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 Laurel Park Animal Hospital, 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. The handout on anesthesia explains this in greater detail. All patients have an IV catheter placed with fluid delivery during surgeries. Our patients are also monitored throughout the procedure and during the recovery phase.
Pre-anesthetic testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. We require blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver, kidneys and other organs can safely handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have underlying conditions that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there are abnormal results you will be contacted immediately. If serious problems are detected, surgery may be postponed until the problem is investigated further and corrected.
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. We also may use skin glue for certain procedures. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, 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 for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 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. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed.
What else do I need to know?
When you bring your pet in for surgery, please allow 10-15 minutes to do the necessary paperwork. The technician assigned to your pet will discuss the procedure, required bloodwork and vaccines in detail. They will also answer any questions you may have. Your pet will be with us for most of the day and you will receive a call after surgery letting you know what time to pick up. When you arrive to pick up please plan for extra time so that our staff can discuss your pet's individualized post surgical instructions.
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.