Guidelines for Preparing Your Pet for an Operation

Whether your pet is having a regular spay or neuter treatment or a more serious orthopedic surgery, you will likely be nervous and want to do all necessary to ensure that the procedure goes as smoothly as possible for your animal partner. The amount of data one must remember is substantial. Is there anything he needs to take? Is there any further testing required before the surgery? Your veterinarian will give you instructions, but the process might still be intimidating.

What is the importance of pre-surgery knowledge?

In light of this, we’ve collected a list of the most common asked questions veterinarians at Winston-Salem vet receive from worried pet parents in the days leading up to their animal’s surgery. Whether it’s a routine procedure like a dental cleaning or something more involved like a hip replacement, preparing your pet for surgery is a stressful experience. We’ve broken down the fundamentals to help you prepare as far ahead as possible.

Weeks Before Surgery

You will have one or more appointments with your veterinarian before the day of your pet’s surgery. During these appointments, your veterinarian will ask you questions to gain a thorough picture of your pet’s past health difficulties or injuries, current treatments, and behavioral concerns. Your veterinarian will also thoroughly evaluate your dog or cat to verify that they are healthy enough to endure the surgery. 

If your pet is overweight, your veterinarian may advise you to start a weight-loss program before surgery. Carrying extra weight raises the risks of general anesthesia, making it difficult for your pet to walk about the following surgery and potentially lengthening recovery time.

Days Prior Surgery

Your vet may order bloodwork to monitor organ function and overall wellness. These blood tests from vet lab can uncover interior abnormalities too subtle for a physical exam. These blood tests reduce anesthesia risks. Radiographs and ultrasounds may also be recommended. Bathe or groom your pet the week before surgery, so they’re clean and ready. You won’t be able to groom your dog or cat following surgery since the incision must stay dry. 

Plan the transport to and from the surgery. Large or giant breed dogs may be difficult to carry home after surgery. Plan based on your pet’s projected mobility after surgery. Ask your vet how to get your pet home following surgery. Prepare a peaceful, comfortable environment for your pet’s return. If your pet needs crate rest following surgery, have one ready.

Night Prior Surgery

Your vet will offer you instructions for your pet’s surgery. Usually, you will only be able to feed or water your pet after midnight the night before the operation. Consult your vet about withholding your pet’s medication until after the surgery. If your pet stays overnight at the vet’s after surgery, bring any foods, medications, or other items that the team is caring for your animal will require to provide the best possible care. In some situations, your pet may need to stay overnight before surgery.

Day of Surgery

Prior to surgery, don’t feed or water your pet. Your pet could aspirate while under anesthesia if they eat or drink. Your vet will schedule a pet drop-off. Surgery day at your animal hospital will be busy, so arrive on time and stay calm when dropping off your pet. Your vet may perform additional tests before surgery to reduce anesthetic risks. Check-in with the receptionist and give them your number so they can update you on your pet. 

Post-Operative Care

Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed post-op care instructions. If your pet had an incision, he might require pain medication and an E-collar. Leaving the “cone of shame” on reduces the chances of the incision reopening. Your pet’s veterinarian may advise you to limit their activities.

This is challenging for energetic breeds, but it is vital for healing. Consider getting your pet a kennel or a sedative. Your pet’s incision must remain dry and clean for two weeks after surgery. Following the veterinarian’s instructions will aid your dog’s recovery. If you notice any discomfort or unusual behavior, contact your veterinarian or the nearest emergency veterinary facility or you may visit the surgery page for further information.