We understand that the need for anesthetizing your pet for an elective procedure such as spaying, neutering, or cleaning their teeth is often a concern for owners. Everone at the University Veterinary Hospital & Diagnostic Center shares your concerns. Therefore, we take every precaution to make every patient’s anesthesia as safe and stress-free as possible. People that shop around for the best price may often find that cost varies considerably among practices, and may not understand why. This handout will help you find the best fit between our hospital’s procedures and your expectations for your pet’s care and safety.
What you should ask – and why
· Will my pet receive a physical examination or blood tests before surgery?
Health issues such as a heart murmur, fever, or pale gums may be present at the time of surgery that may make surgery risky. Less serious issues such as ear infections or remaining baby teeth may be best addressed during anesthesia. A presurgical exam is the best opportunity to detect conditions such as these. Blood tests prior to anesthesia will help determine underlying conditions that may interfere with your pet’s ability to handle the anesthesia. An ECG evaluation prior to anesthesia may indicate the presence of heart disease.
· What safety precautions will you take during surgery?
The anesthetic we use is one that is very safe and is often used in human anesthesia, called isoflurane. Each patient is monitored during surgery by a veterinary technician who uses sophisticated equipment including blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters, which measure the oxygenation of the blood, and ECG monitors, which monitor heart rate and rhythm. Intravenous fluids are administered during surgery and help ensure adequate blood pressure and circulation during anesthesia. An intravenous catheter also allows for immediate intervention in the event of an anesthetic concern. All of our patients have a dedicated technician to constantly assess their status via gum color, pulse, respiration and level of anesthesia. A breathing tube is placed to keep the airway open and deliver oxygen. An ECG, blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen monitor allows the surgeon to ensure normal body function.To prevent infection, most surgeries are done in our designated surgery suite. Sterile caps, masks, gloves and surgery gowns are worn and individually sterilized instruments are used.
· What safety precautions will you take after surgery?
Anesthetized patients lose body heat easily, and cold body temperature can create discomfort and delay anesthesia recovery. We monitor patient temperature regularly during and after anesthesia, and use multiple devices and techniques to keep your pet warm during their procedure. Patients recovering from anesthesia are closely monitored until they are able to walk on their own.
· How will you manage my pet’s pain?
Surgery hurts! At the University Veterinary Hospital our goal is to prevent as much pain as possible. Whenever a painful event such as surgery is anticipated, medication is administered prior to as well as after surgery. We also utilize techniques such as intravenous fluid therapy with pain blockers included and local anesthetic blocks. We use a combination of narcotics, local anesthetics, and anti-inflammatory analgesic medication. We routinely dispense pain medication for home care as well.
· Will I receive written postsurgical care instructions?
Follow-up care is very important for proper recovery. A team member will discuss your pet’s postoperative care and provide clear written instructions.