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Here at Madera Veterinary Center, we pride ourselves in the quality of care given to our patients before, during and after surgery. Any surgical procedure, whether routine or complex, can bring much anxiety to you and your pet.
Do you have questions about what the surgery check-in process is going to be like? Do you have feelings of anxiety about leaving your pet at the hospital (most do!) and wonder what your pet does here all day? Do you wonder why we offer optional procedures with your pet’s surgery? Well if you do, we would like to take you on a step-by-step tour of what you should expect before, during and after your pet’s surgical procedure.
The night before surgery
The night before any anesthetic procedure, your pet should be fasted from food and snacks after 10 p.m. (If your pet is a rabbit, do not restrict feeding as this may cause serious intestinal problems.) Please leave water available at all times. If your pet is on any medications, they should be given as usual unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian. If you have any questions about whether or not to give your pet’s medication, please call.
The day of surgery
We ask that you bring your pet in to the hospital between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. If you are unable to bring your pet in during the morning period, you may board your pet overnight the previous evening (boarding fees apply). The entire check-in process typically takes around 20-30 minutes. You will be required to fill out surgery paper work. The surgery paper work will have some questions for you to answer, an anesthesia release for you to sign, and a place to put a phone number where you can be reached throughout the day of your pet’s procedure. The form also explains and allows you to choose pre-anesthetic blood work with your pet’s anesthetic procedure. This option is not included in the base price of the procedure that you may have been quoted. We have often been asked why we offer this as an option and not make it mandatory, as it aids in increasing the safety of the procedure. The answer is unfortunately economics; the blood work has an added cost that, if included in cost of the surgery, would increase the base price of all of our procedures, making some very important and necessary surgical procedures not affordable to everyone. However, we feel that pre-anesthetic testing is very important and falls into the standard of pet care that we want to offer all of our clients.
Pre-anesthetic blood profile and CBC: Your pet’s kidney and liver are the organs used to process and eliminate anesthesia from your pet’s system. This blood work evaluates your pet’s liver and kidney function to confirm that they are working properly. This profile may also reveal hidden health conditions that may put your pet at risk with anesthesia. A CBC is another blood test done prior to surgery that will check red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet counts. These tests can uncover things like anemia, early infection, or blood clotting disorders. If any of these conditions are present, your pet’s surgeon may recommend that surgery be delayed due to the risks of serious surgical complications. For more information on pre-anesthetic testing click here.
Once the surgical release form has been filled out and all of your questions have been answered, the technician will take your pet to our surgical ward and get a weight and temperature. If you elected for your pet to have blood work performed, this is when we would draw the blood and start the testing process. If your pet’s blood values indicate that there might be a concern with anesthesia, the surgeon will call you to discuss your options. If your pet’s values are normal and your pet is healthy enough to receive anesthesia, we will administer a pre-medication injection. Pre-medicating allows us to use less anesthesia in order to intubate your pet and anesthetize. Because the pre-medication is a sedative, it also helps to keep your pet more comfortable while waiting to have the procedure done.
Madera Veterinary Center schedules surgical procedures on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Surgeries are typically started around 10 a.m. When it is your pet’s time to have their procedure performed, he or she will be given an injection of anesthesia, intubated and hooked up to an inhalant anesthetic (isoflurane). At this time, your pet will be connected to numerous monitoring devices including an ECG, blood pressure monitor and pulse oximeter. The area where the surgeon will be making the incision is shaved and sterilized. A microchip may be implanted if you had elected to have one placed. The procedure is then performed with continuous technician monitoring of your pet’s temperature, pulse, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation. Pain management injections and nail trims are also done at this time. There are times when decisions need to be made while your pet is under anesthesia to avoid future procedures. It is very important that you are available by phone or designate someone that will be available that can make decisions for you. When the surgeon is done, your pet will be monitored closely by the surgery technician until fully awake.
Once the procedure is done, the surgeon or surgery technician will call and let you know how your pet is doing and how the procedure went. We will also schedule a time at which you can take your pet home. All anesthetic procedures require a minimum of two to three hours of recovery time before going home to make sure your pet is waking up safely and completely from anesthesia. Patients that had surgery involving an intra-abdominal incision (i.e., spay) will typically spend the night to allow more initial time to start the healing process and to completely metabolize the anesthetic.
Post Surgical Instructions
When you come to pick up your pet from surgery, one of our technicians will go over post surgical instructions with you. We do this before we reunite you with your pet in order to clearly communicate the importance of the instructions and answer any questions you may have. You will also be informed if and when you need to return to have your pet’s sutures removed. If we are sending home any medications such as pain medications or antibiotics, the technician will go over the specific dosing instructions and when to start the medications.
If your pet received IV fluids, the catheter will be removed at the time of discharge and a bandage placed to prevent bleeding. This bandage needs to be removed one to two hours after your pet leaves the hospital, unless any swelling is noted. If this happens, please remove the bandage without waiting.
If your pet is prone to licking or chewing, you may want to take home an Elizabethan collar to prevent the possibility of opening the incision and the need for further surgeries. This collar must be left on at all times unless under your direct supervision.
If your female pet was spayed and was in heat, she will continue to have hormones in her system for the next few weeks to months. These females should have no contact with intact males until the incision is completely healed, because we do not want any internal sutures to become damaged.
If your male dog was neutered, he can still show signs of dominance and aggression or even marking behaviors for quite sometime after the procedure.
The very last thing we will do before we bring your furry friend up to you is check the incision and clean around the area if needed. It is now time for your pet to go home with you! If you ever have any questions or concerns after a procedure is done, never hesitate to call us.
We hope this helps to put your mind at ease and gives you a better idea of what your pet’s experience is like when he or she comes to Madera Veterinary Center for a surgical procedure. If you have any other questions regarding your pet’s procedure, please call and talk to one of our receptionists prior to the surgery date or ask your technician at the time of the surgery.