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 anaesthetic safe?
Today's modern anaesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Waterworks Road Vet Surgery, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anaesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anaesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. The handout on anaesthesia explains this in greater detail.
Pre-anaesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anaesthesia. Blood tests are not just for older animals; ideally every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anaesthetic. 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 anaesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anaesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer two levels of in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. Our doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most 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 most surgeries, we use skin sutures that require removal 10 to 12 days later. An appointment is required to remove the sutures but this is free of charge. With some surgeries, in sensitive or difficult areas such as eyes or feet, the vet may decide to use dissolvable sutures, which do not require removal. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. An Elizabethan collar will be required to stop the pet licking or chewing at the sutures, which can lead to infection and wound break down. You will 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 and cats the preanaesthetic sedation includes an analgesic and we give an analgesic injection after surgery. For more painful procedures, pain relief tablets or drops may be dispensed after surgery. If you have not been dispensed tablets but you feel that your pet is still painful after surgery, please call the surgery to arrange for additional pain relief medication to be dispensed. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet is under anaesthesia, 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 to 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.
We will sms you the night 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 don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.
Please be available on your best contact number throughout the day, as we may need to ring you while your pet is under anaesthesia, for example to discuss tooth extractions or abnormalities we have found during surgery.
Before Surgery Care
After Surgery Care