Prepping Your Pet for Surgery

By Nicole Abrego

Finding out that your pet needs surgery can be unnerving. Your veterinarian wouldn’t recommend surgery unless it was necessary to benefit your furry companion’s overall health. Surgeries can be performed for a variety of reasons, ranging from routine surgeries such as spays/neuters and dentals, to more extensive surgeries used to address more urgent matters such as fractures, lacerations, or obstructions.

Surgeries at The Drake Center

Being an AAHA-Accredited practice, The Drake Center prides itself in maintaining the highest level of surgical care in veterinary medicine. Each patient is treated by our highly trained surgery team, consisting of one doctor, two registered veterinary technicians (RVTs), and a veterinary assistant. We maintain the safest anesthetic protocols, based on the rigorous standards established by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). While under anesthesia, your pet’s vitals will be monitored by a technician throughout the entirety of the procedure until they are fully awake. This close monitoring of anesthesia will allow our surgery team to diagnose issues should any arise and adjust anesthesia levels accordingly. Your pet will be cared for through the entire procedure from pre-surgery up to the recovery period.

To prep your pet for a surgical procedure, your veterinarian will evaluate your pet from head-to-tail through screenings, which may include ultrasounds, blood tests, and x-rays to fully access your pet’s health. Prepping your pet for surgery will require assistance from you to ensure that your dog or cat is fully prepared for their procedure and to help their surgery and recovery go smoothly.

The Night Before...

Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed instructions to help you prepare your pet for surgery. Fasting your pet is quite common the night prior to undergoing a surgical procedure. It is recommended to restrict food and treats after 10pm the night prior to the procedure. This is incredibly important, since having food in the stomach can interfere with intubation, or breathing tube, used to deliver anesthesia. Anesthesia, in some cases can cause nausea in the pet, which could lead to vomiting if there is food present in the stomach during the use of anesthesia. This could potentially lead to aspiration pneumonia.

Younger patients, such as a kitten or puppy undergoing surgery, may be allowed to keep their regular feeding routine due to their age. In most cases, it should be okay to allow your pet to have water up until the morning of surgery, unless directed by your veterinarian.

The Morning of Surgery

Unless directed by your veterinarian, all food, treats, medication, vitamins, supplements, and/or injections should be withheld from your pet the morning of surgery.

Arriving on time for your scheduled appointment is imperative to allow enough time for your pet’s surgical preparation. Great surgical care takes time and so arriving in a timely manner will help your pet’s surgery and recovery go smoothly. You’ll meet with a surgical nurse to review the timeline for the day and discuss any questions or concerns you may have. 

Once admitted, your pet will have a pre-surgery exam to make sure they are in their best possible health. Your pet will be given a pre-anesthetic injection to help relax them prior to surgery. From there, our surgical team will perform your pet’s surgery with top quality care and compassion. 

After the Surgery

Once the procedure is complete and your pet is fully awake from anesthesia, your veterinarian will contact you to set up a dismissal appointment to review the procedure and go over at home care instructions. She will also make sure that you are comfortable with the post-surgery care instructions and give you an idea of what to expect in the coming days. 

It’s quite normal for your pet to be a little groggy for a day or two as they recover. It helps to create a quiet comfortable area for your pet to rest. If you have other pets in the home, it’s best to keep them away from your pet recovering from surgery. Rest is key to a speedy recovery. 

We will contact you the day after surgery to follow up and see how your pet is doing. If you have any questions or concerns, our veterinarians will be able to assist you with any concerns you may have. Your pet’s comfort and health are our top priority and making sure that they are recovering well is our ultimate goal. 

If you have any questions about our surgery procedures at The Drake Center or need to schedule your pet’s next appointment, contact us today.

The Drake Center for Veterinary Care is an AAHA-accredited animal hospital located in Encinitas, CA. The Drake Center loves being a source of information for all pet owners across the country however if you have any questions regarding pet care and do not live in Encinitas, CA or surrounding cities, we encourage you to contact your local veterinarian.

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