What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery
Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery, and we hope this information will help. It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.
Are the anesthetics safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Veterinary Eye Center, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet. We utilize the safest available anesthetics to provide an extra margin of safety, especially for our older or high-risk patients.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunctions will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected. In these cases, we may recommend additional tests or referral to another specialist. We can also bring in a veterinary anesthesiology specialist for the highest risk patients.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food after 10 pm on the night before surgery. Water can be left available for the pet until the morning of surgery.
During anesthesia, we use the most modern equipment available to monitor the patient's vital signs (blood pressure, exhaled carbon diode, oxygenation, ECG, heart rate, respiration rate, etc). A dedicated veterinary anesthetist watches over each patient throughout all anesthetic procedures. The technical staff at Veterinary Eye Center have veterinary anesthesia training and experience. We spare no expense to provide the highest quality anesthesia available in private referral practice.
Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures on the eyes. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries may require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the skin incision for redness, swelling or discharge. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 14 days after surgery. You may also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 14 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures like enucleation (eye removal) surgery require more pain relief than things like minor eyelid procedures.
We use injectable and oral pain medications to keep animals comfortable after all surgical procedures. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
What other decisions do I need to make?
Some animals have conditions where the surgery can be scheduled for convenience while others may need surgery on an emergency basis.
Before surgery, you will need to fill out an electronic anesthesia permission form and leave a deposit through a payment portal prior to dropping off your pet for surgery. We recommend bringing any harnesses, E collars or medications that you already have with you for drop off. When your patient is ready to go home, plan on giving us approximately 20 minutes to go over the discharge instructions with you.
In animals undergoing cataract surgery, we will discuss the pros and cons for placement of intraocular lenses with you.
Please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery!