Is your pet visiting our clinic soon for a procedure?
Jess Nielson - Vet Nurse
It is important to Vet Services that you understand what happens to your pet when they come to us for surgery. We appreciate that you may feel anxious leaving your pet and we hope the following will help ease any concern you may have.
First thing in the morning and Pre-Anaesthetic Checks.
When you bring your pet to us on the day of surgery you will have a consultation with one of our qualified veterinary nurses. She will collect information from you prior to the final veterinary check. At this point you will have the opportunity to ask questions about the surgical procedure.
The nurse will take your pet through into the clinic. The veterinary surgeon will give him/her a general check over to ensure surgery is ok to go ahead. If any abnormalities are detected (i.e. abnormal heart sounds, elevated temperature or other clinical signs), the veterinarian will then assess the situation and a decision will be made whether the surgery proceeds. Depending on the findings, the veterinarian will discuss with you your options which may require re-scheduling your appointment for a later date. More often than not the abnormalities detected at the clinical exam are relatively minor. However, we will not subject your pet to an anaesthetic or surgery if we are not completely happy with him or her.
Our gold standard recommendation is that for all major surgery, especially for geriatric patients (8 years and older) or those with concurrent disease that they are given intravenous (I.V.) fluids. This involves placing an intravenous catheter prior to beginning anaesthesia.
The reason we encourage placing your pet on intravenous fluids are to maintain blood pressure. Anaesthetic drugs can cause your pet’s blood pressure to drop. Using fluid therapy will ensure blood pressure is maintained, ensuring all major organs are not compromised. This also helps remove the drugs at the end of surgery encouraging a faster recovery. If surgery involves opening the abdomen, fluid will be evaporate and their body will also lose heat through this site. The body cannot maintain its own temperature whilst under anaesthesia so we need to prevent fluid and heat loss where we can.
During anaesthesia/surgery/recovery and after care.
A qualified nurse will be monitoring your pet from before surgery to full recovery. This includes monitoring anaesthesia, blood pressure, breathing, heart rate and temperature. This is a job not taken lightly. Intra venous fluids are warmed prior to surgery to help lessen the effect on body temperature and to replace any lost fluid. Blankets and other warming measures are used to help your pet maintain their body temperature throughout surgery. Temperature is extremely important to be maintained as it affects the depth of anaesthesia during surgery and also the recovery time frame.
The care of your pet does not stop after the surgical procedure has finished. A qualified veterinary nurse will stay by your pet’s side until it is safe to be removed from the anaesthetic machine and it is safe to place them in a quiet and warm recovery cage where they can rest and recover in their own time. The nurse will regularly monitor each patient and report back to the veterinarian on their recovery progress.
The recovery process takes time, so it is important to have your pet to us in the morning to ensure we have all routine surgery completed with enough time for recovery. On occasion, the veterinarian may advise that your pet will stay the night at the clinic particularly if in the unlikely event surgery was done later (due to an emergency), was more difficult than expected, or if recovery wasn’t as smooth as planned. Routine surgery cases usually go home the same day as surgery, whereas major surgeries commonly stay for several days.
If any complications arise prior, during or post-surgery, your veterinarian will contact you as soon as practical.
When you come in to collect your pet a qualified nurse will talk to you about the procedure and go over any medications, instructions for at home and answer any questions you may have.
Your pet may have oral pain relief to have at home in the form of anti-inflammatories. These anti-inflammatories help reduce any swelling around the surgical site aiding the healing process and will reduce the urge for them to self-traumatise the wound (eg lick, pull stitches).
It is usually 24 hours before your pet is fully recovered from anaesthesia, so keeping him or her warm for the first night home is also extremely important.
If your pet is booked in for surgery and you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to give one of our qualified veterinary nurses a call today.