So, what exactly happens when your pet has surgery? Dropping your pet off for a surgical procedure can be very stressful. Even though you trust your veterinarian, it’s not easy to hand your baby over and walk out the door. Sometimes, knowing exactly what’s happening can help ease some anxiety.
When you and your pet arrive at the hospital on the morning of surgery your pet will be checked in by one of our surgery staff. We will go over your estimates and sign paperwork. We will then make a discharge appointment and answer any last minute questions you may have. After check-in, your pet is taken to the treatment area. This can be the most nerve wracking time for a pet parent. It can be hard to leave your baby with someone else. Our surgical technicians have over 70 years combined experience. You can feel confident your pet is in very good hands.
In the treatment area the surgery staff weighs your pet and takes a body temperature. We will draw blood for pre-surgical labs and inserts an IV catheter if needed. Once all that is done, your pet is given a fluffy blanket and a cage to relax in.
When the doctor arrives, your pet is given a thorough physical exam. Things can change quickly in pets. Every animal has a complete physical within 24 hours of surgery. Of particular concern before anesthesia are the heart and lungs. This is also a good time to address other things that may be found on exam like an ear infection. The doctor goes over your pet’s lab work to make sure everything looks good for anesthesia and there have not been any changes since the previous labs.
If everything looks good for anesthesia and surgery, your pet is given pre-surgical medications. These medications are for pain control after surgery and also mild sedation. The sedation lessens the amount of drugs needed to induce anesthesia and also relaxes your pet during his stay with us. After the exam your pet is returned to his comfy blanket to rest. Most pets will stretch out and take a nap before surgery.
Prep for Surgery
This is what you really want to know when you wonder what happens when your pet has surgery. When it is your pet’s turn for surgery, she is moved to our treatment table. A surgical technician obtains a heart rate one last time before anesthesia. Your pet is given intravenous medications to anesthetize them and allow an intra-tracheal tube to be placed. An intra-tracheal tube is a tube that goes into your pet’s airway to allow gas anesthesia to be administered. When your pet is fully asleep, the surgical area is shaved and scrubbed for surgery.
When your pet is fully prepped, he is moved to our surgery suite. The surgical staff positions your pet on the table and begins hooking up the monitoring equipment. Our monitors look very much like the patient monitors you see in human hospitals. We monitor several things on your pet during surgery.
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Respiratory rate
- Pulse ox (amount of oxygen in the blood)
- Capnometry (amount of carbon dioxide exhaled)
- Body temperature
- Capillary refill time and color
If your pet is receiving IV fluids, they will be started now if they were not previously. The surgical area is “painted” with betadine. Every animal undergoing anesthesia is kept warm on a heating blanket. The blankets we use are made specifically for veterinary medicine. Any areas of the animal that are not sterile for surgery are kept covered by fleece blankets to help keep her warm. During surgery your pet is continuously monitored by one of our surgical technicians.
At Tavares Animal Hospital we perform a wide range of surgical procedures. Everything from suturing lacerations to c-sections to exploratory laparotomies to orthopedic surgeries. The most common surgical procedures we perform are:
When the doctor has finished the surgery, your pet is moved back to her cage to recover. One of our surgery technicians sits with and monitors your pet until she is awake. If needed, she will be kept on a warming blanket until she is fully recovered and standing up. IV fluid therapy is continued until your pet is fully recovered. At this point, a technician calls you to let you know your pet is done with surgery and doing well. If your animal’s surgery was not something routine, the surgeon will call you to discuss the procedure.
When he is fully recovered, a technician checks your pet’s color, checks the surgical site, takes your dog outside to potty, and removes the IV catheter. Your pet is returned to rest in his cage until it’s time to go home.
At your discharge appointment, a technician will go over the doctor’s discharge instructions, medications, and answer any questions you may have. The morning after surgery, a member of our staff will call you to make sure everything is going well.
Hopefully learning what happens when your pet has surgery has eased some anxiety you may have had. If you’ve been putting off a needed procedure, give us a call.