Cat Hospital of Dallas
What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery
Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery, and we hope this information will help. It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetics and monitoring equipment have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Cat Hospital of Dallas, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem.
Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer three levels of in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, echocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food after 10 pm the night before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
Will my pet have stitches?
For most surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. If external sutures are required, they will need to be removed 10-14 days after the surgery. You must make sure that your cat does not lick his or her incision excessively. Redness, moisture, and discharge can be signs that your cat is licking the incision and will require an Elizabethan collar or protective bandage. Please inspect your cat's incision daily, and call us if you notice any of these symptoms.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. We administer a pain relief injection prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication may be dispensed for you to administer at home, or a long acting pain relief injection can be given before the patient wakes up from anesthesia to provide pain control for 3 days.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, nail trims, Soft Paws applications, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.