Dog Surgery - What To Expect From Your Dog’s Surgery

What do I need to know before my dog has surgery?

Firstly, it's important to understand the procedure your dog will be undergoing and when it's scheduled to take place. Your veterinarian should provide you with relevant instructions, such as prohibiting food consumption after nine o'clock the night before the surgery, while allowing for water intake. Breakfast on the day of the surgery should be skipped too. This might vary from one veterinary clinic to another. Generally, veterinarians keep you updated about different stages of the procedure, such as when your pet wakes up, when they're moved into surgery, during their recovery, and when they're ready to go home. Communication is key in this process.

Dr. Meghan Denney
4 Paws at Fulshear Veterinary Clinic

Will my dog need lab work prior to having surgery?

Lab work is highly recommended for all patients and it's mandatory at our practice for any dog that's over four years of age. It's optional for dogs under four years of age. Lab work can reveal certain conditions that might affect how your dog processes anesthesia. Despite it adding an extra cost, it's essential in identifying any changes in liver, kidney, white blood cell, red blood cell, and platelet levels. These factors could potentially alter the surgical plan or the post-operative care.

Does my dog need to see a specialist for their surgery?

The need for a specialist depends on the type of surgery required. At 4 Paws, we do not perform orthopedic surgeries, with the exception of toe or tail amputations. We also refer cases requiring heart, lung, or gallbladder surgeries. We primarily handle soft tissue surgeries. The decision to refer is discussed during the planning stage of your dog's surgery.

What will my veterinarian be looking for in the pre-surgery lab work?

The primary aim of pre-surgery lab work is to check the functioning of the liver and kidneys, ensure that red and white blood cell counts are normal, and verify the presence of platelets which are essential for clotting during surgery. Any anomalies in these parameters can lead to complications during or after the procedure.

Who will be monitoring my dog while under anesthesia?

Monitoring your dog under anesthesia is a team effort. At 4 Paws, each patient has two technicians assigned to them during pre-op and intra-op. I also keep an eye on the monitor while performing the surgery. Vital signs are monitored every five minutes using a machine, and physically double-checked with a stethoscope and a physical exam. This is comparable to the monitoring given to humans under anesthesia.

How long will my dog need to recover after having surgery?

The recovery time depends on the procedure. Anesthesia needs time to exit the system, which can take a day, especially for older pets. Surgical incisions typically heal in 10 to 14 days. For surgeries involving intestines, we monitor closely for a week to ensure proper healing. A good rule of thumb for recovery is 10 to 14 days.

How can I help my dog recover at home after surgery?

Keeping your dog calm and quiet is crucial for recovery. Ensure they have access to food and water and are able to go to the bathroom. They should be responsive to you and their gums should be pink. Monitor the incision for any discharge; some bruising is normal, but excessive bloody discharge is not and should be reported to us immediately.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (281) 801-1444, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Dog Surgery - FAQ

Dr. Meghan Denney
4 Paws at Fulshear Veterinary Clinic

What can I expect for my dog's upcoming surgery?

You should expect a phone call the day before the surgery explaining the pre-surgery instructions such as not feeding your dog after nine o'clock, water is fine, and not to feed breakfast the morning of. Our drop-off for surgery time is 8 a.m. You should also expect communications throughout the day about the progress of the surgery, when your pet is in recovery, and the appropriate pickup time. We will also provide a discharge that goes home explaining post-op pain medications, what to look out for, and how to help care for your pet after anesthesia.

What questions should I ask my veterinarian about my dog's surgery?

If you feel nervous or scared about the procedure or anesthesia, address these concerns. Ask questions about recovery time, when your pet might be ready to go home, and whether we need an e-collar or a surgery suit. Any question you have about the surgery should be asked before the procedure.

Will my dog go under anesthesia during surgery, and who will monitor them?

Yes, your dog will be under general anesthesia during major surgeries. This ensures they won't feel anything during the procedure.

Will my dog be intubated for surgery?

Yes, for major procedures where we need to protect the airway, intubation is performed. This is where we place a breathing tube called an endotracheal tube down the trachea and inflate a cuff to protect their airway.

How will my veterinarian communicate with me during my dog's surgery?

We use text messaging, pictures, and phone calls to communicate with you. If there's a problem during the procedure, I will call you directly. However, most of the time, the technicians will be communicating with you.

Will my dog be in pain during and after surgery?

During surgery, the dog is under anesthesia and won't feel anything. Post-op, there may be some discomfort, but we put a lot of effort into multimodal pain control, including local nerve blocks, incisional blocks, anti-inflammatory injections, and oral meds to alleviate that discomfort.

How effective is surgery in dogs?

The effectiveness of the surgery depends on the procedure. In most cases, surgery will fix the problem. However, there are risks and complications, so it's not always 100% effective. In cases where we can't completely remove a tumor, the surgery will buy us time but may not be a complete cure. Procedures like toe or tail amputations, or removing bladder stones or intestinal blockages are typically curative.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (281) 801-1444, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram