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. It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your pet’s upcoming surgery.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today’s modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Root River Veterinary Center, 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. We recommend your pet 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. If serious problems are detected, surgery will be postponed until the problem is corrected. We offer an in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. We offer three levels of blood screening; we will recommend which one is right for your pet, depending on your pet’s age and health. 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 after 7:00pm the night before surgery and take away their water the morning of their surgery.
Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries, we use non-absorbable sutures on the skin. These will not dissolve on their own, and will need to be removed approximately 7-10 days later. You will need to monitor 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. 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?
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. 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. 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 10 minutes 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 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, other minor procedures such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip can be performed, as well. 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 to take 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.