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What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Surgery
Is The Anesthesia Safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Dogwood Pet Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics. Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to be sure that the livers 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 surgery!
We offer different levels of blood testing before surgery, depending on the health and age of your pet. Our doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information. For ill or geriatric pets, additional blood tests 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 surgery. You will need to withhold food for at least 8-10 hours before surgery. Water may 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 require removal. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep on eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most pets to not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you should watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will need to be removed 10-14 days after surgery.
Will My Pet Be in Pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pain medication will depend on the surgery performed, with major procedures requiring more pain relief.
What Other Decisions Do I Need to Make?
While your pet is under anesthesia may be the ideal time to perform other minor procedures such as dentistry, ear cleaning or implanting a microchip. When you bring your pet in for surgery you will need to fill out paperwork and indicate your decisions regarding blood testing and the other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes for discharge instruction.