Valley Emergency Pet Care

180 Fiou Lane, Ste. 101
Basalt, CO 81621

(970)927-5066

valleyemergencypetcare.com

What You Need to Know Before Surgery

We hope this information will help answer your questions about various aspects of your pet's surgery and help you make decisions before your pet's upcoming procedure.

Is the anesthetic safe?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past.  At Valley Emergency Pet Care, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that your pet is safe to undergo anesthesia and that we select the appropriate anesthesia regimen for your pet.

Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia.  Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic.  Even apparently healthy animals can have an organ dysfunction that cannot be detected without blood testing.  If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications.  Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery.  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 doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information.  For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be recommended before surgery as well.

It is important that your pet has 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?

For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin.  These will dissolve on their own and do not need to be removed later.  Some surgeries, do require skin stitches.  With either type of suture, 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.  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 for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.

 


What other specific care will my pet need after surgery?

Your pet's activity level will need to be limited for a variable time post-operatively.  No running, jumping or rough play is advised during this time.  The amount of time that the exercise is restricted depends on the type of surgery. 

Baths and swimming are not allowed for the first 10-14 days after surgery.   Specific instructions will be given to you at the time of your pet's discharge from the hospital.

 


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.  The type of pain medication needed will depend on the surgery performed.  Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.

For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory for several days after surgery to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling.  We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery.

Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen, veterinarians have become creative with pain management for cats. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before.  We administer a pain injection 10 minutes prior to surgery.  Any animal that appears painful post-operatively will receive additional pain medication. We take pain control seriously at VEPC and strive to keep your pet as comfortable in the post-operative period as possible.


 

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 trimming, 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 to 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.

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.