Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Bernalillo Pet Care Center, 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. Blood testing can detect organ dysfunctions such as liver or kidney disease that can affect clearance of anesthetic drugs, low platelet numbers that could result in excessively bleeding, an overactive thyroid that could put extra stress on the heart during anesthesia, in addition to other important conditions. Pre-anesthetic blood testing is absolutely required for every pet. 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 in order to appropriately maintain blood pressure. We administered IV fluids to all pets under anesthesia at BPCC. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well depending on the health status of your pet. The attending veterinarian will discuss these with you prior to surgery. We encourage a pre-surgical consult appointment be arranged so these issues can be discussed and worked out prior to the day of the procedure.
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 for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10-14 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
Because dogs and cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control than ever before. We administer a pain injection 20 minutes prior to surgery - this increases your pet's comfort during the procedure and decreases the amount of anesthetic drugs needed. After surgery, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is typically administered and your pet will be sent home with additional oral doses of this medication. Additional pain medications will be prescribed on a case by case basis. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
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 nail trimming, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please inform us 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.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions about any options available for additional procedures. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.
Monday 8:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday 8:00am to 5:00pm Wednesday 8:00am to 5:00pm Thursday 8:00am to 5:00pm Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm Saturday 8:00am to noon Sunday closed