Frequently Asked Questions
Our doctors and staff understand the responsibility of performing surgery on your pet is a significant one. We want to tell you that we take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to providing the safest and most comfortable surgical experience that we can for your pet.
The morning that your pet arrives for the operation, an examination will be performed by your doctor for any previously unrecognized problems. If we have not already performed pre-surgical blood work, we will perform blood tests including complete red and white blood cell counts, hemoglobin measurement, hematocrit, and differential counts. Kidney, liver and blood glucose levels will be measured to help ensure the safety of anesthesia. In some cases it may be necessary to take x-rays prior to surgery. An intravenous fluid line will be started in your pet's leg. Your pet will receive an intravenous injection of a short acting anesthetic and a tube will be placed in the trachea to keep the airway open during the operation. The tube will then be connected to a machine that will provide a safe gas anesthetic to keep your pet free of pain during the surgery. A heart monitor and an instrument that measures blood oxygen levels will be attached to allow us to better monitor vital signs during the operation. A patient warming device will be used to regulate body temperature.The surgical site will be clipped, scrubbed, and painted with an antibacterial solution to assure sterility. We will then make the required incision(s) and carefully and skillfully perform the surgery.
When ever possible, we use a "state-of-the-art" CO2 surgical laser. We believe that the laser is a better alternative to the standard surgical scalpel and it is our standard for sugical incisions. The advantages are:
Less pain - laser surgery seals nerve endings
Less bleeding - the laser seals small blood vessels allowing greater precision and speeding up some procedures
Less swelling• Reduced risk of infection• Quicker return to normal activities
By using the laser for surgical procedures, the benefits to the patient in the form of reduced pain are so significant that we could not in good conscience perform the procedure in any other way. After your pet's operation is completed the anesthesia machine will be disconnected and your pet will be carefully observed until fully awake. With your permission a narcotic pain patch will be applied to the skin or an injection will be given, providing post-operative pain relief. Some pets will be released to go home the same day and some will be kept overnight for further observation and/or treatment.
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. We do a thorough physical exam and the appropriate tests needed on your pet before administering anesthetics. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. 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 and water prior to the morning of surgery. Our doctors will advise you on how many hours of withholding food and water will be necessary for your pet based on the pet’s physical condition and type of surgery.
Will My Pet Have Stitches?
For my surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries 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.
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 if 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-inflammatory 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. Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications, 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 prior to surgery and after surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication. Injectable pain medications may also be used after surgery on both dogs and cats.
Most pets have a shorter life span than their owners and they age at a rate five to seven times faster than humans. Because of this, we recommend a thorough physical examination every six months. The doctor will thoroughly examine your pet and any abnormal findings will be clearly explained to you, and if necessary, the doctor may recommend further diagnostic tests or procedures. We are happy to provide you with an estimate of the cost of treating your pet, as we understand the financial limitations of pet care.
We believe that good preventive medicine is essential for your pet to live a long, healthy, and pain free life. We always strive to stay current on all recommended vaccination protocols and emphasize parasite control, good dental care, and quality nutrition.
We understand that behavioral problems are an unfortunate fact of life, at times putting extreme stress on your relationship with your pet. We have doctors and staff that have a special interest in animal behavior and in treating pets with such problems as anxiety, aggression, and inappropriate elimination habits. Our staff will help educate you as far as how to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place and assist you in proper training and socialization methods.
If your pet requires the service of a specialist, veterinarians who have completed advanced studies in specialties such as; internal medicine, specialized and Orthopedic surgery, Cancer treatment, and emergency care, we will make the referral for you.
Of course you can call us anytime to inquire about your pet’s status or talk with any member of our team.
Vaccinations are important, even for indoor pets. Some diseases are airborne or can be acquired by contact with fecal matter that might be brought into your house from your shoes. Any animal that goes outdoors should be vaccinated annually for rabies, and this includes ferrets and bunnies. As a precautionary measure we recommend that all animals be vaccinated for rabies.
