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What to Expect When Your Pet Needs Surgery

Preparing for Surgery
During your appointment, your veterinarian will examine your pet, work with you to develop a plan for your pet and an estimate will be made for the surgical procedure. The surgical procedure may be performed by your veterinarian or it may be referred to the surgical veterinarian depending on the priority, procedure or schedule.

If your pet is senior, ill or suspected to be a high risk anesthetic candidate, your veterinarian may require your pet to have blood work completed prior to surgery. You may also elect to have a blood panel performed on your otherwise healthy pet. Blood work provides valuable information on how your pet’s body is functioning and aids us in selecting an anesthetic protocol, though it does not guarantee anesthetic safety.

Food must be withheld from your pet 12 hours prior to the anesthetic, but water is allowed. Typically this means no food after 9 pm the night before.
If your pet is having multiple growths/masses removed, please fill out the “Lump Map” provided and indicate which ones are priorities. Depending on the nature of the growth/mass, we may recommend the tissue get sent to the pathologist to determine if the mass is cancerous, if we can expect it to return and to determine the grade/progression.

The Procedure
When your pet arrives at the clinic, the surgical veterinarian will examine your pet and select an anesthetic protocol. Your pet will be sedated and an IV catheter will be placed. If IV fluids are indicated, they will be started at this time. Your pet will then receive an injection of the anesthetic drug chosen, followed by placement of an endotracheal tube to protect the airway. A mixture of gas anesthetic and oxygen will be delivered through the tube to maintain anesthesia. Your pet will be monitored throughout the procedure and recovered by a Registered Veterinary Technologist. Upon recovery, your pet will have a pain control protocol in place. Depending on the procedure, your pet may be required to stay the night. When your pet is discharged, a Registered Veterinary Technician will go over the aftercare instructions.

The Aftercare
After the surgery is completed you will need to monitor the surgery site. Some swelling, redness and seepage is normal for the first few days. Please call if a large lump develops, there is smelly, green or cloudy discharge or if the sutures are missing or coming apart. It is very important that your pet not lick or scratch at the incision. To prevent this, your pet may need to wear a buster collar, a t-shirt or a sock.

Your pet will likely be prescribed medications. It is very important that you give the medications as prescribed.

If we are sending tissues to the pathologist, it may take 5-7 business days to get the results. A veterinarian will call you once the results come in.

If you have any questions regarding the procedure, please do not hesitate to call Kamloops Veterinary Clinic at 250-374-1485.

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