What do I need to know before my dog has surgery?

Understanding why your dog is having surgery and what the surgery will entail, and what recovery time will look like are some important questions to discuss with your vet.

Dr. Sarah Dilworth
The Drake Center

Will my dog need lab work done before having surgery?

Yes. We require our patients to have lab work before surgery primarily to understand how safe surgery is or isn't going to be for some of those patients and understand their overall metabolic stability going into the procedure.

Does my dog need to see a specialist for their surgery?

Depending on the type of surgery would determine whether or not we would refer them to a specialist. With certain things like orthopedic surgery, we refer to a specialist. For some other types of emergency surgeries, we will refer to a specialist, and we here at the Drake Center can help determine which of those patients we would recommend sending to a specialist.

What will my veterinarian be looking for in the pre-surgery lab work?

In the pre-surgery lab work, there are a few different indicators that we're looking at to understand how the anesthesia is going to be metabolized or digested, so there are a few organ functionalities that we look at. We also check their platelet count, which is the glue of the blood, to ensure they're clotting properly and that there aren't any other significant abnormalities that would give us concern about their overall health. The results of these checks will tell us whether their anesthetic risk is much higher or if we need to change our plans for their procedure.

Who will be monitoring my dog while under anesthesia?

Here at the Drake Center, we have a team of veterinarians and technicians. Some of the technicians are registered veterinary technicians who have additional schooling and licensing and particular training in anesthesia, and they're the ones who are monitoring our anesthetic procedures.

How long will my dog need to recover after having surgery?

It's variable as to what your dog will have done and how long it will take them to recover. Most soft tissue surgeries, spays, neuters, and wound repairs take about 10 days for a complete healing period. Some of the other oral surgeries, depending on the level of extraction, can be a week to two weeks. And then some of the more complicated procedures, such as drastic wound repairs and things like that, can require about a two-week recovery.

How can I help my dog recover at home after surgery?

One of the most critical things is paying attention to discharge instructions from your doctor, which you'll receive after their procedure. Those instructions include information about medications that they may go home with and the diet they need, and their activity level. Activity restriction can be vital to some of the healing processes, as well as whether or not they will need an e-collar or a cone, and how long they're going to need to maintain that as well as any follow-up that would be indicated afterward for their procedure.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (760) 456-9556, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Surgery - FAQs

Dr. Sarah Dilworth
The Drake Center

What can I do at home to get my dog ready for surgery?

So some of the best things that you can do at home are to have had your pre-surgical exam with your veterinarian so that you know what to anticipate coming into the surgery. Also, you should have fasted your dog, not giving them food, the morning of the procedure. Those are some of the most important things. And hopefully, you have them willing to get in the car the morning of their procedure.

How soon can my dog come home after surgery?

Most of our patients will be dismissed in the late afternoon or early evening on the day of their procedure. Their go-home time will be discussed with you when the doctor gives you a call about their procedure once they're in recovery.

What do I need to know about taking care of my dog after surgery?

So all of our canine patients will go home with some written discharge instructions, and your veterinarian, or one of their assistants, will go over those instructions beforehand. The majority of our post-op cases go home with some pain medications, antibiotics, and so all of the instructions will be given out with those. Most of these dogs need some rest or activity restriction for a while, as well as a cone or an E-collar to wear during their recovery. So the instructions with that are essential to not only have, but also to refer back to.

When can my dog return to normal feeding and activity after surgery?

So there is a little bit of variability with that, depending on the procedure that they've had. Most dogs can resume eating the night of their procedure. Sometimes we will alter the volume or the type of food they're eating, and activity level is a bit variable. Many of our dental procedure patients can return to their normal activity level the following day, versus some of our soft tissue surgeries that will require waiting about a week to 10 days before we let them do much physical activity.

Will my dog need post-surgery pain medication?

So depending on the procedure, the post-surgery pain medication will be dispensed. The majority of our surgical procedures go home with pain medication. Dogs that have had spays, neuters, wound repairs, and mass removals will go home with pain medication. With dental cleanings, they don't always need them afterward. And those will be discussed with you both before and after the procedure.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (760) 456-9556, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.