Our Animal Hospital’s Frequently Asked Questions
What You Need to Know Before Your Pet’s Upcoming 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.
Q: Is the anesthetic safe?
A: Today’s modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Village Animal Clinic, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to minimize the risk of complications. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing risks associated with 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 must be postponed until the problem is corrected. In addition, pre-anesthetic blood testing will allow us to customize an anesthetic protocol based on your pet’s needs.
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 provides the most information to increase the safety of your pet. 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 for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
Q: Will my pet have stitches?
A: For many surgeries, we use absorbent sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, 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.
Q: Will my pet be in pain?
A: 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 dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day after surgery and 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. The cost of the medication ranges from $10 to $15, depending on the size of your dog.
Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, 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 10 minutes prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any animal that appears to be in pain will receive additional pain medication.
We use pain patches for some surgeries in dogs as well. Injectable pain medications may also be used after surgery on both dogs and cats. Providing appropriate pain relief is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet, and is typically included in the cost of surgery at Village Animal Clinic.
Q: What other decisions do I need to make?
A: While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dental care, 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, you will need 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.
Q: What are the hospital hours?
A: You can view our hospital hours here.
Q: Do I need to make an appointment?
A: Yes, patients are seen by appointment.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: Cash, Check, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, CareCredit and Visa
Q: At what age can I have my pet spayed or neutered?
A: Spaying or neutering can be done at approximately four months of age. Your pet is given an exam prior to surgery to help determine whether your pet is healthy enough to undergo the surgical procedure. Current vaccinations are required at the time of surgery. Also a pre-anesthetic blood screen is recommended prior to undergoing anesthesia and surgery.
Q: What is the pre-anesthetic blood screening?
A: This is a blood test that is run here in the clinic prior to surgery. It tests the organ functions, blood counts and clotting function of your pet. The pre-anesthetic blood screening is done to assure safety during surgery and the ability to heal following surgery.
Q: How long do the sutures stay in after my pet’s surgery?
A: Procedures involving skin sutures require them to be removed 10 to 14 days following the surgery.
Q: Is it a good idea to let my pet have at least one litter?
A: No, there is no advantage to letting your pet have one litter. However there are plenty of advantages to having you pet spayed or neutered. These advantages include decreasing the chances of breast tumors later in life, decreasing the chance of cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life, decreasing the desire to roam the neighborhood, helping prevent spraying and marking, and also decreases the surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens.