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.

How safe is my pet’s procedure?

The safety of your pet's anesthetic procedure is of utmost importance to us. We prioritize the well-being of our furry patients and take every precaution to ensure a safe and successful anesthesia experience. Our veterinary team follows strict protocols, including a thorough pre-anesthetic evaluation, which involves a comprehensive health assessment and blood work to identify any potential risks.

During the procedure, your pet will be closely monitored by our trained professionals, utilizing advanced monitoring equipment to track vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. Rest assured that we use modern anesthetic agents tailored to your pet's specific needs and continuously adjust the dosage to maintain optimal anesthesia levels. With our experienced and compassionate team overseeing the process, you can trust that your pet is in safe hands throughout the entire anesthetic procedure.

What is a pre-anesthetic blood screening?

A pre-anesthetic blood screening, also known as preanesthetic labwork or preanesthetic bloodwork, is a standard procedure performed in veterinary medicine before administering anesthesia to a pet. It involves taking a small blood sample from the animal and analyzing it in the laboratory to assess the pet's overall health and to identify any underlying medical conditions that may not be apparent during a routine physical examination.

The preanesthetic blood screening typically includes a complete blood count (CBC) and a comprehensive blood chemistry profile. The CBC provides information about the pet's red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, which helps evaluate their immune system and ability to clot blood. The blood chemistry profile measures various chemical components in the blood, such as liver and kidney enzymes, glucose levels, electrolytes, and protein levels, offering insights into the pet's organ function and metabolic status.

By performing a preanesthetic blood screening, our veterinarians can assess your pet's suitability for anesthesia, ensure that their organs are functioning normally, and detect any underlying health issues that could impact the anesthesia procedure. This information allows our veterinary team to tailor the anesthesia protocol to your individual pet's needs and minimize the risks associated with anesthesia, making the procedure safer and more effective.

Is the anesthetic safe?

Veterinary medicine has made huge advances in recent years, dramatically reducing the risks associated with anesthesia for our pets. At River City Veterinary Hospital, we take every precaution to ensure a safe and successful anesthetic experience for your furry companion.

Before anesthesia, your pet will have an intravenous (IV) catheter placed, which allows us to administer medications and fluids directly into their bloodstream. This ensures quick access to emergency drugs if needed and helps maintain stable blood pressure and hydration levels throughout the procedure.
During the anesthesia, your pet will be closely monitored by our experienced and skilled veterinary team. We utilize advanced monitoring equipment to track vital signs such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels throughout the entire procedure.

Our veterinarians and support staff are highly trained in anesthesia protocols, and we use modern anesthetic agents tailored to your pet's specific needs. Dosages are carefully calculated and continuously adjusted during the procedure to maintain an optimal and safe level of anesthesia.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the details of your pet's upcoming anesthetic procedure, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team. We are committed to transparency and open communication, and we look forward to working together to ensure the best outcome for your pet.

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. In surgeries with smaller incisions, we may use surgical adhesive in place of sutures. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin sutures. With either type of closure, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats will try to lick or chew at their incisions, so use of an Elizabethan collar or recovery garment will likely be necessary to prevent them from inflicting trauma to their incision site. 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 and exposure to water for the first 10 days after surgery.

Will my pet be in pain?

Anything causing pain in people can also be expected to cause discomfort in animals. While pets may not always exhibit the same overt symptoms of pain as humans, it's crucial to understand that they still experience it. Their instinct to mask pain often prevents them from whining or crying, but rest assured, they do feel it.

To ensure your pet's comfort during the recovery process, the type of pain relief required will depend on the nature of the surgery performed. Major surgical procedures necessitate more extensive pain management compared to minor issues like lacerations.

In many cases, we may prescribe oral anti-inflammatory medications to be administered postoperatively. These medications are designed to reduce discomfort and control swelling, aiding your pet's healing process.
Additionally, injectable pain medications may also be utilized after surgery to provide immediate relief and support their comfort during the critical early stages of recovery.

We believe that providing appropriate pain relief for our patients is not just an option but a humane and compassionate obligation. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet's postoperative pain management, please don't hesitate to reach out. We are here to provide guidance, support, and the best possible care for your beloved pet.

What else do I need to do to prepare for my pet’s surgery?

Prior to your pet's scheduled surgery, we will provide you with an email containing a detailed estimate for the procedure, and consent forms specific to your pet's surgery. We ask that you please take the time to review and complete these documents at your earliest convenience, and feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or require clarification.

We will contact you 1-2 weeks out to schedule your pet’s surgery prep appointment. This will ideally take place 3-5 days before the procedure. At this appointment a nurse will ask you some questions about your pet’s health and collect samples for their preanesthetic blood screening. You will also be sent with two prescription medications to be given at home the night before, and the morning of surgery. One is to reduce anxiety and one is to reduce nausea. We ask that you please give these medications as directed, as they help contribute to a smoother and safer anesthetic experience for your pet.