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How a scalpel was found inside a dog years after surgery

HOUSTON – Four years ago, when Rachel Cisneros’ friend found a puppy in a bush, Cisneros took the dog in, named her Lucy and has cared for her ever since.

“She’s the love of my life. I’ve had many dogs and cats in my life, but she’s just so special,” explained Cisneros. “She’s comforted me through my ups and downs. I have a nephew who has a disorder, and when he was young, about four years ago, she’s always been there and comforted him.”

She said in 2015, she brought Lucy to SNAP Spay-Neuter and Animal Wellness Clinic to get spayed, or have her ovaries removed.

At first, Cisneros thought it was just dogs being dogs, but her other dogs that were either spayed or neutered were not attracted to other dogs the way Lucy was.

“I noticed when I would take her to the dog park, she would act like she would go into heat,” said Cisneros.

She took Lucy back to SNAP on Nov. 7, and after an examination, they found Lucy still had one ovary attached and also something else inside of her.

“She explained to me that indeed, she had an ovary intact, but not only did she find an ovary, she found a knife, a surgical scalpel blade sitting on her spleen,” explained Cisneros. “I mean, I trust that place, I love that place, and I still think I’ll go there, but it’s just unfortunate that the vet that used to work there could do something like this.”

In a statement, Dr. Mary Kate Lawler, the executive director of SNAP, said:

"The veterinarian that did the original surgery is no longer with SNAP – and has not been with SNAP for about two years. This was an isolated incident – an anomaly. Not a problem I’ve ever seen at SNAP nor expect to see at SNAP. There are no other complaints involving this veterinarian.

"SNAP has been a spay-neuter clinic for 25 years.

"This is why we have protocols and why checklists are utilized in surgery to ensure the best possible care for pets that we care for.

"This is a very safe thing to have done for their pets – particularly at SNAP. We are very diligent in making sure the quality of care is taken seriously. We’re in the business of saving lives. That’s why we have our policies in place. That’s why we follow standards of veterinary medicine.

"Whenever we find a problem at our facility, we learn from every situation. We inform our teams and discuss how to prevent it from happening in the future. We went over our protocols already in place and made sure we adhere to those standards.

"It’s important that this not deter people from getting their pets spayed or neutered.”

Cisneros said SNAP did help Lucy out and removed the knife and ovary left behind. She believes that’s what has caused her dog to twitch over the last several years.

“So I’m just glad she’s not experiencing that anymore and thankful to the director at SNAP that took that out of her,” said Cisneros. “Lucy is like my baby, I love her to death. I’m just thankful to God that she’s alive.”

As for the veterinarian accused of leaving the blade inside the dog, KPRC Channel 2 News attempted multiple times to speak with her, but she declined to comment.