- About Us
- Contact Us
- Your Pet's Record
- Home Delivery Pharmacy
- SPRING OPEN HOUSE
What You Need to Know Before 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. All anesthetic procedures have some degree of risk. However at Just For Pets Animal Clinic, we do a COMPLETE physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for general anesthesia. We also specifically calculate the amount and type of anesthetic based on the weight and age of your pet.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in determining the organ function and metabolism of anesthetics used and to reduce the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can metabolize the anesthetic efficiently. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected on a physical examination without a blood screen. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Your pet's hydration and blood pressure are maintained if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If problems are detected in the pre-anesthetic blood screen, surgery can be postponed and the problem is corrected.
We offer in-house blood screens before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. Our doctor prefers the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the complications associated with vomiting during and/or 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. The sutures 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 will lick excessively or chew at the incision,theefore you will also need to watch for this and an Elizabethan collar can be provided. If there are skin sutures placed, these will usually be removed 10 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?
We always consider post-op pain something to be controlled in all surgery patients.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 dispensed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory pain medication the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery(pre-op)
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 administer oral or injectable pain control prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is dispensed to be given at home. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication or even spend the night of the surgery in the hospital for pain control
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting a microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services,you will have an opportunity the morning you sign permission the morning of the procedure to let us know 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 to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing 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.
We may call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and please ask 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.