A “Day in the Life” in the Purrfect Pals Veterinary Clinic
Did you know that Purrfect Pals runs a full-service veterinary clinic at our Arlington sanctuary? With the help of two Licensed Veterinarian Technicians (LVTs) and three Veterinary Assistants and our Clinic and Cat Care Manager, Vikki, Veterinarian Dr. Janet Gray provides medical care for our 150+ short and long-term residents as well as the cats and kittens in our foster homes and ten offsite adoption centers around the Puget Sound region.
At Purrfect Pals, we believe that each and every cat matters and our highest priority is taking in the cats and kittens who need us most… those that other Puget Sound shelters and rescue groups might not have the resources to help. This includes older cats, cats with major medical needs, cats with chronic illnesses (including FIV and Feline Leukemia) and those with behavioral challenges. Cats who are not easily adoptable have a forever home in our sanctuaries.
Patience, flexibility, excellent juggling skills and a great sense of humor are definite requirements for anyone who works in shelter medicine. Luckily for the cats at Purrfect Pals, we have a fantastic team of talented and passionate people working in our veterinary clinic!
The Purrfect Pals clinic staff begin each morning with a full schedule for the day. First up are the 50+ residents who will receive oral, injectible and topical medication for a variety of conditions. Gary, who is recovering from surgery to repair his broken leg, is given pain medication. Our office kitty Baby Punk, a middle-aged girl with diabetes, arthritis and a chronic eye issue, is distracted with treats while the vet tech gives one of two daily Insulin injections, eye ointment and a Cosequin pill. Others are being medicated for liver and kidney disease, allergies, ringworm, hyperthyroidism, heartworm, autoimmune disorders, upset stomachs, diarrhea or constipation, eye herpes and urinary tract infections.
On this particular day, ten cats who are in the late stages of kidney disease are given subcutaneous fluids to improve hydration and make them more comfortable. Six diabetic cats, Baby Punk, Molly, Anchor Blue, Knox, Tutu and Lady of the Lake, receive insulin injections.
Then the foster parents start arriving to drop off their litters of kittens that are scheduled for spay and neuter surgery and other procedures that day. Vikki checks them in and pulls their medical records for the team to review. While Dr. Gray is busy in surgery with help from Tom and Lara, Kara and Julie get to work performing intake examinations on our new arrivals. Each of these appointments takes up to thirty minutes and includes a blood test for FIV and FeLV (Feline Leukemia), vaccines, treatment for fleas and parasites, microchipping, nail trims and a full examination. If the cat is seven years or older, additional blood tests are performed so we can look for underlying medical issues.
Meanwhile, Lora gets to work on the clinic’s daily checklist which includes thoroughly cleaning the Infirmary, a room with a large outdoor enclosure, which is home to several kitties. They are being treated for illnesses and injuries or receiving end of life hospice care.
Later, the team will clean the rest of the clinic and prepare equipment and instruments for the next day’s surgeries. In the meantime, she stays busy preparing fecal samples that were dropped off when the foster kittens arrived and sends them off to the IDEXX laboratory.
Vikki will check all of the lab results from the previous day’s tests and, if they show that a kitty has worms, coccidia, giardia or other parasites, one of the LVTs or Assistants will draw up the medications that will go home with the kittens and be given by their foster parents.
Our clinic staff has a very tight schedule which will keep them busy all day. In a cat shelter, however, few days ever go as planned. We just never know who will walk through the door with dirty, wet and hungry kittens that were found in a wood pile or a foster cat that started vomiting the night before and needs a check-up from Dr. Gray.
The team also provides a free spay and neuter clinic for low-income cat owners 2-4 times each month. We also offer low cost vaccines and flea treatment for these surgery patients.
As you can imagine, this level of care does not come cheap. Veterinary clinic supplies, staffing and laboratory services are by far the largest of our expenses and we rely on donations from cat lovers like you in order to continue providing them.
If you share our belief that every cat matters, please take this opportunity to give a gift to Purrfect Pals today. Simply use the enclosed donation form and self-addressed envelope to mail your gift or donate online at purrfectpals.org/give today. Thank you!