We understand that it can be frightening to be told your dog needs surgery. That said, our veterinarians do not make this recommendation lightly. Here, our Rancho Cucamonga vets discuss surgery in dogs, types of surgery and care and recovery after your pooch's surgery.
Canine surgical procedures can be broken up into two categories: elective procedures and non-elective (must-have) procedures. If your veterinarian has recommended a surgical procedure, we believe it's essential that you understand why and that you are able to make informed choices regarding your dog's health.
Common Dog Surgeries
Here are some of the most common elective surgeries in dogs:
- Benign growths of the skin
- Dental extractions
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
In most of the circumstances above, a dog would require emergency vet surgery to save their life.
Veterinary surgery often brings a list of anxieties, from potential complications to your pet's outlook for recovery. That said, keep in mind that veterinary surgical care has advanced in recent years to include modern considerations and it's not likely that your dog will experience serious complications as a result of most procedures.
Preparing Your Dog for Surgery
Your dog will be examined by the veterinarian or veterinary surgeon to confirm that they are healthy and ready for surgery. If your pet is overweight, the vet may suggest a weight-loss regimen. 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 won't be able to be groomed for a period after 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 animal 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.
Your Dog's Recovery From Surgery
Understanding how to care for your dog after they have settled in is critical to assisting them in returning to their routine as soon as possible. Following vet instructions and obeying them is critical to a safe and successful recovery. If you do not understand any of the steps suggested, please clarify. Depending on the procedure, you may be referred to a professional vet surgeon or the surgery may be performed in-house.
Following surgery, your dog may experience a temporary loss of appetite. Instead, you could serve a half-size portion of a light meal like chicken or rice. Your dog's appetite should return within 24 hours of their 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 reccomend limiting your dog's movements as excessive stretching or jumping can interfere with recovery and cause incisions to reopen. Most dogs will be able to stay inside for a few days, only going outside for bathroom breaks.
If you are unable to provide direct supervision after leaving our animal surgery center, 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.