Why did you do that? Part 2

I’m back again! (I know, I know. You missed me right?) Here I am being all majestic. Because that’s how I roll.

Now onto business. Scenario 2:

You drop your pet off for one procedure or another (maybe Fluffy is getting a dental cleaning, maybe Stanley is having an abdominal ultrasound, maybe your adorable puppy is getting a Dr Booth special Laparoscopic spay – call us if you’re interested!). When you pick him/her up in the afternoon, the first thing you notice is that your pet is patchy! Where did the hair go? But why???

We may need to shave the hair from your pet for many reasons. For something like an ultrasound, the entire belly (or abdomen, if you’re fancy) will need to be shaved. This is because the ultrasound needs a smooth surface in order to send legible sound waves into the body. Too much hair means a garbled message. No good. As a secondary benefit, the smooth skin is also much easier for us to clean the ultrasound gel off of, so your pet doesn’t go home all goopy. That wouldn’t be any fun. I love a spa day as much as the next cat, but surprisingly, most pets are not fans. That means easier to clean is easier on your fur-baby.

Another possible reason for shaving is around a surgery site. Any time a doctor is going to be making an incision, we need the hair to be gone around where the incision is planned to be so that it can be effectively scrubbed until it is squeaky clean. (have you ever scrubbed something for 5 solid minutes? I have!) The hair itself is impossible to scrub properly, so it needs to be gone from the area around the site for sterility. It also needs to be gone from a few inches around the incision so that non-sterile hair doesn’t fall over into the clean field. Most importantly, we don’t want to be getting hair actually INTO the incision. Non sterile hair can not only cause an infection in a surgery, but can become something appropriately called a “foreign body”, which we may need to remove with an additional surgery later on.

Similarly, since we are putting a needle into a vein not unlike making a surgical incision, we need to shave a patch on their leg to place an IV catheter. This both allows us to scrub the area clean before placing the IV, and allows us to see the vein properly so we aren’t working blind (have you ever seen how much hair is on a husky? Dense too… there’s no way we can see or feel any veins through that thick coat without shaving a spot). We generally try to keep these as small as possible, but there will still be a shaved patch.

If your pet has special circumstances (did you know pets that have Cushing’s disease often do not grow hair as well?), please let us know. There is a significant chance that we won’t be able to get out of shaving entirely, but if it is only something like an IV catheter, we may be able to place it in an unobtrusive location. Two words: comb over. (is that supposed to be one word?)

You may notice a little repetition from part one, but the best way to handle your concerns is to keep two way communication open with your vet. Dr Booth may not be an easy guy to get a hold of (turns out owning a large veterinary hospital is a LOT of work – who knew?), but we are here to help your pets. Please feel free to bring up any concerns you may have at any time. If you are like me, and all other cats, and you weren’t aware that your smartphone could function as a phone, you can even TEXT us at the clinic number (if you have opposable thumbs… unlike me. How cool would that be though?)

Well, that’s my two cents for the week. Did you know I’m getting fatter? It’s the best. Someone floated the “diet” word around, but their silly elastics keeping the food cupboard closed are no match for me. Hazaa!