It’s natural to be apprehensive of a surgical procedure for your beloved pet! We have a number of things in place to ensure safety, but best of all, we’re here for you, and everyone on our team will interact with your pet as if it were our own.
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.
Kinds of Surgery At Rockland
Dog or Cat Spay
Spaying is another word for ovariohysterectomy. It’s also sometimes called getting your dog fixed. A spay procedure is the surgical removal of your female dogs reproductive organs. Typically this is done at 6 months of age and 8 months of age for very small dogs. Rescued pets may already be spayed prior to their adoption. Spaying is essential for the good health of your dog. Spayed dogs are at less risk for cancer and are less likely to roam or suffer from behavioral issues later in life.
Dog or Cat Neuter
Neuter is another word for castration. It’s also sometimes called getting your dog fixed. A neuter procedure is the surgical removal of your male dogs testes. The scrotum remains intact, but will retract with time in the absence Typically this is done at 6 months of age. Rescued pets may already be castrated prior to their adoption. Castrating male dogs and cats is essential to prevent certain kinds of cancers, and to ward off behavioral issues like inappropriate urination, aggression, and roaming.
Soft Tissue Surgery
Soft tissue surgery is a term that applies to a wide variety fo non-orthopedic surgical procedures. The soft tissue surgeries most frequently performed at Rockland are those to remove growths, surgeries on organs like the liver and spleen, and surgeries to remove foreign bodies from the digestive tract of dogs or cats. In more advanced cases, Rockland uses board certified veterinarians to perform the procedure to ensure the highest level of care and success rates.
Orthopedic Surgery, or surgery on the bones and ligaments of a pet, includes knee surgery, cruciate repair, hip surgery, and the repair of fractures. In more advanced cases, Rockland engages a board certified surgeon for the highest quality and best outcome.
Though we already mentioned this is the soft tissue portion, we do so many of these procedures, that it’s worth giving growth removals their own section. Though they are common, especially on dogs, no pet owner should become complacent when it comes to growths. Of those that we biopsy, roughly 1 in 20 is cancerous, but even if the growth is benign, or non cancerous, it will continue to grow. We have seen lumps on dogs and on some cats that weigh more than a pound before they were removed, at which point the surgery was difficult and the healing process complicated. Additionally growths near the pet’s limbs can grow large enough to impede movement and the recovery process after their removal is difficult because the incision site is close to an active, moving part of the body. If your pet has a growth, allow us to examine it and map out a treatment plan.
Lasers allow for precise cutting with minimal bleeding and faster recovery time. They can be employed in a large array of cases. Rockland vets are experienced laser surgeons and will let you know if your pet’s condition is best treated with laser surgery.