What You Need To Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery

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 anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Animal Hospital of Rye, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet to minimize complications during and after surgery. The handout on anesthesia explains this in greater detail.

Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia and to be sure there are no fluid, electrolyte or medical alterations needed to ensure the safety of your pet blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that may not be detected on a physical exam. Identifying a problem before the animal undergoes anesthesia helps to reduce the risk of complications or death. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.

We offer three levels of in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. Our veterinarians prefer the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.

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. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.

Will My Pet Have Stitches?

With either type of closure, 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 swelling, redness or discharge, or removal of sutures or staples. We do offer two types of collars to prevent your pet from licking. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level and no baths or swimming for at least 14 days.

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 as people do; but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications be dispensed based on the needs of each individual pet. We use several different medicines or combinations of medicines based on the health of your pet status. We use newer medications. Since pets do not tolerate standard medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent advances in pain medication have allowed for better pain control for our cat patients.

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 a dental cleaning, nail trim, anal glands, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call 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.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5-10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs. Please make sure that during the day of your pet's surgery or procedure you or another responsible adult capable of making important health and/or financial decisions are available at all times by telephone.

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 call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.