Surgery, Anesthesia and Surgical Procedures
If your pet were to need surgery, be assured that it would be performed under the most sterile conditions and in the safest possible fashion. A pre-anesthetic blood screen would first be performed in order to detect any hidden problems that could threaten your pet’s well-being while under anesthesia. An electrocardiogram to evaluate heart function is oftten recommended. In most cases, your pet would have an intravenous catheter placed in the cephalic vein and would be given intravenous fluids prior to surgery. An intravenous fluid infusions pump could be used to monitor and control the rate of the fluid drip administration.
General anesthesia would be administered either as an intravenous injection or as an inhaled gas. If inhalation anesthesia is the choice, then either Isoflurane or Sevoflurane gas would be used. These gases are almost identical to those inhalation anesthetics used to anesthetize humans. Gas anesthetics are delivered in a precise concentration by an anesthetic vaporizer. Both gas anesthetic and oxygen are delivered to the patient through an endotracheal tube which is placed down the pet’s airway. An electro-cardiogram, pulse oximeter, and respiratory monitor are the various methods used to monitor the anesthetized pet and help ensure his or her safety.
A trained technician is always present to assist the doctor during surgery. The technician monitors the animal’s rate and depth of respiration, heart rate, temperature and the color of the pet’s gums and mucus membranes.
The surgical site is shaved and cleaned with special antiseptic soap. The surgical site is then covered with a sterile surgical “drape” and the surgeon begins the surgery after he has scrubbed and gloved his hands and draped his body in a surgical cap, mask and gown. When the surgery is completed, the anesthesia is turned off and the patient is maintained on pure oxygen until he or she shows signs of becoming more conscious.
The patient is then moved to a recovery cage and the endotracheal is removed from the windpipe as soon as he or she begins to cough. The patient is covered with a blanket and kept warm until he or she is up and standing.
Surgery may be performed with a scapel blade, electro-surgical unit, or with a cryosurgery device that destroys tissue using liquid nitrogen. The wound may be closed with standard sutures, metal staples, or surgical adhesive. A “penrose drain tube” may be sutured into the surgical wound to allow the wound to drain so that serum does not accumulate. The closed surgical incision may or may not be bandaged depending on circumstances.
A protective restraint collar may be placed around the patients head and neck to prevent the animal licking or chewing at of the surgical site. Sutures are usually removed withing ten days to two weeks post-surgery.
Spaying and Neutering
Spaying and neutering are important and necessary medical procedures that enhance the quality of your pets’ life. Not only does spaying and neutering have positive effects on your pets’ health, it’s also vital to controlling the homeless pet population.
To learn more about spaying, read Dr. Simon’s articles: The Benefits of Spaying a Cat or Dog: The Ovariohysterectomy and The Seriousness of Spaying and Castration.
Post Surgical Care
The continuing recovery of your pet is now in your hands. Following the directions given below with contribute to that recover and reduce convalescent time. Failure to follow these directions could retard your pet’s progress, endanger our patient, and cause you additional medical expense.
- YOUR PET MAY NOT ACT NORMAL FOR A FEW DAYS AFTER SURGERY. Activity will be decreased and appetite will be poor. However, a progressive improvement should be observed. If your pet does not become progressively stronger and more active, the clinic should be contacted immediately. Activity should be almost normal on the third day, post op. If not, please contact us immediately.
- GIVE NO FOOD OR WATER FOR 3 HOURS AFTER ARRIVAL AT HOME. To avoid upsetting your pet’s stomach, give only small amounts of food and water for the next 24 hours. Giving ice cubes to lick instead of water will also prevent such stomach upsets. If no food or water is taken for 24 hours following surgery, do not worry. If resumption of eating does not occur after this time, please notify us immediately.
- KEEP YOUR PET AWAY FROM STAIRS, FURNITURE, AND OPEN TOILETS until the full effects of the anesthetic have worn off (about 18 hours).
- KEEP YOUR PET”S ACTIVITY TO A MINIMUM. Stitches can rupture and incisions will open with excessive stretching and jumping. Even after sutures have been removed, activity should be limited for a week or so. OUTDOOR CATS SHOULD BE KEPT INSIDE FOR A MINIMUM OF 10 DAYS POST-OP.
- DO YOUR BEST TO PREVENT EXCESSIVE LICKING AND/OR SCRATCHING OF THE SURGICAL AREA which will irritate the skin and thereby slow the healing process. It will also tend to introduce infection and if the scratching or licking is sever enough, cause the sutures to rupture. Continual discipline is the best way to stop excessive licking. If discipline is not effective, then the Doctor should be contacted. Tranquilizers, braces, protective Elizabethian collars, and repellant sprays and lotions are available. If a protective collar is dispensed – USE IT! If you have an additional pet at home, do not allow that pet to lick this pet’s incision.
- The litter box should be cleaned twice daily for at least one week. Keep your cat off the rugs and furniture for the next 3 days.
- SUTURES SHOULD BE REMOVED 10-14 DAYS after surgery unless the Doctor has said differently.
- The above recommendations are given to you because we have found that they will make your pet’s recovery easy, quick, and uneventful. We strongly urge you to follow them. If you find a problem following this advice please call for help.
We depend on your observations to monitor our patient’s response to treatment. Please call our office in three days and give our receptionist a progress report. In the event of unusual development or reactions, please call immediately.
- To prevent pets from scratching at their incisions a length of bandaging material or laundry rope may be tied from the right to left leg such that there is enough slack to allow the animal to walk normally.
- To prevent pets from removing bandages placed on limbs a sick may be pulled up over the bandage and taped to the leg.
- To prevent pets from biting at incisions or wounds the bottom of a small rubber basket can be cut out and the entire basket placed over the animals head and secured to the pets own collar with string.
- Nylon stockings or men’s over the calk socks can be cut up and used as belly bands which will help prevent pets from getting to abdominal incisions. Children’s T-shirts may also be fitted over front and back legs and pulled up or down to cover incision.