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Newtown Veterinary Center

That Special Something: Orange Tabbies.

What IS it about orange tabby cats that makes you love them the second you meet them? I've experienced this a few times now-there's a quality about orange tabbies-a sweet nature, outgoing personality, ready to fit into whatever situation they find themselves in…dare I add the cats must be boys, too?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I put a spellz on youz.

Over a year ago we had MacGruber. What a doll! Such a huge personality, friendly, carefree, right from the moment he got off the transport he was ready to roll. We've had LOADS of great orange tabby foster kitties since his adoption, too.

A few weeks ago I took in Milo, who you got to meet in my post HERE. His brother, Boogie, was a scared gray feral. I expected Milo to be skittish from the reports I got about him before he came into my home.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Checking out the cat tree.

I was completely stunned by his transformation. Within two days Milo was ready to leave his room and join the family. He got along great with all the other cats. He LOVED eating raw food and playing with all the toys.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Napping next to me.

He'd sleep on a cat bed that's on a bench near my side of the bed. He didn't wake us up in the middle of the night, something many kittens do. He just slept the night away. I knew he was sick with a mild upper respiratory tract issue he'd had since he and his two brothers were taken in by my Vet, Dr. Mixon, in July. Milo's condition waxed and waned, a sign of herpes. It would mean Milo might always be a bit sniffly, but he ate and played normally and had no fever.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. At Dr. Mixon's.

Milo began to get sicker the day I approved an adoption application I'd received from a couple who wanted to meet him. The couple decided it was OKAY that Milo wasn't feeling his best and said they wanted to meet him. I had Milo checked out before we let him go to his new home and as I expected, Milo just needed some lysine and rest and I had confidence his family could provide that.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Feeling a bit stuffy, but still sweet as pie.

A few days ago, the couple came to meet Milo and to possibly finalize the adoption. Milo was a bit shy at first, but the couple knew not to push themselves on him. They distracted him with play time as we all sat on the floor, talking about cats and making comments about Milo's every move.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Milo wanted the Brawny lounger, but Jackson wasn't up to share it.

Dan reached out to Milo and Milo came right over and let Dan pet him. We all remarked that Milo was going to be a “daddy's boy” but Dan's fiancé Kathy said; “for now, but wait 'til I get my hands on him.” I think she was planning on getting Milo a lot of toys and treats. It was an endearing challenge as to who would be Milo's favorite Guardian.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Milo wouldn't take no for an answer.

Their visit lasted about 90 minutes and Milo was getting tired of playing. For fun I asked the couple; “Is this your cat?” They both replied a hearty, YES!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson=1, Milo=1. Game tied!

Sick or not, how could you say NO to Milo? I would have been glad to have him stay here. He would chat with me constantly and always be nearby. I loved how affectionate and mellow he was considering he'd only been with me for two weeks and barely knew me.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Milo with his new family.

Saying goodbye to Milo wasn't difficult because I knew he was going into a great home, but I was glad he got adopted quickly. There's just something about those orange cats, like Bob Dole, that make me want to keep all of them. I wouldn't want to say that I hoped Milo's adoption didn't work out and that he would have to come back to me, but it wouldn't be the worst thing that ever happened, either.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bye-bye Milo! We'll miss your orangey goodness around here!


The next morning I noticed my non-orange cat Spencer wasn't eating. He was also gagging a bit when he tried. The orange-cat spell fell away as day wore on. Spencer continued to act oddly and not eat. After 48 hours it was clear something was terribly wrong with my cat. I picked up the phone to make an appointment with Dr. Larry as my stomach tightened up with anxiety…stay tuned for more.

Meet Milo!

Boogie has two brothers, Otis and Milo. They all lived in a kennel at my Vet's Office. Dr. Mixon of the Newtown Veterinary Center decided to take them in since they were surrendered by a good samaritan a few months ago. I couldn't help him with them right away, but a few weeks ago I started by trying to work with Boogie, which I detailed HERE. He was very fractious AND sick and things didn't go very well. Boogie was so sick that I had to bring him back to the Vet until he could recover.

The good news is that Boogie had a fan in Mandy, one of the Vet Techs at Dr. Mixon's practice. Mandy adopted Boogie and reports that although he is still hissing, she is able to handle him and is in no rush to get him socialized. She can take it at his pace and hopefully, in time, he'll be used to human contact and actually enjoy it.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Unhappy Boy.

