Surgical FAQs

Surgical FAQsIf we've recommended surgery for your pet, it's because it is in his or her best interest. Even so, we understand that the thought of surgery brings on anxiety for many owners. To help alleviate your uncertainty, we've provided answers to our most frequently asked questions. Rest assured, we'll do our best for your pet!

Are there any specific pre-operative instructions?

We generally advise that dogs and cats be fasted prior to surgery (no food or water after midnight). It is important to note, however, that because we provide individualized patient care, these instructions may vary. Always follow the directions provided by our staff.

We will contact you the day before surgery to confirm your appointment and discuss these preparations. Please feel free to ask questions at that time.

What decisions will I need to make?

We advise that all surgical patients have pre-anesthetic blood work performed prior to surgery. This may have been done at an earlier appointment but if not, reliable same-day results can be obtained utilizing our in-hospital laboratory. This blood work includes liver enzymes, kidney values, blood glucose, protein levels, and complete blood count. More extensive testing may be advised for senior pets or those with underlying medical problems. The purpose of this evaluation is to assess your pet's overall health and minimize his or her risk of complications from anesthesia and surgery.

We may also ask you if you have an interest in microchipping your pet. Although this is an elective procedure, there is no better time to do it and your pet will appreciate one less poke when he or she is awake!

Keep in mind that we may be able to provide updates to routine care or perform other needed treatments (ear cleanings, anal gland expression, etc.) on the day of surgery. Please discuss this with us in advance so that we can prepare accordingly. Complimentary nail trims are performed as a courtesy to you while your pet is sound asleep!

What should I expect the morning of my pet's surgery?

We admit surgical patients starting at 9 am. Your GVC veterinarian will meet with you, address your specific questions or concerns, provide a written estimate of cost, and have you fill out a consent and contact information form. He or she will then admit your pet to our hospital for pre-operative evaluation and surgery. Your pet will be in good hands. We consider each of our patients to be part of our extended family and we strive to provide only the highest level of care.

What will my veterinarian do to minimize risk to my pet?

Please remember that your veterinarian is experienced and always has the best interest of your pet in mind. At the Goodison Veterinary Center, your pet will receive a comprehensive pre-operative evaluation which will involve consultation, physical examination, and diagnostic testing (as needed). Based on this information, an anesthetic and surgical plan will be tailored to meet your pet's individual needs. During surgery, your pet will be continuously monitored by our highly trained surgical team using state-of-the art equipment. We also monitor him or her carefully during the post-operative period and will provide oral and written discharge instructions so that you can continue exemplary care at home.

Will my pet have to spend the night?

Most elective procedures (spays and neuters) and the majority of other surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis. Patients are typically cleared for discharge by 2 - 3 pm. Declaws are slightly different in that two nights hospitalization are required for optimal recovery and extended pain management. Hospitalization may also be advised for more involved surgeries. Your GVC veterinarian will discuss this with you, if applicable.

Will my pet have stitches?

Most likely. Depending on the procedure, there may be stitches in the skin, absorbable stitches under the skin, or staples. Rest assured that the vast majority of our patients do well with all of these! We will give you instructions on how to monitor the surgical site at the time of patient discharge. Though not common, if your pet is bothering the surgical site or if you have any other concerns, please contact us promptly so we can make additional recommendations. Also be aware that exercise and bathing are not permitted until the stitches or staples are removed (10-14 days after surgery or as directed). After that your pet can get back to his or her usual activity, unless otherwise specified.

Will my pet be in pain?

We strive to make every pet as comfortable as possible. Medications today are safer and more effective than ever, and we take a progressive approach to pain control. This means that we provide pre-emptive pain medication and take a balanced, multi-modal approach to pain management. Our typical result is a more comfortable patient who has a smoother recovery and fewer medication side effects. And this is just how it should be so your pet can get back to enjoying life as a part of your family.

What will I have to do at home?

If your pet will be discharged the day of the surgery, it is ideal to plan ahead so that you can be home with him or her that evening. Oral and written discharge instructions vary from patient to patient but will include feeding instructions, medication instructions, how to monitor the incision, restrictions for your pet, and necessary follow up care. More specific instructions may also be detailed, if needed. We are pleased to answer questions and will call you the day after your pet's discharge from the hospital to help ensure that all is well.

When will I need to come back?

Not all procedures require a recheck. For pets with stitches or staples, a complimentary recheck should be scheduled for 10-14 days after surgery. At that time, healing will be assessed by a licensed veterinary technician or veterinarian and stitches or staples will be removed. If other care is required, we will discuss that with you as needed.