Surgical FAQ’s

Is the anesthetic safe?

Today’s modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past.  Here at Care for Animals, 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.  Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in elderly patients in reducing the risk of anesthesia.

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 and water for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery.  Water can be left down for cats but not for dogs.

Will my pet have stitches?

For Spay/Neuter surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin.  These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later.  Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches.  With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge.  Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for.  If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery.  You will also need to limit your pet’s activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 21 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.  All animals receive pain medication on the day of surgery. Additional pain medication depends on the type of surgery performed.  Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations. For dog spays we distribute pain medication for three days after the surgery.  On all other surgeries, pain medication is given on a case-by-case basis.  Any animal that appears painful will receive additional pain medication.

What other decisions do I need to make?

While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip.  If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time.  When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available.  When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet’s home care needs.