We spend a day at a veterinary clinic to record the various feline cases
Spending a day at a veterinary clinic is an informative experience. Not only does one see many different conditions, but also how the vet and other staff deal with each one individually. On this particular day, a number of feline patients are treated and we even witness a few surgeries.
7am – the first emergency of the day
Any random day at a veterinarian clinic is one with a very busy schedule indeed. This particular morning starts at 07H00 when an emergency call is received; Gulliver had been hit by a car when he was trying to cross the road. This is a huge concern for cat owners, as cats are often hit by cars on our busy roads. His skew and drooling mouth confirms that his lower jaw has been fractured. There is also a fracture in his right hind leg that needs attention. He receives pain medication and a drip is inserted. Then it is time to scrub in for Gulliver’s surgery. The x-rays clearly show the fractures that must be fixed. A stainless steel screw is placed in the femur’s bone marrow and a thin thread is wound around the lower jaw to pull and keep the two halves together.
8am – the day’s first vaccinations
The first of many vaccinations for the day arrive a little after 08H00. The Joubert family’s two new ginger kittens receive their second vaccinations as well as a Rabies jab. Advice is given on the latest kitten food on the market, as it is very important that cats receive proper food to maintain good health. It is important to keep them in shape as many cats are already overweight when they are sterilised because they don’t get enough exercise and receive too much food. (Kittens can be sterilised from approximately four to six months of age.) Obesity can increase the risk of hepatic lipidosis; Feline Fatty Liver Syndrome. It is one of the most common forms of liver disease in cats.
9am – an abscess
The next patient is Kieter. An abscess is discovered at the base of his tail and it must be drained and disinfected. A blood test is done to test for Feline Aids (FIV) and luckily it is negative. Abscesses are treated regularly as cats, feisty creatures that they are, often get into fights with other cats – or they’re sometimes bitten by dogs. An abscess is the result of a puncture in the skin caused by sharp things such as dirty claws and teeth, which infect the surrounding skin and cavity.
10am – two mommies
Next in line is Priscilla, who gave birth to four adorable little kittens last week and still has a bloody secretion. She is in very good health and the uterine secretion is normal – the body does this to excrete all the excess tissue that was present during pregnancy.
Maya, a pregnant queen, is also examined to make sure that she and her unborn babies are all doing well.
11am – a case of gum disease
It is time for Boris’s appointment. This seven-year-old Persian cat was diagnosed two years ago with Feline Aids (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). He is flourishing on his medication, but is troubled by gum disease and tooth scale. He is sedated as his mouth is hurting quite a bit. X-rays show three teeth with loose roots, so these are pulled out. The rest of his teeth are cleaned with a special machine and then polished to help prevent build-up of tartar on his teeth.
12am – poisoned cat
Meanwhile, a very aggressive cat has been brought in. She defecated on herself and is drooling excessively. She has been poisoned. An antidote is immediately administered intravenously to help counteract the poison. When she has been calmed down, the nurse will bathe her in lukewarm water. Aldicarb (in Temik, an insecticide also called ‘Two-step’) poisons cats either when they are poisoned intentionally (when it is put into food) or when they ingest it accidentally (usually when eaten or licked off treated garden plants). Often, it results in death.
2pm – sterilisations
During the afternoon, one castration and two spays are done. Many more appointments are made throughout the day for spays and castrations. This is really heartwarming, as the cat owners have the responsibility to sterilise their cats so they don’t contribute to the feline overpopulation. It is a huge problem in our country, leaving thousands of cats homeless or at rescue organisations where they must often be put to sleep. The average female cat has two to three litters, of one to eight kittens per litter, each year. The average survival rate is about 2.8 kittens per litter. If her offspring are not spayed or neutered, the result is 12 cats the first year, 66 cats in the second year, 2,201 cats within the third year, 3,822 cats during the fourth year, and so on. At the end of 10 years, the total would be 80,399,780 cats! During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. In 1952, a Texas Tabby named Dusty set the record by having more than 420 kittens before having her last litter at age 18. A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just seven years.
4pm – the last patients of the day arrive
Later in the afternoon, Patches, who is doing really well on her hypo-allergenic food and not scratching much anymore, comes in for a follow-up consultation. She is still troubled by hairballs, but her intestines are a lot less irritated. It is amazing what a good quality food can do for your cat’s health!
Then Angel receives her steroid injection (she gets one every second month), to counteract kidney failure.
Poor Oscar is not so lucky – he has to be euthanised because of complications due to advanced kidney failure.
It was certainly a very busy day, diagnosing and treating all the feline patients brought in by responsible cat owners!
With special thanks to Dr. HJ Lategan
Text: Yolanda Wessels
Photography: Squid Media Advertising