A Day in the Life of a Shelter Veterinary Clinic

Categories: Shelter Life

Here at the Lollypop Farm veterinary clinic, no day is ever the same. From teeny tiny kittens to farm pigs over 150 pounds, our veterinary team keeps pretty busy to say the least. If you have ever visited Lollypop Farm, you have seen just how many pets are available for adoption at any point in time – just imagine how many more are in holding at the shelter or in foster care, receiving veterinary treatments from our team! Pets who arrive at the shelter are never turned away, even when they require intensive surgeries, medication, or various types of veterinary care. In fact, in 2018 alone, our clinic team performed 21,957 examinations and 7,742 surgeries!

Follow along to see what a crazy day in the veterinary clinic is like for Lollypop Farm’s veterinarians, technicians, and assistants. Oh, and even our office cats!

A Day in Our Shoes

Try putting yourself in our shoes for a moment. Our days in the clinic start at 8 a.m., and we always hit the ground running. Every staff member is busy with something different to help get the day rolling. First and foremost, all of our clinic patients need to be cleaned and cared for. One of our residents is Phil Lemon. This handsome fellow came to Lollypop Farm as a stray with a broken pelvis and leg. He required surgery to walk normally again, so we reached out to our friends at Cornell University’s Companion Animal Hospital for assistance. Phil travelled all the way to Ithaca, NY for a fracture repair, and then returned to us for his post-operative care and close monitoring.

Phil is quite the character. He gets lots of love and compassionate post-op care from the clinic team. This includes things like getting all of the medications he needs each day, checking his incisions to make sure that they’re healing properly, and making sure he doesn’t over-exert himself post-surgery. We like to have some fun with residents like Phil, sometimes even dressing them up! He’s quite the classy guy. Keep an eye on our pet adoption pages to see when he becomes available for adoption!

Phil Lemon
We like to have fun with our feline friends in the clinic, like Phil Lemon, a cat who is currently receiving post-operative care.

Meanwhile, our amazing assistants are making rounds around the shelter and medicating all of our animals currently receiving treatment. Summer is definitely our busiest season, and giving medication to patients all over the shelter is quite the undertaking. Our patients can range from chickens, to ferrets, to cats and dogs – all need treatments for various illnesses. Recently we had a ferret, Dimaria, who had surgery to remove bladder stones. She is recovering wonderfully!

Ferret
Pets of all sizes need veterinary care on a daily basis here in the clinic!

Surgeries, Spays, and Neuters

The biggest part of our day is surgery, surgery, oh, and more surgery. On a day when the veterinary clinic is fully staffed, we can do approximately 40 surgeries! The majority of our surgeries on an average day are spays and neuters, but we also do a wide variety of surgeries focused on making animals more comfortable before they are made available for adoption. These might include mass removals, dentals, radiographs, and even orthopedic procedures.

In 2018, our veterinary clinic performed 7.742 surgeries! The morning following surgery all Lollypop Farm, patients receive a post-operative check by one of our technicians. All of our routine spays and neuters and able to go up for adoption the following day after these morning checks if all looks well. It is incredible to see how quickly animals recover after surgery! Their tenacity never ceases to amaze us.

Clinic surgery
On an average day, our veterinary clinic can complete approximately 40 surgeries!

The Beach

Coming through a veterinary clinic can be a pretty stressful situation for any animal. We do everything we can to keep our patients happy and comfortable through the entire process. All of our surgery patients get to have a stay at “The Beach.” This is our recovery area, and it’s actually a heated floor! We also have a warming blanket, warming bags, and plenty of cozy blankets for our patients. Our clinic cat, Walter, is in charge of the beach. He’s always hard at work making sure all of our patients have a smooth recovery.

The Beach
“The Beach” is a comfy, warm area in the clinic where pets can gently wake up from surgery.
Walter
Walter loves overseeing the beach and comforting pets who are coming out of surgery.

Newly Admitted Pets

On any average day, many animals can be admitted to the shelter. All of these animals need attention from the veterinary clinic team as well. Upon intake, all shelter animals receive vaccines and any immediate medical attention they need. One technician is in charge of keeping up with all these newly admitted pets on a daily basis. It can be as simple as a routine clinic visit or, especially during the spring and summer months, kittens needing some extra veterinary care. Some of these tiny patients even go home with our amazing technicians, like this little fellow who arrived in need of fluid therapy.

Veterinary care
Sometimes animals admitted to the shelter need more complicated veterinary care than others. This little kitten came to us very dehydrated, and needed fluids immediately.

We always hope to make it through each day without any bumps in the road, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. It is not uncommon for us to see emergencies large or small in the clinic. Both Phil Lemon and Dimaria came to us needing immediate life-saving medical attention. Luckily, with your support, our fully-staffed veterinary clinic is able to get these guys the care they need as soon as possible. It is truly amazing to see the work we do each day have such wonderful outcomes for our patients.

Phil Lemon with cone
Pets like Phil Lemon who require extensive lifesaving care thank you for your support!

Veterinary Clinic Volunteers

With everything that goes on in the veterinary clinic on an average day, it’s a wonder how we manage to complete everyday tasks. Thank goodness for our amazing clinic volunteers who help keep us sane! Our pack room is a very busy place and we are always thrilled to have a volunteer there helping us prepare surgical packs through the autoclave and ready for the next day.

Volunteer in clinic
We rely on help from volunteers who generously give their time to assist with a number of important tasks around the clinic. Thanks, volunteers!

Oh, and don’t forget the phones. Our other clinic cat, Maleficent, has become quite the receptionist. She manages paperwork and any calls we get throughout the day. Although her computer skills and phone etiquette may not be the greatest, she gets the job done. If you ask, she will definitely say that she’s in charge (just don’t tell Walter).

Malificent
Meet Malificent, our clinic cat and fabulous feline receptionist!

Wrapping up our day

When 3 p.m. finally comes around, that means surgery is wrapping up for the day. But that doesn’t mean our day is anywhere near over! Afternoons in the summer months consist of kittens, kittens, kittens, and more kittens. Lollypop Farm foster volunteers come in the afternoons for vet checkups and with any concerns they might be having with their fosters. Not only are our veterinarians and technicians busy with these little guys, but they are also catching up with any checks from animals who have come in throughout the day.

Cat in clinic
Just because surgeries are wrapping up for the day doesn’t mean our work is anywhere near done!

In the meantime, our assistants are heading out again to medicate all our animals throughout the building. Someone is caring for our in-clinic patients, and someone is cleaning up our surgery suite and prep area. All of our SNIP clients are receiving post-operative checks before going home with their families. Maleficent is still answering the phone. A group of 15 cats were just admitted to the shelter, all of whom need intake exams and vaccines. Then, 5 dogs come through the clinic in need of care. Two cats need blood work sent to the lab, and a foster volunteer is on their way with a sick kitten.

Vets in clinic
Every day is different in the clinic at Lollypop Farm, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Sounds crazy, right? That’s because it is! But somehow, all of us work together and day after day, get all of this done. Lollypop Farm is truly lucky to have such an amazing, talented, compassionate and dedicated team. The lives we help and save each year outweigh any tough days we may have here in the clinic. And tomorrow, you better believe we’re going to do it all over again!

Guest blog written by Kristen Halderman

We couldn’t do what we do without your support! Consider making a gift today to help with lifesaving care for pets at Lollypop Farm.

Check out another guest blog by Kristen: lollypop.org/safe-and-fun-hiking-with-your-furry-friend

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