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

Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery.  This section will answer the most frequently asked questions about surgery and will explain the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery. We hope you find this information helpful.

Is the anesthetic safe?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past.  Here at Sunrise Pet Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be an issue.  We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. 

Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. We strongly recommend that every pet undergo blood testing prior to 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 there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications.  Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive fluids during surgery.  If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.

It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting after anesthesia.  You will need to withhold food and water for at least 10 to 12 hours before 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 spays and tumor removals- 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 a problem you will also need to watch for. Your pet may be sent home with an e-collar to prevent chewing or licking of the incision site. 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 needed will depend on the surgery performed.  Major procedures require more pain relief than minor lacerations.

We may recommend pain medication the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling.    After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis.  Any animal that appears in pain will receive additional pain medication. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.

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.  This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of your 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.

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

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My husband and I are very pleased with the treatment our two golden retriever have received. Dr. Jang's care for our boys is outstanding. He explains everything and answers all of our concerns. The office staff is very friendly. We appreciate the "How is he doing?" phone calls we have received after procedures are done.

G.B.

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