Of botched spaying, ear notches, dog tags and other matters

In the past few months, we have encountered several cases which I think can be shared (with identities kept confidential) for the purpose of education.

Case 1 – The poor dog whose spaying was botched.

Once in a while, we get requests from overseas. I guess the pet-parents are desperate and will go all out to seek solutions for their pets’ issues. This case came from the US.  The parent wrote to ask if we could help her 1-year old dog. The dog was taken to be spay but her vet had accidentally severed the kidney ducts/tubes. So at the time of writing, her dog was suffering from end-stage kidney failure and only had days to live. She wanted to ask if we had any alternative treatment for the dog. When we said we can only seek advice from vets to help her, she wanted a phone consultation with our vets, but that was not possible. Most vets will not do a phone consultation as a physical examination is needed.

Lesson to be learnt: Only use the services of vets whom YOU trust.

Case 2 – The rescued dog was sent to be spayed, but got pregnant later and delivered puppies.

This case happened in our country. The rescued dog was spayed but boarded at the vet’s for weeks due to another issue. And the dog-parent did not check to see the surgical wound, she just took the vet’s word for it and paid the fee. After some time, the dog got pregnant and subsequently delivered 5 puppies. The parent went back to the vet’s to enquire. The vet checked her records and insisted that the dog WAS spayed, but since she had got pregnant, the vet asked the parent to bring back the dog for a second spaying. The parent has not done so. She consulted us. Our suggestion is to take the dog to another vet for an assessment and advice.

We also consulted vets and experienced people on this. What we learnt from the vets is that a dog-spay consists of the total removal of the uterus (two horns) and both ovaries. All must be removed. So if a dog is spayed, it is totally impossible for the dog to get pregnant after that.

It could have been a botched spaying which we learnt, is the vet’s error. Or maybe, the spaying was not done at all.

An experienced friend who has handled thousands (yes, not hundreds but thousands) of dog spays says that in all these years, he had only encounter ONE such case and it was totally the vet’s error.

Lessons to be learnt: Only use the services of the vets whom YOU trust.

Case 3 – The reluctance of a rescuer to ear-notch her neutered cats.

There was a rescuer who wrote to us to appeal for our financial aid to neuter her 30-odd rescued cats. We said sure, and sent our policies, which include the compulsory ear-notching. She replied that ear-notching is “painful” so she has to think about it first. We explained that the ear-notch is done under anaesthesia and is actually more minor that the spaying or castration procedure itself. I also sent photos of Creamy, Gerald and Riley’s ear-notch and assured her that there were no complications, and that the ear-notches healed beautifully. I also explained the reason for the ear-notch – it would spare a female animal from being opened up again. Pets can escape.

We did not hear back from her. Looks like she does not need our financial aid anymore.

Lesson: Sometimes you can talk until the cows come home but you still cannot get through to some humans. And the animals under their care suffer.

Case 4 – The reluctance of a dog-owner to let his dog wear a tag with his contact number on it.

The dog had escaped from his house. A good samaritan rescued the dog, but the dog did not have a tag. Luckily, the good samaritan alerted a guard, who then alerted me with the photo of the dog. The owner was tracked down, thanks to the efforts of the guard, and dog and owner were reunited. I urged the owner to please let his dog wear a tag and explained why. Thrice.

Until today, the dog still does not have a tag.

In that same neighbourhood, some pet dogs have escaped numerous times. Some are pedigree too. Their owners still do not let them wear a collar with tags.

This is all about responsible pet ownership. The owners are so-called “highly-educated” people. Wait, I should correct myself. They are highly-schooled people.  There is a difference.

Lesson: Sometimes you can talk until the cows come home but you still cannot get through to some humans. And the animals under their care suffer.

Case 5 – The reluctance of a bigtime “rescuer” to ear-notch her neutered dogs and cats.

This happened a few months ago. The bigtime rescuer sent out an alert that a few of her dogs had been captured by the authorities due to complaints from the public. We helped track down the dogs and found out where the dogs had been taken. The rescuer went to the place and took back the dogs. She claimed her dogs were all neutered, but there was no ear-notches on them.

I spoke to the person who helped get her dogs’ release. He said this is not the first time her dogs have been caught and she retrieved them. Time and again, she had been advised to get their ears notched, but she has refused.

So how would anyone know that your female dogs have been neutered, if you don’t notch the ears?

Why the reluctance?

A friend paid another visit to her place and saw many cats without ear-notches too. This rescuer said all the cats have been neutered.

Okay, but without the ear-notches. What if these cats and dogs migrate elsewhere, and another good samaritan picks them up and sends them to be spayed again? Then the vet opens them up, reaches his/her hand in to search for the uterus and ovaries and cannot find them, and only then realises that this animal had already been spayed.

Do you really want your animal to go through this unnecessary procedure and suffering and to undergo the risk of anaesthesia?  Are you REALLY so stubborn and refuse to think of the wellbeing of the animals whom you claim to care for? And mind you, her animals are all returned to the street.

Lesson: Sometimes you can talk until the cows come home but you still cannot get through to some humans. And the animals under their care suffer.








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