What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery

At ARKLE Veterinary Care, we understand that when your pet is undergoing any anesthetic procedure, you are worried about him or her. Is it safe for them to be under anesthesia? What happens if there is a problem? Will my pet be in pain? Will my pet be okay after anesthesia? These are just some of the question you may have about your pet’s upcoming procedure.

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Is the anesthetic safe?

With any anesthetic agent we use, there is always a risk of an adverse reaction. We take every precaution to minimize these risk during your pet’s anesthetic procedure. At ARKLE Veterinary Care, our trained medical staff monitors your pet continuously throughout any anesthetic procedure. The veterinarian will do a pre-surgical exam prior to the start of any anesthetic procedure. While your pet is under anesthesia, we monitor your pet’s heartbeat, blood pressure, pulse rate and body temperature. This allows our medical staff to adjust the anesthetic levels according to the vital signs and ensure the patient remains stable The handout on anesthesia explains this in greater detail.

With today’s anesthetics, many of which are reversible, your pet should be completely normal by the time of discharge. If additional medications were administered, your pet may still be a little drowsy. Many pets are sleepy or tired for up to 72 hours after anesthesia. If your pet appears to be unusually sluggish or you are unable to arouse him/her easily, contact ARKLE Vet Care immediately.

As an important part of reducing the risks of anesthesia, we recommend that all patients have pre-anesthetic bloodwork prior to any anesthetic procedure. Depending on the surgery, the age and health of your pet, the veterinarian may require pre-anesthetic bloodwork and additional diagnostic test prior to surgery. Pre-anesthetic bloodwork is performed to evaluate the health of your pet’s internal organs for any underlying conditions. Even apparently healthy animals can have underlying and potential serious organ system problems with no outward symptoms. In the event that an underlying problem is found on bloodwork, then the veterinarian and you will be able to discuss the best treatment plan for your pet.

Why should my pet have an IV catheter and fluids during their procedure?

For most all anesthetic procedures, we require an IV catheter and fluids during the procedure. Administering fluids will help protect your pet against low blood pressure, which is a common response to general anesthesia, and help them recover more quickly from the anesthesia. If we need to administer medication to your pet or there is an unexpected problem, the IV catheter gives us direct access to your pet’s circulatory system.

Will my pet be in pain?

Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do. They usually don’t cry or whine but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain. At ARKLE Veterinary Care, we believe that pets should have pain medication on the day of surgery in order to minimize any pain they may feel. We may use injectable pain medications during surgery. If any pet appears painful after surgery, then we will administer additional pain medication prior to him or her going home. Depending on the type of surgery performed and/or your pet, we may also send home oral pain medication.

Will my pet have stitches?

Depending on the type of surgical procedure, your pet may or may not have skin sutures. Most surgeries will have absorbable sutures underneath the skin. At the time of discharge, our staff will go over recommendations regarding post-surgical home care, which includes limited activity levels for 10 to 14 days. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but it is important that you monitor your pet at home for any evidence indicating they have been bothering the surgical site. If your pet starts to lick or chew at the incision, we may recommend an e-collar for your pet. Always call the clinic if you think your pet has been bothering the incision.

All surgical procedures will require a follow up visit 10 to 14 day after surgery. At this appointment, the veterinarian will check your pet’s incision, remove any external sutures, if any, and ensure that proper healing has taken place.

Preparing for your pet's anesthetic procedure

  • All anesthetic procedures are performed on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and are by appointment only. All patients must be checked into the clinic between by 8:00am the morning of surgery.
  • We will contact you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the appointment and to remind of pre-anesthetic procedures.
  • You will need to withhold food for 12 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery, unless the medical staff has specifically instructed you otherwise. If your pet is on any medications or supplements, please ask us when you should give the last dose prior to your pet’s anesthetic procedure.
  • Please allow yourself about 15 minutes to fill out surgical paperwork. If someone other than the decision maker will be bringing in your pet, understand that person will be asked to make decisions on your behalf. Please call the clinic if you would like to go over any paperwork and decisions prior to your pet’s appointment.
  • If your pet is schedule for a mass removal, please mark or show the mass(es) to the medical staff at check-in.
  • If your pet is on a special diet, or has food sensitivities, please remind the medical staff at check-in. We recommend that you bring a small amount of your pet’s favorite food or usual treat. We will offer your pet food when they have recovered form anesthesia depending on the procedure.
  • Once your pet is recovered from anesthesia, our medical staff will call you with an update on your pet and how the procedure went.
    All discharge appointments will be scheduled between 4:30pm and 5:30pm. Please allow for 10-15 minutes for our medical staff to go over at home post-surgical instructions and any medications that may have been dispensed.

You are always welcome to bring a t-shirt, pillow case or other small washable item with your scent on it from home. We will put this in the cage with your pet so they will feel more at ease. Please do not bring anything non-washable, as items may come in contact with urine, feces or other bodily fluids from your pet as they fully awake from anesthesia.

We can also perform additional procedures/treatments while your pet is under anesthesia, such as ear cleanings or microchip implantation. If you would like any additional services performed for your pet, be sure to advise our medical staff to allow for appropriate time to be scheduled for additional services.