Top Pet Surgery FAQs: What Every Pet Owner Needs to Know
Does your pet need cat or dog surgery? To help you better prepare, our veterinarian has answered five of your most frequently asked questions about pet surgery:
What types of dog and cat surgery does your veterinary team perform?
Our veterinary hospital provides comprehensive pet surgery, including routine spay and neuter. We also perform advanced orthopedic procedures, soft tissue surgery, exploratory surgery and biopsies, and emergency surgery. For example, one of the most common emergency surgeries is to correct gastric torsion, a life-threatening condition caused by excess stomach gas buildup, which frequently occurs in large breed dogs. Emergency surgery is necessary to correct this buildup and untwist a pet’s stomach.
How do I prepare my pet for surgery?
All pet surgery should be performed on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during surgery, which can lead to aspiration and asphyxiation. If your pet’s surgery will be performed in the morning, withhold food starting 12 hours in advance. Pets may continue to have water. To facilitate check-in, our veterinarian will give you a surgical release form to complete in advance of the operation.
Will my pet receive anesthesia?
Yes, if your pet will be undergoing surgery, your pet will be placed under anesthesia. Prior to anesthesia, we conduct diagnostic blood work to ensure there are no undiagnosed health conditions that may compromise your pet’s ability to safely receive anesthesia. Throughout the operation, we closely monitor your pet’s vital signs, including temperature, heart rate, and oxygen saturation. Today’s modern anesthetics have made cat and dog surgery much safer than it was in the past, and our veterinary team works hard to protect your pet’s safety.
When will my pet be ready to return home?
Whenever possible, our veterinarians perform dog and cat surgery in the morning. Pets are closely monitored following surgery for possible complications; most are ready to return home the same afternoon. For more complex procedures, such as orthopedic surgery or emergency surgery, pets may need to be held overnight. We send all pets home with detailed post-surgical care instructions and pain management medication.
How is my pet’s pain addressed post-surgery?
Pets, just like humans, will experience pain following surgery. After we perform pet surgery, we request that you keep your pet calm and quiet for 24 hours. This gives the soft tissues an opportunity to begin the healing process. We send all dogs home with appropriate pain medication, such as anti-inflammatories, which minimize swelling and discomfort. Whenever possible, we prescribe newer medications, which are less likely to cause an upset stomach. Since cats cannot tolerate standard pain medications such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, we are limited in our feline pain medication choices post- surgery. Thanks to advancements in pain medication protocol, we now administer a pain medication injection before surgery. Our goal is to safely manage your pet’s pain; if you feel your pet is not receiving adequate post-surgical pain management, please contact our veterinarian.
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