(Please note these guidelines are in reference to full service procedures and may not apply to our spay/neuter clinics)
Surgical Services: We offer many surgical services at our clinic. Our surgical suite provides for the performance of a variety of surgical procedures including preventative surgery (spay, neuter, dental cleanings), soft tissue surgery (tumor removal), and some eye surgeries. We also offer some surgical procedures for exotic animals. Occasionally, we refer to board certified surgeons for more complex procedures.
Pre-Surgery Requirements: Before surgery is performed, your pet must have a complete physical examination by our doctor. This physical can be no further than 4 weeks before surgery, and should be scheduled as close to the surgery date as possible. Blood work is also required before your pet's surgery, this too, should be completed close to the surgery date or may be completed the morning of surgery to ensure accuracy. We have several panels to choose from. Our staff will be happy to discuss your options based on the needs of each pet. All surgical patients must have a current rabies vaccination that has been administered more than 2 weeks before surgery. Current Distemper and Bordetella vaccines are strongly recommended, but not required. We ask that surgery patients be on a current flea/tick preventative, but ask that over-the-counter flea/tick collars be removed 2 weeks prior to surgery as their chemicals may interfere with some forms of anesthesia. Lastly, please withhold food from your pet for 12 hours before surgery (unless instructed otherwise). Your pet may have water as normal.
The Day of Surgery:
Surgery Admission: You will be asked to sign paperwork authorizing your pet's procedure at their scheduled admission time. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet's surgery we will be happy to assist you. We ask that you, the owner, be present for this appointment. If you are not able to be here yourself, the person admitting the pet must be permitted and capable of making medical and financial decisions on your behalf. The admission appointment generally is quick, but please plan on being here for 10-20 minutes.
Pre-Operative Care: Your pet will then be admitted for surgery where he or she will be examined and be prepped for surgery. After passing a physical and blood work, your pet will receive a mild sedative and pain medication. Research has shown that having pain medication in the blood stream prior to surgery reduces the dose of anesthesia needed (increasing safety) and makes the pet more comfortable after surgery. This little extra step also calms your pet's nerves for the upcoming procedures.
IV Catheter and Fluid Therapy: We require that most pets have an IV catheter and IV fluids while under anesthesia. The IV catheter provides access to a vein for administration of anesthetics and medications. This is especially important in the event of an emergency during anesthesia. Lack of an IV catheter can delay the administration of life saving drugs by several minutes. We do so many things to make anesthesia safe that we rarely have problems, but it is always good to be prepared! IV fluids will be administered through the catheter during anesthesia to maintain your pet's blood pressure. This supports the vital organs and minimizes the chances of anesthetic reactions or complications.
Anesthesia: Anesthesia is induced with a fast acting injection, a breathing tube is placed, and the pet receives oxygen and anesthetic gas. Anesthesia allows us to perform surgery on pets while preventing them from feeling anxiety or pain. Under the watchful care of our well trained staff, your pet will have the safest and most comfortable anesthetic experience possible.
Preparation for Sterile Surgery: After induction of anesthesia your pet will be prepared for sterile surgery. The patient preparation area is for patient clipping and scrubbing, and it is equipped with warming pads (pets get cold under anesthesia), fluid administration pumps, oxygen lines and a gas scavenging system. Our surgical prep area is also equipped with ultrasonic instrument cleaners and autoclaves for instrument sterilization. There is a hands free surgical scrub sink. We follow strict aseptic guidelines to ensure your pet's safety.
Surgery: Our veterinarian adheres to strict standards of quality to ensure your pet's comfort and safety during the surgery. The doctor performs a wide variety of surgeries including routine spays and neuters, intricate soft tissue procedures, and some eye surgeries.
Pain Management: At the Animal Wellness Clinic we are especially diligent in our approach to pain management both before and after surgery. Depending on the procedure, the location, and the degree of pain anticipated, our pain management protocol may involve IV pain medications throughout surgery, pain medication injections before and/or after surgery, or local anesthetics. When your pet is ready to go home, we will send oral pain medication so you can continue to prevent discomfort for several days after surgery.
Surgery Discharge: At your admission appointment, you will be scheduled an appointment for your pet's discharge. This appointment gives us the opportunity to sit down and discuss your pet's blood work results, surgery, take-home instructions and medications. We also will need to schedule your pet's post-operative exam. The post-operative examination is usually free of charge, and scheduled 7-10 days from the date of surgery. The purpose of this visit to to ensure your pet is healing well and to address further vaccines, and any concerns you may have. After all that fun stuff, your pet is discharged into your loving care.