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 anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Lakewood Animal Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.
We recommend every pet has blood testing performed before surgery. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems which 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. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be post-poned until the problem is corrected.
We offer in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms (ECGs) 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 from your pet after 8:00 pm the evening 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 under the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries do require skin stitches which require removal 10-14 days after surgery. 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 need to watch for. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level during the healing phase and no baths are allowed until their post-operative progress examination 10-14 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 and they usually don't whine or cry. The type of pain medications prescribed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. We use a combination of pain medications which results in our feline patients being very comfortable after surgery.
What other decisions do I need to make?
When you bring your pet in for surgery, it will take 10-15 minutes to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available (such as nail trims and microchipping). When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 15-20 minutes going over your pet's home care needs.
We will call you the day 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 surgical procedure.