What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery

Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet's surgery, and we hope this information will help. It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.

How safe is my pet’s procedure?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Hilltop Animal Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.

With your pet’s comfort and safety at the forefront, we utilize pain management protocols before, during, and after surgery until they are completely recovered. This includes monitoring vital signs, assessing your pet for pain indicators, and keeping them well-fed, warm and comfortable in their surroundings.

What is a pre-anesthetic blood screening?

This is a blood test that is run here in the clinic prior to surgery. It tests the organ functions, blood counts, and clotting function of your pet. The pre-anesthetic blood screening is done to assure safety during surgery and the ability to heal following surgery.

Is the anesthetic safe?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Hilltop Animal Hospital, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.

Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.

We offer in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring your pet in. Our doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.

It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food starting at 9:00pm the night before surgery. for at least 8 to 10 hours Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.

What other decisions do I need to make?

While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry (dentistry is not a "minor" procedure), preliminary hip & knee radiographs, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.

We email all surgery and day admission electronic consent for links a couple of days prior to the appointment. They will only review/sign the surgical estimate during admission. Blood work is required on all of our surgical patients. We do not have in-house analyzers. All pre-anesthetic blood testing is done at least the day prior to surgery. When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes going to go over your pet's home care needs.

We will call you the day/night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.

“Great place with the best staff. Highly recommended.”

Jay H.