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 the Village Vet , 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.
Preanesthetic blood testing
Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. We recommend that every pet receive blood testing before surgery to ensure that liver and kidney function are adequate to 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 out before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected. With our in-house laboratory, blood tests are easily performed before surgery. For pets over seven years of age and pets who are ill, preanesthetic blood tests are required.
Preanesthetic electrocadiogram (ECG)
Preanesthetic ECG is also important in reducing the risk of anesthesia and is required for patients with known cardiac disease and/or over seven years of age.
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 many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own and therefore do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches and/or staples. 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 and/or staples, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. In general you will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time.
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. Providing pain relief is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet. Pain medication(s) will depend on the surgery performed as major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations. Most patients receive a pain injection 30 minutes prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is dispensed on a case by base basis. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication(s).
What other decisions do I need to make?
You could choose for the surgeon to use the Surgical Laser to operate on your pet. Surgeries performed with a laser have been reported to heal more quickly and patients seem to experience less pain. We perform all declaw procedures with a laser.
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 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 at our animal surgery center, please allow 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 20 minutes going over your pet's home care needs.
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.