Kulshan Veterinary Hospital performs a wide range of surgeries ranging from elective spays and neuters to complicated fracture repair through bone plating or other methods and from routine exploratory to in-depth intestinal anastamosises.
The typical routine when pets are admitted for surgery involves going over a surgical consent form with the doctor or one of our licensed veterinary technicians. This form indicates the procedure being performed and outlines the recommendations the doctor has made to decrease the risk to your pet during anesthesia.
Putting animals under anesthesia is one of the biggest concerns pet owners have with surgery and it is our goal to minimize the risks associated with anesthesia to make it as safe as possible. With that goal in mind, the doctor scheduled to perform your pet’s surgery reviews your pet’s records and makes a recommendation based on your pet’s age, health and medical history.
Pre-anesthetic lab work is one of the most typical recommendations made prior to anesthesia. Depending on a pet’s age, this may be as simple as checking the Packed Cell Volume (PCV) and Total Protein (TP) or as involved as doing a Complete Blood Count (CBC), Blood Panel and urinalysis. The goal of these tests is to look for subclinical disease and/or organ impairment that will affect how your pet responds to the anesthetics given during the scheduled procedure. Knowing this information ahead of time allows your pet’s doctor to adjust dosages of medications or to treat detected problems before anesthetizing your pet.
IV catheterization is another common recommendation made for pets being anesthetized. The purpose of the IV catheter is two-fold. Initially it serves to maintain adequate blood pressure during the procedure and replaces fluid volume that may be lost due to evaporation within the lungs, blood loss and urine production. The second purpose of the catheter is to provide intravenous access in the event that there is a complication and additional medications need to be administered. Without a catheter, administration of these medications can be delayed and in some situations even a short delay can mean the difference between life and death.
Performing an EKG is often recommended for older pets and/or those breeds that are more prone to heart problems. While every pet presented for anesthesia is examined and has their heart checked, some cardiac irregularities are not detectable with a stethoscope. Performing an EKG alerts your pet’s doctor to potentially life threatening alterations in heart rate, rhythm and performance.
Another recommendation that is reviewed at the time of admission is the use of additional pain medication. All pets undergoing an anesthetic procedure receive some degree of pain control. Assessing a pet’s pain tolerance, however, can be difficult. Just like some people are frequent users of pain medications such as aspirin, Tylenol, etc. and some are not, some pets are more sensitive to post-procedural discomfort and pain. Additional pain medication is essentially, medications to be taken home for the first few days following surgery. In the case of more painful procedures, this recommendation may be included in the estimate.
Use of the CO2 laser is the last of the most typical recommendations. Using the laser aids in the reduction of pain and swelling associated with surgical procedures as it seals nerve endings and lymphatic vessels as it cuts. This is particularly useful when operating in areas more prone to bleeding and/or swelling. For this reason, the laser is sometimes included in the initial estimate due to the crucial positive effect it will have on the outcome of the procedure.
We are sometimes asked why these recommendations are included in the quotes for routine procedures such as spays and neuters. While we strongly recommend these items to reduce your pet’s risk during anesthesia and overall healing following the surgery, we also recognize that there are economic limitations that our clients must address. Our goal is to provide your pet with the safest and best medical care that you can afford. If you have more questions about how these recommendations apply to your specific situation, please do not hesitate to speak to your pet’s doctor.