We offer the following surgical services and more:
- Aural Hematoma Repair
- Dental Cleaning
- Dog/Cat Neutering (Spay/Castration)
- Leg Amputations
- Mass/Lump Removals
- Tail Docking and Dewclaw Removal (Puppies)
Anesthesia & Safety
Our focus is on patient safety, pain management, and performing procedures efficiently with our advanced medical equipment. Our staff of compassionate, caring professionals will monitor your pet before, during and after surgery; and will take exceptional care to ensure a safe and complete recovery for your pet. We will also address any questions or concerns you may have about surgery, including concerns about anesthesia, pain management, or post operative care.
- For the safety and health of all our patients, we require that vaccines are up to date at the time of the procedure. Also, your pet will need to be treated for fleas if any are found.
- Be sure your pet is fasted prior to anesthesia (except rabbits).
- All patients will receive a physical exam before they are given any anesthetic.
- We sedate/anesthetize our patients with regard to their procedure, age and health condition. There is no "one fits all" when it comes to safety.
- A fully anesthetized patient will be intubated to maintain an open airway and avoid any aspiration.
- Our fully anesthetized patients receive an intravenous (IV) catheter to maintain fluids during surgery; as well as have open access in case we would need to get emergency medications to your pet quickly and safely. Most patients will continue to receive these fluids until that evening, though some may need fluids beyond that, depending upon the procedure.
- Your pet is monitored for respiratory rate, heart rate and rhythm, temperature, blood oxygen level and blood pressure.
- Depending on their size and temperature, patients will be recovered in an incubator, with heating discs, or in their cage (with blankets, of course). They are not left alone until they are able to swallow and are extubated.
- We will go over any post operative care when you pick up your pet. This includes any activity restrictions, medications, dietary changes, etc. Please ask us questions or call us back later if you need to.
Why It's Important
- Anesthesia and surgery are very safe today; however, even in young, healthy patients, risks still exist. Your veterinarian can minimize these risks by performing a pre-operative exam and running some simple tests before putting your pet under anesthesia.
- Your pet doesn't always tell you when something is wrong - especially cats. It's their survival instinct to never appear weak to surrounding predators.
- Anesthesia may still be used on patient's with issues such as heart murmurs; though they may need a different type of anesthesia.
- Many anesthetics are eliminated from the body through the liver and kidneys so we want to make sure those organs are working properly before we add stress to them. Anesthesia may also be adjusted so that patients with heart, kidney, or other problems remain safe.
The Most Common Testing
- Physical Exam - It is rare that a patient will be anesthetized or sedated without a proper exam beforehand. In those cases, it is only because we cannot handle the animal awake; such as a feral pet.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) - This test analyzes the number, type and shape of your pet's cells: red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets. This test can detect such medical conditions as anemia, leukemia, inflammation, infection and bleeding disorders.
- Chemistry Profile - This test measures many different parts of your pet's serum. Liver values (albumin, alkaline phosphatase, ALT, BUN), kidney values (BUN, creatinine), blood sugar (glucose), clotting ability, and hydration (protein) can all be tested from just one blood sample.
- Though not often needed, further pre-anesthetic testing may be required depending on the health status of your pet.
- Radiographs (Xrays) - Many things can be checked from an Xray including kidney and heart size, lung capacity, cancer screening or broken bones.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) - Most often used to check for arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
- It is safe to anesthetize older pets. Age itself is not a disease; therefore, age alone does not mean your pet cannot be anesthetized.
- We assess age related issues on a case by case basis and your pet will receive the best anesthetic for their health status.
Before and After Surgery
Fasting Your Pet
- Unless directed otherwise, your pet will need to be fasted before any surgeries, dental cleanings, endoscopic exams or sedation.
- No food should be given after 10 pm the night before surgery
- Please note: Rabbits should never be fasted - they have special gastrointestinal (GI) needs. They are also unable to vomit, therefore, there is no danger of aspirating vomit.**
- Your pet can have water until 7 am the day of surgery.
- It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of aspirating any vomit while anesthetized.
Pet Drop-Off and Pick-Up
- You will need to drop off your pet the morning of surgery between 7 am-8 am.
- If you are unable to do this you may drop off your pet the night before at no extra charge.
- Depending on the type of surgery performed, your pet will go home that night ( usually between 4 pm - 7 pm) or the next morning (after 8 am). We will let you know when we call with a post-op update.
