Animal Surgery: How To Prepare Your Pet


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Animal Surgery: How To Prepare Your Pet

If your cat or dog is scheduled for a surgical procedure, your veterinarian is likely to ask you to take a few steps to get prepared for the procedure. In doing so, it will help the day of the procedure run a bit smoother.

Fasting before Surgery (Anesthesia)

If your pet is scheduled to receive anesthesia for surgery, your pet will be required to fast. The reason for this is due to the fact that anesthesia drugs and tranquilizers decease the swallowing reflex. If a pet with these drugs in its system vomits, there is the risk of aspirating (inhaling) that vomiting into its lungs, potentially causing aspiration pneumonia, a type of pneumonia that can be fatal.

Your veterinarian will let you know how long your pet needs to go without food, and your cat or dog will probably not be happy about it. However, it is important that you are strict about this particular instruction, as it is for your pet’s safety.

With that being said, though, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. For instance, kittens and puppies tend to have minimal energy in their reserve, so they can typically have a very small meal the morning of the surgery—but specific instructions will be given at the time. Diabetic pets will also tend to need a small morning meal, along with their insulin, but again, specific instructions will be given at the time

Generally, pets can drink water throughout the night to prevent the risk of dehydration, since they are unable to consume food.

Surgery Preparation

Prior to the surgery, talk to the veterinarian about what medications can be given the morning of. There may be some that are needed while others are safe to be skipped. In addition, find out if you should drop off medications/food the day of the procedure. Generally, it is best for your pet to consume his normal food as opposed to something he isn’t used to eating.

You have likely been informed the amount of confinement that your pet will require following the surgery and what it will entail. Make certain that you have prepared a room at home for your pet for when he comes home.

The Morning of the Procedure

Your pet will need to be dropped off early the morning of the surgery, even if the surgery isn’t occurring until late that morning or that afternoon. There are several reasons for this, depending on the situation. The veterinarian may need to:

  • Perform a physical exam
  • Take X-rays
  • Run blood work
  • Perform an EKG
  • Administer IV fluids
  • Place an IV catheter
  • Start specific medications
  • Calculate anesthetic drug dosages

The aforementioned are just a few possibilities, though depending on the surgery being performed, there are others.

The veterinarian and nurses will need to complete several documents regarding the anesthesia plan, physical examination, and the overall care needed for your pet. Plus, the surgery may be able to get started earlier than anticipated in the event that earlier surgeries are completed early or there is a schedule change. The veterinary team needs to be prepared to ensure the safety of your pet during the procedure.

What to Expect at the Vet Clinic

As soon as you arrive at the clinic, you’ll likely be required to read and sign a consent form, estimate, etc. to ensure that all parties are on the same page. Review these documents carefully, ask questions, etc. before signing. Make certain that you leave a good phone number where you can be reached at.

Once you drop your pet off, keep yourself busy! The clinic will give you a call once the surgery has been completed successfully.

For more information, give us a call at Huntsville Veterinary Specialists & Emergency.