Saturday, March 25, 2023

But what time is it in dog years? Lake Elmo Veterinarian celebrates 50 years of practice.

John Bailey once performed a Caesarean section on a 15-foot boa constrictor.

He applied and cleaned an abscess on an elephant, surgically removed a welder’s leather glove from the intestinal tract of a Labrador retriever, and treated a tarantula for respiratory disease.

He has also operated on a goldfish. The beloved family pet had a tumor near its tail, and its owners asked Bailey if he could do something about it.

“I anesthetized it and had surgery on it,” said Bailey, owner of Cedar Pet Clinic in Lake Elmo. “Remember that goldfish are carp, so they stay out of the water for a long time. It was a very quick surgery. I removed the tumor, re-sutured it and put it back in the water.”

For 50 years, Bailey has been treating animals, reptiles and birds in the Twin Cities. Their practice includes dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, hedgehogs, turtles, rats and mice, chinchillas, ferrets, guinea pigs, pet chickens, ducks and geese, snakes, iguanas, chameleons, frogs and sugar gliders. Peacocks and pot-bellied pigs.

“Basically, if it will fit through the front door, we’ll work on it,” he said.

The work is not for the faint hearted.

Bailey, 74, of St. Paul has had a horse dislocated his shoulder; raised psittacosis, a rare infectious disease, from a parrot; And has been pawed by a tiger.

He has suffered multiple bites from dogs, cats, rats, hamsters and sometimes even guinea pigs.

“For all the bad news about ferrets, I have never been bitten by a ferret,” he said. “I have caught snakes sometimes. Once, I was trying to listen to the heartbeat of a 10-inch-long snake, and I held it near my ear, and it went out and grabbed my ear lobe and didn’t let go.

don’t know what day will bring

After five decades of treating animals, Bailey says he never gets bored.

“Many people who do the same thing all the time, if they only see dogs or dogs and cats, you can see very similar problems all day long,” he said. “For me, I never know what I’m going to see and what I’m going to do.”

For example, on Thursday mornings, they treated a Rottweiler, a Russian blue cat, and a cocktail. They also looked at a ferret that had skin cancer, performed oral surgery on a guinea pig named Boy, and examined an X-ray of a cat named Pepper, who had swallowed a whistle. He said that Pepper is very ill and will need surgery.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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