When your own pet has surgery...

Many veterinary hospitals have their own clinic pets, and Eglinton Vet is no different. Our clinic cat’s name is Bo and she resides most of the time on the second floor of our building where we have our staff room and offices. Bo came to us in the summer of 2014 after her owner had allowed her to become obese and diabetic, and asked that we euthanize her at the age of seven. We refused to do this, and instead adopted her into the clinic. Our original goal was to treat her diabetes and have her lose weight prior to going to another home, but Bo won us over and is now a permanent fixture at the clinic.  Some of our clients will have seen her demanding her dinner in the reception area of the clinic in the evening.

A few months ago, Bo developed an ear infection that we all assumed would be easy to treat. Unfortunately, we were wrong, as the infection was related to polyps that were forming in her left ear; these masses were trapping infection deep in the ear canal. After weeks of attempting to treat her infection, we made the decision that the polyps needed to be removed. Bo was seen by one of our specialists for a CT scan, which revealed a very deep infection in her middle ear. She subsequently had her left ear canal and ear drum removed in a procedure called a total ear canal ablation (TECA). This is a very drastic surgery, but we made the decision to have it done because it was the best way to prevent her pain long term. She is recovering well under the care of our team.

The most interesting side note for us through this process is that Bo is a cat with a huge team of owners, and we found that we had all the same feelings of anxiety as our clients do when their pets are undergoing a procedure…. "She will be all by herself at the hospital after surgery at the referral clinic! She won’t like wearing the cone on her head! How will we know if she is in pain? Will this fix the problem for her? What about the cost? When is she coming home?"

Most of our team do have their own pets and deal with medical issues from time to time, but this process was a very good reminder to our team about what it is like to be a pet owner worried about their furry friend.  As veterinary professionals, we are used to walking our clients through all sorts of procedures, including surgeries. However, we need to remember that for most people it is a new experience and it can be incredibly nerve wracking to have their pet spend time in the hospital for medical testing or for procedures under anesthesia such as dental cleanings or general surgery.

Our team is highly compassionate and professional, but the experience with Bo will remind us why this is so important every day with all pets and clients. This week, thankfully, Bo is back to ruling the second floor of the clinic!