Below you will find answers to some commonly asked questions regarding surgery and anesthesia.
What type of anesthesia will my pet receive during the procedure, and what precautions do you take to minimize risk to my pet during the procedure?
Your pet’s safety is our first concern. All patients receive a thorough physical examination prior to any anesthetic being administered, and laboratory tests are run to assess your pet’s ability to process and metabolize the anesthetic drugs. Additionally, we will conduct the following procedures:
- An intravenous (IV) catheter will be placed prior to anesthesia for the administration of drugs and fluids, as well as to provide the ability to rapidly administer treatment should your pet have a problem while under anesthesia.
- IV fluids will be given to your pet during the procedure to maintain normal blood pressure and to ensure that there is good circulation to vital organs such as the kidneys.
- Injectable and inhalant anesthetics will be used in combination to provide a level of safety similar to what you find in human hospitals.
- An endotracheal (breathing) tube will be used to provide oxygen and inhalant anesthetics to your pet, while also ensuring an open airway at all times.
- A circulating warm water pad (not an electric heating pad, which can cause severe burns) will be used to keep your pet warm while under anesthesia.
- A veterinary technician, under the direct supervision of the attending veterinarian, will use state-of-the-art body function monitors—including pulse oximetry, electrocardiography, and a carbon dioxide monitor—to closely monitor your pet.
What kind of equipment do you use during surgery, and what steps do you take to prevent infection?
At Belmont Shore Veterinary Hospital, we use only sterilized, autoclaved instruments for our surgical procedures. The surgeon is fully scrubbed and wears a surgical cap, mask, sterile gown, and sterile surgical gloves during all procedures that enter a body cavity. (Although you may think this is standard at all veterinary hospital, unfortunately, it is not). We have a dedicated operating room that is kept sterile to avoid contamination during surgery.
Your pet’s fur is clipped to keep hair out of the surgical site, and the skin is specially scrubbed three times with an antiseptic to remove any bacteria from the surface of the skin. Each pet is given an injection of antibiotics at the time of surgery to further reduce the risk of infection. We do not routinely prescribe antibiotics after elective surgery because we take every step to avoid introducing infection in the first place.
Doesn’t surgery hurt? What pain control do you provide?
We take the comfort of our patients very seriously. Any surgery, regardless of how involved it is or how good the surgeon is, will cause pain. We include pain medications in our anesthetic protocols to prevent your pet from experiencing pain upon waking, and we use a combination of pain medications in the hospital to ensure effective, long-lasting pain relief. We do not rely solely on the most commonly used pain medication in animals, butorphanol, which will only provide 45 minutes of pain relief.
In certain cases, we will use a pain patch applied to the skin to provide several days of pain relief. We also commonly send home oral pain medications to help keep your pet comfortable after being discharged from the hospital. We believe that it is never acceptable for a pet to be in pain, and we take immediate action to prevent and manage pain and discomfort that can occur from surgical procedures.
What kind of follow-up care do you provide after the surgery? Will you advise me what to do to help my pet have the best possible outcome from the surgery?
We routinely provide you with written discharge instructions that will help you to understand what your role needs to be in your pet’s post-operative recuperation in order to minimize any chance of having problems after the surgery.
Typically, we will also call you at home the day after your pet is discharged to ensure that everything is going well, and to answer any questions you may have. We are happy to address any questions or concerns you may have about your pet, before or after the procedure.
At Belmont Shore Veterinary Hospital, your pet’s health and comfort are our greatest concerns. Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 562-961-0028