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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 anesthesia medications and monitoring systems have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Walker Valley Vet, we do a thorough physical exam and pre-anesthetic blood testing on your pet before any surgery. We use the safest medications available and a licensed veterinary technician uses top of the line monitoring equipment to help monitor your pet's pulse, respirations, blood pressure, and oxygen during anesthesia. We will adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the specific needs of your pet.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys are healthy. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before 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, may 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 do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 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?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Your pet is given injectable pain medications at the time of surgery. Minor discomfort can be tolerated by most pets and actually encourages them to take it easy which lessons the likelihood of having complications from overactivity after surgery. If pain medications are needed after surgery they will be dispensed for you to give at home.
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 dental cleaning, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please 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.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.