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 Anaesthetic Safe?
Today's modern anaesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Craigieburn Animal Hospital, we perform a thorough clinical examination on your pet before administering anaesthetics. We also adjust the amount and type of anaesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.
Preanaesthetic blood and urine test is important in reducing the risk of anaesthesia. Every pet needs blood and urine test before surgery to ensure that his/her body organs can handle the anaesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that may not be detected without conducting blood and urine tests. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anaesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunctions will handle the anaesthetic better if they receive intravenous fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer three levels of in-house blood and urine testing before surgery, which will be covered when pets are admitted. Our veterinarians prefer the more comprehensive screening, because it gives the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may also be required before surgery.
It is important that surgery is undertaken on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anaesthesia. Food should be withheld for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left 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 do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, constant observation of the incision should be maintained for swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but occasionally this happens. If there are skin sutures, these are usually removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. Pet's activity should be limited 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; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations. Injectable pain relief medications are commonly given to dogs and cats after surgery. Providing appropriate pain relief is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
What Other Decisions do I Need to Make?
While your pet is under anaesthesia, 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, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood and urine test and other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.
Please do not hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.