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.
Today’s modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. 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 is 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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-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. 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 painful will receive additional pain medication.We use narcotic patches for some surgeries in dogs as well. The cost will depend on the size of the dog. Injectable pain medications may also be used after surgery on both dogs and cats. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
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.
No need to worry. We have you covered.
Because of the shorter lifespan of our pets, we stress the importance of an annual physical examination. Thorough check-ups and preventive care can help alleviate serious health problems. We offer a wide range of veterinary services to keep your companions feeling their best:
*New* Therapeutic Laser Therapy: Laser therapy stimulates the body to heal from within. Non-thermal photons of light are administered to the body and absorbed by the injured cells. The cells are then stimulated and respond with a higher rate of metabolism. This results in increased circulation from the body, an anti-inflammatory reaction, relief from pain and an acceleration of the healing process. Works great for acute pain, chronic osteoarthritis, wounds, ear infections, and much more.
Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services: Our hospital is equipped to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services to care for your pets’ complete health care needs.
Surgical Services: Our state-of-the-art surgical suite provides for the performance of a wide variety of surgical procedures.
Anesthesia: We utilize the safest available anesthetics to provide an extra margin of safety, especially for our older or high-risk patients. Using the most modern equipment, the patient’s vital signs are monitored during all anesthetic procedures.
Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services: Our hospital is equipped to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services to care for your pets’ complete health care needs. We offer ultrasound and endoscopy as well as digital radiography.
Radiology Services: Our on-site, modern X-ray equipment provides high quality radiographs to aid in the quick diagnosis of many disorders.
Electrocardiography Services: We provide ECG services on-site as well as consultations with cardiology specialists.
Dentistry: Regular dental care is essential for keeping your pet healthy and happy. Dental disease is a common issue among household pets that can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. Periodic dental exams help maintain proper oral hygiene and prevent future complications.
Acupuncture: Dr. Tina Johnson is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. There are a variety of condtions llamas and alpacas that respond extremely well to acupuncture. Visit our Acupuncture page for more information.
Grooming: a clean and healthy coat is essential to your puppies comfort. Introducing your puppy to good grooming habits when young, will help them accept care in their adult years. Special pricing for puppies and kittens 6 months and under.
Backyard Chickens:More and more people have chickens living in their backyards, and we recognize that they are parts of your family, too. Dr. Tina Johnson loves chickens (and caring for them!), and we can help if you have chickens already or if you’re considering setting up a coop. We can provide information on breed selection, nutrition, housing, disease prevention and how to treat injuries and illnesses.
Laboratory: Our in-house laboratory facilities provide for serum chemistry, hematology, serology, urinalysis and parasite testing. We also utilize commercial veterinary laboratories for specialized diagnostics and consultations.
Permanent identification: We offer microchip identification.
Pharmacy: We maintain a complete inventory of pharmaceuticals, vitamins, shampoos, flea and tick control products and heartworm preventatives to meet the needs of your pet. We also carry a full line of prescription diets.
Individualized Flea Control Programs: We develop programs for the specific needs of your pet and your own particular environmental situation. We will review with you the best ways to control fleas in your house, in your yard and on your pet.
Dietary Counseling: We will provide guidance regarding your pet’s nutritional needs for each life stage, including dietary requirements for growth, weight maintenance and performance.
Behavioral Counseling: We can provide advice regarding the correction of problems such as excessive barking, chewing, spraying, scratching, digging, house soiling and aggression.
Boarding: We provide pet boarding as a service to our clients. All boarders receive personal attention from our caring staff. Pets may be dropped off and picked up during regular business hours Monday through Saturday.
Bathing: Routine and therapeutic bathing services are available.
Emergency Care: Please call our main telephone number for instructions for after-hour emergencies.