Learn more about what will happen if your pet is having surgery here.
At Towerwood Vets we know only too well what a stressful and sometimes upsetting time it can be for anyone who has to leave their pet with us to have a general anaesthetic and/or an operation. This is why we have put together this information sheet which will not only advise you on the steps you need to take to carry out prior to the operation but also the sequence of events to expect once you arrive at the surgery.
The night before surgery
We ask that you do not feed your pets after 8pm the night before his or her scheduled surgery. You are still allowed to provide water overnight unless specifically asked not to but no food or treats.
If your pet is a rabbit, guinea pig or other small mammal, than this rule does not apply and they must have food and water available to them all night.
Cats are best kept indoors overnight with a litter tray, seeing as they seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing when they are due to visit the vets. This will also ensure that they cannot obtain anything to eat, including mice, whilst out and about. If your pet is on regular medication, please continue this as normal unless advised otherwise.
The morning of the surgery
On the morning of the surgery please ensure that your dog has the has had the opportunity to empty his/her bladder and bowel prior to admission. Please avoid bringing them in wet, or covered in mud, as this makes it more difficult for our team to clean the surgical site. Please ensure that you bring a telephone number that we can contact you on at all times during the day of your pet’s operation. A lot of people do not know their mobile number so please write it down in advance on a piece of paper and hand it to the nurse who admits your pet.
On arrival at the practice
When you arrive at the practice you will be greeted by either our receptionist or one of the nurses. You will then be taken into a consulting room by the admit nurse who will ask you some health-related questions about your pet. We then will ask you to sign a consent form and we will provide you with an estimate of the cost of your pet’s surgery.
The consent form
Our consent form is a legal document. It has three parts to it and requires three signatures. The first signature required is to give us permission to carry out the operation written down. It you are unsure what you are signing for then please ask the nurse to explain to you the operation your pet is scheduled for.
The second signature we require gives us permission to use a sedative and or a general anaesthetic. Certain procedures can be done only using a sedation but if the procedure is lengthy, painful or intrusive then we will always use a full general anaesthetic.
The third signature gives us permission to use medications that may not be licensed for your pet species, but that there are no alternatives to in veterinary medicine, and that we use safely and routinely every day. Please ask if you are at all unsure as to what you are signing for.
If your pet seems unwell or his/her condition has deteriorated since the vet last saw him/her, then please tell the nurse. This includes any bouts of vomiting or diarrhoea, any coughing or any pre-existing conditions like epilepsy or heart related problems. If your pet takes regular medications, then please let the nurse know what medication your pet takes and when the last dose was.
Please let the nurse know if you would like your pet’s nails clipped, de-matting, micro chipping, teeth cleaning, anal gland emptying, or anything else done whilst your pet is asleep. These are sometimes things that are much easier to do when your pet is fast asleep, and we will be more than happy to do them if it is safe to do so.
Your Contact details
The nurse will ask you for a telephone number that we can always contact you on. It is vitally important that we can contact you at any time during the day to discuss your pet while he/she is in with us. If you leave us a mobile number, please ensure that you have your mobile to hand and switched on throughout their stay with us. If you leave a home number and need to pop out, just give us a ring to let us know how and where we can contact you if we need to.
Pre-anaesthetic blood test
At Towerwood Vets we offer our patients undergoing anaesthesia a pre-anaesthetic blood test. A pre-anaesthetic blood test adds to the cost of the operation but it can be invaluable, especially in older or more vulnerable pets. Advances in anaesthesia and surgery have made routine procedures safer with a lower rate of complications, however problems can arise because of pre-existing conditions not evident during pre-anaesthetic consultations. This is especially true in older animals, but even young animals can be born with, or develop, an underlying condition that may only be evident on a blood test. This can include liver and kidney conditions and problems associated with clotting and anaemia. If a problem is detected on the blood test we can alter the anaesthetic regime by changing drug doses that we may give, give supportive intravenous fluids if necessary or if it’s not safe to go ahead postpone the operation until the pre-existing condition is under control. The earlier we discover any abnormalities the more we will be able to help in the long term.
What happens when my pet is in the kennels?
Once the consent form is signed and the nurse has taken your contact number, they will take your pet to be weighed before transferring him/her to a comfortable kennel. The operating veterinary surgeon will give your pet a full health check, including listening to your pet’s heart and taking a body temperature, before giving him/her a mild sedative. The sedative has pain relieving properties and ensures that not only do we need less anaesthetic drug but that the anaesthetic goes as smoothly as possible.
Depending on the procedure a small amount of fur may be clipped from either, or both, of your pet’s neck and foreleg. This is for taking bloods and then giving the anaesthetic, but it will begin to grow back very quickly.
Collecting your companion
The nurse will ring you on the telephone number that you have provided us with as soon as your pet is awake following his/her anaesthetic and you will be able to collect your them from that time up until when we close. When you collect your pet the nurse will explain everything to you, including how the operation went, what medications he/she has had and any medications for you to give at home, plus all of the after-care advice you may need. You will also receive a post-operative care sheet to take home which covers all the aftercare discussed.
If you think of any questions during the day related to your pets or his/her operation, then please feel free to ask the nurse at this time when we will do all we can to answer them. We want you to feel relaxed about your pets anaesthetic and/or operation so if any time either before, during or after booking your pet in for surgery, you would like to speak to a veterinary surgeon or a veterinary nurse to discuss any worries you may have, then please do not hesitate in getting in touch.