- Surgeries that typically go home the day of surgery: dental cleaning (with or without extractions), cat castration, mass/lump removal, minor laceration repair and wound treatment.
- Surgeries that generally stay overnight: dog castration, dog spay, cat spay, aural hematoma repair, cystotomy and any orthopedic procedure.
- Some surgeries, such as a foreign body removal, may need to stay an extra night to make sure your pet is recovering well before going home.
Post Operative Care
- We will go over all post operative care instructions and give you a written copy to take home with you. Feel free to call us if you think of more questions after you leave. Here are some general guidelines that apply to most surgeries.
- Watch for any redness, swelling or discharge
- Restrict activity: no running, jumping or playing for approximately 10-14 days.
- No licking, chewing or scratching at the surgical site. This includes your other pets trying to help out their friend. We do have E-collars if you need one ("the cone of shame").
- Keep any splints or bandages as clean and dry as possible. If you think it gets wet or too dirty we will gladly change it for you. Putting a plastic bag over a foot bandage when going outside will help keep it clean and dry.
- No baths for 10-14 days after surgery.
- Declawed cats will need to use a paper based litter such as Yesterday's News for 14 days. Shredded paper is also a good option. Clumping or clay litter can get into the surgical area and could infect your cat's toes.
- We will let you know when your pet can eat and drink as well as when to start any medications.
- Please notify us if your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite for over two days.
- Refusal to drink water for over one day.
- Weakness, lethargy or depression.
- Your pet may not have a bowel movement for 24-36 hours after surgery (this is normal), but call us if there is any vomiting or diarrhea.
Incisions and Closures
- Depending on the procedure performed, your pet may or may not have stitches or staples after surgery.
- We most often use absorbable sutures underneath the skin (subcutaneous) - these sutures will dissolve and do not need to be removed. Tissue glue will be used in addition to subcutaneous sutures.
- Any stitches are generally removed 10-14 days post-op with a technician unless otherwise directed.
- Drains are usually removed 3-5 days after placement.
Surgery Specific Information
- We offer neutering for dogs, cats, and rabbits.
- We can neuter your pet at approximately 6 months of age; we are able to remove any retained baby teeth at this time as well.
- Advantages of neutering:
- Decreases the chance of breast tumors, cystic ovaries, uterine infections or prostatic disease later in life.
- Decreases the desire to roam the neighborhood.
- Helps to prevent spraying and marking.
- Reduces the surplus of unwanted puppies and kittens.
- There is no advantage for your pet to give birth prior to being spayed.
- We will declaw the front feet of indoor only cats.
- Declawing the back feet requires special circumstances and is very rarely done. This is generally done for clients with bleeding disorders or immune deficiency.
- We use a laser to perform our declaw surgeries which reduces pain as well as bleeding. Read more about our surgical laser below.
- If you're unsure if you should declaw your cat please call our veterinary office or read this article from Veterinary Partner for more information.
Tail Docking and Dewclaw Removal
- We will perform these procedures on puppies that are 3-5 days old.
- Endoscopy provides us with a full-color, magnified view of the area of interest.
- Endoscopic procedures are usually non-invasive or minimally invasive.
- While a patient is under anesthesia, we can perform an endoscopic exam on the following areas:
- Upper GI tract: Esophagus, stomach and upper intestine.
- Lower GI tract: Colon and lower intestine.
- Nasal: Trachea and airways.
- We can even use an endoscope to remove small objects that dogs and cats sometimes swallow, or to perform biopsies of internal organs.
- We strive to offer our patients the highest level of medicine, and we are glad to be able to offer endoscopy as one of our diagnostic procedures.
- We use a surgical laser for some procedures such as cat declawing and some mass/lump removals.
- Benefits of the Surgical Laser:
- Less Pain - The laser energy seals nerve endings as it moves through tissue so your pet will feel less post-operative pain.
- Less Bleeding - The laser seals small blood vessels during surgery which allows your veterinarian to perform surgery with great precision. This also speeds some procedures because it reduces the need for, or length of, anesthesia.
- Less Swelling - Laser energy does not crush, tear or bruise because only a beam of intense light contacts the tissue.
- Reduced Risk of Infection - The laser sterilizes as it removes tissue which kills any bacteria that could cause infection.
- Our Patients are given pain medication before, during and after any procedure as needed. If your pet needs the medication for more than just the day of surgery we will prepare it for you, along with instructions.
- Read about our pain management protocols.