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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.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Bissonnet Southampton Veterinary Clinic, 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. The handout on anesthesia explains this in greater detail.
Preanesthetic blood testing and an electrocardiogram are 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 IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
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.
*CBC - Provides detailed information on red blood cell counts, white blood cell counts and platelets. The total white blood cell counts and individual cell counts can indicate leukemia, stress, inflammation or an inability to fight infection. Low platelet numbers can indicate a bleeding problem.
*ALB (Albumin) - A protein that is produced by the liver. Reduced levels of this protein can point to chronic liver, kidney or intestinal disease.
*ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase) - An enzyme that becomes elevated with liver disease or injury.
*ALKP (Alkaline Phosphatase) - An enzyme present in multiple tissues, including liver and bone. Elevated levels can indicate liver disease, Cushing's syndrome or steroid therapy.
*BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) - BUN is produced by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Abnormally high levels can indicate kidney disease or dehydration, and low levels can be associated with liver disease.
*CREA (Creatinine) - Creatinine is a by-product of muscle metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys. Elevated levels can indicate kidney disease, urinary tract obstruction or dehydration.
*GLU (Glucose) - High levels can indicate diabetes. In cats, high levels can also indicate stress. Low levels can indicate liver disease, infection or certain tumors.
*TP (Total Protein) - The level of TP can detect a variety of conditions, including dehydration and diseases of the liver, kidney or intestine.
ELECTROCARDIOGRAM - Detects heart rate and electrical rhythm. Certain abnormal rhythms and heart rates can be harmful to animals undergoing anesthesia.
What are other services that are recommended?
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 also need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 7 to 10 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.
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.
We may recommend an oral anti-inflamatory 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. We use narcotic patches for some surgeries as well. Injectable pain medications are also used after surgery.
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 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, we will need to 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.
** FEEDING YOUR PET INCREASES THE POTENTIAL RISK OF COMPLICATIONS.**
Drop off times are from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.