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What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery
Is anesthesia safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitoring, including blood pressure, oxygen levels, respiratory rate, heart rate and rhythm, has made surgery much safer than in the past. At Arden Animal Hospital, we always recommend doing a thorough pre- anesthetic physical exam and blood work-up prior to any anesthetic procedure to help decrease the risks of anesthesia.
Blood work is an important part of the pre-anesthetic work up that we recommend. Our veterinarians use the blood work results to determine whether or not your pet's liver and kidneys can handle ( metabolize) the anesthetic safely and effectively. If there is an issue found with your pet's blood work, our veterinarian's can advise you on the risks and together you can develop a sound treatment plan which may or may not include going forward with the planned anesthetic procedure.
We offer two different options for pre- anesthetic blood work. Arden Animal Hospital has the ability to run blood tests with our "in- house" laboratory, which gives us results within a few minutes and can be done the day of the procedure. Although our in- house laboratory option is very convenient, many times our doctors prefer a more comprehensive blood panel, which requires us to send samples to an outside laboratory and can take up to a day to get results.
In addition to blood work, sometimes our veterinarians will want additional blood tests such as echocardiograms(heart) or x-rays before surgery as well.
It is important that your pets has an empty stomach the day of the surgery reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. Our veterinarians ask that you withhold food after 10 pm on the night before the surgery and that you don't feed your pet the morning of the surgery. A small amount of water can be left out for your pet throughout the night before the surgery, but we ask that you take the water away first thing in the morning.
Will my pet have stitches?
For most surgeries, our veterinarians use sutures that dissolve under the skin. These sutures will dissolve on their own and do not need to be removed (they can sometimes take 4-6 months to completely dissolve). There are times where our doctors do not use sutures that dissolve and in those cases the sutures will need to be removed 10-14 days after surgery.
Regardless of which type of suture is used, it is important to keep an eye on the incision area for redness, swelling or discharge. You will need to insure that your pet does not lick or chew at the incision and because pets often like to do this, our veterinarians recommend using an elizabethan collar after most surgeries. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for up to two weeks after surgery and it is recommended that no bathes be given for atleast 10 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
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 are highly recommended after most surgery to make sure that your pet remains comfortable during recovery time.
For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day after surgery and for several days after to lessen the discomfort and swelling. The cost of the medication varies, depending on the size of your dog.
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 may administer a pain injection prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any animal who appears painful will receive additional pain medication
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 nail trims, ear cleaning, implanting an identification microchip or maybe even a minor dentistry. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, be sure to talk with our staff when scheduling your procedure.
When you drop your pet off in the morning for surgery, we will need to 15-20 minutes to fill out the necessary paperwork.
When you pick up your pet after surgery we will need about 15-20 minutes to go over your pet's discharge paperwork and home care needs.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment to confirm your morning drop off time and to answer 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.