Most pets will have surgery at some point in their life. At our Templestowe veterinary surgery, these procedures are very safe, but the success of the treatment does depend on your pet receiving the right home care before and after the procedure.
Please see below a list of the common questions owners often ask about veterinary surgery at our Templestowe clinic.
What do I do before the surgery?
If the operation is not an emergency, you may want to take some time off work so that you are around to take care of your pet during the recovery period.
Every surgery, sedation and general anaesthetic is not without risks. However, these risks have been significantly reduced by improvements in surgical techniques and in the safety of the anaesthetics used.
Vomiting can be dangerous when your pet is under a general anaesthetic and to reduce the risk of this we advise owners not to feed their pet any food after about 10.00 pm the night before. Water can be freely available until the time you leave home.
We recommend you ask lots of questions so that you understand what the surgery is for and what sort of post-operative care is required.
What happens at the admission appointment?
This is an opportunity for you to ask any final questions. This appointment is usually with a veterinary nurse, but may be with a vet.
You will be asked to read and sign a consent form. The veterinary nurse will discuss the extra care options (see below) that are available for your pet.
It is very important that you leave a phone number that you will be available on all day so that we can contact you when your pet wakes up.
How can I make the surgery safer for my pet?
The more information we have about your pet’s health the better we are able to look after them. It is for this reason that we recommend a blood test before any anaesthetic or surgical procedure. Pre-anaesthetic blood tests investigate the function of your pet’s major organs such as the kidneys and liver. Even in apparently healthy cats and dogs, pre-anaesthetic blood testing can pick up underlying medical conditions which may necessitate modifications to their anaesthesia.
Our Templestowe veterinary surgery has the most sophisticated in-house blood analysers in the Templestowe/Lower Templestowe and Bullen area which enables us to process your pet’s blood and receive the results the morning of their procedure.
When will my pet be able to come home?
We will call or text you immediately after your pet has woken up from their procedure. Most pets go home in the afternoon after a routine procedure (de-sexing, dental, lump removal). For orthopaedic and more complicated procedures, your pet may stay in our hospital overnight and be discharged the following day.
Your vet or vet nurse will give you detailed discharge instructions and advise when they can eat and drink again. A post-op visit will also be scheduled at your discharge appointment.
How do I care for my pet when I bring her home?
At home your pet should be left in a warm, quiet room until it is fully recovered. Cats should be kept indoors and dogs should not be taken for a walk (aside form going to the garden for a toilet break) for at least 24 hours.
Ideally cats should be confined indoors and dogs walked on a lead until their stitches have been removed.
Your pet may have been prescribed pain-killers and or antibiotics to keep them comfortable and prevent infection.
It is quite common for an animal to appear ‘groggy’ for a few hours after an anaesthetic or sedation and your pet may be a little unsteady on its feet.
If your pet is hungry please offer half their usual amount of food to eat for dinner. Occasionally, your pet may vomit – if this happens give it plenty of water but do not feed it for 24 hours.
A tube is put down your pet’s throat during the anaesthetic to help it breathe and occasionally this irritates the windpipe and may cause it to cough for a few days
What do I watch for? Is there anything I need to be worried about?
Please call our Templestowe clinic if your pet vomits multiple times, seems restless, very lethargic or if there is any bleeding or discharge from a surgical wound.
How do I stop my pet chewing out the stitches?
Wounds heal faster if they are kept clean and dry – always stop your pet if you see it licking its stitches. If your pet does try to remove his stitches your vet may give you an E-collar to fit around your pet’s neck to prevent them licking or scratching at the wound.