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 anesthesia safe?
Today's modern gas anesthetics have made anesthesia much safer than in the past. Here at Hopmeadow Animal Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that your pet well enough to undergo anesthesia. We use the gas anesthetic sevoflurane, that is commonly used in human surgeries.
Preanesthetic blood testing can significantly reduce medical risk and ensure your pet's health and safety. Our doctors recommend a comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. The bloodwork will exmine your pet's liver, kidney, and electrolye function as well as check for anemia, infection, and hydration. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests may be needed. Even apparently healthy animals can have organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If the blood tests are within normal ranges, we can proceed with confidence, knowing that anesthetic risk is minimized. If the results are not within the normal ranges, we can alter the anesthetic procedures, or take other precautions to safeguard your pet's health and reduce the risk of potential complications.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. The night before surgery feed your pet their regular food and amount. Do NOT overfeed your pet, this may lead to diarrhea or vomiting after surgery. You will need to withhold food from about 8 pm the night before surgery. Water may be left down for your pet.
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. Some surgeries 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 and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Though pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people, they can feel it the same way. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed and are tailored to each individual. Pain relief may be given before or after the surgery, as is needed. Any animal that appears painful will receive pain medication.
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 or ask during the drop off time.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork. If you would like an estimate for any procedure please ask a receptionist or technician. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 5 minutes to read the discharge instructions about your pet's home care needs. You may also have a scheduled appointment to discuss the surgery with the veterinarian.
We will call 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.