Surgery - What to Expect
Bringing your pet in for a surgical procedure can be a very scary and stressful experience. We believe that part of our duty of care is to alleviate as much of that stress as possible, for both owners and their fur babies. Part of this is to make sure pet parents are as well informed as possible. This page is dedicated to answering all of those tricky anaesthetic and surgical questions to ensure you feel as confident and knowledgeable as possible. If you have any extra questions, or would like to ask any questions more specific to your pet, please do not hesitate to contact us.
This information is designed to answer questions regarding preparing your pet for a surgical procedure and deciding on which pre-surgery screening blood test is right for you. Knowing what to do before your pet has an anaesthetic or a surgical procedure can help to reduce some of the stress on the day. Similarly, deciding what pre-surgery blood test to run on your pet can also reduce the stress of having to make last minute decisions. This section outlines all information relative to your pet, before they come in for their procedure.
We have developed a Pre-Surgery Booklet which is designed to have all pre-surgery instructions in an easy to access and read format that can be kept at home and referred to when needed. Download the Pre-Surgery Booklet.
Q. Does my pet need to be fasted before an anaesthetic?
A. Yes. Pets must be fasted before an anaesthetic in order to eliminate unnecessary risk. Please feed your pet at approximately 6 - 7pm on the night prior to their admission and then restrict all access to food after this. That includes treats, bones, chews, human food and other edible goodies. Pets are allowed water over night, but please pick this up at 6 - 7am on the morning of their procedure.
Q. Is blood testing required before a surgical procedure for my pet?
A. Yes. Blood testing is important for all pets undergoing an anaesthetic procedure. The purpose of the blood test is to screen your pet for any abnormalities that may interfere with your pets anaesthetic, ensuring your pet can have the safest possible anaesthetic. Abnormalities are not normally detectable on a physical exam or health check until the affected organ is severely compromised. By running screening tests we can check for this information before it is too late. For more information, including blood test options for both young and senior pets, please visit pre-surgery screening blood tests.
Q. Should I bath my dog?
A. Yes. Please bath your dog a day or two before their surgical procedure. Having a clean dog allows for easier cleaning of surgical sites which reduces both the risk of infection and the duration of anaesthetic. As a general rule, cats are very good groomers and keep themselves clean. This means that they do not require bathing before a surgical procedure, unless indicated.
Q. Do I need to make an appointment on the day of the procedure or can I come in at any time?
A. We always run on appointments, and making an appointment time for a surgical procedure is especially important. At your admission appointment, we will require about 15 minutes of your time in order for you to fill in your paperwork and discuss your pets surgery with their nurse. Please ensure a responsible adult is present at this appointment, as we will require consent forms to be filled in. For a faster admission, you can download and print out an anaesthetic consent form and pre-fill it in at home. Download Anaesthetic Consent Form.
- Please ensure you are contactable throughout the day. Occasionally we may need to contact a pet parent in order to discuss blood test results or unusual findings. If you are reachable at all times throughout the day then we can ensure your pets procedure runs as smoothly as possible.
- Ensure you mention all medication that your pet is currently on, and when they had their last dose. This is important information, and could change or alter the anaesthestic protocol selected for your pet.
ABOUT THE SURGERY
It can be very hard knowing what questions to ask about how a surgical procedure is run, what procedures and processes are in place to make an anaesthetic as safe as possible for your pet, and what to look for when selecting a clinic for your fur baby to have their surgical procedure. Here we provide all of this information for you to read through.
Q. How do you make an anaesthetic safe for my pet?
A. Anaesthetic safety is a very big focus for us. Please read our Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Testing article for more information. We understand that this is a very stressful topic, so please call or drop in if you have any further questions or any concerns specific to your pet.
Q. Do you use pain control for surgery patients?
A. Absolutely. We very much believe that whatever hurts us, hurts our pets as well. From this we use nothing but the best pain relief management techniques and the safest possible medications. Pain control is included in EVERY surgical procedure, and is NOT an optional extra. We use a combination pain relief therapy, which includes the use of administering pain relief BEFORE we start a surgery and cause pain. By giving this pain relief beforehand, we can actually desensitise pain receptors in the brain, which means the body cannot physically feel as much pain. Long lasting pain relief is administered after the procedure also, and the medications used depend on the patient, their surgery and their blood test results.
Q. Do you use sterile instruments?
A. Yes. Believe it or not, there is actually no regulations requiring veterinarians to use sterile instruments between patients. All of our instruments and equipment has been properly sterilized between use. We use a human-grade autoclave to ensure our instruments are nothing short of perfectly sterile.
Q. I am worried about my pet being in hospital and away from me. What measures do you take to ensure they are not stressed while in hospital?
A. Concern for your fur baby whilst they are in hospital is completely natural, and something we too experience when our own babies are in for a procedure. We take great measures to try to reduce the stress for your pet as much as absolutely possible. All pets will have a comfy bed and blanket and all cats are provided with a box in which they can hide to reduce stress and feel more secure. We utilise both Feliway and DAP, which are pheromones that help to reduce stress and anxiety, and toys are given where possible. Cats will have a litter tray, and food and water is always available if applicable to your pets needs. However, for all pets, our nurses will take time out of their hectic schedule to give all patients a kind word, a cuddle, pat and some tummy tickles. We don't want your pet to have a negative experience at the vet, and this positive contact goes a long way to reinforcing that being at the vet is not such a scary place.
Q. Will I be given progress reports on my pet?
A. Definitely. There is nothing like knowing that your fur baby is doing okay after a surgical procedure. We always call to let pet parents know how their fur kids are doing, and are always more than happy to give progress reports throughout the day to parents who call. For parents who are a little more worried, we can also send you SMS updates for no extra cost.
It is very common for pet parents to be concerned about the care required for their pet after an anaesthetic. We have put up a guide of what to expect after a surgical procedure. Please be aware this should be used as a guide only, and all information will be discussed with you at your pet's discharge appointment.
Caring for your pet after their surgical procedure can be a very daunting task. This section is designed to give you an overview of the things to expect with your pets recovery. You can also download some Post-Operative Care information for an overview of the homecare required for your pet after an anaesthetic. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or additional concerns.
Q. Can my dog exercise?
A. Most pets are on bed rest for the first 1 - 2 days after a surgical procedure, and then enforced rest until 10 days post-procedure when the sutures can come out. Your nurse may advise you that you can take your dog for a short walk on the lead to burn off pent up energy, but they generally will not be allowed to run, jump or play with other dogs. Some patients having surgery, for example cruciate surgery, will require much more strict exercise restriction, and this will be discussed with you at the time of your pets procedure.
Q. Can my pet have a bath while they have stitches in?
A. No. Please do not bath your pet while they have sutures in. They will also need to withhold from swimming. We need the wound to dry out in order to heal. Similarly, please ensure your pet stays clean.
Q. How long will the stitches be in for?
A. Stitches will need to be in for a minimum of 10 days, unless instructed otherwise. Some pets may need to have their sutures in for a little bit longer, but this will be discussed with you at the time of their procedure
Q. Can I feed my pet?
A. Yes, please feed your pet little and often for the first night, of their regular diet unless instructed otherwise.
For more information, please download and read through our Post-Operative Care Information. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or additional concerns.