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What You Need to Know Before Your Cat's Upcoming Surgery...
Many people have questions about various aspects of their cat's surgery, and we hope this information will help. It also explains the decisions you will need to make before your cat's upcoming surgery.
Is the anesthetic safe?
No anesthetic if 100% safe, but as you can see we monitor our patients very closely and treat each patient like they are our own. We have had the opportunity to check many of our patients before and a while after anesthetics, even those that already had kidney insuffiency, and so many of those cats came out of anesthetics with no discernible differences in kidney function. We routinely anesthetize very senior cats too (18+ years old) and we believe age is not a disease if they are monitored appropriately.
What is this pre-anesthetic blood testing about?
Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneath the skin. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries, especially tumor removals, do require skin stitches. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem, and tend to occur more often in some locations than others. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time, which usually means no interactive playing.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Cats may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are more limited in what we can give them. However, recent advances in pain medications have allowed for much better pain control in cats than ever before and more options as well.
We always administer a pain injection 10 to 30 minutes prior to surgery. During surgery we often block the site with a local anesthetic too (especially for dental procedures). After surgery, pain medication is given in hospital and then additional medication is sent home for 1 day for minor procedures to a week or more if more serious procedures. We practice Multi-Modal pain relief commonly, which involves using more than 1 type of pain medication to get enhanced benefits than either one gives on its own, and allows us to be able to use lower doses of each of them.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your cat is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, such as dentistry, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for surgery is not the primary decision maker for your cat's care.
When you bring your cat in for surgery, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork, get an update from you and make decisions on the blood testing if not already done. When you pick up your pet after surgery you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs with either the technician or the Veterinarian.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your cat off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your cat's health or surgery.