So Your Pet is Having Surgery...
Many of our patients come to us in need of surgery. This can cause their owners to feel nervous and worried or maybe even dread. We completely understand these feelings and even feel them ourselves when our own pets need surgery. We'd like to share the steps we take to ensure we keep your pet as safe as possible!
When your pet has surgery with us, we will require preanesthetic blood work if your pet has not had any done recently. This blood work gives us an idea of how your pet's organs are functioning, if there are any signs of infection or inflammation in the body, and if there are things we need to correct before surgery such as anemia or dehydration. If we find abnormalities on this blood work, we will discuss them with you and may recommend returning to your primary veterinarian for further treatment or diagnostics. If this is the case, we sometimes have to postpone surgery until the issues are addressed.
If your pet has major pre-existing conditions, we will discuss them with your pet's primary veterinarian and collaborate on a plan for surgery day. Heart conditions sometimes require a cardiac work up depending on the severity and recommendations made by your pet's veterinarian.
When we call to confirm the surgery, we will direct you on how to fast your pet and which medications to give your pet. They can still have water the morning of surgery! Typically, we will have you drop off early in the morning even if their surgery will be done later in the day. We do this in order to administer preoperative medications including eye drops and injectables, place IV catheters, and run IV fluids if needed.
During anesthesia, your pet is monitored closely. We watch their oxygen saturation, their heart rate & rhythm with an ECG, the respiratory rate, the carbon dioxide levels, blood pressure, and temperature. There is a warming pad placed under their towel to help keep body temperature up. We have IV fluids running during the surgery to help keep blood pressure and temperature regulated as well as hydrating your pet. Don't be surprised if they are urinating more often for the next 24 hours! Your pet is intubated for surgery and we use the safest inhalation anesthetic available to us.
One of our technicians will stay with your pet the entire time and be with them when they wake up. We continue to monitor them and watch them until they are able to breathe on their own, swallow, and sit up on their own. Some patients wake up quickly while others take their time... either way, they will have a friendly face & plenty of warm blankets with them while they recover. You will receive a call from us when your pet is recovered but you are always welcome to call and check on them through the day!
We typically keep your pet with us for a good portion of the day. Sometimes they won't get to go home until close to closing time. We know you want your baby home as soon as possible but we want to make sure we have given them adequate time to recover! We will schedule your pick up time when we call to let you know they are done with their surgery.
When you arrive to pick up your pet, we will schedule their post-operative recheck and then a technician will go over all of your pet's medications and home care instructions. This is a great time to ask questions if you have them! You will be given a copy of written instructions as well as charts if needed to help keep track of medications.
When it is time to leave, your pet will be so happy to see you and many of our younger patients aren't phased by their anesthesia. It's important to make sure they rest when they get home, even if they tell you they want to go to the dog park! Sometimes siblings have to be separated for the first few days to allow your pet to recover. We will call to check on them the next day and, of course, you are always welcome to call us with concerns!
We hope that this helps alleviate some fears of surgery day. It's normal to be nervous but your pet is in good hands. They will be treated like our own and we will get them back to you as soon as possible!