River Rapids Pet Hospital + Clinic
What You Need to Know Before 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?
Here at River Rapids Pet, we do a thorough physical examination on your pet before administering anesthetics. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the weight, breed and health of your pet. The handout on anesthesia explains this in greater detail.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important to reduce the risk of anesthesia and to determine if there are any medications we should avoid after surgery. Most pets need blood testing before surgery. For geriatric or ill pets, additional tests may be recommended before surgery as well. Even apparently healthy animals can have abnormalities. The anesthetic protocol will be adjusted as needed. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is managed.
Most pets need to have an empty stomach for anesthesia. We will discuss how many hours prior to surgery to withhold food based on your pet's age, health status, breed and species. Water can be left down for your pet until you leave the house to bring your pet to us.
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. Some surgeries require skin sutures. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Some dogs and cats lick excessively or chew at the incision, so a medical pet shirt and/or an Elizabethan collar (E-collar) may be needed. If there are skin sutures, these will usually need to be removed by us 10 to 14 days after surgery. You also will need to limit your pet's activity level for a time, and no baths are allowed for the first 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. Instead, they may behave differently than usual by hiding or refusing to eat. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed and your pet's comfort level.
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 ear cleaning, implanting an identification microchip or applying flea and tick preventives. If you would like a cost 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.
We perform complimentary nail trims on our anesthetized patients; please let us know if you do not want a nail trim performed.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 10-15 minutes of your time to fill out paperwork. When you pick up your pet after surgery, please also plan to spend about 10-15 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.
We will contact you the day 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 contact us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.