Albert North Veterinary Clinic - Surgical FAQs
What You Need To Know Before Your Pet’s Upcoming Surgery
While anesthesia and surgery may seem like scary prospects, the risk of problems from anesthesia or surgery is usually far lower than the risk of not preforming a needed procedure. At Albert North Veterinary Clinic, our doctors and team work together to keep your pet as safe and comfortable as possible. The following information is provided to answer the most common questions and concerns and give you an idea of what to expect before, during, and after your pet’s procedure.
Booking an appointment
Surgeries are performed by our veterinarians on weekday (Monday – Friday) mornings. For any surgeries besides routine spays and neuters, we need to have seen the patient within the last year. If there is a day that is best for you, please book as far ahead as possible so we are able to accommodate your needs.
It is important for surgery to be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. For most patients, we recommend no food after 9pm the night before and remove water first thing the morning of surgery.
On the day of your pet’s procedure, we request that they be brought into the clinic between 7:30 and 8:30 am. Please allow at least 15 minutes for us to go over the consent form and estimate with you and confirm any extra procedures you may want done (such as nail trim or ear clean). If you know you are going to be pressed for time in the morning, you may come in a day or two ahead to fill out all of the required paperwork to expedite the admittance process on the morning of the procedure.
Preanesthetic Exam and Bloodwork
Before administering anesthetics, we do a thorough physical exam to ensure that a fever or other illness won’t be a problem. Preanesthetic bloodwork is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia and is strongly recommended for every animal going under anesthesia to ensure that the kidneys and liver can handle the anesthetic drugs. Even animals that appear healthy may have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. We can run these tests in-house the morning of surgery prior to the procedure*. Minor dysfunctions in bloodwork may determine the types of anesthetic and post-operative pain medications that are used. If serious problems are detected, surgery may be postponed until the problem is corrected. For geriatric or ill patients, additional tests (such as x-rays or ultrasound) may be advised before surgery.
*With the exception of exotic patients whose bloodwork must be sent to Saskatoon and is done 1 week prior to their surgery date.
All patients going under general anesthetic are placed on IV fluids (with the exception of cat neuters* and other short procedures such as small lumps). This provides direct access to the vascular system in the event that emergency drugs are required. The fluids also maintain your pet’s blood pressure and prevent dehydration, which helps your pet feel better and recover faster from the anesthetic.
*Male cats receive sub-Q fluids (fluids injected under the skin) rather than IV fluids due to the short surgery time involved with their neuter.
All patients are carefully monitored by a veterinary technician for their entire procedure for heart and respiratory rates, blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, and temperature. This allows us to adjust the anesthetic appropriately to prevent the patient from becoming too light or too deep and catch changes that may indicate a problem early. During recovery they continue to be watched closely for signs of complications or pain. Most patients are kept until about mid-afternoon, although some patients undergoing major surgeries may be kept overnight, to ensure that they are recovering well prior to heading home.
When you come in to pick your pet up, please allow about 10 -15 minutes for a technician to go over discharge instructions on how to care for your pet over the next several days. Please follow these instructions carefully as they will help prevent complications from arising. Most patients will be sent home with pain medications. Remember, anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals, and pain slows the healing process. We use drugs during the surgery to control pain, and you will need to continue pain medication at home to ensure your pet’s comfort. DO NOT give your pets any medications without discussing it with a veterinarian first as they may be harmful to your pet or have a negative reaction with the other medications that they are on.
See also our General FAQ page