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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Do It Yourself

Today I neutered my kitten, Tristan. To me it wasn't a big deal, and was a procedure that took only a minute or two. However, one of my staff questioned whether I would do it myself. That's not the first time someone asked me a question like that. I've neutered most of the cats I've had, and spayed my dog, Guinevere. I would have spayed Inara, but the shelter had done this before I adopted her.

This is strange to many people I've worked with over the years, and I can kind of understand it. Seeing your own pet that you know and love under anesthesia can be very strange. This animal that normally plays with or cuddles with you is lying there in a very unconscious state with monitors flashing and beeping. Then you take a scalpel and cut into that beloved companion, removing organs of some sort. And no matter how good you are, there is still that slight risk that something could go wrong. Those thoughts can be there no matter who the pet is. But when you have that personal attachment and connection, it can be a bit strange.

However, for doctors there is also the thought that you don't want to entrust it to anyone else. Even if I trust my associates and know they do a great job, this is my own pet's life and health, and I want to be personally responsible for it. The special connection with a pet works on several levels. And even though I would readily let a specialist do what was needed on my pets, for routine procedures I would prefer to do it myself.

So to any who ask, no I don't find it strange to do surgery on my own pets, and even prefer to do it. By the way, Tristan is doing great, and was purring just a few hours after surgery.


  1. I have done some minor things on my own pets... but even at the height of my surgical skills, I let other people do the bigger jobs - and I count speying my bitch in that... I knew that if something went wrong, the emotional involvement might make me over react if I hit any problem.

  2. That emotional involvement is pretty tough. Personally, I can handle it. I had to do an exploratory surgery on my own cat once, and ended up discovering a massive stomach tumor. I put him to sleep before he woke up. I can detach myself enough to be able to do these things, though I do admit that I still feel strange about it.

  3. Yeah it's pretty freaky to anesthetize your own pet but I also don't really want anyone else doing it, unless it's something I don't feel comfortable with. Like my cat's diaprhagmatic hernia. I freaked out and hauled her directly to a surgeon (actually a classmate doing a residency) and made her fix it!


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