Lawrence Veterinary Hospital

3210 Clinton Parkway Ct.
Lawrence, KS 66047

(785)841-9956

www.lawrencevethospital.com

Surgery FAQ's

What do I need to know before my pet's upcoming surgery?

Is the anesthetic safe?

Will my pet have stitches?

Will my pet be in pain?

What other decisions do I need to make?

 

What do I need to know before my 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 Lawrence Veterinary 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.

Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia.  Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver, kidneys and other internal organs 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 be aware of it before surgery.

We offer three levels of in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in.  We recommend a comprehensive screen because it gives the most helpful 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.

All anesthetic procedures are closely monitored by our highly trained and attentive staff.  Our anesthesia monitoring equipment allows us to constantly track your pet?s heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and oxygen carrying capacity.  In addition, we recommend placing an intravenous catheter prior to surgery.  Intravenous fluids increase blood perfusion to the vital organs and maintain blood pressure during anesthesia. 

Please withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery.  Water can be given to the pet up until the morning of surgery. It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. 

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.  Many dogs and cats will lick or chew at the incision following surgery.  To prevent this from occurring we may send home an E-Collar for your pet to wear until the surgery site has healed.  If there are skin sutures, these will need to be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery.  Please restrict your pet's activity level until sutures are removed and do not bathe your pet for 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.  The type of pain medication needed will be determined by the type of surgery performed. 
Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.

For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day of 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.

Cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol.  Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before.  All feline surgical patients will receive pain medication while they are hospitalized and many will go home with pain medication to help keep them comfortable in the days following surgery.

Sometimes pain medication is administered continuously through an IV catheter by constant rate infusion. We find that this provides the most consistent method of pain control and ensures the comfort of our patients post-operatively.  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.


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 a HomeAgain identification microchip.  If you would like an estimate for these 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, please allow approximately 10 minutes to fill out paperwork and make decisions regarding blood testing and other options available.  When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend some time with the doctor or nurses to go over your pet's home care needs.

We will call you the day 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.