What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery
Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery, and we hope this information will help.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetics and monitoring have made surgery much safer than in the past. We do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics to screen for signs of illness. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing reduces the risk of anesthesia and is recommended before surgery. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests or x-rays may be required before surgery.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin that dissolve on their own, however some surgeries do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to monitor the incision for swelling or discharge and watch your pet for licking, chewing, or scratching of the incision which increases the risk of complications. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time, and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Controlling pain in your pet is important, and we use pain medication to minimize any discomfort associated with surgery. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations, and procedures like orthopedic surgery typically call for a combination of pain medications. Providing appropriate pain relief is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other procedures such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, please allow approximately 10 minutes to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. You may read over the paperwork ahead of time by downloading the Hospitalization and Procedure Consent Form on our Forms page. Allow about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs when you pick up your pet after surgery.
Please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.