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What to Expect for Anesthetic Procedures
The following information will give you a better idea of what happens during a procedure under anesthetic and what you can expect prior to, during, and following your pet’s visit to our clinic.
Once we determine what the procedure may involve we can give you an estimate of cost. There is some fluctuation in the cost depending on the procedure and details, which are specific to your pet. One of our staff members will go through the estimate with you to explain all the steps. If you have any questions at that point, we will try and answer them to the best of our knowledge. From there you can book the procedure with one of our receptionists. They will set up a drop off time, usually between 7:30 and 11:00 AM, depending on your schedule and what needs to be done before the procedure. The time of your arrival at our clinic does not determine the order of procedures or when your pet will be ready to go home. We can give you a rough idea, in order to try and accommodate your schedule, but we are unable to determine the exact time until after your pet wakes up from the anesthetic and is recovering well. In the majority of procedures, your pet will be able to go home the same day of the procedure; we will let you know ahead of time if that is not the case for your pet.
Anesthetic does require fasting beforehand, so we ask that your pet not have anything to eat after midnight the night before, and no breakfast in the morning. Water is alright overnight, but pick up the bowl when you get up in the morning. Your pet will be receiving intravenous fluids throughout the day, so hydration is less of a concern than vomiting with a full stomach.
When you bring in your pet in the morning, one of our staff members will review the procedure with you, and go over the admittance paperwork and consent form. We will also ask for contact numbers on which we can reach you during the day. We will call you upon your pet’s recovery with an update, and to set up a pick up time. If you have any concerns please let us know so we can reassure you and answer any questions you may have before your pet stays with us for the day.
Upon admitting your pet, we perform an initial exam where we take the animal’s temperature, as well as check the heart and respiratory rates. If you express any additional concerns for your pet, we will then address them with the veterinarian. If your pet is young and healthy, we will most likely run pre-anesthetic blood work in clinic the morning of the procedure. This way we can ensure that your pet is healthy and able to properly process and remove all the anesthesia agents from their system. If your pet is older, we will send the blood to a laboratory where a more extensive panel can be run. For this, we need to draw the blood at least 2 days prior to the procedure so that we can receive the results back in time. This test confirms your pet’s organs are functioning properly and help to rule out any underlying conditions.
Depending on your pet’s age and history, we may recommend chest radiographs. Just like the blood work, the radiographs are a precaution, and are used to rule out any underlying heart or lung issues that may have an effect on your pet during the anesthesia. We can do these the day of the procedure, or at an earlier date, particularly if we are seeing your pet beforehand for the blood panel.
Once the veterinarian reviews the blood work and the radiographs and determines they look good, we can begin. Your pet will be given a pre-anesthetic tranquilizer to lessen their anxiety and keep them calm while we prepare them for the surgery. Each animal undergoing anesthetic will have an intravenous catheter place to administer fluids throughout the day, and to have quick access to a vein for medications. From here your pet will go under full anesthetic and the procedure can begin. Your pet’s vitals, such as heart rhythm, respiratory rate and oxygen levels, temperature and blood pressure, will be closely monitored throughout the anesthetic. If there are any unforeseen changes to the treatment plan or estimate, we will give you a call and review what is recommended before we continue.
When you pet’s procedure is complete and he/she is waking up from the anesthetic, we will call you with an update and come up with a time for you to come down for the discharge appointment. Depending on the procedure, your pet will be sent home with medications, such as pain control, anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics. We will complete a home care instruction sheet and review the follow up treatment plan with you during the see out. We will also go over any medications and specific instructions given by the veterinarian, as well as let you know any side effects or symptoms to monitor for. If any radiographs were taken, we can show them to you, as well as the dental chart if your pet had a dental procedure. For some procedures, such as dentals, we recommend a recheck appointment in 3-5 days, so that we can see how your pet is doing and to make sure the mouth is healing well. If your pet had surgery, we would like to see him/her back in 14 days to remove the sutures. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask us at any point.