Here is an explanation of what you can expect when your pet comes in for a surgical procedure or any prodecure involving anesthesia. You can also visit our Facebook page or our You Tube channel to see "Brix's Dental Cleaning" for a video of an anesthetic preocedure at RRVH
24 to 48 hours prior to your pet's procedure, you will have an appointment with a pet nurse for pre anesthetic bloodwork. This is full bloodwork that evaluates both the complete blood count and chemistries (liver, kidney values etc). This is done for every patient that is to be anesthetized to ensure that your pet is free from any underlying disease and to keep them as safe as possible .
There will be several admission forms to complete the morning of your pet's procedure. We will be asking for an emergency contact number that you may be reached at anytime that morning in case we have any questions or concerns. These forms will also discuss any ancillary procedures you may wish to have done while you pet is anesthetized, such as a nail trim, microchip placement and anal gland expression.
After you complete some admission paperwork at the front desk, you will meet with the Doctor. They will discuss the results of the pre anesthetic bloodwork and perform a preanesthetic exam. Together you will discuss any questions or concerns about the surgery and aftercare although these will be discussed again at your discharge appointment.
For safety reasons, we do not leave collars or leashes on pets in hospital. We will remove and return any leashes and collars for you to take with you. If you would like to bring a couple of items from home (ie toy or personal clothing) you are welcome to do so. Choose items that you understand may become soiled. Your pet is brought to the treatment area where their temperature, pulse and respiration are also recorded. They will have a paper collar placed similar to the ID bands that they use in the human hospitals. They will then be settled into their private kennel in ICU.
A small area of fur will be shaved on a leg where the IV catheter is to be placed. This catheter will be used to administer IV fluids during surgery to maintain blood pressure, hydration and will also provide venous access for medications (emergency or routine) should they be needed.
There are several steps to anesthetizing your pet. First they are given an injection to premedicate them. These are drugs given prior to anesthetic induction to calm the patient, reduce stress and provide preemptive analgesia (relief from pain). They also allow for a reduction of induction and maintenance drugs. Pets are then given an induction agent. This is given via the catheter and allows us to intubate (pass and tube into the windpipe) which will be used to breath gas anesthetic during surgery.
The surgical site is clipped and scrubbed in a special method to lessen the bacteria normally present on the skin therefore decreasing the chance of infection. Our patients are kept warm by water circulating blankets.
The surgeon wears a cap, mask and sterile gown/ gloves. Sterilized surgical packs, drapes, scalpel blades and suture are all needed for surgery. During surgery patient temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, pulse quality, fluid rates, pulse ox, and depth of anesthesia are all continuously monitored by a trained pet nurse.
Immediately after surgery the patient is monitored and, when awake enough, is extubated (endotracheal tube removed). Additional pain medication is given if needed. For the next few hours your pet's temperature, respirations and comfort level are closely monitored. The IV catheter is removed and a bandage placed.
When it is time to take your pet home you will have a discharge appointment scheduled with a pet nurse. The pet nurse will come into the exam room and discuss all discharge instructions including what to expect when your pet arrives home. If you have any additional questions, or would like to speak to the doctor directly, this can also be arranged. Any medications you are taking home will be reviewed, care of bandages and incisions will be discussed. Depending on the surgery, there may be follow up appointments that need to be arranged and we will schedule these before you leave.
We will contact you the day after surgery to see if you have any questions and how your pet is doing. Depending on the type of surgery, sometimes there are follow up appointments needed.