We understand that this can be a stressful experience and we are here for both you and your pet. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any additional questions or concerns.
1. Why does my pet need pre-anesthetic blood testing?
Pre-surgical bloodwork helps us assess internal organ function. We are particularly interested in liver and kidney values because these organs are instrumental in drug metabolism and excretion. We also assess serum proteins which facilitate appropriate healing, clotting, and are markers for inflammation. Our Complete Blood Count (CBC) allows us to check for any signs of anemia or infection and screens for adequate platelets. This information allows us to make appropriate choices for anesthetic drugs protocol and fluid support.
2. Why can’t I feed my pet before surgery?
We ask that all our patients not be fed any time after 10pm the night before the procedure. This will help reduce the chance of regurgitation and aspiration of stomach contents during and after anesthesia.
3. Why does my pet need an IV catheter and IV fluids?
Anesthesia and surgery can cause low blood pressure and alter blood flow to vital organs. Intravenous (IV) access allows us to administer medication and fluid effectively. This intravenous access is critically important if we have to manage adverse events and support patients quickly.
4. Will my pet experience pain during or after surgery? Can I give OTC pain medication?
If we are performing a procedure that will be painful for your pet, we have many drug classes, tools and techniques to keep them comfortable. We use injectable pain medication both systemically and locally intra-operatively. We typically use a combination of injectable and oral medication during post-operative period. Please let us know if your pet has had any historical adverse reaction to medication.
Please DO NOT administer additional over the counter medications without discussing with a veterinarian.
5. What kind of side effects may I see from the pain medication?
The injectable medication that we most often use post operatively may cause your pet to be drowsy and uncoordinated, and possibly pant or vocalize more than usual. These side effects should be worn off completely by the morning. Let us know if you have a difficult experience and we will try to alter in the future.
6. Will my pet have stitches after surgery?
For most surgeries, your pet will have stitches. Some stitches are absorbable and will dissolve on their own, other times stitches will be non-absorbable suture material and will be visible and will need to be removed. Regardless of the type of stitches used, all pets that undergo surgery should have a courtesy follow-up appointment in 10-14 days to check the surgery site and remove external stitches if applicable.
7. What do I need to look for or do regarding the incision site?
We ask all owners to monitor incision(s) for swelling, odor, or any type of discharge. It is important that you prevent your pet from licking or chewing at the incision to allow for appropriate healing. This means that they should always wear an e-collar if recommended and make sure that the incision is kept clean and dry. Please wait to bathe your pet until we recheck the incision (or at least 7 days if healing well). Additionally, we ask that you limit your pet’s activity to avoid tension across the incision until the recheck appointment.
8. Can my pet eat after surgery?
For most surgeries, we recommend feeding half of their normal diet the night after surgery. Consumption of large amounts of food or water should not be allowed during this time. Since they were fasted prior to the procedure, they may not produce a bowel movement for 24 to 48 hours after returning home. As long as your pet is comfortable and eating well, we are unlikely to be concerned. Please feel free to check in with us.
9. What should I expect after surgery?
Expect your pet to have some degree of sleepiness and grogginess following general anesthesia. Please monitor them closely tonight both indoors and outdoors, as your pet may react inappropriately to stimuli and other animals. Please let us know if you observe persistent lethargy/depression, decreased appetite, persistent panting, vomiting or diarrhea. A minor cough lasting 2-3 days after being intubated during the procedure is common. However, if the cough does not resolve, is accompanied by other signs or sounds wet, please let us know
10. What happens when my pet is “taken to the back”?
When we bring your pet back to the treatment room, we collect samples required for pre-surgical labwork if necessary and we place an IV catheter. At that time, they are secured in a cage in our treatment area for observation until their surgery time. Surgeries are typically performed between 9-2pm. Your pet’s technician or doctor will call when your pet is awake from anesthesia