Are there any special at-home care instructions for my dog or cat before undergoing surgery?
Please do not feed your pet after 12AM Midnight the evening before a scheduled procedure. There is no restriction on drinking water. We suggest that you plan to arrive at the office between 7:30-8:00AM, and allow 30 minutes for check-in procedures.
When my pet is having surgery, when should I expect an update on my pet?
At your request, you will receive a phone call once your pet has entered recovery. If there are any abnormalities during the pre-anesthetic exam or blood work, you will receive a call prior to the procedure in the event that we need to change plans. Remember that no news is good news, and you will be contacted immediately should the need arise.
Why does my pet need to be admitted several hours before a surgical procedure?
There is a lot of preparation involved with our surgery patients. We do pre-anesthetic exams, blood work, and a pre-medicine that helps to ease anxiety and allow a smoother induction into anesthesia. We also will normally have other surgery patients that day so we need time to prepare each patient and transition from one surgery to the next.
How will you manage my pet’s pain during surgery?
We believe in performing surgery with advanced pain management techniques because we want to maximize the comfort of your pet during and after his/her procedure. Comfort control improves your dog or cat’s recovery and speeds the healing process. We administer pain medication before beginning the procedure, during and post-operatively as needed by your pet.
My pet is older, is anesthesia safe?
Anesthesia in otherwise healthy, older pets is considered safe. It is important to have recommended pre-operative testing performed prior to anesthesia to check the status of major organ function and allow us to tailor the anesthesia to any pre-existing medical conditions.
Answers to common questions about post-surgery behavior:
It is common for your pet to have a decrease in appetite when they come home from surgery. If they are not eating the days following the surgery you can try offering them their favorite treats or foods or warming the food slightly above room temperature to increase the odor and taste. Some pets like low-sodium chicken or beef broth or chicken baby food (which can be fed separately or added to their regular food).
Bandage, Cast or Splint
It is very important that you keep the bandage/cast/splint/dry. Therefore, if you take your pet outside, tape a bag over the bandage/cast/splint like a human would when they are trying to shower. Now, if the bandage does get wet, damp, chewed, or chewed off, please do not re-bandage at home. Duct tape and other items can trap moisture within the cast/bandage causing inflammation of the skin and tissues. In some cases, bandages that are applied incorrectly at home can even cut off circulation to the bandaged appendage.
Call us immediately if you have concerns about your pet’s bandage, cast or splint. We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you have and do not mind if you want to make an appointment just for peace of mind.
Difficulty having bowel movements can be expected after illness, anesthesia, or surgery. It may take a few days for the gastrointestinal system to return to normal function. Fortunately, it is not vital for your pet to pass a stool on a regular daily basis. Please contact us if your pet has not passed a stool within 72 hours of discharge from the hospital or appears to be straining to defecate.
Although vocalizing can indicate discomfort, it is usually not a sign of pain (instinctively most pets will not vocalize because in the wild, this would attract predators). If crying or whining is mild and intermittent, you may simply monitor the situation. If vocalization persists, please call us for advice. In some cases, a mild sedative may be prescribed or pain medication may be adjusted.
Your pet may experience diarrhea after surgery. This can be caused by change in diet but is more commonly caused by the stress of being away from home. Certain medications prescribed to your pet may also cause diarrhea. If no blood is noted in the diarrhea, feed your pet a bland diet for 2-3 days to help the digestive tract get back to normal. If the diarrhea is bloody, lasts longer than 12-24 hours or if your pet becomes lethargic or vomits, please contact us immediately.
It is vital that you keep the e-collar on your pet. While they may find it unpleasant initially, it is far less unpleasant than having to come back for another visit to repair the incision. When this happens, they will have to wear the E-Collar for even longer and they expose themselves to a greater risk of infection. Most pets become accustomed to the collar within one or two days, and they will be able to eat, sleep, and drink with it on. We are counting on you—please keep the e-collar on your pet.
This is commonly seen after surgery. It may indicate soreness but is often due to anxiety. Please call us so we can help determine whether additional pain medication is required. We will be happy to recheck your pet for your peace of mind.
Seroma (Fluid Pocket)
In any healing surgical area, fluid produced during the healing process may accumulate and form a seroma (fluid pocket). Fortunately, this is not painful and does not delay the healing process. Eventually, the body will reabsorb the fluid so if the seroma is small, we typically will leave it alone. If it is large, we may remove the fluid with a needle and syringe, or even place a drain if necessary. If you notice a seroma developing, please call our office. We may wish to recheck the area to ensure there is no infection.
This is a very common response to physiologic stress after surgery, injury, or any other health procedure. The amount of shaking or trembling may be dramatic, but it does not imply severe pain, cold, or distress. It may involve the entire body, or just the area of surgery. It is most noticeable in the first 5-7 days post-operatively, and typically subsides in 1-2 weeks. Please call us if your pet shows signs of pain such as restlessness, lack of appetite, or crying out.
Some pets may urinate less after surgery or may seem to be unable to control urination. This is usually temporary and may be a side effect of medication, anesthetic drugs, or difficulty assuming “the position” to urinate. Many pets initially drink less after returning home, but if your pet has not produced urine for more than 12-24 hours, please call our office.
If you pet is vomiting for any reason, please call our office.