Belton Animal Clinic & Exotic Care Center’s veterinary team is experienced in a myriad of surgical procedures. Carrying out the most stringent industry protocols within our modern surgical suite, which features state-of-the-art equipment, our veterinarians routinely conduct spays/neuters, dental surgeries, and many other procedures for our patients.
The following information is provided to answer a few frequently asked questions and to help you with decisions about your friend's procedure.
Today’s modern anesthetic medications and monitors have made surgery much safer. Here at Belton Animal Clinic & Exotic Care Center, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics to ensure there are no conditions that would prevent going forward with the procedure. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.
Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without a blood test, which is why every pet should be tested prior to surgery. We all agree it is better to discover a problem before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. If serious issues are detected, surgery can be postponed until the situation is corrected.
We offer in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will go over with you when you bring in your pet. A complete blood cell count is performed on every surgical patient to screen for anemia, dehydration and infection. A more complete pre-surgical screen, which includes liver and kidney values and checks electrolytes is optional. Our doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information to ensure the anesthetic safety for your pet. For some geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may also be required before surgery.
Another option to make anesthesia safer is placement of an intravenous (IV) catheter and IV fluid administration. An IV catheter allows fluids to be administered throughout the procedure supporting blood pressure and hydration. Patients receiving IV fluids are often more stable through the procedure and recover more quickly from anesthesia. An IV catheter also allows for quicker administration of additional medications if complications arise.
It is important that surgery in dogs and cats 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. We do not fast birds, small mammals (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and reptiles prior to surgery. Any special instructions will be given to you prior to the procedure.
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, redness or discharge. Most pets will be sent home with an elizabethan collar (cone on their head) on to keep them from licking at the suture site. Please keep this collar on at all times for at least 2 weeks after surgery. 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 (no free running, jumping or stairs) and for dogs briefly leash walk outside just to the bathroom and then back inside until sutures are removed. No baths are allowed until after the sutures are removed.
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.
For dogs we administer a pain injection 10 to 20 minutes prior to surgery. We will provide oral anti-inflamatory/pain medication to be given the evening of surgery and for several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery.
Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. However, recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. We administer a pain injection 10 minutes prior to surgery. After surgery, we will provide additional pain medication as needed.
Exotic species such as birds, reptiles and small mammals (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, etc.) are particularly prone to the effects of pain and the same care is given to choosing the appropriate pain management for them before, during and after procedures.
Injectable pain medications may also be used after surgery on all dogs, cats, and exotics if necessary. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, tonometry, urinalysis with ultrasound or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call 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, you will need to have 5 to 10 minutes to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testing and other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgery, plan to spend about 10 to 15 minutes to go over your pet’s home care needs.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping off your pet and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet’s health or surgery.
We recommend spaying and neutering all pets as they will experience a lifetime of behavior improvements and health benefits. So much so, that sterilized pets can live longer lives.
By eliminating sexual instincts, pets become less aggressive and more loyal companions to their human family members. All in all, it’s a win-win for you and your pet.
Spaying is performed on female pets to remove the ovaries and uterus. This quick and safe procedure prevents unwanted litters, heat cycles, uterine complications and cancers, and mitigates aggression, the urge to roam, mood changes, as well as mammary gland complications and cancers.
Neutering is performed on male pets to remove the testicles. This quick and safe procedure prevents the urge to roam, aggressive behaviors, and the dangers of testicular cancer and an enlarged prostate.
Proper timing is determined based on factors such as age, breed, size, and lifestyle; however, we typically recommend the procedure be done around 6-months of age.