Laurel Park Animal Hospital

1824 Windsor Dr.
Laurel Park, NC 28791

(828)697-5686

laurelparkanimalhospital.evetsites.net


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 Laurel Park Animal Hospital, the Doctor's perform a thorough physical examination on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness will not interfere with safety. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. 

Pre-anesthetic 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 serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected. Pre-surgical screening is important in preventing further possible complications.

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.


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 or staples. 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 or staples, these will usually be removed at no charge 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level during this 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 or signs of pain as people do. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than procedures such as minor lacerations.

For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory drug the day after surgery, as well as several days after, to lessen the discomfort and swelling. 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. 

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 an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time.

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 with a Doctor or Technician.

We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment and 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.