I Stand By It

30 Jun

Written a couple months ago:

So today was a much better day at work, but I made the co-worker (that I think consistently works hard) angry with me.  Here’s the scenario:  It’s the end of the day, three employees are a half hour late getting out of work, and we are still finishing up treatments on the hospitalized patients, and have some cleaning and closing tasks to finish yet.  It was a terribly busy, stressful day with a slow doctor.  One of the in-patients cats has straight up liquid diarrhea–like fill-the-box blow-outs multiple times in the day.  The other is a buddy with a urinary catheter-read *dripping urine constantly, that we need/want*  Of course, both have been bathed and brushed multiple times during that day.  My co-worker wants to give both of the buddies a bath before we leave.  Which I think is extraneous.

And yes, a partial reason is the extra effort and extra time this would take.  Call me lazy if you will, which may be a little bit at that point in time, but not entirely.  I also think there is a point when you have to evaluate if what you’re doing to the patient is giving a tangible benefit.  And deciding how long that benefit will last.  OK, the benefit is we leave 2 clean cats at the end of work.  A second benefit is the cats may feel better if they are not scummy.  Thirdly, the kitties can avoid potential urine scald.

BUT, how stressful is it for an already sick, already hospitalized cat to receive repeated baths?  How long will the cleanliness last either?  They will be sitting on diarrhea and urine in their kennel all night long anyway (we aren’t 24/7).  Urine scald benefit is erased.  Cats may feel better, but for how long?  Even if they are bathed at 6 PM, the still have to sit in a soiled kennel all night long until someone gets to work in the morning.  At which time they will have their cage cleaned and get yet another bath.  Also, the heater turns down at night (this was in February, when it was still chilly out) when no one is in the building–will leaving wet cats make them suffer more because they are cold?

Plus, I think both cats have bigger problems then grooming.  I don’t know if when we have to syringe feed, medicate, express bladders, give fluids, etc, etc if constant bathing (especially right at close) is necessary.  Will it make them mean to treat later?  When it’s time to clean up in the mornings or before they go home, will it make the task impossible, because they’ve had baths so often they’re really tired of being messed with?  Do we want to make their patience expire for a bath or for a more crucial treatment?  Will they hate the vet for life, because we picked on them so much?

There is an unlimited amount of things you could do to a patient:  Take vitals, palpate and examine, check blood-work, syringe feed, groom, clean and bathe, medicate, warm up, write notes and chart progress, vaccinate, do blood pressures, x-rays and other diagnostics -think of something and it could probably be done every hour or more.  A saturation point can be reached, I believe, where doing unlimited things becomes just futzing around.  And does the animal benefit?  Does it start to suffer?  These are questions that should be addressed.

AND though I hate it, you have to look at the business side a tiny bit.  Is two baths worth paying 3 employees to stay late, and potentially over-time at the end of the week?  When we’ve gotten to work between 6AM and 7:30AM, missed lunch, are already leaving late, and already given several baths during the day and cleaned the kennels many times?

So even though she was disgruntled, I still stand by my decision.  And I don’t think I should be deamonized for it either.  Yes, I was thinking of me, but I was thinking of the cats and the business as well.  I think the costs outweigh the benefits, and those cats can both wait for baths (and clean cages) until morning.  And certainly during the day when we’re there for a few hours.  But yes, I indulged my co-worker and gave the cats hasty booty baths immediately before we left them in a kennel alone for 12 hours. . .

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