Otis was able to find his forever home and has been with them for a few days. That left Milo, a lovely orange tabby mix with medium length fur. I'd heard that Milo's personality was somewhere between Boogie's fearfulness and his brother Otis's friendliness. I was somewhat concerned what that might mean, but since it was just one kitten I decided to take him on. I brought him home today.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Milo photo bombed by his cat dancer toy.

Milo is very pretty. He's three months old, but looks like he may grow to be a big kitty one day. Milo cried furiously from inside his cat carrier, scratching at the walls of it to get out as I drove us home. Nothing I said would soothe him. I hoped he would quiet down so I could sneak into Panera Bread and buy a few treats since I hadn't had anything to eat since last night. I knew bringing a cat into a restaurant would be frowned upon, but it was too hot to leave him in the car and I thought I'd be in and out before anyone was the wiser.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello Milo!

The second I walked in the door, Milo began CRYING. I walked up to the counter mentally tracking how much time was passing. I acted like nothing was going on. The women in line ahead of me were looking around. One started to rub her watering eyes. I started to panic. Could an allergic reaction happen this quickly?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. You can almost see Milo's tail. It's VERY long and fluffy.

Milo was bouncing around inside the carrier that was slung over my arm like a big purse. He meowed frantically. I said something to the ladies about how I'd only be in the store for a minute and they agreed he should not be in the car and thankfully did not point at me and scream that their runny eyes were from the cat being there!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

The young woman at the counter was in a daze. She had NO idea I had a cat with me and took forever to fulfill my order. I beat cheeks out of there while Milo continued to protest.

I got Milo settled into his new home. He was out of a cage at the Vet's office and in my bathroom. He'd have sunlight and fresh air and lots of toys and a cat tree. Sadly, he would be on his own for awhile. I want to make certain he's not sick, then I'll start to introduce him to the girls, Beauty, Belly Holiday and Hello Dahlia. Once that is done, he can live in the room with them as long as he's friendly and doesn't need me to work with him.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Milo liked his Spot's Stew cat food (thank you Halo and

I let Milo out of the carrier. He stopped crying. He sniffed around with his tail down, but not tucked between his legs. I didn't know if I could touch him so I simply observed him. After a few minutes I spoke to him and he meowed back at me. He sniffed at the food I gave him and had a few bites. When he came over towards me I reached out to pet him. He reacted by raising his back to meet my hand! Once he did that he relaxed and so did I.

Milo got a few more pets, then I took out a toy for him to play with. He was engaged right away, the stopped playing and ate more food. I'm not worried that he'll need work. He's in good shape already.

Dr. Mixon provided all of Milo's Vet care for no cost so there's nothing for me to do but find Milo a great home. If all rescues could be this easy…:::KNOCK WOOD:::


If you live in Connecticut or the surrounding states and you're interested in adopting Milo, visit my rescue's web site HERE for more information.

Of Bites, Bandages & Boo-Boos.

WARNING: the video of Bobette walking may make you sad and it shows her injury quite clearly. Also, there is an out-of-focus photo of her injury that may upset the squeamish.

Bobette's been on one Hell of a journey along a very bumpy road. Just when I think we've rounded a corner, something unexpected occurs. I realize I'm getting caught up in this cycle of hope and fear with her situation. I have to hope she WILL regain the use of her leg and will be comfortable, but what if she doesn't? What if I have to make the choice to have her leg amputated? This is something I don't know if I have the courage to do for her and I hope it will not come to pass. In the meantime, let me catch you up on how she's doing.

After the first few days with the bandage, we adjust to a new routine. Every morning I check on Bobette to see what sort of mess I need to clean up. She can't manage getting around and often I discover wet cat litter on the edge of her e-collar, indicating she's fallen face first into the dirty litter. The inside of her crate is in disarray. Some times she pees outside the crate onto the floor. I started putting training pads on the floor around the crate to help offset this problem. I never get mad. It makes me sad. I hate this life for her. I so want it to be over-for her to be free from the crate and feeling well again. I must be patient. She will get there…she will get there…

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The morning mess.

