Valley Lakes Veterinary Clinic

415 N. Wilson Rd.
Round Lake, IL 60073

(847)270-0880

valleylakesvet.com

What You Need to Know Before Surgery

Many pet parents have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery, and we hope this information will help. It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.


 

Is the anesthetic safe?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Valley Lakes Veterinary Clinic, 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 reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.

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 for at least 12 to 14 hours before surgery. Water can be available for your pet until the morning of surgery.


 

Will my pet have stitches?

For many 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 until the sutures have been removed.


 

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.  Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations. Studies have shown that by providing proper pain relief, pets heal much faster than without pain relief.

Injectable pain medications may be used before, during and after surgery on both dogs and cats. Many patients will go home with oral pain medication as well. Providing pain relief is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.


 

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, wart removals, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care. Please note that the person dropping the pet off for surgery must be at least 18 years of age.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 to 15 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.