It can be overwhelming to learn that your dog needs surgery, but our Westminster vets believe that understanding the general process for common dog surgeries may help to ease your stress. Below are some tips to help you through the dog surgery process.
Veterinary Surgery for Dogs
At Wachusett Animal Hospital and Pet Retreat the surgical procedures that we perform on dogs are divided into 2 broad surgery types; elective procedures and those that are absolutely necessary.
Whether your dog is coming to us for a common spay or neuter procedure or for emergency surgery to treat an injury or illness, we know it's a worrying time for loving pet parents. Rest assured that our vets at Wachusett Animal Hospital only ever recommend surgery when we believe it's in your dog's best interest.
Our experienced team believes that helping you understand why we are recommending a particular surgery and what the process involves can help you to make informed decisions about your dog's health.
Below are some of the most common elective and emergency surgeries we perform on dogs, as well as how to prepare your pup for their surgical procedure and what to expect from the recovery process.
Common Dog Surgeries
Some of the most common elective surgeries in dogs include:
Likewise, some of the more urgent care surgeries for dogs include:
- Skin lacerations or abscesses
- Intestinal obstruction from a foreign body
- Internal bleeding
- Torn cruciate or ACL ruptures
- Fracture repair
- Malignant skin tumors
- Bladder stones/urethral blockages
- Spleen cancer
- Cataract surgery
Often, emergency surgery is performed to save a dog's life, whereas urgent surgeries may be performed to prevent a tumor from spreading, prevent pain, and to restore a dog's mobility.
Whichever surgery your dog needs you may be troubled by a slew of concerns, from potential complications to the outlook for recovery. However, it should be noted that, because veterinary care has advanced to include all modern considerations, the likelihood of your dog experiencing serious complications from most surgery are extremely low.
Preparing Your Dog for Surgery
Your dog will be examined by the veterinarian to confirm that they are healthy and ready for surgery. If your pet is overweight, the vet may suggest a weight-loss regimen. Carrying additional weight raises the dangers of general anesthesia and may make it difficult for your pet to move about after surgery.
It is a good idea to have your pet bathed or groomed in the week leading up to surgery so that they are clean and ready for surgery. You'll need to keep the incision dry while it heals, so your dog or cat won't be able to be groomed for a period after surgery. Radiographs and ultrasounds are two tests that your veterinarian may order.
Plan transportation ahead of time, based on the type of surgery your pet will undergo and their expected level of mobility after the procedure. If you are unsure about the best way to transport your pet home after surgery, consult with your veterinarian. If your pet will need crate rest, have an appropriately sized crate ready for when he or she returns home after surgery.
You might be wondering if a dog can have water before surgery or if dogs should eat before surgery. In most cases, you will be asked not to feed or drink anything to your pet after midnight the night before their surgery. If your dog is on medication, consult with your veterinarian about whether you should withhold the medication until after the procedure. Some veterinarians may also request that you bring your pet to the veterinary hospital overnight.
Check in with the staff at reception and ensure that they have your correct phone number so that they can keep you updated while your four-legged friend is in their care. Try to arrive on time and stay calm and relaxed while dropping off your pet. Your veterinarian may recommend additional testing before surgery to ensure that your pet does not face any additional anesthetic risks.
Your Dog's Recovery From Surgery
Understanding how to care for your dog after they have settled in is critical to assisting them in returning to their routine as soon as possible. Following vet instructions and obeying them is critical to a safe and successful recovery. If you do not understand any of the steps suggested, please clarify. Depending on the procedure, you may be referred to a professional veterinary surgeon or the surgery may be performed in-house.
Following surgery, your dog may experience a temporary loss of appetite. Instead, you could serve a half-size portion of a light meal like chicken or rice. Your dog's appetite should return within 24 hours of their operation. If your dog hasn't eaten in more than 48 hours after surgery, contact your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian may prescribe pain relievers or medications for your dog following surgery to help with post-surgery discomfort or pain. Follow these instructions carefully to avoid unnecessary pain while your dog recovers. Never give human medications to your dog without first consulting your veterinarian. While medications help us feel better, they are harmful to our dogs and other pets.
Most vets will recommend limiting your dog's movements as excessive stretching or jumping can interfere with recovery and cause incisions to reopen. Most dogs will be able to stay inside for a few days, only going outside for bathroom breaks.
If you are unable to provide direct supervision, it may be difficult to prevent your dog from climbing stairs or jumping on furniture. If your dog is recovering from orthopedic surgery, he or she may need to be confined to a laundry-sized or smaller pen with gradually increasing amounts of exercise as the recovery process progresses.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.