Sam often spends time holding Bobette as I clean up the mess and get her fed. It's a nice time for her because she can stretch out and relax without her e-collar on. The day before her bandage was to come off, we left off her e-collar as well. She wasn't picking at the bandage and without the e-collar she had some hope of sleeping in an more normal position. It's very clear she's not getting much rest as she often falls asleep while Sam holds her. Between the pain from her surgery, being in an uncomfortable crate and her body working on healing, she must be exhausted.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The morning before the big day. Bobette is non plused.

The big day finally arrived. I couldn't wait to get Bobette to Dr. Mixon's to get the bandage off. I had to borrow Sam's car because we had about six inches of snow, followed by frozen rain and with my car being 2wd, there was no way I was going to get to our appointment on time.

Bobette cried in her carrier just once, then was quiet for the rest of the trip. I kept looking at the clock. I had to drive slowly but the roads weren't too bad. I got there right on time-at 11am. No sooner than I walked in the door, I was told that my appointment was for 9am! But I wouldn't have agreed to that time because that's about when the cats get fed. I didn't have time to worry about it because they said they'd squeeze Bobette in between appointments. Couldn't we just get this over with? I really couldn't wait any longer!

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sleepy Bobette.

A few minutes later, Bobette and I were in one of the exam rooms. Dr. Mixon and his Vet Tech began working on removing the bandage. I was worried that Bobette would become fractious, as she'd done so many 21s before. Initially there were no problems other than a lot of material to cut through.

With just about all the bandaging off, Bobette started to get VERY DISTRESSED. She started screaming as the last piece of tape was coming off. Dr. Mixon stopped and he and the Tech tried to restrain her. I tried to help, but she was thrashing around and shrieking so loudly, there was no calming her down. I foolishly tried to reach out to her and she bit down HARD into the top of my hand. I felt her canine teeth meet under my flesh. Everyone let go of Bobette and she began to urinate all over the exam table, then threw herself off the table and onto the floor. I was crying out to her, worried she had just broken her leg. My hand was throbbing badly and I felt woozy. There was a sink nearby so I washed my hand, pushing the blood out of it as best I could. I knew how filthy cat's mouths are and that I just signed myself up for a trip to the ER if we didn't get my hand clean-fast.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bandage removal time!

It was all a crazy blur. I was trying not to cry. The pain was unbearable, but I was still worried about Bobette. Dr. Mixon got big gloves out and we got the cat into the cat carrier to recover. They'd have to sedate her later and get the rest of the bandage off. No one understood what upset her so severely until much later. In the meantime, Dr. Mixon urged me to go see a Dr. right away.

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I was lucky the Clinic could fit me in if I could get there in 10 minutes. I met with Maureen, the Nurse Practioner. She said I needed to be on antibiotics as soon as possible and that if the infection spread-which it could do even with the oral antibiotics, that I'd have to go to the ER in a few days. Great. I don't have health insurance, or money, for that matter. What an idiot I was.

I was still pretty shaky and my hand hurt badly even though it didn't look like much. I picked up the antibiotics which were $71.00! I needed to kill some time while they were working on Bobette, so I called Gene, a friend and local pet sitter and asked him if he wanted to meet me and have some soup at the local grocery store. I'd seen him there before and figured he might be in the area. Sure enough, he said the timing was good and we had a little visit.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My hand is already turning purply blue and starting to swell just minutes after I was bitten.

Gene is so cheerful, it put me in a good mood. We talked about bad pet parents and his grandson (who he adores like no other), then told me he was just about to pick up his new car. This is big news since Gene's car has 180,000+ miles on it and he's getting a brand new RED VW Bug! Our chat helped me get my mind off my hand. Everything would sort out. It was just another bump in the road.

I ended up going home for about 45 minutes, then left for Dr. Mixon's to pick up Bobette. The shock from being bitten must have been getting to me because suddenly I was so tired I just wanted to sleep. I promised myself as soon as I got home and got Bobette settled, I'd get some rest. I'd already taken an antibiotic so that was hopefully starting to kill the pasteurellosis that was making my hand swell up.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh my goodness!

I got back to Dr. Mixon's in good time. I realized I'd forgotten to even find out if Bobette's patella was still in place or if it had moved out, back to it's old location. I didn't have to wait long for the news. Some of it was very troubling and some, hopeful.

While Bobette was sedated, Dr. Mixon examined her leg. The patella, oddly enough, was STILL in PLACE! Bobette still has at least a month to go before we know if she'll be able to walk normally, but this was promising news. Now I had to keep her from jumping, encourage her to walk and give her time to heal.

