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 the information below will help. It also explains some of the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.
Is anesthesia safe?
Below are three helpful articles on anesthesia
So Your Pet Is Going To Be Anesthetized...
Is Anesthesia Safe?
5 Common Veterinary Anesthesia Myths
Today's modern anesthetics and surgical monitoring equipment have made surgery much safer than in the past. At Deer Run Animal Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, and perform pre-anesthetic blood testing prior to surgery . We will adjust the type and amount of anesthetic used based on the physical exam and blood test results.
Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of complications from anesthetic drugs and other surgical drugs such as post-operative pain medications. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic and these other drugs. 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. If serious problems are detected, surgery may need to be postponed until the problem is corrected.
For all but very brief anesthetic procedures, surgical patients should have an IV catheter placed for the administration of intravenous fluids. Intravenous fluids are important to prevent dehydration, help preserve organ function and to prevent low blood pressure under anesthesia.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. We will ask you to withhold food for at least 10 to12 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
Will my pet have stitches or sutures?
Most surgeries will have sutures to close the outer skin layer. Skin sutures are usually removed 10-14 days after surgery. We will often also place absorbable sutures underneath the skin in the deeper tissues. These deeper sutures will dissolve on their own, We will ask you to keep an eye on the incision for irritation, discharge, or excessive swelling. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem. If licking the sutures is noted, we will recommend the placement of a protective collar or cone to prevent this behavior. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level and not bathe your pet until after suture removal in 10-14 days.
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 we believe that they still feel it. Pain medications prescribed for your pet will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
Most surgical patients will start on pain medications via injectable medications prior to surgery even starting. Most will also receive additional pain medications, by injections prior to recovery from general anesthesia. These injectable medications may be narcotic pain medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs. For dogs, we may continue NSAID or narcotic pain medications orally for several days after surgery to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are unlikely to cause stomach upset, however we suggest that oral pain medications be given with meals to lessen stomach upset risk. We wil ask you to call if decreased appetite or vomiting is noted while taking pain medications.
Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications as well as dogs, we are limited in what we can give them. Clients should be aware that cats do not tolerate most NSAID medications very well. Common human medications such as Tylenol or ibuprofen can prove deadly in cats! Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. If chosen carefully there are some NSAID and narcotic pain medications that we can still use in cats. For major surgical procedures, or procedures where we anticipate significant need for excellent pain control, such as a feline declaw, we may utilize a special pain patch. The kitty can wear this patch on its neck to continuously deliver pain control for 3-5 days.
We believe that providing appropriate pain relief is very important and is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
Should I consider Avid Microchip placement? While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to place an identifying microchip, although micorchips can be placed at any time in most pets with very minimal discomfort. A microchip can help ensure that your pet is returened to you should he/she ever be lost and the collar and ID tags are missing. For more info see our web page on AVID Microchips.
Will you call to remind me about my pet's surgery appointment ? Yes, we will call you the day before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off, to remind you to fast your pet overnight and to remove water the morning of the surgery, 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.
Will you call and let me know when my pet is out of surgery? Yes, we also call you after your pet's surgery is completed and is awake from general anesthesia.
When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 15 minutes going over your pet's home care needs. In many cases, we will also send home written instructions.