TNR stands for Trap Neuter Return of feral (aka wild, unowned) cats.   TNR programs are extremely helpful in reducing the numbers of unowned cats in shelters as well as the numbers of cats that are euthanized in shelters. However, it takes some time.  TNR is a special passion of mine.  I have been working with a wonderful group within Central Pennsylvania called PAWS (  PAWS focuses on reducing pet overpopulation and homelessness with large-scale TNR clinics.  The beauty of what PAWS does also lies in the fact that friendly “feral” cats and kittens brought through the clinic also find spots in their foster homes to be adopted out, becoming loved house-cats too.  As their spay/neuter veterinarian and a private practice veterinarian, it is so exciting to see cats come through our veterinary practice that have paperwork indicating adoption through the PAWS program.  It is great to see them “off the streets” and living the good life.

Today, we held a TNR clinic in Grantville, PA.  PAWS has people who help to trap feral cats and facilitate transportation to the spay/neuter clinics.  Each cat coming through the clinic receives a spay or neuter surgery under general anesthesia.  A low dose of an injectable anesthesia induces the anesthetic state and then we use gas anesthesia to maintain the pet during the surgery.  The cat’s ear is tipped – a procedure in which the tip of the left ear is excised – as a universal indicatior that this feral cat has been fixed and vaccinated.   

 Those deemed friendly enough for the adoption program are tested for FeLV/FIV and microchipped.  Post-operatively, the cats each receive a rabies vaccination, distemper vaccination, injectable antibiotic, injectable dewormer, and a dose of flean and tick prevention.  If there are any health issues such as an upper respiratory infection, wound, or skin infection, these are treated to the best of our ability in the wild cat.  Some caretakers are great at mixing liquid antibiotics into the food to treat their illness for a longer period of time.  The cats are monitored closely as they recover from anesthesia.  Once sitting up and looking around, they are considered recovered and the transporter/caretaker is notified that their cat is ready for pickup.

I pride myself in having a low surgical complication rate.  Our rate of anesthesia complication is less than 0.1%… as good (and in some cases better) as most primary care veterinarians.  I can attribute this to my excellent team of support staff and vigilant monitoring.  We truly do a good job at giving these unowned feral cats the best care possible at a reduced cost.  If you ever get a chance to volunteer for such an event, I would highly recommend it.  Not only will you be doing a great thing for the cats in your community but it is also a very rewarding opportunity.


A renewed energy

I started this blog site a few years ago and did not regulary maintain my posting content.  I have recently been feeling that I should try again, with more focus on my daily activities of life as a veterinarian.  SO…here goes.  Let me know what types of posts you most enjoy and I’ll try to keep up on them.

Ever wonder if your dog has the best life of any dog you know?  I don’t know if my dog Drago does, but he certainly is living the good life.  This week alone has been a whirlwind for him.  Let me share with you the schedule and activities we shared this past week:

Saturday – Drago “helped” me spring-clean my car.  Then we both travelled  to watch my sister play tennis.  He loves these trips because he gets to see my family but also he gets a frozen treat while we’re there to help keep his mind occupied.

Sunday – We went for a family hike in Gifford Pinchot State Park in Lewisburg PA.  If you’ve never been, you should definitely go.  There are miles and miles of trails amongst beautiful scenery.  Following our hike, we stoped at Reesor’s Icecream and had peanut-butter flavored soft icecream.  This was a nice refreshing snack after a warm afternoon hike!

Monday – Memorial Day brought about a trip to my parents farm to pick strawberries as it was the first day of strawberry season.  A trip to my parents house entails playing with their 3 labs, but mostly their 2 year old chocolate lab Cooper.  My my are the two of them trouble together.

Tuesday – Rest day.  I had to work and had a group meeting after work so Tueday was a much needed rest day.

Wednesday – During the day, we again went to my parents to pick strawberries so he was able to play with Cooper, Kuzco, and Rupert once again.  The bonus was chasing a bunny rabbitt through the fields too!  Wednesday nights currently Drago is in a nose-work class.  If ever you have an interest in nose-work, I would highly recommend you take a course with your dog.  This class is a highlight of my week.  It is so fun to see him work and to sniff out the scent tin each time!

Thursday – Another rest day.  I had to go to work early to perform a urinary ultrasound on a patient so Drago got to have an extra long nap.

Friday – Daycare Day!  Drago attends doggie daycare at Playful Pups Retreat in Elizabethtown, PA (the same place he does his nose-work course).  Here, he gets to run around and play with various other pets all day long.  Playful Pups posts photos on their Facebook page too so I get to peek at how much fun he may be having.  Incidentally, I pay attention to how many phots are posted in which he is laying down…I’m not paying for him to sleep somewhere else all day!  He’s a good boy and an energetic boy so there are few pictures of him staying still.

That, in my mind, was a busy week for Drago.  However, he somehow still manages to wake me up each morning by 6am to let me know he would like his breakfast.  But, I love him dearly, so I throw on some clothes and flip-flops and we wonder outside for the morning routine before breakfast.

What constitues a busy and tiring week for your pet? 


Drago mid-hike with my two sisters – @giffordpinchotstatepark