Surgery FAQs

SURGERY - Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What preparations do I need to make prior to a surgery consultation?
A: Have your veterinarian fax your pet’s medical record prior to the visit. If there are any x-rays, they can be sent ahead of time or you can bring them with you to the consultation. Your pet should not be fed after 10 PM the night before in case any x-rays are taken. This is because sedation/anesthesia is usually necessary for the best quality x-ray. You do not have to withhold water.

Q: How long are appointments?
A: appointments are typically one hour long. This gives the surgeon ample time to evaluate your pet and discuss all aspects of the condition and surgery, if indicated. If x-rays are needed, this will require more time as sedation is typically necessary. Owners should plan for one or two additional hours, if x-rays are needed. Accommodations can be made to leave your pet for the day, if desired.

Q: Can elective surgery be done the same day for my pet?
A: Surgery can be done the same day in some circumstances. This depends on availability and the type of procedure performed. However, in most instances, surgery is done the next day or scheduled for a different day. For example, preoperative planning may be needed for some orthopedic procedures, which is done in advance of the surgery.

Q: How much fur will be shaved on my pet?
A: Prior to surgery, your pet will have the fur around the surgical site shaved to obtain a sterile field. The extent of the area shaved will depend upon the procedure being performed. For typical surgery of the knee, the entire leg is shaved from just above the hip to below the ankle (hock). Most patients also will have small areas shaved for placement of IV catheters and placement of pain medication patches.

Q: What kind of monitoring is done during anesthesia?
A: The surgery service is staffed by experienced licensed veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and veterinary technician specialists in anesthesia. Monitoring consists of supervising a number of parameters including ECG, blood pressure measurement, oxygen and carbon dioxide saturation of blood, respiration rate and level of consciousness. In addition, patient specific protocols allow for safe and low-risk anesthesia.

Q: When will I receive a call after surgery?
A: The surgeon typically will give you a call after surgery as soon as your pet has recovered from general anesthesia. If emergencies prevent the surgeon from contacting you immediately after recovery, a hospital liaison will contact you with a follow up call from the surgeon when available.

Q: How long will my pet be in the hospital after surgery?
A: Hospitalization after surgery will depend on the surgery and how affected your pet was prior to surgery. Most patients of the surgery service will go home the day after surgery.

Q: Can I visit my pet after surgery?
A: In general, owners can visit their pets while in the hospital. Whether it is in the best interest of the patient will be determined by a number of factors, including the pet’s personality and whether or not they get stressed when owners visit. However, visitation the day of surgery is discouraged because patients recovering from anesthesia are disoriented and get overly excited and agitated when owners visit.

Q: How will my regular veterinarian know what is going on with my pet?
A: Your veterinarian will receive a call the day of the appointment to discuss the results of the consultation. In addition, a complete referral letter is sent to your regular veterinarian. The surgeon will keep in contact with your pet’s veterinarian regarding long-term management of the case. For the best management of your pet’s condition, it is essential that there is good communication between PMVC, your veterinarian and yourself. Calls are typically returned within 24 hours.

Q: What is arthroscopy?
A: Arthroscopy is the use of a small scope inserted into a joint, which utilizes a light source and magnification to allow inspection all structures within the joint.

Q: What are the advantages of arthroscopy over conventional techniques?
A: Arthroscopy allows the surgeon to diagnose and treat orthopedic conditions without opening the joint. The incisions made for entrance into the joint are very small and this markedly decreases postoperative pain, which facilitates a faster recovery. Some orthopedic conditions that affect young dogs are pronounced in more than one joint. Arthroscopy allows a surgeon to treat multiple joints in one procedure, which is not advisable with conventional open arthrotomy techniques due to increased pain and tissue disruption.