Vaccinations help protect your pet from painful and often fatal diseases. They help ensure a long and healthy life for your pet and many hours of enjoyment for you with your pet. The cost of vaccinations is very small compared to the cost of treating a disease or losing your pet altogether. Our doctors will work with you to determine the necessary vaccinations and appropriate schedule needed for your pet. After any vaccinations, it is important to watch your pet for the next couple of days for any signs of a reaction to the shot. Possible symptoms include:
Loss of appetite
Irritability, expressed as biting, growling, or unwillingness to be with people
Unusual sleepiness, lack of energy
Swelling or redness around the injection site
If you notice any of these signs, please contact us. If you observe a lump on your cat for more than 3 months after it has been vaccinated for rabies or feline leukemia call us immediately. This could be a sign of a vaccine-associated tumor. Reactions to vaccines happen from time to time, but for the most part, having your pet vaccinated, and given a health checkup once a year, is the safest way to protect them and help them live a long, happy life.
What Are Spaying and Neutering?
Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures performed by veterinarians that render dogs and cats incapable of breeding by removing their reproductive organs. When a female dog or cat is spayed (also called an ovariohysterectomy), the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed. Neutering results in the castration of males and the complete removal of their testicles. What Are the Health Benefits of Spaying and Neutering?Spayed or neutered pets may be less likely to develop certain types of diseases. Spaying and neutering also may also decrease the instinct for the pet to roam and get into fights with other animals, which may have contagious diseases or parasites.
Why Should I Spay or Neuter My Dog or Cat?
In addition to the many health benefits, spaying or neutering your dog or cat ensures that he or she won'’t contribute to the over population problem. Even a dog or cat that lives indoors may escape and produce puppies or kittens if not sterilized. Each year, millions of homeless dogs and cats are euthanized or end up in shelters due to a lack of good homes.
What Are Some Behavioral Issues Associated with Cats Who Aren’t Spayed or Neutered?
Although any cat can spray urine to mark territory, intact males are those who most often engage in this behavior. Both intact male and female cats may try to escape their homes to roam outside. When female cats are in heat they yowl and attract male cats.
When Is the Best Time To Spay or Neuter My Dog or Cat?
It is generally considered safe for puppies or kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered. In animal shelters, surgery is often performed at this time so that puppies and kittens can be sterilized prior to adoption. In an effort to avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chance for pregnancy in cats, it’s advisable to schedule the surgery before your own cat reaches six months of age. It’s possible to spay a female cat while she’s in heat, but not always recommended since she’s susceptible to increased blood loss. Although older dogs and cats can be good candidates, we can work with you to best determine if the procedure can be safely performed.
What Happens When My Dog or Cat Is Spayed or Neutered?
Will He or She Act Differently?After sterilization, your dog or cat may be calmer and less likely to exhibit certain behaviors, but his or her personality will not change. Fixed males may require fewer calories to maintain their body weight, so please talk to your vet about adjusting your pet’s dietary needs.
How Do I Prepare My Pet for Surgery?
We will provide pre-surgical advice that you should follow. In general, avoid giving your pet any food after midnight the night before surgery. Puppies and kittens, however, need adequate nutrition, and we will determine and advise you on their food consumption prior to surgery. What Is the Recovery Process for Recently Spayed or Neutered Dogs or Cats?Although your pet may experience some discomfort after surgery, he/she shouldn’t be in pain. Depending on the procedure performed, medication to control pain may be sent home with your pet.
Here are some tips for a safe and comfortable recovery
Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals
Try to prevent your pet from running or jumping for the first few days following surgery
Prevent your pet from licking the incision site, which may cause infection, by distracting him with a few treats or by using an Elizabethan collar
With cats consider using shredded paper instead of cat litter, since dust from the litter can also cause infection
Avoid bathing your pet for at least ten days after surgery
Check the incision site daily to confirm proper healing.
If you notice any redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision is open, please contact our office. Also call our office if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting or has diarrhea following surgery.