Our state-of-the-art surgical suite provides for the performance of a wide variety of surgical procedures including routine surgeries such as spays and neuters as well as more advanced procedures such as tumor removal, bladder stone surgery, biopsies, abdominal exploratory and limited orthopedics.
What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery:
At All Creatures Pet Hospital we understand people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery, and we hope this information will help make the process easier. It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Modern anesthetic monitors have dramatically increased safety of anesthesia. Dr. Blackburn considers improved monitoring to be one of the greatest advances in recent years. Being able to monitor multiple parameters alerts us to each pet's individual reaction to anesthesia and allows constant adjustment to insure safe, reliable anesthesia. Here at All Creatures Pet Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics. We tailor each anesthetic protocol to the specific needs of your pet. We want to ensure that fever or other illness won't interfere with safety. We know it is hard to be separated from your pet when they are undergoing these procedures, and we want to select appropriate medications to have a rapid recovery and insure a prompt return to their home.
Please see the Surgical Standards page for additional information.
Will my pet need blood testing before surgery?
Pre-anesthetic 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 serious organ system problems 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 several options for blood screening. You may elect to make only one trip and we can perform a chemistry panel the morning of surgery or you can come in a few days early and we can do a more comprehensive panel that would also serve as an annual blood screen.
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 after 7 PM the night prior to surgery.
Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve naturally, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, 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.
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. Any pain medications required will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
For dogs, we typically dispense an oral anti-inflammatory for several days after surgery to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. Your dog will also receive an injection of pain medication at the time of surgery and a pre-anesthetic medication that includes an additional medication.
Because cats do not tolerate standard anti-inflammatory pain medications, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. We administer a pain injection at the time of surgery as well as sending home a liquid pain medication that is absorbed through the oral mucosa.
Other minor procedures
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as anal gland infusion, 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 at that time. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.