• James E Aarons DVM

Tiger Implant


Once Tamyra was down and quiet Sandra opened the gate and they entered the tiger’s den. Rory and Honey each grabbed a front paw and dragged her into the center of the cage.

“Okay stay back. I want to put a catheter in her neck, so we can have more control over the anesthesia.” Using a straight edge razor blade, he removed fur from her jugular furrow. Like the horse, the furrow is in the lower part of the neck and offers easy access to the jugular vein.

Rory inserted a large catheter to give her instant sedation if needed. “How does a catheter in her neck help with anesthesia?” Sandra asked. “I placed the first two shot in the muscles which takes a length of time to become absorbed. By placing a catheter, I have instant access to the blood stream. It allows me to work quicker and safer.”

With Tamyra’s anesthesia at the right level, Rory used the straight edge razor to remove fur higher up on the side of the neck for the implant site.

“About ready,” he promised as he disinfected the skin with an antiseptic-soaked wad of cotton.

“I never knew that!” Honey exclaimed.

“What?”

“The black stripes in the coat are also on her skin, like tattoos. That’s neat.”

Rory chuckled while tossing the wad on the ground. He pushed back and stood to set up for the next step, the surgery itself. “Prep’s done, time to cut,” he announced. “Bring the pack over while I put gloves on Honey.” Now wearing sterile rubber gloves,

Rory settled on his knees in front of Tamyra’s neck. He directed Honey to open the surgical pack in front of him, digging into it with his gloved hands as soon as she presented it to him. Running his finger along the surgery site on the side of the neck he grabbed his surgical blade.

“Ready?” he asked. Not waiting for an answer, he pushed the sharpened edge through the quarter-inch-thick skin, making a six-inch opening by dragging the sharp stainless-steel blade in one long steady slice. Setting the scalpel blade down, he picked up tissue scissors. Lifting the skin edges with forceps, he dissected into the underlying fat layer. Pushing and scissoring he opened a way between the muscle layers trying to get deep enough to allow the best placement for the implant.

“That should be sufficient,” he decided, pushing his hand inside the wound up to the level of his thumb. “It's time for the implant, can you present it to me?”

Honey offered it to him, in a sterile manner. By opening one end of the sterilized bag, she allowed him to reach in and grab the implant without touching it herself. “Thank you.”

Grabbing it with his thumb and forefinger, he positioned it deep into the space he made. Honey watched him dig in the surgery pack for suture material and needle holders.

“What are you doing now?” She wondered.

“I’m anchoring the thing in the muscles. I’m throwing in these deep sutures; I want the thing to stay in for two years.”

It took him another five minutes to finish with twelve skin sutures. “Now there's nothing to do but clean up and wait for her to recover,” he said. “Give the hair two months to regrow, and you won’t even know she’s on birth control,” Rory quipped. He was in a good mood. The procedure had gone well, allowing him to unwind a tad. He had been on high alert status for the last two hours. Now the job was done and even clean-up was nearing completion.

Squatting down at Tamyra's head, Rory explored the cat’s body running his hand through her thick coat, grabbing her ears, and checking her eyes for a palpebral reflex. When an animal is beginning to wake from deep sedation the brain will squeeze the eyelids tighter when a finger touches them. Tamyra showed a mild reflex; she was starting to wake up. Her mouth was partly open, and Rory noticed one of her upper right molars showed a problem. It was blackened and looked cavitated, possibly decayed. Deciding to check it out more, he reached inside Tamyra’s mouth, pulling the cat’s tongue gently and firmly with his right hand to obtain a better view.

However, this caused the jaws to reflexively close, and when a four-hundred-pound cat’s mouth closes on a human thumb, there is no way to stop the scissor-like bite from completing its closure. When her mouth opened again, it was evident Kaitlin had bit Rory’s thumb off at the first joint.

“Ohh fuck, I need to go to the hospital,” he said as he examined his mangled hand. The last articulation of his thumb was cut wide open.

Not all the way off, it was still hanging on by a tissue tag on the front. It was completely disjointed and dangling obscenely when he moved his hand. He was surprised there was no bleeding.

“Oh my God!” Honey gasped, coming over. Sandra and Chuck were right behind her. Rory stood and showed them his dangling thumb. Chuck fainted, falling like a stone at Tamyra’s feet. Rory was glad he didn’t fall on the cat's leg. Chuck was a big guy and could have easily fractured the leg.

“I need to go to the hospital,” Rory repeated as he tried to fit the thumb end back on. It went but wouldn't stay in place, so he used his right hand to keep the two pieces together.

“Someone needs to take me in,” he said again.

Sandra was reviving Chuck and didn't hear him. But Honey was right there for him. “Okay, I’ll drive your truck Doc. I’ll take you.” Honey walked him to the truck, partially supporting him as shock started to set in.

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Tiger Implant, Chapter 6