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Last sync:2023-01-16 04:00
Here's some of the extended conversation Jessi had with Dr. Card while they waited for Kemosabe to go under sedation.

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Jessi: So, what are some of the risks of, like, full anesthesia?

Dr. Card: Um, any time an animal is put under a general anesthetic, there is a risk of the animal being so anesthetized that the heart rate slows way down, their blood pressure drops too low and they can go into a cardiac arrest and die.

Because they are anesthetized and their respiratory secretions not being cleared from their lungs normally, any time an animal undergoes an anesthetic procedure they're at an increased risk of developing a respiratory infection - a bronchitis or a pneumonia - or aspirating fluid down into their lungs.

There's a risk of them injuring themselves, either when they're going to sleep or when they're waking up. So with Kemosabe I have you keep him in the crate until he's fully awake so that he doesn't think that he can climb up his tree before he's coordinated enough to do that and fall and injure him self. 

Jessi: Yeah

Dr. Card: So, injury to themselves when they are uncoordinated would be a risk. You can have individuals that will have an excitement reaction, as opposed to being sedated, and again be crashing around uncoordinated and not all there and injure themselves or someone else that way.

There are anesthetic protocols that are published that people have worked out for different animals, but when dealing with your animals it's not as well documented as dealing with a cat or a dog

Jessi: Yep.

Dr. Card: So for Kemosabe we used anesthetic protocols that were for rodents, for large rodents, but because he's not a species that you anesthetize all the time it's a little bit more worrisome.

I tend to be more conservative about which drugs I would pick, so I pick drugs that I'm really familiar with that I have a good experience in other animals with, so that I kind of know what to expect. As opposed to using maybe a drug that's newer, that might be better, but that I have less experience with. So that's why we ended up with ketamine and xylazine for Kemosabe.

Jessi: Is there - for - we have some viewers that are interested in veterinary medicine. How would they learn more about the more exotic species. Like, if they're going to have a clinic, a small animal clinic, for sugar gliders or hedgehogs or a bird, is there a special school they have to go to to learn about that or can they just gain experience through other means?

Dr. Card: They would go to just a regular veterinary school, although some veterinary schools have stronger exotics programs than others. And then after you're a veterinarian there are continuing education opportunities that are offered by, like, the exotic mammal group, or the avian group or the reptile group. There's an association for exotic mammal veterinarians and there's a zoo animal association. There's a reptile and amphibian association and an avian association and those groups put on sponsored conferences that are great places for gaining information on dealing with those uncommon species.

Jessi: Is there a porcupine association? (Laughs)

Dr Card: (Laughs)

Jessi: Besides Animal Wonders, what is the most unusual animal you've worked with?

Dr. Card: We've had clients who had wallabies.

Jessi: Yeah.

Dr. Card: So for a while wallabies were popular as an exotic pet and we had a client who had a couple of wallabies. We have had clients who have kept big cats, so we have seen some jaguars come through the clinic actually. Requires a special license, but people can keep big cats.

Jessi: Have you ever worked on a fish or an amphibian?

Dr. Card: I have, yes. We actually took a, we had a goldfish that had a growth on its back that we removed.

Jessi: Oh wow! Benign? Tumors?

Dr. Card: It came back as an actual bacterial granuloma. And it didn't come back after we took it off so,

Jessi: And it lived after?

Dr. Card: And it lived, yep. It survived surgery yeah. 

Jessie: Wow! That's amazing. Underwater surgery? Or was the little area above water and then you... (Hand motions indicating operation)?

Dr. Card: You set up a system where you have water that has an anesthetic agent in it that you run over the fishes gills, so we had a, we rigged up a system where we had water that was we had oxygen going into our water, so our water was well oxygenated, and then we could add in an anesthetic agent and then we ran that over the fishes gills and then you just position the fish in a little flat dish that was, he was kind of tipped on it, because the growth was on his back by his dorsal fin, and so the water just ran over his gills and - in his mouth, over his gills and then drained down away from our surgery site.

Jessie: Oh! That must have been really satisfying. (laughs) Wow, That's amazing. Should we check on Kemosabe?

Dr. Card: We should. See if he's decided to go to sleep for us.