PATIENT CARE BEFORE SURGERY
The Night Before Surgery: Unless you have been told otherwise by a member of our staff, remove all access to food by midnight, as your pet will be getting a sedative and/or general anesthetic for which an empty stomach is required. WATER CAN AND SHOULD BE ALLOWED DURING THE NIGHT. In some situations, this recommendation is modified. But our general "rule of thumb" is no food after midnight.
The Morning of Surgery: Remove your pet's source(s) of water at 7 am. Take your dog for a long walk before you come to the hospital and make sure that he or she both urinates and defecates. The sedatives and anesthetics relax control of these bodily functions and we do not want your pet to become soiled or to contaminate the surgery site(s).
Admission to the Hospital: You will receive a confirmation call the day before surgery (typically in the early afternoon), at which time you will be given an admission time for surgery day. You will have an actual check-in appointment with one of our technicians to go over any last minute points or questions.
The doctor generally has multiple procedures and surgeries on the same day, but we have your pet come early for several reasons. Your pet will usually receive both a sedative/analgesic and an IV catheter before surgery. Also, our patients oftentimes receive a variety of eye drops before the actual surgery is performed. Please bring any and all medications that your pet is currently on, including those not prescribed at this hospital.
Communication During the Day: One of our staff members or the doctor will call you when your pet has come out of surgery. It is critical that you can be reached in the event of an emergency. Voice mail is not sufficient. You can be assured that you will be contacted if there is any problem with your pet. If you have not heard from us, it means that we have not finished your pet's surgery. We understand your concern while your pet is hospitalized.
Please understand that we have many patients and that sometimes we become delayed in our schedule due to either emergencies or unanticipated delays in the operating room. We do our best to plan the day, but not all circumstances are within our control. If you are concerned about your pet, feel free to give us a call for a progress report.
Risks (of Sedation/Anesthesia): In the majority of cases, the risk for major complications from sedation or general anesthesia is quite low. Every possible measure is taken at this hospital to minimize risks including (but not limited to) use of the safest anesthetic drugs, tailoring of the anesthetic protocol to the patient, extensive continuing education on anesthesia for all team members, use of every monitor available, and optimal staffing of the operating room for close monitoring. Nonetheless, there is always a small risk for a major, life-threatening issue associated with anesthesia. In the event of a life-threatening crisis, it is important for us to know your intentions. We will make every effort to contact you by phone but it might take a few minutes for our doctor to be able to leave the patient plus it is not uncommon that folks are not phone available when we need them. The option is to perform CPR to try to reverse the situation but some people choose DNR or do not resuscitate.
Discharge From Our Hospital: Please allow some flexibility in your schedule on surgery day. In general, you can plan that your pet will be ready for discharge from the hospital by late afternoon. When possible, your pet will be discharged earlier in the day. Pets are not hospitalized overnight. (In the rare instance that overnight veterinary care is needed, your pet will need to be transferred to an overnight/emergency hospital.) When we call you after surgery, you will be given an exact time for discharge from the hospital. At this time, you will meet with one of our technicians to go over post-operative instructions. If you have not heard from us, please call before coming to the hospital.
Note: Be aware that your pet will probably have the hair on a front leg clipped for an IV catheter and the area around the eye(s) may be clipped for a sterile prep.