Your Dog (Or Cat) Needs Surgery? Here Is What You Should Know

August 27, 2013

2013 Aug- Your Pets Surgery

Every once in a while our pets are required to undergo surgery. Whether it be a routine de-sexing or a major surgery such as orthopaedics, we understand this can be a stressful time for both you and your pet. That is why we are committed to maximising your pet's comfort and well-being during their stay at our clinic, as well as providing you with adequate information regarding the pre-operative preparation of your pet, your pet's treatment while in the hospital, and post-operative care. Should you have any remaining questions please do not hesitate to contact our friendly staff at the clinic.

Pre-Operative Care

Whether your pet is undergoing a major or minor procedure, there are a few simple steps to follow in the lead up to your pet's big day.

  • Fasting must begin for your pet the day before their procedure, so remove all uneaten food and treats at 8:00 pm the night before.
  • Your pet may still have water, but it is preferable they do not drink excessively just prior to admission.
  • A short walk or clean litter tray on the morning of the procedure is also appreciated to encourage toileting.
  • We ask that you bring your pet to the clinic sometime between 8:30 and 9:30 am, this is to allow enough time for the admission process including recording weight, signing consent forms and organising discharge times. Please allow approximately 10 minutes for this to be completed.

During the admission process, you may be asked about a pre-anaesthetic blood test and intra-operative fluids for your pet. For some patients and procedures, the Veterinarian may determine that either or both of these procedures are crucial, in which case they will automatically be performed on the day and included in the provided estimate. For other patients, these procedures are made optional. Although pre-anaesthetic blood testing and intra-operative fluids are beneficial and recommended for most procedures, we do make them optional to allow our clients to minimise the overall cost of the procedure. It is important however that you understand what these procedures are and the possible risks that may arise from not performing them.

Pre-anaesthetic Blood Test

Pathology4A pre-anaesthetic blood test is a basic blood test that is performed in-house. It allows us to get a closer look at your pet's kidney and liver function, as well as any pre-existing issues that may effect your pets recovery or ability to handle the anaesthetic. We also use the information gathered from the blood test as a point of reference for your pets overall health. The results are kept on record and can be referred to in the future should your pet require another blood test.

Intra-operative Fluids

FluidsIntra-operative fluids are used to help maintain your pet's blood pressure, whilst keeping them hydrated throughout their procedure. They are also beneficial throughout your pet's recovery as they help eliminate the anaesthetic from their body, assisting in a speedy recovery. Your pet will be given fluids which contain a balanced mixed of electrolytes via an intravenous line and the flow controlled by a fluid pump. Fluid therapy is a very effective way of enhancing safety, whilst reducing the anaesthetic risk and hastening your pet's recovery time. For this reason intra-operative fluid therapy is beneficial to all patients and as such we highly recommend it for all procedures.

Whilst at the Clinic

After the admission process we will settle your pet into their bed for the day. They receive a preliminary health check and, if selected, a pre-anaesthetic blood test. We will administer your pet's pre-operative medication, which includes pain relief and a preliminary sedation. After administering the medication your pet will start to relax and calm down, receiving regular monitoring and affection from our nurses.

AnaesthesiaWhen it comes time for your pet to undergo their procedure, they receive an injectable anaesthetic that quickly carries them into a state of listless sleep. A tube is placed into their airway so that oxygen can be administered and the anaesthetic carefully controlled with anaesthetic gas. Whilst under anaesthetic they are continuously monitored using our state of the art patient monitoring system, which allows us to record your pet's blood pressure, heart electrical signals and rhythm (ECG), pulse rate, blood oxygen saturation, respiratory rate and core body temperature. Our thermostat controlled heated surgery table also helps to maintain your pet's body temperature during the procedure.

On completion of your pet's surgery, they will be placed in a warm bed and monitored closely throughout their recovery. Once your pet has fully recovered from their anaesthetic and is able to stand and walk sufficiently, we take them out for a leg stretch and a toilet break.

Post-Operative Care

Upon discharge specific instructions tailored to your pet's procedure will be outlined to you, it is however important that someone remains with your pet immediately after discharge and overnight. This is simply because anaesthetic can affect certain pets differently, and side effects such as loss of appetite, vomiting and lethargy can be observed. These are all normal reactions and while uncomfortable for your pet are expected. You can help keep your pet comfortable by:

  • providing them with a warm and dry bed, preferably inside - especially during the colder months, and away from active siblings and children.
  • providing fresh water close by and ensuring easy access to toileting
  • feeding your pet as normal that night unless otherwise instructed - due to the anaesthetic it is often a good idea to give them half their normal amount, let that settle and if there are no adverse reactions feed them the rest 30 - 45 mins later

By the next morning your pet should be back to their normal self, although they may still be a little subdued and quiet. If by the following afternoon your pet is still showing signs of lethargy, or is vomiting, it is a good idea to phone the clinic and let us know, we are always happy to have a chat should you be unsure of your pets reactions.

We will see your pet 10-14 days after their procedure unless otherwise instructed, this is a post-operative check to remove any external sutures, examine the surgery site and assess recovery. If, before this time, you notice any severe redness or swelling around the suture site, or if your pet has removed sutures on their own, please call the clinic and one of our nurses will be able to assist you in booking an appointment.

Your pet's procedure is unique and the above guidelines may be altered depending on the specific procedure your pet will undergo, so should you have any concerns or queries please do not hesitate in calling the clinic and talking to one of our staff members.

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