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-Albert Lea Veterinary Clinic-
How safe is the anesthesia?
The gas anesthetic we use is quite safe and used not only on pets in our clinic, but in human hospitals on children and adults. Unfortunately, no anesthetic is 100% safe 100% of the time so we have you sign a surgical/anesthetic permission form which you are required to read. This form allows you to choose pre-anesthetic blood tests which help us know the state of your pet's blood and organ function. While each pet is given a complete physical exam before any surgery, some things just cannot be seen from the outside of the body. Our veterinarians here at Albert Lea Veterinary Clinic can determine a fever or detect some illnesses when they examine a pet, but only blood tests give them an idea of what's going on in your pet's body that may be a problem or cause a problem once anesthesia is administered. That knowledge allows us to adjust how much anesthetic might be given or what type of anesthesia should be used as we have a better picture of your pet's health.
We ask that you remove your pet's food by 10PM the night before surgery and continue with no food the morning of surgery. We'd like 8-10 hours of no food in their stomachs. Having water available to them is fine. Anesthesia can upset their stomachs and cause them to vomit during or after surgery so it's important that their stomachs are empty.
Why am I asked to choose pre-anesthetic blood tests?
As stated above, these blood tests allow the veterinarians to have a better picture of your pet's overall health. A simple blood test can show us whether your pets kidneys and liver might have trouble handling the anesthetic. In the case of adopted or rescued stray cats, feline leukemia status is important and testing positively would make them unsuitable for surgery. We want to give you the option to choose the tests you would like done as your pet's health is your responsibility. Our surgery/anesthetic permission form lists the choices, give a description of what each test is looking for, and gives you the cost so you can make an informed choice.
What about stitches?
Most of the surgeries we do just have absorbable sutures under the skin so they do not need to be removed later as they dissolve over time. There are some surgeries that do require regular stitches or staples including cases involving mass or tumor removals and orthopedic procedures. These stitches or staples will be removed after 10-14 days at no extra charge.
Some cats and many dogs will want to lick at the incision which is a no-no. We have soft restrictive collars you may purchase that your pet may wear at home to stop or prevent this from happening. You will want to keep an eye on the incision for the first few days checking for swelling, redness, and any discharge. We offer free rechecks on all surgeries should you feel concerned about something you see.
Some folks notice a swelling or lump at the incision sight several days after surgery. This is actually pretty normal as it is a reaction to the absorbable suture under the skin. About half of the pets react and it goes away on it's own as the suture continues to dissolve.
What about the pain?
One of the best things about doing surgery with a laser scalpel is the reduction of pain for the patient. Because it precisely cuts with light, there is less trauma to the tissue which results in less pain and faster healing.
Post-operative pain does occur in pets. We make every effort, whether it's a routine procedure, a laceration repair, a mass removal, or an orthopedic repair, to reduce that pain. Although many pets are stoic and do not show signs of pain around their owners studies show that when no one is looking pets show distinct signs of discomfort.
We take every precaution to minimize post operative pain in pets. We use a variety of modifiers including reducing the stress level with a fear free approach in the clinic (less stress = less pain), the use of the surgical laser, pre and post operative pain medication, and usually the use of therapeutic laser treatment after surgery.
When you fill out your surgery permission form, you will be able to choose post operative pain medication for your pet. More extensive surgeries such as orthopedic procedures will have the pain medication included in the price. We strongly encourage you to choose pain medication if your pet has surgery of any kind.
Over-the-counter pain medications are toxic to cats and until recently there were no good pain medications for our felines. Onsior is a new prescription pain reliever for kitties and they can have one tablet the day of surgery and one tablet each of the next 2 days to help reduce pain and inflamation.
What else do I need to know?
Filling out the surgery permission form only takes a few minutes. You may print the form from our website and fill it in before you get here or you can take 5 minutes to fill it out when you come in the morning of the surgery. This is also when you will decide on any pre-surgical blood tests and if you would like pain medication post-operatively for your pet.
We give courtesy nail trims for all surgeries. While your pet is sedated or under anesthesia is an opportune time to take care of other minor things that may need doing such as vaccinations, cleaning ears, checking out warts or bumps you may have noticed, or inserting a microchip. Let us know when you fill out the surgical form so we can get it written down and give you prices for the extra services. On some items, you save the cost of an exam fee and the time of coming back another day.
If the surgery is out-patient, you will be able to pick up your pet between 3 and 5PM. We do make allowances for work schedules if necessary, just let us know when you drop off your pet in the morning. At that time, we will give you discharge instructions. Rechecks are included in the surgery price if you have any concerns the first week or two after surgery. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.