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What To Expect Before & After Surgery

Whether it is a routine surgical procedure such as desexing, a dental procedure or a major orthopaedic surgical procedure, there are a few things you need to do to ensure your pet has a safe and smooth experience.  Many people worry about anaesthetics and though anaesthetics do carry risks, the vets at the Eureka Vet Clinic do everything to keep the risks to a minimum and are happy to talk you through it.

The night before

Your pet needs to be fasted of food prior to the anaesthesia.  You can allow your pet to have dinner the night before, but they need to be fasted of food from 8pm the night before the anaesthesia.  Water is allowed.

Rabbits are different; they are not to be fasted and should have access to food and water at all times.

Admission procedure

On the morning of the anaesthetic procedure, please encourage your pet to go to the toilet before coming to the clinic.  

Please bring your pet to the clinic between 8.00am and 9.30am.  If your pet has not had a previous health examination and vaccination, then a consultation prior to the procedure may be required.  It is important for your pet and the health of those animals in hospital that your pet is up to date with their vaccination status prior to being hospitalised.

Please allow at least 15 minutes for your pet to be admitted to the hospital. This is to allow our staff to ensure we have the correct contact details and answer any questions you have prior to the procedure.  You will be required to sign a consent form to give the vets permission to administer the anaesthesia. This is also a time to mention any extras you would like done while you pet is under anaesthesia such as microchipping or nail clipping.

IMPORTANT: Please ensure you are contactable throughout the day.

All pets given a general anaesthetic at the Eureka Veterinary Clinic are given intravenous fluids to help minimise risks of anaesthesia.  Sometimes, particularly in older pets and those with an illness, ongoing fluid therapy throughout the recovery period until your pet is discharged is necessary and the vets and nurse will discuss this with you.  

Pre-anaesthetic blood testing can also minimise the risk of anaesthesia.  By doing pre-anaesthetic blood testing, we can determine if your pet's kidney and liver are functioning normally as these organs are what remove the anaesthesia from the body.  The vets and nurses will discuss this with you prior to anaesthesia.

Eureka Vets Puppies 4Before the operation

Your pet is weighed to ensure accurate drug doses.  A pre-anaesthetic drug is given which reduce anxiety, provide mild sedation and pain relief.  Your pet will then be kenneled with a comfortable bed until the pre-med takes effect.

Collecting your pet

Most pets undergoing a routine or minor surgical procedure will be up-and-about and ready to walk out the door in the afternoon on the same day.  Most will be discharged after 4.30pm to allow ample time to recover from the anaesthesia.  All patients will receive pain relief before and after the procedure.  

In the case of major surgical procedures, because prolonged pain relief and monitoring is required, they will remain in hospital overnight to ensure they are kept comfortable. 

On arrival at the clinic to collect your pet, although you will be keen to see your pet, it is advisable that you speak to the vet or nurse beforehand.  This enables our staff to give you all the necessary post operative information and instructions you need without being distracted.  It is also a perfect time to ask any questions you may have about the procedure.  You can also settle the bill and organsie any check up appointments your pet may need.

The first night home

Your pet needs to be kept indoors and warm.  After an anaesthetic and surgical procedure, animals can be slow at regulating their body temperature. 

They should be offered food and water, but do not be alarmed if your pet does not eat much that evening.  They should resume a normal appetite within 48 hours. 

Exercise should be restricted to leash walking only unless your vet has given your specific exercise instructions.  Overactivity is a leading cause of swelling at the surgical site.

What next:

You must follow the instructions in the discharge notes.

If given medications, ensure your pet gets these at the appropriate time as per the instructions on the label.

If your pet licks at the surgical site, an Elizabethan collar (or ‘bucket’) maybe required if they have not already been given one by the staff.

Monitor the surgical site on a daily basis.  If there is any swelling, discharge or your pet appears distressed, you MUST contact the clinic.

Animals have different pain thresholds and they show pain in different ways.  For example, dog may whine, cry or limp in an obvious way, cats and small animals such as rodents may become withdrawal and stop eating.  The vets are aware of pain and do whatever we can to minimise the pain by providing pain relief, however, if you are concerned then you must contact us for advise.

For rabbits it is vital that they start eating as soon as possible when you bring them home, you may need to syringe feed a special recovery diet if they do not eat.  If your rabbit is not eating the day after the anaesthesia, you must contact the clinic.

Post-operative care basics



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