The bad news was that the wooden tongue depressor he used as part of the splint in her bandage, had slipped down and been rubbing onto the back of her leg, causing a horrific wound. One of Bobette's toes had a cut on it, which I knew happened just after the surgery. It was not healing due to being in the bandage for so long. Both injuries were going to heal in time, but one had pus in it, which meant more antibiotics for Bobette and and more difficult recovery. When I saw the wound it was clear why she was in so much pain. Looking at her leg makes me hurt, too.

I have a lot of guilt about this. I've tried so hard to do the right thing for her and I failed. It will be even harder for her to walk at all with the added injuries to her leg-which was clear when I got her home.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette's first steps.

I set up the bigger crate for her new home and gave her a real cat litter pan to use-at last. She went to it right away, got in, peed and got out, but her leg was very weak. Sam put her on the floor and we had her walk over to me. She was reluctant to uncurl her paw to even place it on the floor. As she walked, she wobbled. Some times she used her paw and some times not. I tried to put some calendula cream on her wound but she is so sensitive, I had to leave it alone. How is this cat going to recover from all these injuries and walk again?

I just don't know. I know I'll be there for her as we find out. Bobette is young and strong. Now that her bandage is off, she'll have a chance to heal. One day we'll know if this was all worth it or just a waste of time. It's too soon to tell.

For now, we both need some rest.

Bobette's Surgery & Post Op Life. Part 2 of 3




The monitor attached to Bobette continued to beep in a steady rhythm as Dr. Mixon prepared to make the first incision into her left rear leg. I held my breath as he pressed the scalpel blade into her flesh. For some reason I expected a lot of blood to shoot out all over the room. I guess I've watched one too many horror movies.

The skin gave way, with little blood escaping from the opening. Right away I felt sick to my stomach. It was partly due to having only had some apple juice for breakfast; I first thought, but as the Dr. kept working the blade, it dawned on me that this thing he was cutting into looked a lot like a raw chicken leg. It was deeply disturbing to me to be hit with the mixed emotions of my brain recognizing “food” versus my conscious mind being completely DISGUSTED with myself for even thinking that. I wanted to throw up. It was clear to me why Dr. Mixon is a vegan. I started to seriously think about giving up meat, myself, but never thought I had the fortitude to stick with it. Maybe now I did.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The first incision.

Dr. Mixon was very focused on what he was doing. I focused on staying out of the way. The Tech was at attention, ready to hand him something or adjust the lamps. I learned that once the patient was draped, the area that was blue was NOT to be TOUCHED or even LEANED over. Being a chubby monkey, who is far from a limber ballerina, I was even more worried that any second now I'd crash into something and take the contents of a shelf down with me. The room just had enough space for all of us and the equipment. I also didn't want to distract Dr. Mixon so I just stood still and tried not to want to sit down. We'd already been on our feet for a few hours and had a long while yet to go, but my back complained. The Tech stretched her legs and arms. I guess I wasn't the only one who was already getting tired.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I'm not sure what Dr Mixon is doing here. Eww!

An alarm sounded on the monitor. Bobette's blood pressure was too low. This is the part in the TV show when someone yells; “Code Blue! Get the paddles!”

I asked what was going on. If Bobette was OK. Dr. Mixon looked at the monitor and said casually; “the monitor isn't always accurate…maybe Bobette's lines are kinked.”

Or maybe Bobette was going to DIE ANY SECOND! OHMYGOD!!!! I wanted to jump out of my skin while the Tech peeked under the layers of blue fabric to check on Bobette. She acknowledged that things looked all right, but Dr. Mixon quickly had her adjust the settings on the amount of fluid that was going into her IV as the monitor alarm kept going off. I bit my tongue, but I wanted to yell; “DO SOMETHING YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE HER!”

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Code orange! Watch that blood pressure!

But again, this was not new to them as it was to me. Bobette's pressure went up very slightly. Dr. Mixon told me not to worry, but I worried anyway. Bobette wasn't his cat. (Of course this is where I start wondering what the heck I'm doing in an operating room in the first place.)

Eventually her pressure went up to with an acceptable range. I thought about how fragile Bobette was at this moment. The twist of a dial, a kink in a tiny plastic line into her front leg, could mean her death. Thinking about this put me on edge even more.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Suturing up the leg.

