Hearing your pet needs surgery is an incredibly scary moment for any pet parent. It can be overwhelming and full of information you don’t understand. It’s important to know what questions to ask and to be comfortable talking to your veterinarian before your pet goes into surgery. As a pet parent and veterinarian, here are the questions I would ask:

  1. Does my pet’s procedure require anesthesia?
    Make sure your pet’s surgery requires anesthesia. Most veterinary clinics require anesthesia for any non-dental procedure. I believe it’s crucial to use anesthesia in every pet surgery . Your pet will be uncomfortable and the procedure will be less effective if anesthesia is not used. Today’s anesthetic and improved monitoring equipment are extremely safe.
  1. Will you be doing pre-anesthesia blood testing?
    One of the most important questions to ask is about pre-anesthesia blood testing. This should not be optional, it’s recommended by all official veterinary organizations. Pre-anesthesia blood testing shows your veterinarian how your pet’s liver and kidneys are functioning. Anesthetics are processed and eliminated primarily by these organs so it’s important to make sure they are functioning properly to prevent anesthetic complications. The best way to test this is through a basic blood panel. Most of the time this can be done in house.
  1. Is pain medication included with the cost of surgery?
    All pets should have pain medication with their surgery. Recovering from surgery is very painful for your pet. Medication not only keeps your pet comfortable, it helps with the speed of recovery. There are multiple ways to deal with pain and your veterinarian will pick the right medication and dosage for your pet.
  1. Are pets maintained on fluid therapy during their procedure?
    We recommend all pets have fluid supplementation during their surgery unless it’s a super quick procedure. Complications are incredibly rare, but the most common cause of complications is dehydration. Prior to the surgery your veterinarian will have an IV Catheter inserted into your pet’s front leg and your pet will be given fluids during the procedure.
  1. What happens in case of an emergency?
    Any good facility has a plan to deal with an emergency. Ask them what the plans are if their is an anesthetic complication and if they have 24 hour staffing in case something goes wrong during the night.
  1. Can I get a tour of the surgical suite?
    Make sure to tour and visit the hospital’s surgical suite prior to scheduling your pet’s procedure. The surgical area should be very clean, organized, and maintained in a sterile manner. Your veterinarian’s staff should be able to give you a tour!

I know putting your pet under anesthesia for a surgery can be a terrifying thing. Be sure to ask all sorts of questions, there are no dumb questions. Having this conversation with your veterinarian is very important and you should feel comfortable communicating with everyone at your veterinary facility.

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