Our Berkeley vets know that preparing for your pet to have surgery can be stressful. So we're providing the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about how to prepare your pet for surgery.
Pet Surgeries & Concerned Pet Parents
Whether your pet is scheduled for a simple spay or neuter procedure or a more complex orthopedic surgery you are bound to be feeling a little stressed and want to be sure you do everything you can to ensure that your pet's operation goes smoothly. That's why we have put together the answers to some of the questions our Berkeley vets get asked by worried pet parents leading up to their animal's surgery.
How should I be preparing in the weeks before my pet's surgery?
Before the day of your pet's surgery, you will have one or more appointments with your vet. At these appointments, your vet will ask you a series of questions in order to get a good understanding of what health issues or injuries your pet has had in the past, any treatments currently being administered, and any behavioral concerns.
Your vet will also thoroughly examine your dog or cat to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo their scheduled surgery.
If your pet is carrying extra weight your vet may recommend a weight loss program prior to your pet's surgery. Carrying extra weight increases the risks associated with general anesthetic, could also make it harder for your pet to move around post-surgery and may make recovery longer.
What can I do in the few days leading up to my pet's surgery?
At this point your vet may recommend bloodwork to check your companion animal's organ function and overall body health. These blood tests can help vets to detect any internal issues that are too subtle to pick up with just a physical examination. These blood tests are an important part of reducing the risks posed by general anesthetic. Other tests that your vet may recommend include radiographs and ultrasounds.
In the week leading up to your pet's surgery it can be a good idea to have your four-legged friend bathed or groomed so they are clean and ready for surgery day. You will need to keep the incision dry while it heals so you won't be able to get your dog or cat groomed for a while following surgery.
Plan how you will be getting to and from the surgery with your pet. While this may not be a major issue for cat parents, transporting a large or giant breed dog home from surgery may be challenging. Plan accordingly based on the type of surgery your pet is having and their expected level of mobility following the procedure. Ask your vet for advice if you aren't sure about the best way to get your pet home after their surgery.
Have a quiet place with a comfy bed ready for your pet's return home. If your pet will require crate rest be sure to have an appropriately sized crate ready for when your pet comes home after surgery.
How should I prepare my pet for surgery on the night before the procedure?
Your vet will provide you with detailed instructions specific to your pet and the surgical procedure that they will be having. That said, in most cases you will be asked not to allow your pet to eat or drink anything after midnight before their surgery. If your dog or cat takes medications you should speak to your vet about whether to withhold meds until after the procedure.
If your pet will be staying overnight at the vet's following surgery pack up any foods, medications or other items that the team looking after your animal will need in order to provide your pet with the best possible care.
In some cases, you may be asked to bring your pet to the veterinary hospital to stay overnight before their surgery.
What should I do to prepare my pet on the morning of the surgery?
Make sure that your pet does not eat or drink anything on the morning before their surgery. Eating and/or drinking could cause your pet to aspirate while under anesthesia, which is potentially life-threatening.
Your vet will provide you with a time to drop off your pet. Remember that surgery day at your animal hospital is bound to be busy so try to be on time and remain calm and relaxed while you drop off your pet.
Your vet may wish to do further testing before surgery to make sure that your pet does not face any increased anesthetic risks.
Check-in with the staff at reception and make sure that they have the correct number to reach you at so that they can provide you with updates while your four-legged friend is in their care.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.