As Dr. Mixon teased some of the muscle out of the way, looking for Bobette's kneecap, he made some familiar sounds. I was transported back in time to my childhood, when my dad was trying to fix the faucet. I was to hold the tools and hand them to him when he asked. He must have realized he forgot a part or encountered something he didn't expect because he unleashed a torrent of profanity. While Dr. Mixon is far more reserved, I could tell from his sighs and grunts that he was having difficulty. As he worked, he began to describe what he saw.

Bobette was in far worse shape than we anticipated. Her patella, may never have been in place or was not in place for very long. There was no groove in the joint for her kneecap to float into. He had to use a small saw to shape a space for the kneecap to go. He also said her leg had twisted outward as she grew, so the muscles that wrapped around the leg were very out of place. Ideally, what should happen is her femur should be cut through and turned into the correct position-this was NOT something we could do in a few hours time and with only one tech. I imagined the recovery time from doing that would be very difficult, as well.

What he could do was after creating the groove for the kneecap, he would re-work how the muscles attached, pinning them down in places with nylon sutures, which would never dissolve and would permanently keep the muscles from popping back out and into their old position.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. All sutured up. Whew.

He used a chisel, then some sort of uber-nail clippers to trim away some bone. Each sound made me shiver. To me it looked like he was just carving up her leg and I couldn't imagine that what he was doing would help her at all. How would she ever walk on that leg after what he did? I also thought about Bobette. She was going to be in immense pain when she woke up. He kept teasing the muscles to release them in some areas. I didn't look too closely and just tried to take photos to get my mind off what he was doing.

It was nearly 2pm and we had started around 10:30am. Dr. Mixon had to pick his son up from school to take him to the Doctor. I offered to go get him, but of course, I can't due to security issues. Dr. Mixon said (thank goodness) that he did not want to rush the surgery so I left the operating room and got his phone. He had the Tech dial a number and put the phone on “speaker.” I guess he called his ex-wife who was not too happy to hear from him. I felt really guilty, but I also didn't want him to rush. He had done as much as he could, but needed time to suture Bobette's leg. As with everything else, it took a lot longer than I expected it would, but Dr. Mixon was very careful about making sure everything was done properly.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Wait…STAPLES, too? EEK!

The monitor kept on beeping. I glanced over and saw that all Bobette's vitals were within safe limits. As Dr. Mixon finished suturing he swore. The kneecap had already moved out of place. He was able to get it back by pushing it in place, which he hadn't been able to do before the surgery. I asked him what her prognosis was and he wasn't very optimistic.

He thought it was likely her patella would pop back out. Perhaps it would not pop out too far and would pop back into place; he wasn't sure. I asked if she was going to lose her leg-soemthing I had feared all along. He said yes, probably, but not right now. My heart sank. After all this work to have it fail before she even got off the operating table was very disappointing. That said, we really had to wait and see.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My poor baby!

The biggest hurdle now was to keep Bobette from bending her leg-at any cost. Bend the leg and the surgery was going to fail. She had to keep that leg straight for a week, at least.

But first things first-Bobette had to wake up from surgery. She'd been out for hours. We were all really tired from being on our feet for so long. Dr. Mixon left us to clean up the room. The Tech did most of the cleaning and I stayed with Bobette. We had to furiously rub her to get her to wake up after all the life support was removed. She was left her intubated until she swallowed for the first time. I don't know why that is, but I do know it took a long time for her to be ready for the tube to come out. I worried she wasn't going to wake up.

Once she was awake, she was very crabby and started moaning. It was difficult and frightening to hold her down. She started to thrash violently in her cage and I called out for help. I was so worried she would break her leg she was writhing around so hard. We wrapped her in a towel like a kitty-burrito. She quieted down, but moaned a great deal more earnestly. I held her paw and told her it was going to be all right. I could only imagine how terrible she had to be feeling at that moment. I wondered if it was all in vain. I prayed it would work out in time.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Waking up after surgery. Poor sweetie.

We gave Bobette another pain killer and she quieted down. The Tech said it was okay for me to go home-which I did gladly.

I got home around 4pm and finally had something to eat. As I started to unwind, my eyelids grew heavy. I dragged myself upstairs, took off some of my clothes and fell, exhausted into bed. I slept until 7pm-the beep…beep…beep of the monitor still ringing in my ears.

