Consumer Guide to Elective Surgery
Many people “shop around” for the best price on this surgery, without the knowledge of why the cost varies among veterinary practices. This guide was put together to help you find the best fit between the veterinary practice and your expectations for the care of your pet.
Questions to Ask and Why to Ask Them:
1. Will my pet receive a complete physical examination and pre-anesthetic testing prior to surgery?
This is important for a number of reasons. It is our first defense against performing surgery on an animal that may have infectious disease, a heart murmur, or be debilitated from parasites. All patients receive a thorough physical examination prior to any anesthetic being administered, and laboratory tests are run to assess your pet’s ability to process and metabolize the anesthetic drugs.
2. What safety precautions will be taken with my pet during surgery?
While most surgery is uneventful, emergencies sometimes arise. Early detection of impending problems greatly aids our ability to intervene and correct the problem. An intravenous (IV) catheter is placed prior to anesthesia for the administration of drugs and fluids, as well as to provide the ability to rapidly administer treatment should your pet have a problem while under anesthesia. IV fluids are given to your pet during the procedure to maintain normal blood pressure and to ensure that there is good circulation to vital organs such as the kidneys. Injectable (propoflo) and inhalant anesthetics (sevoflo) are used in combination to provide a level of safety similar to what you find in human hospitals. An endotracheal (breathing) tube is used to provide oxygen and inhalant anesthetics to your pet, while at the same time ensuring an open airway at all times. A positive pressure ventilator will breathe for your pet throughout the procedure. A veterinary technician, under the direct supervision of Dr. Selmer, uses state-of-the-art body function monitors, including pulse oximetry, blood pressure measurement, electrocardiogram, aortic pressure, core body temperature, carbon dioxide levels, respiratory rate and heart rate to closely monitor your pet. The practice should also have emergency drugs and supplies handy in the event of an emergency.
3. What safety precautions will be taken with my pet after surgery?
Surgery patients lose body heat through anesthesia and surgery. If patients get too cold, the heart can be affected. Patient temperature should be monitored at regular intervals after surgery and supplemental heating provided as needed. Your pet’s gum color, pulse, respiration and blood pressure should also be monitored. A veterinary technician, under the direct supervision of Dr. Selmer, will stay with your pet throughout the recovery from surgery.
4. Doesn’t surgery hurt? What pain control do you provide?
This is very important-surgery hurts! The anesthetic will not provide pain control once the pet wakes up. Pain control medication should be offered. We take the comfort of our patients very seriously. Any surgery, regardless of how involved it is or how good the surgeon is, will cause pain. We include pain medications in our anesthetic protocols to prevent your pet from experiencing pain upon waking up. We use a combination of pain medications in the hospital to ensure effective, long-lasting pain relief. In certain cases, we will use a pain patch applied to the skin to provide several days of pain relief. We also will always send home oral pain medications to help keep your pet comfortable after being discharged from the hospital. We believe that it is never acceptable for a pet to be in pain, and we take immediate action to prevent and manage pain and discomfort that can occur from surgical procedures
5. Will I receive written post-surgical care instructions for my pet?
We routinely provide you with written discharge instructions that will help you to understand what your role needs to be in your pet’s post-operative recuperation in order to minimize any chance of having problems after the surgery. Typically, we will also call you at home after your pet is discharged to ensure that everything is going well, and to answer any questions you may have. We are happy to address any questions or concerns you may have about your pet, before or after the procedure 24 hours each day of the week. Aftercare of surgical patients is very important for proper healing.
We invite you to compare our standards to any veterinary facility; once you evaluate the level of care that your pet will receive at the Advanced Animal Care Center, we believe that your decision will be clear.