Pre-surgical instructions: Please do not offer you pet any food after 8:00 pm the night before surgery, he or she may however continue to have access to water overnight.
On the morning of surgery, no breakfast, but dogs may go outside as normal to relieve themselves. If your pet is diabetic and on insulin, please give a half dose of insulin, unless otherwise directed. Drop off for surgery is typically between 7:30 and 8:00 am, there may be some exceptions (ie. specialist surgery) in which case you will be told what time to arrive. When you arrive, we will go over our anesthesia consent form and have you sign it and give us a number we can reach you at that morning. It is very important that we be able to contact you if we have any questions or concerns, so please make sure you give us the best number. If there is a problem and we are unable to reach you, we may not be able to proceed and your pet’s surgery will need to be rescheduled.
Post-surgical Instructions: Surgical procedures: Please keep the incision clean and dry. Do not allow your pet to lick or scratch at the incision. If they are allowed to scratch or lick at the incision, they can disrupt the normal healing process. Bacteria can be introduced into the incision which can cause the suture material used to fail, they may also pull the sutures out on their own which also could cause the incision to open up. If this happens, a second surgery may be required to repair the incision. Many surgical patients come home with visible sutures in their skin, these will typically need to be removed in 10-12 days, some surgeries may require the sutures to stay in longer, if this is the case, the doctor will tell you when they may be removed.
If your pet is having a surgery that involves their chest or abdomen, you will need a way to prevent them from being able to lick or scratch at their incision. We do have Elizabethan collars (aka e-collars or “cone of shame") to help prevent them from licking. While these collars tend to work well, some pets really hate them and can either be scared by them or others become escape artists and manage to get them off regardless of how you tie it to them. E-collars can also be an annoyance to people in the house because some pets will run into their owners with them and knock things over in the house. Many pet supply stores sell inflatable collars and soft collars which can be used, however the flexibility of them can sometimes make them less useful. Recently we have had several clients use surgical suits on their pets with a lot of success. They are similar to a baby onesie and can protect most incisions. These also work well with cats and actually allow your cat to use the litterbox without needing to have it removed. For dogs, you will need to unsnap the hind end before taking them outside but the entire suit does not need to be removed. These suits are available online from several companies. Below are links to a couple versions of these recovery suits. *If your dog is coming in to be neutered, you do not want to get one of the suits that allows pets to urinate without unsnapping it, these will not cover the surgical area. The "Suitical" brand is an example of one which would work well for dog neuters*
We would recommend ordering this far enough ahead of time so you can try it on your pet before surgery and allow them to get used to it. You are welcome to bring it in on the day of surgery and we will put it on your pet while they are waking up from surgery.
If you have been told to restrict your pet’s activity, please do your best to do so. Too much activity may disrupt the healing process. Activity can cause swelling at the incision site which can cause excess pressure on the sutures and cause them to fail and the incision to open up. If the incision is on a tight place, such as a leg, too much movement can cause the sutures to pull and the incision may open up, delaying the healing process and possibly requiring a second surgery to repair the damage. If you are having a lot of trouble keeping your bouncy little friend quiet, please call us and we may be able to help with some tips or possibly add some medications to help keep them a little more sedate.
Dental Procedures: If your pet has had teeth removed they may or may not have sutures in their mouth. Depending on which teeth have been removed, the doctor may recommend that you feed your pet wet or canned food for the first several days after their procedure to make it easier for them to eat.
All Anesthetic Procedures: Because your pet was not allowed to eat in the morning, he or she may be very hungry when they get home. Some pets may eat their food so fast that they end up vomiting it back up. To avoid this happening, we recommend splitting their normal meal up into two or three portions, feed one portion approximately every half hour, unless your pet vomits after the first portion. Sometimes anesthesia may make them a little nauseous, so if they are not interested in eating, don’t force them to. You may return to their normal meal schedule in the morning.
If you are sent home with medications, please give them as directed and complete the full course, especially with antibiotics. If your pet does not tolerate one of the medications, please call us so we can come up with an alternative.
As always, if you have any questions, please call us and we would be happy to answer them!