At Clearlake Veterinary Clinic our vets understand that it can be overwhelming to hear that your dog needs surgery, but rest assured that we only recommend surgery when it's in your dog's best interest. Today, we discuss common dog surgeries, how to prepare your dog for surgery, and dog surgery after-care.
Surgery & Dogs
Our vets understand how stressful it can be to learn that your dog needs surgery whether it's elective, emergency, or even reproductive surgery. Knowing a bit about what to expect from dog surgery may help you to feel more at ease while you prepare your dog for surgery day.
At Clearlake Veterinary Clinic we believe it is essential for us to help pet parents understand a little about the surgical procedure that is being recommended and why we are advising that your pet undergo this particular surgery. That knowledge can help you to make informed decisions about your dog's health and whether to go forward with the procedure.
Surgeries Commonly Performed on Dogs
Our vets perform a variety of surgical procedures on dogs every week, some are elective surgeries that have been carefully planned for while others are unexpected life-saving emergency procedures.
Some of the most common elective surgeries in dogs include:
- Dental extractions
- Benign growths of the skin
Whereas, some of the more urgent care surgeries for dogs include:
- Skin lacerations or abscesses
- Intestinal obstruction from a foreign body
- Internal bleeding
- Torn cruciate or ACL ruptures
- Fracture repair
- Malignant skin tumors
- Bladder stones/urethral blockages
- Spleen cancer
While there is always a risk when it comes to surgery, it's important to note that our team does everything it can to keep your dog safe and comfortable both before and after surgery. We work with you to minimize the risks associated with surgery and to help you keep your dog comfortable as they recover.
Preparing Your Dog for Surgery
Your dog will be examined by the veterinarian to confirm that they are healthy and ready for surgery. If your pet is overweight, the vet may need to suggest a weight-loss regimen before surgery can happen. Carrying additional weight raises the dangers of general anesthesia and may make it difficult for your pet to move about after surgery.
It is a good idea to have your pet bathed or groomed in the week leading up to surgery so that they are clean and ready for surgery. You'll need to keep the incision dry while it heals, so your dog or cat can't be bathed or groomed for a while after the surgery. Radiographs and ultrasounds are two tests that your veterinarian may order.
Plan transportation ahead of time, based on the type of surgery your pet will undergo and their expected level of mobility after the procedure. If you are unsure about the best way to transport your pet home after surgery, consult with your veterinarian. If your pet will need crate rest, have an appropriately sized crate ready for when he or she returns home after surgery.
You might be wondering if a dog can have water before surgery or if dogs should eat before surgery. In most cases, you will be asked not to feed or drink anything to your pet after midnight the night before their surgery. If your dog is on medication, consult with your veterinarian about whether you should withhold the medication until after the procedure. Some veterinarians may also request that you bring your pet to the veterinary hospital overnight.
Check-in with the staff at reception and ensure that they have your correct phone number so that they can keep you updated while your four-legged friend is in their care. Try to arrive on time and stay calm and relaxed while dropping off your pet. Your veterinarian may recommend additional testing before surgery to ensure that your pet does not face any additional anesthetic risks.
Helping Your Dog Recover Well From Surgery
Understanding how to care for your dog after surgery plays a critical role in helping them return to its normal activities as quickly as possible. Closely following the post-op instructions provided by your vet is critical to a safe and successful recovery for your dog. If you do not understand any of the steps suggested, speak to the staff at the animal hospital. They will be happy to answer your questions and clarify any instructions that you may be confused about.
Many dogs experience a temporary loss of appetite following surgery. Rather than serving them their regular meal, offer your dog a half-size portion of a light meal such as chicken and rice. Your dog's appetite should return within 24 hours of its operation. If your dog hasn't eaten in more than 48 hours after surgery, contact your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian may prescribe pain relievers or medications for your dog following surgery to help with post-surgery discomfort or pain. Follow these instructions carefully to avoid unnecessary pain while your dog recovers. Never give human medications to your dog without first consulting your veterinarian. While medications help us feel better, they are harmful to our dogs and other pets.
Most vets will recommend limiting your dog's movements as excessive stretching or jumping can interfere with recovery and cause incisions to reopen. Depending on the surgery, your dog may need to stay inside for a few days, only going outside for bathroom breaks.
If you are unable to provide direct supervision, it may be difficult to prevent your dog from climbing stairs or jumping on furniture. If your dog is recovering from orthopedic surgery, he or she may need to be confined to a laundry-sized or smaller pen with gradually increasing amounts of exercise as the recovery process progresses.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.