What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery
We do surgeries and other anesthetic procedures Monday-Friday. Patient drop off is between 8:15-9am and pickup time is between 4-6pm.
It is important that any anesthetic procedure be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food after 8pm the night before the procedure, and water should be withheld after midnight.
We will call you the day before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to call us with any questions.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. 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.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Settlers Park Veterinary Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness will not be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.
Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. We recommend that every pet, especially pets over 7 years old, has 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. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer in-house blood testing that can be done the same day prior to surgery which includes a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and the Chemistry profile of vital organs. This will provide pertinent information to ensure the safety of your pet. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be recommended before surgery as well.
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. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches. 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 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 14 days after 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 may not 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.
For dogs, we will likely send home an oral anti-inflammatory to give the evening after surgery and for several days after to lessen any discomfort and swelling. The cost of the medication ranges from $15 to $20, depending on the size of your dog.
Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. We administer a pain injection prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case-by-case basis.
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 to inquire. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.