…up next…part three, Bobette's Post Op Life…stay tuned…

Bobette's Surgery & Post Op Life. Part 1 of 3





It's rather ironic that there's so much going on in my life to write about, yet I don't have time to write any of it down. Meanwhile the days slip by and the details become a bit fuzzy around the edges.

Last week marked the first time I'd ever witnessed anything more than a spay surgery. It was time for Bobette to have surgery to (hopefully) correct her luxated patella. The poor girl couldn't walk without limping. Her kneecap was so far out of place it was a wonder she could run or jump at all. She mostly used her other legs for jumping and if she got really inspired to go after a toy, her back end would slip out from under her when she ran. Clearly, she needed help, but there was no guarantee she would ever walk normally again. Getting a kneecap back in place is one thing, but to get it to STAY in place is another.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette's future home while she recovers with commentary from her boys, Jakey & Mikey.

There was much to do to prep for Bobette's life after surgery. Dr. Mixon, her Vet, wanted her to have cage rest for three weeks, so I got out my biggest dog crate and set it up, not realizing I was making a big mistake. I'd never had a cat with an invasive surgery on a limb to recover from-of course I'd cared for Bob after 1/2 of his liver was removed just a year ago, but all I had to do for him was make sure he was eating and staying quiet on his heated bed. With Bobette, I'd have to keep her from moving at all costs. I hated to lock her up in a cage, and force her to wear the “cone of shame,” but she had to rest.

In the first week, should Bobette be able to bend her leg at all, she would ruin the surgery and her kneecap would pop back out. We had to give it time to set in it's new position and that meant a lot of sitting around. For a year old cat, who wants to play, that was a lot to ask for.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The welcome committee at Dr. Mixon's practice. Look familiar?

The morning of the surgery I was feeling hopeful, but scared. I thought I'd be sitting in the waiting room until they finished up, but Dr. Mixon came out and asked me, or was it told me?, I should come back and see the surgery. My heart dropped into my pants. ME? Watch? Even though I watch all those ER “reality” shows on TV, I ALWAYS look away when they get into the gory surgery scenes. There was no looking away from this, but could I handle it without throwing up or fainting?

I didn't realize I'd have to help out, which is not a problem at all, especially considering Dr. Mixon was doing the surgery for about $2000.00 less than an Orthopedic surgeon would have charged. Dr. Mixon is a General Practitioner, not a specialist, but he admittedly enjoys doing orthopedic procedures and another friend said her dog did well after Dr. M. did a similar surgery on him.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Last pets before surgery.

Bobette was sitting in her cat carrier, her pupils dilated. She hadn't had breakfast-of course-because anesthesia can cause the cat to vomit and you don't want her to aspirate anything into her lungs and get pneumonia. It's better not to have a full tummy (but you tell that to the cat!). Two days before we'd been in this same waiting room together, but only to get Bobette's pre-operative blood work done so we could make sure she'd be healthy enough for surgery. With three people holding her down, there was no way to get her blood, so we had to hope that being so young she'd be fine under anesthesia-this is not something I'm happy to report. I'm sure as we sat together, Bobette was getting very tense, probably reliving what happened those few days prior and I wondered if she'd become so fractious that we'd be able to do the surgery at all.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. After being given something to relax her a bit, Bobette and I share a few moments before her surgery prep begins.

I brought her into the back of the Practice and sat her on an exam table. The Vet tech was getting supplies ready and I asked her to walk me through what was going to happen next and what she'd want me to do. Mostly I had to just hold Bobette down and not lose any fingers in the process but I kept thinking' “I'm a Graphic Designer! I'm a Graphic Designer. I'm NOT A VET TECH! WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!”.

I took the lead and spoke very calmly to Bobette. I didn't restrain her very tightly. We were very quiet as we worked on her. It wasn't difficult at all to give Bobette a few shots. One was to relax her so we could insert the IV, which would be in place during surgery and provide her with fluids. The other was the dreaded Metacam, which I challenged Dr. M. on giving her because it's known to cause renal failure. He quickly pushed back and said it was safe if she was kept hydrated. I was really tweaked that he gave it to her after all I'd heard about it killing cats more than helping them, but what could I do? Now I'm thinking we'll have to do a post op-blood test to see if she's ok.

