We can provide numerous surgical services that will ensure your pet leads a long and healthy life. When performing surgical procedures, we will likely use some form of anaesthesia. Neutering or spaying, for example, are procedures that would require general anaesthesia. General anaesthesia is characterised by a sleep-like state, generalised muscle relaxation, and pain relief.
The use of multiple drugs allows us to address specific needs of the anaesthetised patient. Drugs may be used to calm the patient and reduce anxiety prior to surgery, support the vital function of the heart and lungs, or decrease salivation. Still, other drugs are used to minimise any pain experienced during the procedure as well as during the recovery period. Virtually all surgical procedures have the potential to cause some degree of pain. Although general anaesthesia implies unconsciousness, it is still necessary to include appropriate drugs to provide adequate relief of pain. Treatment of pain is of particular importance to ensure the well-being and health of your pet.
General anaesthesia may be accomplished by the use of a number of drugs. Certain drugs can be administered by injection under the skin, into the muscle, or intravenously directly into the blood system. These drugs are known as injectable anaesthetics. Other drugs are administered by the simple act of breathing a gas mixed with oxygen. These drugs are known as inhalant anaesthetics. We usually combine injectable and inhalant anaesthetics to provide the optimal circumstance for your pet.
For the day prior to your pet's surgery, we will provide specific instructions regarding feeding and watering. It is normal to restrict both food and water from late in the evening the previous day. This will help avoid gastrointestinal upset (vomiting) and breathing this in (aspiration) following surgery. Routinely we advise no food and no water from 10.00pm the previous evening and that the meal earlier that evening should be smaller than normal. Some pets have different requirements prior to surgery and these can be discussed if necessary.
Your pet may experience some degree of anxiety on the way to the veterinary hospital the day of the procedure. It is probably wise to inform the hospital staff of any abnormal behaviour observed during the ride. If your pet is particularly apprehensive, discuss the possibility of tranquilization with your veterinarian. Upon entering the veterinary hospital, make sure your pet is adequately restrained on a leash that is attached to an appropriately sized collar. Small dogs and cats should be transported using a suitably sized and ventilated carrier.
To avoid confusion, be specific as to why your pet is being presented. Hospital staff should be informed if your pet was inadvertently fed or watered beyond the times previously suggested. You may receive additional instructions at the time of your pet's admission to the veterinary hospital. A staff member should be able to help with any last minute questions that you might have. It is very important to leave daytime/evening telephone numbers where you can be contacted in case of an emergency. Your veterinarian may offer to contact you immediately following the procedure for a progress report.
Be clear as to when your pet will be discharged from the veterinary hospital. Patients discharged soon after surgery will probably appear woozy. Large pets may require assistance to your vehicle. In some instances, the surgical site may seep a small amount of blood or blood-tinged fluid. Cover your car's upholstery with blankets to prevent staining. Be prepared if your pet is large and requires assistance between your car and the house.
Certain findings may be considered normal following surgery. If your pet received inhalant anaesthesia, you may notice an abnormal odour to its breath. Depending on the age of the patient, a certain degree of inactivity is to be expected following surgery. In general, younger patients will return to normal levels of activity sooner. As with activity level, a corresponding reduction in appetite may occur postoperatively. When in doubt, discuss any abnormal observations with your veterinarian.
In advance, enquire about what observations your veterinarian would constitute as 'emergencies.' Legitimate postsurgical emergencies should be reported immediately regardless of when they are observed.