Owner distraught after cats dies at AACL

In an attempt to support the campaign to limit the cat population, my friend sent two young cats, one male, one female to be sterilised at Animal Anti-Cruelty League for Spay Day. I also attended the initial interview and both cats were approved for sterilisation.

I was shocked to receive a call from my friend informing me an employee from AACL had phoned her to advise “there was a complication with the anaesthetic” and one of the cats was dead.

I phoned AACL to find out why a healthy cat had died while being sterilised. I was told this can happen sometimes and there may have been an underlying cause. I doubt the truth of the matter will ever really be known and I suppose we will get the standard type of reply. Well, so much for the intention to limit the number of animals as the cat owner is quite adamant she will not sterilise her remaining male cat.

Norma Rudham

Comment from AACL

It was with deep sadness and regret that Monster, the cat belonging to Mrs Noble, died while in our care and we have apologised to her for this loss. From the tone of Ms Rudham’s letter, however, we do not believe that any reply or explanation offered will placate her. A full post mortem performed by a specialist may have elicited the definitive answer she seeks, but the owner did not request a post mortem. Suffice to say that Monster was treated with as much professionalism as would be the case for any other animal that is left in our care and the standard is the same, if not better, as some private practices. The cat was healthy at the examination 10 days prior to surgery and on pre-anaesthetic assessment. As an animal welfare organisation, we do not offer pre-anaesthetic blood screening but our anaesthetics are performed by qualified veterinary nurses under the supervision of our veterinarians.

Monster’s surgery had no complications and was monitored throughout by one of our veterinary nurses. She was waking up from anaesthetic when we left on Friday afternoon. We do not offer 24- hour care, which is clearly stated on the admission form clients are given. Monster’s passing was a shock to us on Saturday morning and one we could not have anticipated. As animals are biological creatures, despite all precautions being taken, sometimes they don’t always react as expected, which is why there is always a risk with any anaesthetic or surgical procedure, which clients are informed of.

We perform over 100 sterilisations a month and it always comes as a shock to our hospital team when an animal passes away, as our losses are less than five a year for this procedure.

That the owner has decided to not sterilise her other male cat is unfortunate, as she has now placed this cat at risk of contracting feline AIDS, leukaemia or bacterial infections once he starts roaming and fighting with neighbourhood cats. We have replied to her and offered to sterilise her cat at no charge should she decide to be a responsible pet owner and ensure her cat is not contributing to an increase in unwanted cats.

This does not negate that the owner lost a pet and there is a void in her life, for which we are truly sorry.

Sr Cindy-Lee Price, General Manager, AACL Johannesburg

Dr Kathryn Knipe, Principal Veterinarian, AACL Johannesburg

Read: http://comarochronicle.co.za/86515/intersection-needs-attention-in-mondeor/

Or: http://comarochronicle.co.za/101243/open-letter-from-distraught-post-office-client/

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