How to Prepare Your Pet for Surgery?

How to Prepare Your Pet for Surgery

Taking your furry friend for surgery is one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences for pet owners. Whether it’s a routine procedure or a more serious operation, no one wants to see their pet uncomfortable. It’s normal to feel nervous when you have to send your pet for surgery. However, rest assured that there are steps you can take to make it easier for your pet and yourself.

As a veterinary clinic in Toronto, we will provide specific instructions before the surgery. Nevertheless, you should follow some general guidelines to ensure a smooth surgical process. Continue reading to discover the top tips for preparing your pet for surgery, and please feel free to ask us if you have any questions.

Things To Do Before Pet Surgery

When you discover that your pet requires surgery, it is essential to clearly understand what to expect before the procedure. Your veterinary surgeon will guide you through the process and provide details about the specific surgery.

Most surgical procedures involve some form of anesthesia. It is important to note that general anesthesia is most effective on pets with empty stomachs. Your veterinarian will likely advise you to withhold food from your pet for at least 12 hours before the surgery. This precaution is taken because anesthesia can impair the ability to swallow, increasing the risk of vomiting during or after the surgery.

You should also consult your veterinarian regarding your pet’s current medications and whether they should continue taking them before the surgery. It is a good practice to inquire if you need to bring your pet’s medications to the appointment.

Before the pet surgery, it is essential to understand any post-surgical care requirements for your pet’s recovery. Some procedures may necessitate confining your pet to a small area to limit their movement. Additional bedding may be necessary to ensure their comfort during the recovery period.

On the morning of the surgery, your veterinarian may request that you drop off your pet early in the day, regardless of the surgery time. During this time, your veterinarian may conduct various tests, including a physical examination, blood work, and X-rays. Your pet may also receive an IV catheter and fluids. The veterinarian will make precise calculations for anesthesia dosage. Other pre-surgery preparations may also be necessary.

Before leaving the clinic on the morning of the surgery, provide a reachable phone number. Your veterinarian may need to contact you during the procedure and will notify you when it’s time to pick up your pet.


Pre-Surgery Pet Care 

When you bring your pet to the veterinary clinic for surgery, the veterinarian will conduct any necessary tests and prepare your dog or cat for the procedure. In some cases, pets may receive a sedative to help them relax before surgery. Often, the surgeon will need to shave a small area of fur on one of your pet’s legs to insert an IV, and the surgical site will be carefully shaved or trimmed and thoroughly sanitized. Following this, the veterinarian will insert an IV catheter and initiate anesthesia. A trained nurse will closely monitor your pet’s vital signs throughout the surgery and recovery.

As your pet begins to regain consciousness, veterinary nurses will provide constant care to ensure their comfort and manage any pain they may experience. Your pet will remain in this monitored environment until it’s time for you to pick them up.

tips to repare Your Pet for Surgery

After-Surgery Pet Care

Your veterinarian will provide comprehensive guidance on how to care for your dog following the surgery. Typically, your dog will require several medications to manage pain and lower the risk of secondary infections. If there is an incision, your veterinarian may send your dog home with an E-collar, commonly known as the “cone of shame.” Although your pup might not appreciate the collar, keeping it on until the incision has fully healed is essential to prevent any reopening.

Your veterinarian may also recommend restricting activity for your dog during recovery. While this can be challenging, especially for energetic breeds, it is vital for proper healing. You can consider using a crate to limit your dog’s movement or discuss the possibility of a sedative with your veterinarian. Additionally, you will likely be advised not to bathe your dog or get the incision wet for the first two weeks or until the sutures are removed.


How to Help Your Pet Recover After Surgery?

Like humans, pets require much care and attention following any surgical procedure. It is advisable not to leave them alone for a day or so after returning home. You can closely monitor their progress and ensure their recovery goes smoothly. Here are some additional steps you can take to aid in your pet’s recovery:

  1. Create a Calm Environment: Ensure your pet has a quiet, warm, and secure place to rest during their recovery at home.
  2. Encourage Rest: Your vet may recommend that your pet take it easy until fully healed. It may involve limiting their outdoor activities and encouraging rest instead of play. Use a leash for dogs when they need to go outside and provide a litter tray for indoor cats. While your pet may become bored, offering plenty of cuddles and attention can help pass the time.
  3. Stimulate Their Appetite: Some pets might lose their appetite for a few days post-surgery, which is normal. Warming up their food to enhance its aroma may help stimulate their appetite. Avoid forcing them to eat, as it can have the opposite effect. If you’re concerned because they aren’t eating at all, consult your vet for the nutritional plan.
  4. Prevent Stitches Disturbance: It’s crucial to prevent your pet from licking, biting, or scratching their stitches, as this could lead to wound complications or infections. A cone or surgical vest can help prevent such behaviour. If you notice them attempting to disturb their stitches, try to distract them.
  5. Medication Reminders: Your vet will provide instructions if your pet requires medication or painkillers. They will guide you on when and how to administer these medications. It’s a good practice to note this information or set up reminders on your phone, as it’s easy to forget, especially when your pet starts feeling better.
  6. Daily Check-Up: Regularly inspect the area around your pet’s stitches for any signs of infection, such as swelling, bleeding, or pus. Be vigilant for redness, unusual odours, or if the area feels warm. If your pet appears very unwell, vomits, or displays any other concerning symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
  7. Attend Follow-Up Appointments: Your vet and vet nurse will schedule follow-up appointments to assess your pet’s recovery progress. Your pet may also need to have their stitches removed. Attending all these appointments is essential, even if your pet seems to be doing well.


Wrap Up

Proper preparation is key to ensuring your pet’s surgery goes smoothly. Following the advice in this guide can minimize stress, promote a successful surgery, and facilitate a swift recovery. Your partnership with your veterinarian and your dedication as a pet owner are vital to your furry friend’s well-being. You can help your pet return to their happy, healthy self with care and preparation.

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