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Caring for Your Pet Before and After Surgery

pets surgery care

3 Most Common Pet Surgeries

At some point in time, your pet will probably benefit from one or more of these surgeries.

Spaying or Neutering

Spaying (for the female) and neutering (for the male) stops pets from reproducing. In addition to preventing unwanted litters, the surgeries also offer other benefits, such as a reduction in aggression and marking and prevention of some forms of cancer.

Dental Surgery

Tooth decay is not just a problem for people. If you do not brush your pet's teeth, decay can occur. If it's extensive enough, the tooth will need to be removed during surgery.

Tumor Removal

Surgery may be needed to remove tumors and masses that form on your pet's skin. Luckily, most tumors and masses are benign. Surgery can also be helpful if your pet has a wound or abscess that has not healed on its own.

Is a surgery in your pet's future? If it is, you probably have a few questions about pre- and post-surgery care. Paying close attention to care recommendations will help you ensure that the surgery is just a minor disruption to your pet's normal routine.

Before Surgery

Stop Food

Your pet will need to stop eating prior to surgery. If your dog or cat eats prior to surgery then vomits, stomach contents can travel to the lungs and cause infections, pneumonia or respiratory distress syndrome. The exact time your pet must stop eating will vary depending on when the surgery is scheduled. In most cases, your furry friend can still drink water.

Some pets will need to eat light meals the morning of surgery. If your pet has diabetes, your veterinarian may recommend a small amount of food to prevent blood sugar fluctuations. Young animals may also need to eat small meals before surgery. Do not feed your pet unless you are specifically asked to do so.

Dig Out the Leash or Carrier

The morning of surgery is not the ideal time to try to locate a missing leash or carrier. Your morning will be less hectic if you find these items the day before surgery. If you have a cat that turns into the Tasmanian devil at the sight of the carrier, allow a little extra time in the morning for cat wrangling.

Pack Food and Medication

Ask your veterinarian if you should bring your pet's medications and a small supply of food with you. Although the hospital can provide food, introducing new food can cause an upset stomach.

Drop Your Pet Off Early

The day of surgery is a busy day for your pet. You will be asked to drop off your companion early in the morning to ensure that there is enough time for these essential procedures:

  • Physical examination
  • X-rays or EKG (electrocardiogram) if needed
  • Blood tests
  • Placement of a catheter
  • Administration of IV fluids
  • Preparations for anesthesia

After Surgery

Prepare a Comfortable Resting Place

Your pet needs a comfortable place to recover from the surgery and the effects of the anesthesia. Bring your companion's pet bed or crate to the first floor of your home if it is not already there. If you have small children, you may want to find a quiet room for your pet to ensure that he or she gets plenty of rest.

Limit Activity

Although your pet may be a little groggy, a little thing like surgery probably will not keep him or her from trying to resume a normal routine. Keep your pet away from stairs or other obstacles until the anesthesia wears off and try to discourage running or jumping. If your pet absolutely must rest, a crate is a good solution, although your furry friend may not be happy about being confined.

Make Bathroom Trips Easier

Pets often receive fluids before, during or after surgery, which causes frequent urination in the first few hours that they are home. Take your dog outside frequently and make sure that a litter box is easily accessible for your cat.

Follow the Medication Schedule

If your pet came home with antibiotics or other medications, make sure you follow dosage instructions and schedules to ensure that your pet has an uncomplicated recovery.

A positive surgical experience for your pet is our goal. Be sure to contact us if you have any questions about your pet's surgery or need answers to general health questions.

Sources:

Pet Health Network: How Do I Prepare for My Dog or Cat Having Surgery?, 05/14/14
http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-surgery-a-z/how-do-i-prepare-my-dog-or-cat-having-surgery

VetStreet: Caring for Your Pet After Surgery, 03/21/14
http://www.vetstreet.com/care/caring-for-your-pet-after-surgery

Mercola: Top 10 Reasons Pets Go Under the Knife, 11/25/10

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/11/25/prevent-pet-sicknesses-to-lessen-pet-surgeries.aspx

Peteducation: Surgery on Your Pet
http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2116&aid=2647

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Testimonial

Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.

The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.

Sung L.
Rupert, ID

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