6 ways to prepare for your pet’s surgery

Surgery is a big deal, and we want you to be fully prepared and comfortable with the plan.

Here are 6 simple steps to be ready for the big day.

1. Blood work

We always recommend pre-anesthetic blood work to make anesthesia and surgery as safe as possible. Seemingly healthy pets on the outside can have serious problems on the inside. They could cause complications during anesthesia and surgery.

Pre-anesthetic blood work will confirm:

  • Liver and kidney health
  • Red and white blood cell count
  • Enough platelets for proper clotting
  • Enough protein to ensure healing and clotting
  • Balanced electrolytes, which can affect the stability of the heart under anesthesia.

Discovery of a small imbalance will allow us to adjust drugs or IV fluids before, during, and after your pet’s anesthesia and surgery.

Unless it’s an emergency and we don’t have the luxury of time, detection of a serious problem may lead us to postpone surgery until the pet’s condition is stable.

This can happen with high liver values, which could justify an ultrasound to make sure we’re not missing something important.

2. Medications

We will let you know which medications to continue or stop before anesthesia. And we’ll tell you when to resume them.

Other drugs are given to reduce stress and the risk of vomiting around anesthesia time.

An added benefit is that it will allow us to give less anesthesia to your pet.

3. Rest

Anesthesia and surgery can take a toll on the body, so let your pet chill the day before surgery.

It’s just like a human: provide plenty of rest the day before surgery.

Plan on a relaxed day, full of TLC.

4. Instructions

Follow the instructions you are given verbally and in writing.

Failing to do that could potentially prevent your pet from having safe anesthesia and surgery.

Following them will increase the chances of success.

Also make sure you fully understand postop instructions, i.e. what you will need to do as far as confinement, feeding, medications, supplements, activity, physical therapy, wound care, leash walks, etc.

5. Preparation

Prepare your home for your pet’s return.

We will explain in great detail how to confine your pet, which type of flooring is ideal, which toys are allowed, how to feed your pet etc.

Depending on the type of surgery, we may also recommend:

  • getting a harness for your dog
  • changing the litter for your cat
  • using soft food only

Again, this all depends on the surgery, and we will help you get fully prepared.

6. Feeding

An empty stomach is important to decrease the risk of vomiting before, during, and after anesthesia.

With a few exceptions, we recommend taking food away at 8 pm the night before surgery.

Water however is important to prevent your pet from getting dehydrated.

So water is allowed until you leave home, the morning of surgery.

If you ever have a question about your pet’s care, before or after surgery, never hesitate to call.

Our only goal is a happy outcome for you and your pet.

If you would like to learn how we can help your pet with safe surgery and anesthesia, please contact us through www.DrPhilZeltzman.com

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Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified

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Dr. Phil Zeltzman

Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a traveling veterinary surgeon in Pennsylvania & New Jersey. An award-winning author, he loves to share his adventures in practice along with information about vet medicine and surgery that can really help your pets. Dr. Zeltzman specializes in orthopedic, neurologic, cancer, and soft tissue surgeries for dogs, cats, and small exotics. By working with local family vets, he offers the best surgical care, safest anesthesia, and utmost pain management to all his patients. Sign up to get an email when he updates his blog, and follow him on Facebook, too!