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Surgery FAQs

Is the anesthetic safe?

Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past.  Here at River Ridge Animal Hospital we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics.  We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.

Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia.  we recommend this for every pet before surgery to ensure 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 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.

We offer in-house blood testing the day of surgery.  We recommend different panels depending on the age and health of your pet.  For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, urine tests or radiographs may be required before surgery as well.

It is important that surgery be performed 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.  Older pets may have water until the morning of surgery. 

Will my pet have sutures?

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.  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 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.  The type and amount of pain medication needed depends on the surgery performed.  Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.

After surgery, pain medication is chosen on a case by case basis. For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory, or other stronger medications for several days after surgery to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling.  We use medications that are less likely to cause stomach upset.  Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before.  

Providing pain relief is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.

What other decisions do I need to make?

While your pet is under anesthesia, it may be the ideal time to perform other minor procedures such as obtaining a fecal sample, ear cleaning, or implanting an identification microchip.  You will be asked other questions when dropping off the pet as well regarding presurgical bloodwork, laser surgery, and post-operative therapeutic laser treatment. Please call ahead to ask about these services and to get a cost estimate.

When you bring your pet in for surgery, we will need about 10 minutes of time to fill out presurgical paper work.  When you pick up your pet please plan on spending about 10-20 minutes to go over your pet's home care needs.

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Read What Our Clients Say

  • "We have had such great treatment of our dog, Maggie at River Ridge, even when we've called during off hours. From the doctors, office staff, groomers, boarding and daycare staff, everyone has been friendly and professional. Our dog loves to go there and we feel confident that she is getting the best care from everyone."
    Lorna E. Dixon, IL

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