If your pet requires surgery, there are some things you can do before and after the surgery to make their procedure run as smoothly as possible.
- Make a booking for your pet's operation.
- If your pet is a dog, wash them the day before surgery as they are unable to be washed after until the stitches are removed.
- Take time to think about the surgery your pet will have. It is best to ask questions before surgery, and we are always happy to answer any of your concerns about the procedure. Although no surgery is completely without risk, there are ways to reduce the risk of complications during the surgery. These include fasting your pet prior to anaesthesia, having pre-anaesthetic bloods tests completed, and placing intravenous fluids during the surgery. Be prepared to discuss the blood tests and fluids more on the day of the surgery, and consider what is best for your pet.
- Please do not give your pet any food after 8pm the night before the operation and do not give them any water after 8am on the day of surgery. Fasting before surgery is important to reduce the risk of vomiting during the anaesthetic. Outdoor pets may need to be kept indoors overnight so they don't find things to eat outside, and all animals in the household may need to fast so the pet coming in for surgery doesn't steal any food.
- Bring your pet into the clinic at the organised time for an admission appointment with the nurse. During this time, a nurse will talk you through the procedure, and any options with the treatment. Your veterinarian will also be available if you have questions about the surgery. Also bring a small amount of your pet's normal food so they can be offered some food once they have recovered from the anaesthetic.
- A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function. This is highly recommended to check that your pet can process the anaesthetic properly. Pre-anaesthetic blood tests can be performed at all of our clinics, either on the day of surgery, or a day or two before.
- Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination before administering the anaesthetic.
- If you are given the option of having intravenous fluids in place during the surgery, this is highly recommended. These fluids help maintain your pet's blood pressure during the anaesthetic, as well as producing a smoother recovery, and providing a quick access point in any emergency.
- To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, all pets receive pain relief prior to and during the surgery. It is highly recommended that you also take some pain relief home with your pet, as the pain relief given at surgery will only last for that day. As well as keeping your pet comfortable, it has been found that pain relief following surgery will contribute to better and quicker healing of the surgery site.
- Following the surgery, a nurse will call to let you know how the surgery went, and to make a discharge appointment for you to come and collect your pet. At this appointment, a nurse or veterinarian will discuss the procedure and after care instructions with you.
- Keep your pet restrained and quiet as the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely. Pets may lose their normal 'street-sense' for the first 48 hours after the anaesthetic, so please keep them confined for their own safety.
- Keeping them quiet is also essential to allow the wound to heal. Try to avoid running, jumping and stretching of the surgical site. Some surgeries will require more strict confinement, with full cage confinement often necessary following orthopaedic surgery. Your veterinarian will discuss these requirements with you at the discharge appointment.
- Food and water should be limited to small portions only on the night after surgery. Some pets may vomit the first time they eat after an anaesthetic, in which case offer food again the following morning.
- Follow any dietary instructions that the veterinarian has provided.
- Ensure all post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as instructed on the label.
- Ensure your pet’s rest area is clean to avoid infection.
- Check the incision at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption, including bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge. If your pet has any bandages, also check these twice daily for moisture, smell, and signs of irritation. Contact your vet immediately if these symptoms appear. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.
- Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the wound. Special cone-shaped 'buster' collars assist with this problem, or bitter sprays can be used around the site. A single chew can remove the careful stitching with disastrous effects.
- Ensure you return on time for routine post-operative check-ups, bandage removals and removal of stitches.
If you have any concerns before or after your pet's surgery, please call us immediately.