Hold the cat at the Veterinary Examination Station pending instructions, but make sure the cat is closely monitored.
If a kitten is under 4 pounds, add it to the Kitten Ambassador list. Write down the kitten’s F number, coat length, and sex. Small young kittens should be processed quickly and moved ahead of larger cats.
Check the left front paw for any alert tags issued by Admissions or Anesthesia (green “Food,” red “Medical Alert,” orange “URI”), and act on these accordingly. Record the outcome of the alert on the Veterinary Examination Record. Remove the tag if the issue is resolved at the Veterinary Examination Station.
Complete the physical examination, and record the results on the Veterinary Examination Record:
- Record any abnormal findings
- Check “No significant findings” if none are indicated.
- Include additional notes but limit these to clinically relevant observations. Keep notes concise, and write small but legibly.
Select any special surgical preparation orders, on the Veterinary Examination Record:
- Flank prep (lactating)
- Cryptorchid prep
- Enucleation prep
- Wound care needed
If a special surgeon is requested (frail, unstable, pyometra, etc.), select the appropriate box on the Veterinary Examination Record and fill in the requested surgeon’s name name on masking tape affixed to the medical alert tag.
Request other procedures, if indicated.
If the cat appears to have URI that has not been previously identified, affix an orange “URI” tag to the left front paw.
If the cat has a medical condition that needs further attention at a subsequent station, affix a red “Medical Alert” tag to the left front paw. Briefly note what needs attention on the tape located on the back of the tag.
If SQ fluids are indicated (late pregnant, lactating, dehydrated, URI, fever, other), record the volume to be given on the front of the Medical Record. Affix a yellow fluids tag to left front paw.
If Convenia® is administered (severe wounds, pyometra, enucleation, amputation, fever, URI, etc.), record the dose in the Medical Record, then administer the injection and initial the record after administration has been done. Also, record convenia, dosage given, time and initials of the person giving the injection on the front of the medical record.
If Baytril® is administered (pyometra), record the dose in the Medical Record, then administer the injection and initial the record after administration has been done. Also, record Baytril, the dosage given, the time given and initials of the person giving the injection on the front of the medical record.
Dispose of used syringes and needles in sharps container. Do not recap or reuse.
If indicated, select TO GO HOME orders. If delayed release is selected, write in the number of days to wait before releasing the cat.
Summarize significant findings and any post-release home instructions in the box in the lower right corner of the Veterinary Exam Record. Be careful to use language that cat caregivers will be able to understand and follow.
Place Medical Record and Veterinary Examination Record into the plastic sleeve.
Transport the cat on its fleece with the Veterinary Examination Record to the next station:
- Vaccination Station for ear-tipped cats
- Pre-Prep Station for all other cats.
All Station Images
Station Closing and Cleanup
When the clinic is concluded:
- Inventory the remaining supplies and repack the station kit.
- Place the kit and all equipment on the red metal cart, and return the cart to storage
- Return all drugs to the Clinic Supervisor.
- Clean the area and dispose of all trash including the plastic covering from the tables.
- Wash all tables, and return them to Anatomy.
- Sweep or vacuum and mop the floor.