Dispelling Myths about Surgery Protocols at the Big Fix Clinic

I, Elaine Adair, as President of Mississippi Spay and Neuter (MS SPAN) and Vice-President of Operations for the Big Fix Clinic (BFC) would like to address the public comments made by Toba Woodruff on Mississippi Pet Alert’s Facebook page regarding our surgery protocol.  

First, I would like to thank all of our BFC clients and especially Bettye Dalton for sharing their positive surgery experiences with Ms. Woodruff; thereby helping to refute any rumors of inefficiencies about our drug protocols or the lack of proper medical care given to our animal patients during and after surgery at the BFC. 


Secondly, I would like to address the question about why our surgery fees are so much lower than a private veterinary clinic.  As a non-profit organization, we are able to heavily subsidize our client copays because of the generous contributions from donors and targeted grants from national animal welfare foundations as well as revenue raised from offering additional services to our BFC clients and revenue from the sales at the Big Thrift.  If we did not have this revenue stream, our surgery fees would be comparable to what you would pay at a private veterinary clinic.


Thirdly, our mission is to prevent the killing of healthy dogs and cats at local shelters. Therefore, to make an impact on the high euthanasia rates at local shelters, the BFC must perform 5,000 surgeries a year and to do this successfully and safely, we must employ highly-skilled veterinarians like Anna Ketchum, DVM, who have been trained at the ASPCA's ~ Humane Alliance facility in Asheville, North Carolina.  Humane Alliance (www.humanealliance.org) is the nations’ premier training facility that provides specialized surgical training for many high-volume, spay/neuter veterinarians across the nation.  They teach surgical techniques, which lessens the time that an animal has to be opened and under anesthesia; thereby allowing veterinarians to perform many more spay/neuter surgeries on a daily basis. 


Fourthly, we are inspected by the MS Veterinary Board of Medicine every three years and we have successfully passed all of these inspections since they started doing inspections in2010 including the most recent inspection done on February 11, 2016. We could not operate the Big Fix Clinic in Mississippi without passing their inspection criteria.


Fifth, to address the concerns about drug protocol, all surgery pets and feral cats before their surgery are given a mild sedative to help them relax and when they are being prepared for surgery, they are given an injectable anesthetic to fully put them to sleep.  Also, while being prepped for surgery and while surgery is being performed they are maintained on gas anesthesia and oxygen.  Dogs are intubated and cats wear a mask. They are also monitored on a pulse oximeter that reads their heart rate and oxygen levels.  Pets and feral cats are injected with two types of pain relievers, one acting a few hours and the other lasting 24 hours.  After surgery is completed, they are moved to the recovery area and monitored until they are awake before being placed back into their kennels.  Once they are in their kennels they are checked on routinely by all staff members.  The only exception is male cats.  Because the surgery performed on them is so quick, they do not require gas anesthesia because the injectable anesthesia is usually enough to keep them fully asleep during the procedure.


Sixth, we do offer additional services to our clients for an additional cost and those are pain medications to go home, yearly vaccines, pre-operative blood work, e-collars and nail trims. 


Lastly ~ we have an open door policy at the Big Fix clinic and anyone is welcome to come by for a personal tour of our facility and I would be more than happy to sit down and answer any questions regarding our clinic operations.  If I am not available, I will ask my clinic manager, Sharon Garner, to fill in for me.  For those folks who can't visit us, please pick up the phone and call with your concerns so that we don't get embroiled again in controversy based on unfounded rumors, which if not addressed immediately could potentially damage our organization, which has worked really hard to provide access to affordable and high-quality, spay and neuter services to pet owners and caretakers living in the Jackson Metro Area.






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