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Preparing Your Pet for Surgery

No-one likes the thought of their pet undergoing surgery. At CVH we use the diagnostic tests, anaesthesia, monitoring and surgical techniques most suited to your pet’s operation and recovery, but we also need you to help prepare your pet for surgical procedures.

Fasting

An empty stomach is critical for safe anaesthesia - one of your most important responsibilities is to take all food away from your pet before going to bed. Remove your pet’s water in the morning (but no other fluids, including milk, are allowed overnight). Please keep your pet indoors the night before admission, and give them time to empty out and have a little exercise before admission.

Admission

Please bring your fasted pet into CVH for admission between 8.30am and 9am on the day of surgery. Speak with our staff if you would prefer to have your pet admitted to hospital the night before. Be prepared to spend a few minutes speaking with our veterinarians or nursing staff at admission, it’s important you understand the procedure and we like to have the opportunity to address any concerns or answer any questions. That includes discussing an estimate of expected fees. And, if your pet is staying in hospital longer than one day, remember you can request an update to your account at any time during your pet’s stay.

Pain management

Most importantly, we take pain management and the comfort of your pet very seriously. Safe and effective pain relief medication is used for all surgical procedures and during post-operative recovery for all animals (small and large).

Medication

If your pet is taking medication, give the normal dose at the usual time unless otherwise directed (talk to us if you’re concerned). For diabetic patients – always speak with one of our vets regarding a pre-surgery medication program.

Pre-surgery testing

We may recommend some pre-operative tests if we are concerned about a patient – for example, an aged pet, one that is ill at the time of surgery or a healthy pet that is to have a major operation. This could include blood tests, urinalysis and x-rays. Even apparently healthy cats and dogs can have underlying medical conditions and testing means abnormalities may be detected before surgery or guide the choice of anaesthetic or pre-operative treatment. CVH has sophisticated in-house pathology facilities that allow us to process blood tests rapidly.

Anaesthetics

We use many of the same anaesthetic agents used in human surgery, and our vets will determine which is the most suitable and safe anaesthetic for your pet’s surgery, depending on the procedure, its length and complexity. Regardless, almost all our surgical procedures are undertaken using gas anaesthesia. This is by far the safest form of anaesthesia (especially for young, old, ill or debilitated patients), and it means your pet will have a faster and smoother recovery.

Standards of quality

Our operating theatre and preparation area allow us to perform surgery with strict standards of sterility, and your pet’s heart, lungs and other vital functions are closely monitored throughout every procedure, regardless of whether it is routine or an emergency.

We may recommend intravenous catheterisation and fluid therapy before/during and post-surgery if we believe this will be in the best interests of the patient. I/V fluid therapy maintains your pet’s blood pressure during anaesthesia, helps protect kidneys, reduces recovery time and provides an immediate way to administer drugs or a blood transfusion in the case of an emergency.

Other procedures

Often it is sensible to consider more than one procedure if your pet is to have an anaethestic. For example, it’s a good opportunity to undertake any necessary dental work, or to microchip your pet, or x-ray large breeds at the time of neutering if they are prone to hip dysplasia, for example.

Bathing

If you wash your dog or cat regularly, do this before the surgery – say the day before. It is important pets are not washed until sutures are removed and any wounds are completely healed.

Discharge

Please ring us around 3pm to check if your pet is fine to go home that evening. Occasionally we keep an animal in overnight to make sure they are fully awake and walking well before they go home.