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?
Today's modern anesthesia and anesthetic monitors have made veterinary surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Gulf Gate Animal Hospital, our sarasota vets do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. Our monitoring includes heart rate reparatory rate and pulse oxygen saturation for all pets. Depending on the pet and procedure we also monitor temperature, blood pressure and an EKG
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 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 intravenous fluids during surgery and the types of anesthetics can by tailored by our sarasota vets to each pet’s condition. An intravenous catheter allows administration of fluids which help maintain blood pressure and organ perfusion during anesthesia and allow us instant access to the blood stream. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well. 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 midnight the night before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until fist thing in the morning.
Will my pet have stitches?
Most surgeries like ovariohysterectomies ( spay), neuters, castrations, tumor removals and bladder, eye and intestinal surgeries require skin stitches. 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 several days to 2 weeks and no baths are allowed until the sutures are removed.
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. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
For pain in dogs, we may recommend an injectable anti-inflamatory followed by and oral form for several days after 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. For procedures that have a higher potential for pain we will also use opiate or morphine type pain medications in addition to the above.
Cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, Tylenol. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. We administer a pain injection prior to surgery. After surgery, medication is given if indicated. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.
Sometime we will use a local anesthetic as well. Other injectable and oral pain medications may be added if needed after surgery for both dogs and cats. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
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 dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting a Home Again identification microchip. Microchip implantation is important if your pet was every lost or stolen and living in Sarasota, Florida there is also always a risk of hurricanes which could cause you to be separated from your pets. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call. 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 5 to 10 minutes of your time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. For your convenience you can print and fill out our surgery and dental procedure forms and bring them in with you the morning of your pet’s procedure. When you pick up your pet after surgery (usually after 3 pm) you can also plan to spend about 5-10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.
We will contact you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment electronically or by phone, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. For most surgeries we recommend no food or snacks after midnight the night before anesthesia and picking up water first thing in the morning the day of anesthesia. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.