We know you love your pet and you want to reduce the risk of complications with anesthesia, so become an educated consumer of veterinary medicine before you make any decisions – either at our hospital or another of your choice. Regardless of the practitioner, your pet should always receive the best possible care and quality of medicine.
There is less risk of complications for surgery if the following precautions are taken. We follow all of these precautions and recommendations with every surgical procedure – no matter how big or small.
Prior to the procedure:
- Have your pet fully examined and evaluated as to level of anesthetic risk. A repeat of this evaluation must be done within 12 hours of anesthesia, as required by law.
- Have any necessary pre-anesthetic work-up (blood-work, radiographs, EKG, etc) done as close to the procedure as possible. If too much time has lapsed, it may need to be repeated. This work-up is vital to determining any additional precautions to be taken both before and during the procedure.
- A pre-anesthetic blood panel is required on all pets. The older the pet, the more parameters that need to be checked.
- Peri-operative IV fluids are required for all pets.
- Pre-emptive pain control has been shown to greatly help speed up the recovery process. It is easier to manage pain before it begins than to try and catch up with treating it after. Make sure some type of pain control is used (butorphenol, morphine, fentenyl, buprenex, metacam, etc).
- One of the biggest risks to anesthesia is a drop in blood pressure to the kidneys. This can be avoided by using peri-operative IV fluids via an intravenous catheter and monitoring blood pressure every few minutes.
- The hospital calls you the day before to remind you about your scheduled drop-off time and to fast your pet beginning that night.
During the procedure:
- Make sure newer inhaled gas anesthetic agents (isoflurane or sevoflurane) are used.
- Make sure separate, sterile surgical packs, fresh scalpel blades and swedged-on needles and suture are used for each individual patient.
- Make sure that everyone in the surgical suite is capped and masked, and that anyone moving in the surgical field is gowned in a sterile cap and gown.
- Make sure the patient is monitored at all times by someone other than the surgeon and that that person is skilled in monitoring anesthetic depth via respiration, heart rate, pulse strength, oxygen saturation, jaw tone, eye position, etc.
- The surgical suite should have a higher pressure in its ventilation system, compared with the rest of the hospital, to keep “bad air” out.
- We inject Marcaine, a long-lasting, local anesthetic, at the incision site, again, to help with pain control.
After the procedure:
- Your pet is monitored through its post-anesthetic recovery. As soon as it is able, if necessary, your pet is allowed to walk for voiding.
- As soon as your pet is stable enough to go home, we allow it to, as pets do better with recovery at home, whenever possible.
- Your pet receives an appropriate, balanced meal as soon as it has recovered enough – remember, you had to fast it the night before!
- Pain and antibiotic medications began when your pet sufficiently recovered but is still under the doctor’s care.
- Upon discharge, you receive instructions for at home care as well as how to administer medications. Plus, a re-check appointment is made for staple/suture removal and to evaluate the recovery status of your pet.
- The hospital advises you to call at any time following surgery with questions or concerns (or to leave a message out of hours).
- The hospital has a staff member call the following day to make sure your pet’s first night post-surgery was acceptable.