Warning: This post has graphic surgery pictures. Not for the squeamish. Though, if you've read any of the other posts you should probably know by now that this work is just gross.
The two weeks after we came down with panleukopenia are pretty hazy in my mind. It's a blur of Tamiflu, tears, and hopelessness. However, a bright spot came when a veterinarian arrived a week and a half after the outbreak began to stay for a few days!
Nabi sensei is one of the coolest people I've ever met. She's a Japanese woman who earned her D.V.M in Japan, but has has spent several years helping animals in Kenya! She's really knowledgeable about shelter and in-the-field medicine and she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. I want to grow up to be her!
Anyways, she came just when we needed her most and her arrival boosted our spirits and helped to lighten the load of providing veterinary care for dozens of sick cats. She also helped us with Taro's recovery. I had been really concerned about the fact that the shaving hadn't rid him of all of the maggots. She assessed him and told me that we'd done a fantastic job and just had to let him heal on his own with the help of the random pink liquid we sprayed on the affected areas.
In fact, this picture is of Nabi sensei and dear Taro!
In addition to helping out tremendously with the panleuk and maggots, Nabi sensei came armed with an arsenal of medical supplies, including surgical materials. She was all prepared to rock out some spays and neuters with just Domitor and Propofol in Room D on top of a dog crate. And I got to be her assistant!!!
The first surgery we performed was on Cinnamon, a pregnant cat that we had picked up in Namie.
Side note: Everyone here at the Japan Cat Network Inawashiro base is of the opinion that cat and dog spay/abortions are necessary. There are already so many unwanted animals in the world. Why should we allow more to be born when we could go to any hokenjo and pick up dozens of baby animals about to be gassed to death? The resources that would be spent trying to keep embryos and neonates alive are better used on animals already in this world.
This was the first spay/abort procedure I had ever sat in on so, to be honest, I was pretty intrigued. Another volunteer vet, Tsuge sensei, agreed to help with the surgery.
It was so AWESOME! I had no idea that the uterus became so vascularized during pregnancy! I got to dissect the uterus and see the tiny embryos. It was beyond fascinating!!!!! I maybe use too many exclamation points when I talk about surgeries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, the spay took longer than we had hoped and, though Cinnamon recovered well, it was decided that we wouldn't do any more spays at Club LOHAS since we didn't have things like....isofluorane, endotrach tubes, ventilator, or any sort of monitoring equipment other than a stethescope. We would just stick to neuters from now on.
The next day it was just Nabi sensei and I as Tsuge sensei only comes once in a blue moon. We decided to neuter the male dogs we had brought in at the end of June. We started with Sam, the biggest. While we prepped him for surgery we ran a heartworm test. By the time it was done running we were already halfway done with the neuter! Sam is heartworm positive but he still did well during surgery.
Our second neuter for the day was Kangaroo, the dog with the two dislocated elbows. Soon after we sedated him he started responding poorly. I was monitoring with the stethescope and his heart beat became slow (a normal response to Domitor) and irregular (not so normal). It became clear why his heart was in distress when his heartworm test finished and he was not just positive but SUPER positive. A few minutes after I ausculted (word) the irregular heart beat Kangaroo stopped breathing. I had to start chest compressions to keep oxygen moving into his lungs while Nabi sensei quickened her pace to finish the neuter. He was reversed and waking up in less than 15 minutes, but it was so touch and go during the surgery that we were wary to do another heartworm positive dog.
We had saved Choco, brother to Sam and Kangaroo, for last since he is a bit shy. Before beginning the surgery prep we ran the heartworm test. We didn't want to perform another risky surgery. By some miracle Choco was negative! He's one of only 3 dogs that we have picked up in Kawamata and Namie to not have heartworm disease! Thus, we rocked out the last neuter of the day in just a few minutes' time.
Nabi sensei extended her stay for several days to continue to help us. She gave me a bunch of meds and taught me how to use a few that I'd never seen before. She also put together a wonderful tackle box that I take with me into the field whenever we go to feed or pick up.
Then, of course, this happened the day after she left.
Luckily, Nabi sensei answered her phone and helped me pick the right steroid!