Leaving a pet at a veterinary clinic for a procedure can be a scary thing for some folks. For others it’s a puzzling feeling.
“What happens while my dog is at the veterinary clinic for surgery?”
“What goes on while my cat is a the hospital for a dental cleaning?”
These are common questions because owners don’t sit with their pets during procedures. So to help answer your questions, and to give you a look into what happens in a normal day at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic for our patients that are admitted for a variety of procedures, take a look at the photos and descriptions below.
Examination and Testing for Surgical Patients
The majority the patients that are admitted to the Clinic for the day have recently come for a physical examination. The physical condition of all of our anesthetic candidates is known prior to administering any preanesthetic medication (more on this later), no matter if they’ve been examined recently or if they haven’t been seen in weeks/months/years by the veterinarians.
In addition to a physical examination, for all of our adult elective and non-elective surgical patients, preanesthetic blood testing is performed to evaluate just how healthy the patient is on the inside, to determine if they are ready for anesthesia, and to know how we ought to adjust our anesthetic protocol. For our juvenile surgical patients, these recommended blood tests are optional, and their owners have the opportunity to request or decline them when the pet is admitted.
As long as the physical examination and the performed labwork looks good, the patient then proceeds to anesthesia.
First, your pet is given a preanesthetic medication that calms and relaxes them, and prepares their body for general anesthesia. It also reduces the doses of medication that will be required to induce general anesthesia, and it allows them to be require lower levels of the maintenance inhalant anesthesia. Minimizing doses reduces anesthetic risk.
About 10 to 30 minutes after receiving a preanesthetic medication, the patient is given a treatment that induces general anesthesia. Immediately after receiving the induction agent(s), the pet is intubated and given oxygen as well as an inhalant gas anesthesia. This takes them to a level of pain-free sleep.
While your pet is at general anesthesia, his/her vital signs are watched closely. We monitor blood pressure, blood oxygen level, pulse and an electrocardiogram.
Surgical patients are prepared by clipping and cleaning the area with a surgical scrub. Once the surgical prep is through, the procedure is performed in a timely manner. This is one of several reasons why we pursue the latest technology when it comes to surgical and dental equipment and instruments, such as a surgical laser, a high-speed drill, and digital dental radiography. Efficiency limits the patient’s time at anesthesia.
Once the procedure has concluded, anesthesia is discontinued, and the patient is recovered. This process can take between 5 and 15 minutes, and they are under direct observation throughout. Most patients are standing and alert within 10 to 30 minutes. Once the patient is alert, they are taken to their respective kennel where a calm, safe environment is maintained to aid a smooth recovery.
Outpatient Diagnostic Testing
We routinely admit patients for procedures that do not involve general anesthesia. When the time comes during our morning hours for them to be examined, they are taken to radiology for radiographs (X-rays), urine is collected for those with suspected urinary tract infections, blood is collected at the appropriate intervals for those patients who are having specialized blood testing, etc.
These patients are well-cared for by our staff during their stay. It’s not unusual for our patients to be tired when they get home becuase their stay with us is not part of their normal, daily routine. These dogs and cats spend most of the day watching and taking in all that is going on. It’s no wonder they need to catch up on sleep… sleeping is what most of our pets do during their normal day at home!
We set aside time for our releases and discharges in the afternoons of Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. (Because we’re open until Noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays, time has been reserved for releases in the mornings on these days.)
You can expect to receive complete discharge instructions from a doctor or technician when you come to get your pet. We will answer your questions to the best of our ability. Sometimes we’re waiting on laboratory results at the time of your pet’s release. Other times there may be one or more unknowns with regard to your pet’s prognosis. In any event, though, we will spend the time with you that you need to be up to speed with your pet’s recovery.
Do not be surprised if your pet is drowsy to some degree when he/she goes home following surgery or any other anesthetic event. It can take several hours for the preanesthetic and anesthetic medications to fully metabolize/wear off. Please don’t expect your pet to be very active in the evening following a sedative or general anesthesia… they won’t have as much energy as they usually have and they won’t be as coordinated as they usually are.
By morning of the following day, we expect all of our previously admitted patients to be feeling like themselves! Certainly our post-operative orthopedic and soft-tissue surgery patients will need some time to recover, but they ought to be mentally sharp and engaged.
In addition to correcting problems and finding answers, your pet’s safety and comfort are our priorities while they are with us. If you have any further questions about your pet’s stay with us, please don’t hesitate to ask.