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.
How safe is my pet’s procedure?
Our veterinarians take every precaution to make sure your pet comes out of any procedure, whether major or minor, on the way to a swift recovery. To ensure your pet’s safety, we provide round-the-clock care and monitoring for all surgical patients during business hours. We utilize general anesthesia for all pet surgeries and perform pre-anesthetic blood work to detect any underlying disease that may affect the response to anesthesia.
With your pet’s comfort and safety at the forefront, we utilize pain management protocols before, during, and after surgery until they are completely recovered. This includes monitoring vital signs, assessing your pet for pain indicators, and keeping them warm and comfortable in their surroundings.
What is a pre-anesthetic blood screening?
This is a series of blood and urine tests that we run prior to your pet's surgery. The pre-anesthetic blood screening is done to assure safety during surgery and the ability to heal following surgery.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Westside Animal Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, 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. Every pet needs 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 perform comprehensive blood and urine testing before surgery so our doctors have important information to ensure the safety of your pet. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, 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 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. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. In surgeries with smaller incisions, we may use surgical adhesive in place of sutures. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin sutures. With either type of closure, 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 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.
How long do sutures stay in after my pet's surgery?
Procedures involving sutures require them to be removed in 10-14 days following the 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 needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
All pets undergoing surgery receive pain medication. The type of pain reliever utilized is personalized for each pet based on their species, age, other underlying health issues, etc. We may administer a combination of injectable and oral pain medications for your pet to ensure they are as pain-free as possible.
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.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 10-15 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and answer any questions you may have. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10-15 minutes going over your pet's home care needs.
You will receive reminders for your pet's surgery via email, text, and/or phone, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.