FAQ – Anesthesia, Sedation, & Surgery

  1. What is a board-certified Veterinary Surgeon? In addition to undergraduate studies and four years of veterinary school, board-certified surgeons undergo at least one internship and a 4 – 5 year residency of specialized surgical training. The American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) is the certifying organization in North America and you can check a veterinarian’s ACVS status at www.acvs.org.
  2. Why does my pet require pre-anesthetic testing? Seemingly healthy pets may have serious organ system problems that could cause surgical or anesthetic complications. Many organ function disorders can only be discovered through blood testing. For further information, read Sedation & Anesthesia – What to Know & Expect.
  3. Can my pet have food before surgery? Performing surgery on an empty stomach is extremely important to reduce the chance of regurgitation and aspiration of stomach contents during and after anesthesia. Food must be withheld after 8:00 pm the night before a scheduled surgical procedure. A small amount of water can be left down for your pet the night before surgery and picked up first thing in the morning.
  4. Is the anesthesia safe? Modern anesthetic monitors and drugs reduce the risk involved with surgery, making surgical procedures on pets safer than ever before. For further information, read Sedation & Anesthesia – What to Know & Expect.
  5. Why does my pet require an IV catheter and IV fluids?  Anesthesia can cause low blood pressure and dehydration; therefore, placing an IV catheter and administering IV fluids are required during surgery. For further information, read Sedation & Anesthesia – What to Know & Expect.
  6. Is my pet monitored during surgery? Your pet’s ECG (heart electrical activity), heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygenation and end tidal carbon dioxide levels will be closely monitored during surgery by a registered veterinary technician. Your pet’s body temperature will be maintained during and after surgery through the use of warm blankets or heating pads. For further information, refer to Surgical Procedures – What to Know & Expect.
  7. Is there risk involved in my pets surgery? Every surgery, no matter how minor, involves some risk. We take every precaution (i.e., pre-anesthetic blood testing, close monitoring during/after surgery, use of IV fluids) to lessen the risk of complications.
  8. Will my pet experience pain? While all surgical procedures involve some pain, each patient receives their own personalized pain management plan. For further information, refer to our Pain Management – What to Know & Expect.
  9. Will my pet have sutures (stiches)? This depends on the surgery procedure and may involve aborbable or traditional sutures. Other procedures may require surgical staples to ensure proper closure. For further information, refer to Surgical Procedures – What to Know & Expect.
  10. Can my pet have other procedures performed while under anesthesia? Depending upon your pet’s condition, minor procedures (i.e., nail trimming, ear cleaning, small lump removal, dental) may be possible. This must be discussed with and approved by the veterinarian in advance so we can include the procedure on your estimate and plan for additional time to conduct the procedure.
  11. Will my pets surgical wound have swelling, bruising, redness, or drainage? Certain procedures may produce swelling, bruising, redness, and/or drainage. However, even well cared for wounds may become infected. If your pet experiences increasing pain, fever, foul odor, and/or continual seepage of blood/fluid from the incision, contact us immediately.
  12. Does my pet need to finish all of their medications prescribed if they are feeling better? Follow the medication schedule exactly and give prescribed medications for the length of time indicated! For further information, refer to our Patient Home Allergy & Prescription List.
  13. My other pet had the same surgery at another veterinary practice and it was different, including the post-operative care instructions why? The procedure and/or surgical technique performed at another veterinary practice may not be the same. Every veterinarian will have their own methods. We personalize the surgical technique and post-operative care based on each patient’s individual needs. Please call us if you have any questions regarding your pet’s surgical procedure or post-operative care.
  14. Can my pet see my regular veterinarian for progress evaluations? This may be possible, especially if you do not live in the local area. You will need to discuss the follow-up care options with the surgeon.
  15. May I return to VSCNL if my pet needs a surgeon again? We are very proud to serve our patients. However, we suggest talking to your primary care veterinarian. We require a referral for separate problems. Once we have the referral, we are happy to see your pet again.
  16. How much will surgery cost? At the end of your consultation,we will give you a written estimate.  Our pricing is very competitive for the type of service provided by our board-certified specialists and emergency service veterinarians, and 24/7 post-operative care in our intensive care unit.
  17. Will I have to restrict my pets activity after surgery? Activity is often restricted for a period of time. Be certain you understand what level of activity (i.e., playing, roughhousing, jumping up and down off furniture, getting in and out of vehicles, or running to the doorbell) is not acceptable before you bring your pet home. Be prepared! This may involve placing a kennel where your pet can see you, mental stimulation with  interactive toys such as a kong stuffed with low fat greek yogurt, or sitting on the floor and interacting with them.
  18. Will my pet have a bandage, splint, or cast? Your pet may require a material dressing (i.e., bandage, splint, or cast) that must remain clean and dry.  Wet dressing irritate an incision causing complications. If the dressing gets wet, smells foul, and/or swelling occurs above/below the dressing, contact us immediately.
  19. Why does my pet need a sling? If required, we will recommend the appropriate style and brand, and demonstrate how to use it. Many are available at local pet stores and online.