Safety and Comfort First
Upon admission for surgery, pets are given a very mild sedative after their full examination by one of our veterinarians. The sedative relaxes your pet and ensures that their time in the hospital causes them as little anxiety as possible. We’ll also place a catheter, a tiny port, into your pet’s vein. This allows for the swift, safe administration of any kind of medication. It means that whatever we give has a nearly-immediate effect, a critical necessity in the rare case that your pet doesn’t respond to anesthesia in the way we expect.
Human Grade Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring
Just before the procedure, your pet is given another dose of injectable anesthetic. This makes your pet drowsy enough to be given a steady supply of inhalant anesthesia, the same kind that you or we would get if we were having surgery. The delivery of this anesthesia is ensured by way of an endotracheal tube, or pliable, plastic passage into your pet’s airway. Endotracheal tubes are a great safety feature because they prevent any kind of airway obstruction throughout the entire procedure.
With your pet safely anesthetized, we’ll start the procedure. During its entirety, your pets vital signs, his or her heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, blood-oxygen levels and temperature are all monitored. We even use a special heating pad to ensure that your pet is warm during the procedure and recovers faster when we are through.
A trained nurse remains with your pet during the recovery process and monitors your pet’s vitals continuously, but because we use the best anesthetic products, this process typically takes no more than 15 to 20 minutes. Within an hour, your pet will appear remarkably like his or her old self outside of some drowsiness. More advanced orthopedic and soft tissue cases have some pain after surgery which we control with pain medication. No animal at our practice is allowed to suffer with pain. We identify it and treat it. It reduces stress and promotes faster healing.
At Home Care
In almost all cases, surgery patients go home the same day or the following day. It’s likely that your pet’s behavior will return to normal quickly, so you’ll need to be vigilant and make sure that your pet doesn’t exercise too much or jump. The surgery site at this stage is still not healed and we have to make sure that it doesn’t open up due to excessive movement. We’ll send you home with an Elizabethan collar, so called because it resembles those high collars worn during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. The collar will prevent your pet from licking at the incision site and slow him or her down.
Look at the incision site daily. It should be a healthy pink color. In some cases it will appear red where the skin makes contact with the sutures. It should not be hot to the touch, ‘angry’ looking, excessively swollen, or oozing pus, a mild clear discharge, or a clear discharge tinged with pink is normal. In two weeks, return to our practice and we’ll remove the sutures. It will be a fast and painless procedure.