Pre-anesthetic bloodwork is performed to ensure there are no obvious red flags heading into surgery. The bloodwork looks for signs of infection; anemia (problems carrying oxygen) as well as platelet numbers (aids in clotting blood.) It also assesses liver and kidney function; screens for diabetes or electrolyte imbalances and ensures protein levels are where they need to be. If abnormalities are found we may need to treat with medications prior to surgery, alter the anesthetics we use the day of surgery and/or postpone surgery.
The night before surgery, we ask that food is picked up (not available) after midnight, water is fine.
As a precaution prior to surgery, a complimentary dose of Cerenia (anti-nauseant) is sent home to help reduce the risk of vomiting. Pets who are sedate or anesthetized cannot protect their airway the same as awake pets and sucking vomit into the lungs can cause complications. This tablet is to be given the morning of surgery at 6am (prior to coming to the clinic.)
The morning of surgery, we ask that you do not feed your pet – an empty stomach also helps to reduce the risk of vomiting. An admit time is set for you to sit down with one of our Registered Veterinary Technicians to review paperwork and go over any questions/concerns you may have.
Once a patient is admitted to the hospital, a full set of vitals (temperature, pulse, respiration) are collected. The Doctor on duty performs a physical exam and listens to the heart and lungs once more to ensure there are no abnormalities noted. Once the green light has been given to proceed with surgery, all patients are given a sedative coupled with some pain medication and given some time to get sleepy.
Once sleepy, a small window is shaved on one of the legs. The window is cleaned using a 3 step process and an IV catheter is placed. Patients are connected to IV fluids and they are secured in place. IV fluids help to make the job of the liver and kidneys a little easier, aid in maintaining blood pressure (asleep patients struggle to do this well) and they also give us emergency access in the event it is required.
Next, an injectable anesthetic agent is given through the IV line, which induces general anesthesia. An endotracheal tube (breathing tube) is placed in the airway and a cuff is inflated to help protect the risk of anything getting into the lungs; they are then connected to gas and oxygen to keep them sleeping. Eye lube is placed into each eye to prevent them from drying out during surgery and nails are trimmed. The abdomen is shaved and cleaned with a 3 step process to reduce contamination and the risk of infection. At this point, the patient is moved to the surgical suite.
Each patient is connected to a multi parameter machine that monitors heart rate, respiration rate, oxygen saturation, temperature and blood pressure. One of our Registered Veterinary Technicians is also present (masked and capped) in the surgical suite to monitor vitals and make any changes to anesthesia as required throughout the surgery as well.
The doctor uses a surgical scrub technique to scrub their hands. They are then gowned with a sterile gown and sterile surgical gloves are also placed. Sterile packs are opened and a sterile drape is put into position over the surgical site to reduce outside contamination from skin, hair and surfaces.
A therapeutic laser session is performed on the surgery site to decrease pain and inflammation as well as speed up the healing process. The gas anesthetic is turned off and the patient slowly awakens. They are monitored closely and once able to swallow, the breathing tube is removed.
The patient recovers in their kennel with warming devices and ongoing observation by our Registered Veterinary Technician.