Companion Animal

How to Prepare Your Pet for Surgery

Jan 19 • 3 minute read

Hearing that your pet needs surgery can be extremely troubling news. Whether your cat or dog is scheduled for a neuter or spay procedure or a more complicated surgery because of illness, you are bound to feel anxious and want to ensure that your pet’s operation goes smoothly. Although the surgery might be out of your control, there are several things you can do to help the situation. It’s important to do everything in your power to promote your pet’s safety before, during, and after the surgery. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your pet for surgery.

Medication Management

If your pet is taking regular medication, discuss with the vet whether it’s safe to administer their morning dose. You should also confirm whether there are any additional pre-surgery medicines that your dog or cat requires.

Advice on Water and Food

Diet is an essential part of surgery preparation for pets. Some surgeries need pets to have an empty stomach. Therefore, you may need to stop your pet from drinking or eating at least twelve to twenty-four hours before the surgery. Your veterinarian will provide all the food guidelines you must follow before the surgery. Ensure that you stick to all the instructions to limit the risk of complications during the surgery.

Before the surgery, your veterinarian will inform you about any special foods needed for your pet’s post-operation care. Stocking up everything you need before the surgery helps you to be prepared and makes it easier and less stressful to care for your recovering pet.

Post-Operative Restrictions

Before your scheduled surgery, you’ll want to know about any additional post-surgical restrictions that your cat or dog needs. Some surgeries may require your dog or cat to be confined to a small pen or room to prevent excessive movement. Your pet may also need more or specialized bedding to improve comfort throughout recovery. Knowing everything beforehand will make sure you’re fully prepared when the surgery is over.

Pre-Operative Veterinary Care

On the morning of the surgery, your veterinarian may ask you to drop your cat or dog off early in the day, irrespective of the set surgery time. The vet will run the necessary tests and prepare your cat or dog for surgery. In some cases, pets will be given a sedative to help calm them before the actual surgery.

The surgeon may also have to shave a small part of fur on your pet’s leg for placing an IV, and the surgery site will also be shaved and sanitized. The vet will place an IV catheter and begin the anesthesia. The veterinary team will monitor your cat or dog’s vitals throughout the surgery and the early recovery process. The vet or a vet tech will also stay with your pet when they start waking up to ensure they are comfortable.

Post-Surgery Care

After surgery, your cat or dog will be taken into a warm and dry area where they will be monitored as they recover from the anesthesia. Your vet will update you after surgery to explain how the procedure went and how your pet is recovering. The vet will review post-operative care instructions and may also give you written directions you can refer to. You will most likely have to administer medicine such as pain medications and antibiotics. You’ll also likely need to monitor any bandaging or stitches and be especially alert for any signs of an infection.

It is important to have plans in place on how to safely transport your pet to and from the surgery location. Although this may not be a significant problem for cat owners, transporting large breed dogs or other large pets from the vet may be a challenge. Make prior preparations depending on the type of surgery the pet will undergo and the expected mobility level after the procedure.

Don’t Hesitate to Consult Your Vet

Taking your pet in for surgery can be a stressful experience, and it’s normal to worry about the operation and its outcome. However, there’s a lot you can do before and after the procedure to help it go smoothly and speed along your pet’s recovery. If you are unsure of anything, always consult with the veterinarian to ensure the safety of your pet before and after the surgery.

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