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What should I expect on surgery day?
When your pet is ready to go home, we will review your postoperative care and medication instructions with you and members of your family. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to call us. We’re here to help!
Preanesthetic Bloodwork - What is it and why is it important for my pet?
When you bring your pet to Creston Veterinary Hospital for surgery (or any procedure where they will be going under general anesthetic), you will be asked if you want to have bloodwork done on your pet before their surgery. Running bloodwork is a quick test that tells your vet a lot of information about your pet’s health from the inside out, and ensures they are healthy prior to going under anesthesia!
What happens when you do bloodwork on my pet?
• Running bloodwork involves taking a small amount of blood from your pet’s vein and performing two different tests on it – a Complete Blood Count (CBC), and a Biochemistry Analysis. The CBC looks at the blood cells themselves (red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, white blood cells that are vital for immune function, and platelets, which help the blood to clot). The Biochemistry looks at the enzymes and electrolytes in the liquid portion of blood, which reflect your pet’s organ function and hydration status.
What kind of information does bloodwork give my veterinarian?
• A CBC and Biochemistry Analysis gives your vet a wide variety of information about your pet’s health, such as:
• Red blood cell level and production: Ensuring there are enough red blood cells in the body, and that the red blood cells are healthy is important to maintain oxygen levels in the body when they go under anesthetic.
• Immune system function: Changes in the number or type of white blood cells can indicate the presence of bacterial or parasitic infections, or disease processes in the body that cause inflammation. Too few white blood cells may indicate a decreased immune function, which can lead to problems healing after surgery or an increased risk of developing post-surgical infections.
• Platelet number: Platelets are an important part of blood clotting; it is important to make sure your pet has enough platelets to prevent excessive bleeding during surgery.
• Hydration level: It is important that your pet is well hydrated prior to surgery, as this will help them maintain an appropriate blood pressure to make sure all their organs are getting enough blood flow during surgery.
• Kidney and liver function: These are the main organs that we are concerned about when an animal goes under anesthesia, as they process the anesthetic drugs and clear them from your pet’s body as they wake up.
• Electrolyte levels: Abnormalities in electrolytes (such as potassium, calcium, sodium, chloride, and phosphorus) can indicate kidney damage, adrenal issues, or even some types of cancer! Imbalances in electrolytes can also lead to an increased risk of complications such as heart arrhythmias when under anesthetic.
Why is it important to run bloodwork before anesthesia?
• Bloodwork gives your veterinarian vital information regarding your pet’s organ function and overall body health. It can pick up on internal issues that cannot be seen or are still too subtle to pick up on a physical exam. Ensuring your pet is healthy inside and out prior to surgery will minimize their risk of complications, and help ensure they have a smooth recovery so they can get back to their normal selves in no time!
• Having bloodwork also helps your vet pick the appropriate drug combination to give your pet for sedation, anesthesia, and pain control. Knowing how your dog or cat’s organs are functioning allows the doctor to tailor your pet’s medications to their specific needs, which helps decrease side effects.
• If your veterinarian sees something in the bloodwork that is concerning, they will contact you to discuss the issue and how to proceed. They may decide to give intravenous fluids, or to delay your pet’s procedure until the problem can be corrected. This ensures that your pet is as stable as possible prior to anesthesia, which helps keep them safe and minimizes the chance of your pet experiencing complications.
My dog/cat looks healthy, do they really need to have bloodwork done?
• Even if your pet appears healthy, it is always a good idea to run bloodwork on them before they go under anesthesia. Many diseases are subtle in their early stages, and our pets often don’t act sick until there is something very wrong. While this is especially important in older patients, who have decreases in organ function as they age, it is also a good idea to do bloodwork in younger patients as they may have congenital abnormalities that put them at increased anesthetic risk.
• Having healthy bloodwork information also gives your vet and idea of what is ‘normal’ for your pet. This can be useful in the future if they do get sick, as it allows the doctors to see changes over time, which can help pick up diseases earlier.
When do I bring my pet in for preanesthetic bloodwork?
• You don’t have to make an extra trip to have bloodwork done on your pet! Bloodwork is done the same day as your pet’s surgery, so that we have the most current information about how your pet is doing before they are anesthetized.
At Creston Veterinary Hospital, your pet’s health and well-being are of utmost importance! Performing preanesthetic bloodwork is one way to help ensure that your pet stays safe, happy, and healthy while under general anesthetic!
How does a drop-off appointment work?
How do I submit fecal and urine samples?
Fecal: The next time your dog defecates, be sure to bring the sample in a ziplock bag. Samples should be brought in as fresh as possible, within four to six hours is ideal. Make sure the sample is refrigerated before bringing in!
Urine: To collect urine, be sure to take your dog for a walk and keep them close. Have a ladle or collection utensil ready (preferably something you don’t want back) for the moment they begin to urinate. Be sure to use your utensil to collect as much as possible and put it in a container to bring to us. Please keep the sample refrigerated.
