FAQs about Surgery

If my pet needs surgery, what should I do the evening before the procedure?

Your pet will need to be fasted the night before any type of surgery. We ask that you take up your pet’s food at 10:00 p.m. the night before surgery. Your pet may have water until the morning of surgery. Remember, do not give your pet food, treats or medications the morning of surgery.

What should I bring when I am dropping off my pet for surgery?

You will need to bring your pet and be prepared to leave a deposit for one-half of the total cost of the surgical procedure. If your pet takes any medications, please bring those as well. We do not recommend that you bring any personal items (i.e. toys, blankets, t-shirts, etc.) for your pet’s hospital stay. If you do bring a personal item, please write your name on it to help us keep track of it. We, however, cannot guarantee that personal items left will make it home.

If I am dropping off my pet for surgery, when should I arrive?

Most surgical drop-offs need to be here between 7:00 and 7:15 the morning of surgery. This allows the surgery and anesthesia staff to evaluate all our surgery patients and perform any pre-operative testing before the surgery day begins.  If you are concerned that you may not be able to have your pet here by 7:15, please consider dropping off your pet the night before. We have 24-hour care.

What time will my pet’s surgery begin?

The daily surgery schedule is determined each morning and includes the elective surgery patients, that were dropped off on time (by 7:15 a.m.), as well as surgical transfers from the Emergency services. The surgery patients are placed on the schedule in an order that will best allow us to complete all of the surgeries on the schedule.  We typically start the first surgery by 8:30 a.m. We do NOT designate specific surgery times for any of our patients to allow us to accommodate any unexpected delays or challenges we might encounter.

It should be noted that priority is given to critical patients requiring life-saving surgery.  On days when we receive multiple surgical emergencies, it is possible that we may not complete all of the elective surgeries on the schedule.  If your pet is on the elective schedule and we are concerned that we will not get to your pet’s surgery, we will communicate this to you as soon as we know (typically by 3:00 p.m.).  We can typically re-schedule your pet’s surgery for the next open surgery day and will prioritize your pet on the elective schedule.

Will someone call me when my pet’s surgery is over?

Yes, we will call you once your pet has woken up from anesthesia to update you on how the surgical procedure and anesthesia went. The surgeons typically update pet owners at the end of the surgical day.

When will I be told about aftercare?

When you come to pick up your pet, one of our daytime staff members will go over aftercare instructions with you. You are welcome to ask any questions at that time. We will also provide detailed discharge instructions for your pet.

Should I make special preparations for the ride home?

It is best if your pet can be restrained/confined for the ride home. Ideally your pet should be transported in a crate. If this is not possible you should arrange to have an additional person assist you during the transport home.

Will my pet need any follow up appointments?

In most instances, your pet will have staples or sutures removed 10 – 14 days after surgery. Your pet can generally be taken either to your primary care veterinarian or to our hospital for this visit. For some types of surgeries, we require that the suture removal be performed in our office. We will perform additional follow up exams if your pet experiences any post-operative complications. Most pets with bone and joint surgeries will need to have radiographs (x-rays) taken ten weeks following surgery. Certain surgical procedures will require many recheck examinations (i.e. complicated fractures, joint fusions, etc.). If extensive follow-ups are predictable for your pet, you will be advised of this before surgery is performed.

Are follow up appointments included in the surgical quote?

Two free recheck exams are included in your surgical costs.  You will be charged if you pet needs a bandage change, any diagnostic testing (i.e. blood work, radiographs, etc.), medications or sedation during these recheck visits.  You also may be charged an exam fee if more than two rechecks are required.

Are there complications that can occur with any surgery?

Yes, any surgical procedure has the potential to result in complications and carries a certain amount of risk. Fortunately, the generic complications associated with all surgical procedures are very rare.

The first potential risk with any surgical procedure is related to general anesthesia. Fortunately, the risk of significant complications with general anesthesia is very small. Less than one percent of animals undergoing anesthesia will have a serious complication.

Another potential complication associated with any surgical procedure is incisional dehiscence or infection. Incisional problems are rare as well. Between three and five percent of surgical incisions in animals will become infected. Most incisional infections occur either because of licking or chewing at the incision. It is therefore extremely important to prevent licking or chewing following surgery when your animal returns home.