Surgery for Your Pet Explained

No one wants to think about their pet undergoing surgery. While bringing your pet in for any procedure can be scary, understanding what will happen throughout the process can make you feel a lot better as a pet owner.

Before Your Pet’s Surgery

Before we recommend surgery for your pet, we will conduct a pre-surgical consultation. This includes:

  • A thorough physical examination of your pet to identify any problems that may put your pet at risk during surgery.
  • Pre-anesthetic bloodwork to help identify any underlying health concerns and to help us customize an anesthetic and pain management plan for your pet.
  • A discussion with you regarding the procedure, any potential complications, a treatment plan with cost estimate, and answer any questions you may have.

While anesthesia can never be considered without some risk, we do everything in our power to ensure a safe experience for you and your pet. Most pets will be asked to fast after midnight the night before they are admitted for surgery, which will typically happen between noon and 4 p.m. the following day.

During Your Pet’s Surgery

Regardless of what procedure your pet is having, the most essential part of surgery is the anesthesia. Because of the nature of anesthetics, safely anesthetizing your pet is just as important as having a skillful surgeon. We take anesthesia very seriously and do everything we can to make it as safe as possible.

  • Intravenous catheter placement – Each pet who undergoes anesthesia has an intravenous catheter placed. This provides a few purposes. Firstly, an intravenous catheter gives us direct access to a vein in case of an emergency. This allows us to administer drugs efficiently if needed. Also, an IV catheter allows us to be able to administer fluids during the procedure, keeping blood pressure stable and encouraging quicker recovery.
  • Intubation – Anesthetized pets have their airway secured by an endotracheal tube. This tube is placed in the windpipe, allowing us to deliver gas anesthesia. The endotracheal tube also allow us to breathe for the pet if necessary and provides protection of the airway from liquids such as vomit or saliva that otherwise could reach the lungs in an asleep animal.
  • Individualized anesthesia – No patient is exactly the same. We take into account each pet’s individual needs and the procedure being performed to come up with an anesthetic and pain management plan just for your pet.
  • Dedicated monitoring – Your pet is closely monitored by a trained, dedicated technician during his or her procedure. Vital signs including temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure are closely observed.

After Your Pet’s Surgery

Pets, just like people, take a little time to recover after a surgery. Immediately after the procedure your pet will be closely monitored to be sure s/he is coming out of anesthesia without any problems. All of our surgery patients stay overnight, where they are made comfortable, to ensure their pain is properly managed. Before being released the next day, one of our doctors will thoroughly inspect your pet to confirm they are well enough to return home.

When you pick up your pet, we will go over any special care instructions and provide you with a written discharge. You may receive special directions for:

  • Feeding your pet
  • Exercise restrictions or recommendations
  • Medication administration such as pain medications or antibiotics
  • Incision or bandage care
  • Follow up visits

Surgery is no fun any way you look at it, but sometimes it is necessary to keep our pets happy and healthy. We are happy to answer all of your questions and hope we can make any procedure your pet has done with us as anxiety-free for you as possible Feel free to ask for a tour of our surgical and dental suites, or see where your pet will be spending their time with us.  Also, we’re happy to text photos and updates while your pet is with us; we know how hard it can be when our fur-babies are away from home, even for a night.


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