Spay and Neuter Recovery Instructions
Be sure to check the incision daily to make sure it’s healing properly, and contact us immediately if you see any redness, irritation, or swelling. Please be sure to not bathe your dog within fourteen days of surgery.
If your pet is uncomfortable, lethargic, or having issues eating or going to the bathroom, please contact us immediately.
Fluid Facts: How do IV fluids help my pet during their surgery?
Intravenous (IV) fluids are an important medical tool for sick pets that are losing more fluids than they are able to take in due to vomiting, diarrhea, or other disease processes. It allows your veterinarian to provide necessary fluids directly into your pet’s bloodstream to keep them hydrated.
But IV fluids aren’t just for sick pets! Healthy pets undergoing surgery or general anesthesia can also benefit from having IV fluids during their procedure.
Surgical Intravenous Fluids
What happens when my pet gets IV fluids?
• Prior to your pet’s surgery, a catheter (a soft, flexible, needle-like object that sits in their vein to allow direct access to the bloodstream) is placed in your pet’s leg. It is bandaged in place, and a bag of special IV fluids are attached to it.
• A controlled amount of fluid is given to your pet throughout their procedure, based on their weight, hydration status, and fluid requirements during the procedure.
What will giving IV fluids do for my pet?
IV fluids can have many benefits for pets undergoing surgery, including:
• Maintaining blood pressure:
• Blood pressure is a complex mechanism that is tightly regulated in the body to ensure that all organs are receiving enough blood flow to provide them with necessary oxygen and nutrients. Your pet becomes very relaxed when they are under general anesthesia, which can cause their blood pressure to be lower than it would usually be. Giving extra fluids can help return their blood pressure to a normal level, ensuring that all their organs keep getting appropriate blood flow during surgery.
• This is especially important during longer procedures, as blood pressure tends to become lower and lower the longer a surgery lasts (which is why we require IV fluids if your pet is having dental work done!)
• No matter how skilled the surgeon, there is always some blood loss during surgery. Having IV fluids can help replace that lost blood volume, which helps to maintain your pet’s blood pressure.
• Keeping your pet hydrated during surgery (or rehydrating them prior to it):
• During longer procedures, your pet is not able to drink to keep themselves hydrated and compensate for water loss. Having IV fluids can help keep your pet at a good hydration level throughout their surgery.
• Cats (and especially older cats), are notorious for not drinking enough, and are often slightly dehydrated, even on their best days. Add in the stress of a trip to the vet clinic and not being allowed to drink just before surgery, and you have a recipe for a dehydrated patient. Dehydration causes the kidneys to have to work harder to clear waste products out of the body and can affect how your pet recovers from anesthesia (as many of the drugs used for your pet’s sedation and pain control are cleared from the body via the kidneys).
• Provides easy and fast IV access in case of an emergency:
• Although we take the utmost care to ensure your pet is safe during surgery, there are always some risks associated with general anesthesia. Some animals can have unpredictable reactions to anesthetic drugs, and in cases like these, having IV access via a catheter can save vital seconds during an emergency. This allows us to administer potentially life-saving drugs to your pet immediately, without having to spend time trying to find a vein to get IV access.
• Even in non-emergent situations, having IV access can help with keeping your pet comfortable during their surgery, as pain control given intravenously acts almost instantly, instead of having to wait for the body to absorb them into the bloodstream if the injection is given under the skin.
Intravenous fluids provide many benefits to your pet when they are undergoing general anesthesia or surgery. Talk to your veterinarian or one of our veterinary technologists to determine if IV fluids are the right choice for your pet!
What is a BGC and what should I expect?
A blood glucose curve is a tool that allows us to determine the effectiveness of the insulin and identify the appropriate dose and frequency of administration. This test helps us determine when insulin given to your pet starts working, how efficient the dose is, how low your pet’s glucose falls, and how long the insulin works in your dog.
Your dog may stay with us for up to 24 hours and food and insulin injections are given at the same time you usually give them at home. A blood sample is taken prior to feeding and insulin injection and then taken every 2-4 hours for up to 24 hours. This should give us the results we need.
What do I need to know about quality of life care?
Pets don’t need a fancy red sports car, a generous retirement account or a fulfilling job.
Their basic needs include being able to eat, drink, breathe, walk, urinate, defecate, groom and sleep, all in a pain free manner. And hopefully, you can expect a little tail wag here and there from a dog and a happy meow from a cat.
This list is certainly debatable, I admit it. One could add that a pet should be free of loneliness, fear and boredom. But I think the short list is a good starting point when you consider medical conditions.
If any of these basic bodily functions doesn’t take place, or if it occurs with discomfort or pain, then your pet has a decreased quality of life. What can you do then? You need to start by having a serious conversation with your family veterinarian.
Questions that need to be answered are: Why is my pet painful? How can we decrease the pain? Can medications or surgery help?
For example, if your dog limps, pain medications, surgery, joint supplements, weight-loss or a “joint food” might help. If your cat has a tumor, surgery may help get rid of it. If your pet has a hormone imbalance, medications may solve the problem.