What You Need to Know Before Your Pet’s 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?
Modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Paws and Claws Pet Care, we thoroughly examine 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 drug used depending on your pet’s health. The handout on anesthesia explains this in greater detail.
Pre-surgical blood testing is essential in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs 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 with minor dysfunction will handle the drug better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. Surgery can be postponed if serious problems are detected until the problem is corrected.
Surgery must be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You must withhold food for at least 8-10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
Will my pet have stitches?
For some surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own and do not need to be removed later. Other surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches. You will need to monitor the incision for swelling or discharge with either type of suture. 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 till the stitches are removed.
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 pain symptoms as people; 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.
We administer a pain injection to all patients during surgery to provide relief upon waking. For orthopedic procedures, we also use narcotized patches and oral anti-inflammatory medication for several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling.
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?
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 10 to 15 minutes to fill out paperwork. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 to 15 minutes to go over your pet’s home care needs.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment to confirm the time you will drop your pet off and answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call us with questions about your pet’s health or surgery.