Dr. Lee is a general practitioner, but has undergone additional intensive training courses in many types of involved soft tissue, corneal/eyelid, neuro, orthopedic, and dental surgeries and has been performing these procedures since 1992.
What you need to know before surgery:
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Cinco Animal Hospital, a thorough physical exam on your pet is performed before administering anesthetics to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of going under anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have a minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is done in-house before surgery, which we will go over with you before your pet is put under anesthesia. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery as well.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the night before surgery.
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 sutures. With either type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision for swelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively or chew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will also need to watch for. If there are skin sutures, these will usually be thoroughly examined before being removed in 10 to 14 days after surgery. You will also need to limit your pet's activity level for a time and no baths are allowed for the first 10 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Medications needed to help manage pain will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling.
Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. We administer an injection for pain 10 minutes prior to surgery. After surgery, pain medication is given on a case by case basis. Any animal that appears to be experiencing pain or discomfort will receive additional pain medication.
Before attempting to administer any pain medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen at home, please contact us at (281)395-4700. Cats do not tolerate these medications and may be fatal because they do not have the proper enzymes to break the medication down in the body. It is also not recommended for dogs without proper dosing and may cause further health problems.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet 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 the pet's care.
When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need to 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on other options available. 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.
We will call you the morning before your scheduled surgery appointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off and to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions about your pet's health or surgery.