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Please DO NOT feed your pet (water is OK) and drop them off between 8-9 on the morning of the surgery. On the day of the surgery please call us after 2pm for an update on your pet's recovery and an approximate time for discharge.
What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery
Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery. We hope this information will help with the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Roncesvalles Animal Hospital, we 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 and extent of the procedure.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing any risks associated with anesthesia. Every pet is recommended to have blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even otherwise 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 identify it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals with minor dysfunctions 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 three levels of 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 gives them the most information to ensure 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 the procedure or on recovery. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 hours before surgery. Water should be provided 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 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 need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will have to limit your pet's activity level for some 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 we are sure that they can feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major surgical procedures require more pain control than minor lacerations.
For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory on the day of and for the several days after the surgery to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset.
Because cats do not tolerate (and can be fatal) common 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 and ease of administration. Any animal that appears to be in pain will receive appropriate medication. Providing post-surgical pain relief may improve comfort level and help facilitate your pet's recovery.
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 an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person who is taking the pet to the hospital for the surgery is not the primary decision maker for the animal.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of your time to fill out paperwork and to discuss available options. When you come to pick up your animal after the surgery you should plan to spend a few minutes to go over home care needs.
In Case of EMERGENCY
If your pet needs medical attention outside of our office hours please contact
the Veterinary Emergency Hospital of West Toronto at 416-239-3453 for after hour assistance.