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PHONE: 01202 499 622 1a Stony Lane, Christchurch, BH23 7LQ
PRE-OPERATIVE GUIDELINES FOR PET OWNERS
1. Food and water
Your pet will need to be fasted for 12 hours prior to general anaesthesia in order to minimise risk of vomiting during the operation. Please remove all food at 10pm the evening before surgery. IMPORTANT - there is no need to remove water - your pet should have access to water all night in order to prevent dehydration.
2. General anaesthesia risk
A general anaesthetic always carries a small level of risk, even in pets who are young and physically healthy. We minimise this risk by:
- performing a thorough physical examination within 4 weeks prior to surgery, and one more time on the morning of the surgery after your pet has been admitted
- careful monitoring of anaesthetic depth, vital signs and blood pressure during the anaesthesia (your pet will have a dedicated nurse with them throughout the procedure and during recovery)
- one anaesthetic protocol does not fit all patients - we carefully select different sedative and anaesthetic drugs best suited to the individual pet
- every patient will have an intravenous catheter placed for anaesthetic drug delivery, which also provides us with immediate intravenous access in case of complications or emergencies
We also offer pre-anaesthetic blood testing to check liver and kidney function, blood sugar levels, and make sure your pet is not anaemic. This test is less likely to be abnormal in a young and physically healthy pet than in an older animal, but still does uncover problems from time to time. Some animals are born with liver and kidney disease which may not result in any symptoms until they are older, and anaesthesia in this situation may cause complications, result in symptoms developing post-operatively, or even cause death.
We would encourage pre-operative blood testing in all pets coming in for routine surgery, but especially in certain breeds which are predisposed to liver or kidney disease at a young age, e.g.:
- KIDNEY DISEASE: Boxer, Basenji, Chow Chow, English Cocker Spaniel, Doberman, Golden and Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Standard Poodle, Rottweiler, Miniature Schnauzer, Shar Pei, Shih Tzu, Abysinnian cat, Siamese cat
- POLYCYSTIC KIDNEYS: Persian cat, English Bull Terrier, West Highland White Terrier
- LIVER SHUNT: Maltese terrier, Yorkshire terrier, Irish Wolfhound, Miniature Schnauzer, Himalayan cat, Persian cat, Siamese cat
- LIVER DISEASE/HEPATITIS: Springer Spaniel, Bedlington Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Yorkshire Terrier
Pre-anaesthetic blood testing costs £50, and can be performed on the day of surgery.
A genetic blood clotting disorder is seen in Dobermans and Cornish/Devon Rex cats, and should be checked for at least 24h before the first surgery they have. This test only needs to be carried out once in an animal's lifetime, there is no need to repeat the test prior to any further operations.
3. Pain relief
All surgical patients are given pain relief. It is part of the sedative injection your pet will receive prior to general anaesthesia, so it begins working before the operation begins. A second, longer lasting pain killer (anti-inflammatory) is also given.
When your pet is discharged from hospital at the end of the day, you will receive anti-inflammatory pain killers to use at home for a few days in order to ensure your pet remains comfortable while the surgical wounds are healing. Cat castrations are an exception, as the injections last up to 3 days, and the wounds are small enough that this should be sufficient.
If you feel that your pet needs more pain relief than has been given, please contact us so we can provide you with additional doses.
4. Intra-operative complications
Complications do very occasionally happen during anaesthesia despite all precautions. The most common problem would be low blood pressure as a result of the anaesthetic. This is usually easily corrected with intravenous fluids. A fee of £65 will be applied to cover the cost of fluids if this is the case.
Another possible complication would be excessive bleeding, especially during dog spays. Most common reasons for this are being in season, lungworm infection, or being overweight. In order to minimise risk of bleeding, we would advise that all dogs are administered a lungworm preventative (Advocate) on a regular basis, that females are spayed either before the first season or 2-3 months after the end of a season, and that significantly overweight females aim to lose the excess weight prior to surgery.
5. Post-operative complications
If your pet interferes with the wound, infection may develop. They could also cause the wound to break down and open up again, or a hernia to arise. For these reasons we provide an Elizabethan collar (clear plastic) and would encourage you to use it until time if suture removal, at least when your pet is not directly supervised (especially overnight). Correction of these complications is generally charged for at the practice's standard fee schedule.
We shall check the wound 2-3 days post-surgery, and also 10 days post-surgery. If there are any skin stitches present, they are usually removed at the 10 day check. There is no charge for these post-operative checks, unless your pet needs further medication (which would be uncommon).
We understand that leaving your pet with us for surgery can be a worrying and stressful time, so rest assured that we shall do everything we can to keep them safe and comfortable during their stay.
If you have any further questions or concerns about your pet's procedure, please do not hesitate to contact one of our nurses or veterinary surgeons.