Dental and Surgical Recommendations
Surgery can be a major event in any pet or human life and it should be taken very seriously. Below are some of the questions that the veterinarians at Southern Animal Hospital recommend considering before choosing a hospital to perform a surgical procedure on your pet.
- Will a veterinarian perform a comprehensive exam prior to anesthesia on the day of surgery?
At Southern Animal Hospital, we will perform an exam of your pet before surgery to check for fever, heart and lung problems, general health, and any other signs of illness or concerns before surgery. This exam allows us to check the health of your pet, tailor our anesthetic plan, and address other issues (retained baby teeth, skin disease, heart problems, etc.) accordingly.
- What other tests are performed before my pet has surgery?
At Southern Animal Hospital we provide pre-surgical blood tests including a CBC (Complete Blood Count) and Biochemical Profile. We perform these blood tests in house and have the results in minutes. The CBC allows us to check the red and white blood cell counts and shows conditions such as anemia, infection, and low platelet count, etc. The Biochemical Profile checks the function of the liver, kidney, pancreas, and other minerals and electrolytes. These blood tests can help us detect problems before there are obvious signs of disease in your pet. Because of the importance of these blood test, they are included in most surgical packages.
- Will my pet have an intravenous catheter and fluids during surgery?
An intravenous (IV) catheter and fluids during all surgeries is beneficial and strongly recommended for many reasons. The sterile catheter is placed in a blood vein in the leg before general anesthesia. This catheter provides immediate access to the blood stream in the rare event that emergency medications are needed. The intravenous fluids work to keep the patient hydrated and also help support blood pressure and processing of anesthetic medications. Because of the importance of IV catheters and fluids, they are included in most surgical packages.
- What drugs or methods of anesthesia will be used on my pet?
The Veterinarians at Southern Animal Hospital tailor our anesthetic drugs to the individual patient. We do not use ‘cookie cutter’ protocols but have a variety of anesthetic agents available to suit the patient and the procedure. We also intubate our surgical patients with an endotracheal tube at the start of surgery to provide oxygen and protect and maintain the airway. Anesthetic gas mixed in oxygen is delivered through this tube to fine tune the depth of anesthesia. We can also breathe for the patient using this tube and machine if/when necessary. The endotracheal tube also prevents aspiration of any fluids from the esophagus into the lungs. We use pre-anesthetic medications to relax and calm pets before anesthesia, these medications also provide pain relief before the surgery begins. Sedatives also help us decrease the amount of anesthetic needed for general anesthesia.
- How is my pet monitored during anesthesia?
We feel strongly that anesthetic monitoring is critical and therefore several vital parameters are checked constantly throughout the procedure and through recovery. Your pet is not left alone in a cage; we are with them through the entire anesthetic process. With thorough monitoring of your pet we are quickly alerted of any problems or changes and can make adjustments accordingly. Southern Animal Hospital is fully equipped with modern machines to measure blood pressure, ECG, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen content of tissues, and body temperature. For every surgery there is a least one trained staff member present with your pet and monitoring these parameters constantly from the beginning of anesthesia until after your pet is recovered and breathing well following the procedure. We keep an anesthetic record with all the vital parameters recorded every 5 minutes and drug amounts and fluid rates tracked for each patient.
- What types of surgical care or standards are offered?
Every surgery and dental procedure at Southern Animal Hospital is performed by a licensed Veterinarian. We value continuing education and take advanced training several times a year to sharpen our skills and knowledge. We do not consider any surgery ‘routine’. Even though we perform several surgeries each week we know that each pet may only have one surgery in a lifetime and we take each one seriously. We keep a variety of surgical equipment.
Anesthesia also causes pets to lose body heat. Cold surgery tables and hospital settings are uncomfortable! Lower body temperature also decreases blood pressure which can lead to problems during and after surgery. For these reasons, our veterinary clinic has invested in patient warm air circulating blankets. These are not heating pads which can burn pets – they are warm air circulating units that are safe and effective at keeping anesthetized pets warm!
- What about sterility to prevent infection?
All of our surgeries are performed in a closed off dedicated operating room. Our doctors wear a cap and mask for each surgery, just like a human doctor! Any person assisting in the operating room also wears a cap and mask. We use a newly sterilized surgical pack for each surgery patient.
- What about pain management?
At Southern Animal Hospital we are serious about pain management for every surgical patient. We use pain medications before and after surgery and we have access to a variety of pain management tools. We offer CRI (Constant Rate Infusion) pain management for particularly painful surgeries; this involves an IV drip of pain management (similar to Morphine drip) throughout surgery and recovery. We also have a variety of oral and injectable antibiotics to use when indicated.
- What about after surgery care?
At Southern Animal Hospital, we understand you concern about your pet and any questions you may have before, during and after their surgery. We welcome questions and concerns, as your pet is recovering. We also refer after hours care to multiple, excellent emergency facilities. A post-surgery recheck and suture removal are included free of charge for surgery patients. We also trim the nails of every pet under anesthesia, unless you request otherwise.
When choosing a veterinarian for your pet’s surgery, no matter how ‘routine’ you feel the surgery to be, we encourage you to ask these questions. At Southern Animal Hospital, our team strives to provide a high standard of care with surgery and anesthesia. If you have questions or concerns about your pet and surgery/anesthesia please address these with your veterinarian.