Here at Sprayberry Animal Hospital, our doctors have extensive experience in all types of general soft tissue and orthopedic surgery and stay up to date on the latest techniques and procedures.
What You Need to Know Before Your Pet’s Upcoming Procedure
Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet’s surgery, and we hope this information will help. The following will also explain the decisions you will need to make before your pet’s surgery.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of your time to fill out a consent form and make decisions on pre-operative blood work, as well as other additional services. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet’s home care needs.
In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet’s health or surgery.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today’s modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery very safe. Here at Sprayberry Animal Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics in order to ensure that a fever or other illness won’t be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. It is recommended that all pets receive blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer an in-house blood test before surgery which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. For pets over 6, our doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. Comprehensive blood work needs to be done at least 2 days prior to any surgery. For geriatric pets or ill pets, additional blood tests, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of aspiration 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.
Who will monitor my pet after surgery?
Your pet will be assigned a technician to monitor him/her closely during and after the procedure. We utilize a very thorough chart to track your pet’s vital signs which include the monitoring of the pulse, temperature, oxygen saturation, etc. so that you are able to rest easy while your pet is in our care. The veterinarian will call you when your pet is awake and recovering and at that time, they will give you an estimated time when you can pick up your pet.
Will my pet have sutures?
For many surgeries, we use sutures that absorb underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially mass removals, do require skin sutures. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will need to be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. During the healing process, you will also need to limit your pet’s activity level. Remember that no baths are allowed for the first 10-14 days after any surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don’t whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications will be prescribed depending on the type of surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery. The cost of the medication can range depending on the size of your dog. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. If needed, we will administer a pain injection prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.
Injectable pain medications may also be used after surgery on both dogs and cats. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate for your pets comfort.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor 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.