I held Bobette down so the Tech could insert an IV into her leg. I was really feeling like a traitor. Here is this sweet cat. I don't know her very well, but I still care about her. She's scared, drugged up and only at the beginning of what is going to be a very awful day. I couldn't blame Bobette as she pitched a fit and shrieked as the Tech tried to shave her front leg. Try as we might, we couldn't get her to settle down so it was decided she needed to be gassed so she would just konk out.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I will never look at another storage tub the same way again, ever. I was not a happy camper seeing this.

The Tech grabbed a plastic storage tub with holes cut into either end. One end was taped up and the other was open. She attached a hose to the open end, then had me place Bobette inside the bin. She barely fit. I started to realize maybe this is what they do to kill cats at shelters? I wanted to grab the box, get Bobette out and RUN for it. This just seemed inhumane, but what do I know about this---nothing other than it really bothered me to see this happening.

The Tech snapped down the lid and turned a dial allowing the gas to enter the box. Bobette didn't fuss at all and in a few minutes was slumped down, oblivious to the world around her. It's VERY UNNERVING to see an unconscious cat. They might as well be dead, because it's not much different. I kept wondering how anyone could do this to animals every day and not have nightmares each night.The Tech told me she was going to remove the lid FAST. I had to get Bobette out of the box, then run with the box into a back room and NOT BREATHE ANYTHING IN OR I WOULD PASS OUT, TOO.


I told her to do a countdown and on…“1” we jumped into action. I couldn't be distracted by Bobette being so limp. I put her down, grabbed the box and ran off, making sure the lid didn't come back off. I was weirdly tempted to open the lid and take a big sniff so I had a reason not to see the surgery, but I figured I would hit my head when I passed out, too. Probably not the best idea.

Setting IV.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. After being intubated, the IV is set. Bobette is completely out of it, thankfully.

Then began a very long process of preparing Bobette's leg for surgery. I kept wondering how long she could be unconscious without it doing her harm. The Tech asked me to adjust a light or hold something or get this or that. She began to shave Bobette and we discovered she has very odd fur. It grows in different directions and was difficult to trim down close to her skin. I noticed that Bobette has a tuft of fur on her neck that reminds me of Alfalfa from the Our Gang show (It's probably before your time, so here's a link )

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette gets a furcut.

Poor Bobette. I just wanted to take her home, but the surgery hadn't even begun. She looked so helpless laying on the table. I whispered to her that it was going to be okay. I hoped it wasn't a lie. A monitor nearby beeped every time her heart beat. As long as we heard the beep, she was okay.

Bobette intubated.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Aww..Bobette!

Bobette's leg was wiped down a few times. Dr. Mixon saw what the Tech was doing and stopped her. She missed a spot on Bobett's leg right under the tape that held her leg in place. She had to shave it down and re-do all the antiseptic wipes, which again, Dr. Mixon corrected, making certain that the area where the sugary was being done was NOT getting wiped over twice. Even though it took a lot of time, I was glad he was a stickler for keeping things clean.

Cleaning her leg.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. iping down her leg. Make it nice and clean.

So far, so good. I was on my feet. I hadn't passed out. Okay, no blood yet, either. Sheesh! I got this far, I need some credit.

Leg Prepared.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. All set. What's next?

Bobette was fine so far. I was fine, too, but was glad I wasn't attached to a heart monitor because everyone would know just how scared I was. Bobette's monitor kept beeping along…beep…beep…beep.

Dr Mixon Enters.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Dr. Mixon begins his part of the prep work.

Then Dr. Mixon began draping Bobette with layers of cloth that would allow him to focus only on her leg and also to keep the surgical area cleaner. I kept thinking that surely he was done, but he'd add another layer. Then he slipped a small sock over Bobette's leg and cut a hole into it which was over the area where he'd be making the incision. After he created the opening, he quickly sutured around the edges of the opening so the fabric would stay in place. This was the final task he had before he could get started.

Robin Scrubbed In.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Paging Dr. Robin! Does this mask make my face look fat?

He was very focused and there was little talking. The only sound was the beeping of the monitor. Dr. Mixon looked up for a moment and said; “Now you know why these surgeries cost so much money.” And even before he made one cut, I understood. The prep work took at least an hour if not more. When he was done, Bobette the cat was gone and in her place was an alien leg sprouting from a field of pale green sterile sheets.

Ready for Surgery.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Where's Bobette?

…stay tuned for Part Two: SURGERY…next.

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